Tuesday, January 18, 2011

13.1 Los Angeles

imageI’ll be honest I really wanted this race to go well, after a conservative run at the Santa to the Sea Half Marathon last month, I had been pretty diligent with my running, (not training – I am not on a plan), but having run this race last year I had in my mind that the last 3-4 miles were tough and uphill, uphill is relative but up is up.

So I had focused on running long(ish) gentle(ish) climbs, a good example is a lunchtime run at work were I would do mile repeats with a 250’ climb, 8:26 - up 7:03 - down 8:42 - up 6:52 - down , some climbing and some speedwork combined (aimed for 8:30’s and 7:00’s), I had also been doing some progression and pyramid runs really trying to maintain a specific pace really with this race in mind.

Why do I mention this well I think it really reinforces the need for specificity in training…anyway on with the report.

My strategy was to maintain a 7:45 pace for 10 miles and then pick up the last three and drop the hammer on the last .1. In the back of my mind was what happened last year, a similar plan albeit a bit slower paced, I went out too fast and the wheels came off, this year I was adamant I would run my own race properly. I put myself right at the front of the 8:00 pace group, the anthem was played, the siren failed and with a shouted “go” we went.

I gotta be honest I hit play on my iPod, start on my Garmin and I locked onto my pace like a hungry dog bites a rabbit. I focused on keeping a steady cadence, the music helped (I was listening to this; Episode Special #12). I did totally freak myself at mile 5. I was wearing my FuelBelt and the bag check bit on my number was flapping about so I tore it off and went to put it in the pouch with my gels and found it open and all my gels gone! f$%k! Be calm, be cool (and be grateful my car key was still in it) I thought! I put that thought in a box and locked it away. Interestingly I had no gels and only drank about 8oz of fluid for the whole race. I did have a breakfast the night before and one the morning of and had been sipping on a bottle of Cytomax before the race…which I have done for three of the last four races and it’s worked really well.

The miles clicked off, the course is basically a sling shot inland, it’s not a great course in terms of sights and the fact that you can see a long line of runners in front of you is not the best of things.


The turnaround is out there…

I hit the turnaround; 7:09 miles, in 55 minutes exactly, now try working out the mental math from there! I was expecting the back to be up and it really wasn’t I was expecting my pace to drop off and it really didn’t, in fact it got faster, I don’t have an exact half way split but miles 1-7 was 54:19 and miles 7-13.1 was 53:54 (I have to include M7 in both to make that work). I hit the 10 mile mark in 1:17:20 that’s a 7:44 pace! Nailed it! A then girl I had been running with commented that my pace was really even…score!

At mile 11 I locked onto someone and dropped into their slipstream. All sorts of crap was floating through my head, the night before I had watched Dust to Glory and I remembered a soundbite “and then a funny thing happened a race broke out between 196th and 197th place” check it out it’s a great movie and then I remembered an interview I listened to with Chris McCormack wondering why Andreas Raelert had come up to his shoulder around mile 23 in Kona instead of staying out of sight…all sorts of weird shit!

My pacer went through an water stop I went on, I was picking up speed and doing the math…could I squeeze in under 1:40:00. As I approached M13 I saw the finish, it wasn’t far but it was too far. Now I have got really good eyesight, really good and I saw the clock had 1:40:07 on it, so I was racing for seconds, I kicked and a guy next to me kicked, I kicked harder.


Like I said I really wanted this race to go well and you know what it did!

Here are my splits,

13point1 LA Jan 2011

I was 294th of 2538 and 31st of 178 in my Age Group, I am very happy!

Now I just need to finish this damn book and get training! Let’s see what I can do when I train…this is 4 minutes off my PR and a great baseline to assault the sub 1:30 half marathon target.

Finally I should say that this is the second time I have raced this race (this was the second one) and I was comp’d the entry, for which I am really grateful, and now I am a legacy runner too! Honestly it’s really only gotten better. I loved the preferred parking right by the start (best $20 you can spend), this year had more running along the beach front which was great, again there were hoards of volunteers and plenty of water etc as best I could tell, the start was well organized, pace lines, plenty of space, great vibe, the finish was fun with some great LA food trucks and the usual entertainment and oddities that you expect from the Venice area. I got a really nice Craft tech shirt, I am learning to like the color and I wore it today and the bling was nice and hefty!

I know that the 13.1 series has added some more cities this year so if you get a chance to run one of these go for it!


  1. Great race report, and an awesome result. Well done Stuart!!!

  2. Wow, great plan and execution for the race. Very well done indeed. I look forward to hearing about your assault on a sub 1:30. That's going to be exciting.

  3. Amazing results with the fact that you had no GU. That alone could have screwed your entire game up! Unreal that no one noticed and told you that you had stuff falling out.

    VERY well done! Your 1:30 target is just in reach.

  4. Wow, great results. I think I would fall apart if I lost my gels, well done!

  5. Sounds like it was an awesome day despite losing your sustenance. Luckily you didn't drop your keys.

    That is one fast time...as Robin said, your 1:30 is within reach!

  6. Wow, way to go, Stuart! That's a really solid pace and it looks and sounds like you really trained smartly.

    Hopefully this is a sign of a great year of racing to come!

  7. Nice job! Was the course the same as last year? Maybe you were in better shape this year and that's why it didn't seem uphill. Course you did do hill prep too! Had to laugh at the race between 196th and 197th. Now I feel a bit self-conscious about my own racing... haha.

  8. Sweet effort + time Stuart...congrats sir!

  9. Awesome job Stuart! You kicked some major booty out there!

  10. Bravo! That is some awesome running. And an awesome mental game. It takes a lot for me not to be thrown when something like losing my gu's happens. I have to get into some quick meditation, or I'm gone. Congratulations!

    ps. just today i did my first run after calico, and noticed the zipper holding my keys was not zipped!!

  11. Dude you did fantastic! It was freakin hot in Venice on Sunday. Your Foot turnover (cadence) was solid and your heart rate was at red-line you were flat out! The temperature however should have slowed your pace even more but with good training and a good race strategy you overcame that.

  12. Nice job man! You keep at the loseit.com thing and you'll make those extra minutes up for that PR you want!

  13. great race report and great race. You nailed it!!


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