Here's the recap.
SPOOKTACULAR 5K: San Dimas, Ca. 10/12/13
The course was simply gorgeous. We ran alongside a shimmering lake, across the dam, and along a tree-lined path that made up the 3.1 mile "out-and-back" course. It was somewhat hilly, but nothing too troublesome. I ran this one strictly to enjoy the morning and run with Theresa, and that made it a great run, free from the pressure of breaking a PR or hitting a time goal. Theresa finished 4th in her age group, coming in at 37:34, I was two seconds behind at 37:36. We got our medals (REALLY cool Halloween-themed bling), scarfed down the post-race goodies, and headed for part two of the weekends festivities.
LONG BEACH INTERNATIONAL CITY BANK HALF MARATHON
Long Beach, Ca. 10/13/13
The Long Beach Marathon and Half Marathon is part of the Beach Cities Challenge, a three-race
|Bobby and me at the starting line, ready to go.|
We went to the expo on Saturday afternoon and as is the custom (it might be a law, I'm not sure) we spent way more money than we should have. Theresa got a massage and a couple tech shirts, I picked up a running belt with a zipper so I don't lose my keys while running (again) and a bunch of CLIF Bars (banana nut bread flavor, thank you very much), among other assorted goodies. We then headed to Chili's for lunch (pasta), followed by hotel check-in, and a relaxing afternoon. My brother Bobby and his fiance (first time I've referred to her as that . . . they're very recently engaged) arrived later that afternoon. Bobby and I were signed up for the race, Theresa and Amy were there for moral support and photo ops.
After a light dinner (Subway), I hit the sack early so I could be up around 4:30 to go through my pre-race routine. The start time for the half marathon was 7:30, so I needed time to eat something, hydrate, take care of "business" and loosen up a little bit. Also, we had about a six-mile drive from the hotel to the starting area, and we didn't want to risk getting snarled in traffic or some other unforeseen snafu.
Things went according to plan, so we arrived at the start around 6:15, just in time to see the start of the full marathon and the bike tour.
And then it was showtime.
In large events such as this one, runners are grouped into "waves" or "corrals" based on their estimated finishing times, with the Kenyans at the front and the walk-runners at the back (this is not how it's worded on the registration form, but you get my drift). This is so slow runners don't end up getting trampled and elite athletes don't get a PR screwed up by tripping over some guy in a banana costume and trust me, there's ALWAYS some guy in a banana costume. Bobby and I estimated our finishing times as 1:55, which put us in Wave 3.
I basically started the Long Beach Half with a four-level goal. First, and least realistically, I hoped to run a 1:50. I figured that if I felt strong and conditions were perfect, I'd have an outside shot at this. To be honest, I had no rational data to support this goal, but whatever. It was there. If that didn't work out, then 1:55 would be perfectly acceptable, and I was pretty confident I could make that happen. But if not, well, then I'd have to settle for breaking my PR of 1:57:04, set at the San Diego Half Marathon in March. And if, for whatever reason, I failed at that . . . anything under two hours would have to do.
Sometimes I tend to over-think these things.
At mile ten the course doubled back, going down Ocean Blvd. Lots of spectators offered encouragement, but I was getting passed like crazy. My pace for miles eleven and twelve was over ten minutes per. Checking my Garmin, I saw that I was going to have to step it up to even break the two hour mark. Thankfully the last half mile or so was a slight downhill, so I turned it on the best I could and crossed the finish line with a time of 1:59:53. Couldn't have cut it much closer than that.
Bobby waited in the finishers' area for me, so after getting our medals (they're awesome . . . my favorite so far) and snacks, we posed for a few pictures. It's a lot of fun running these things with my little brother. Or in this case, behind him.
So all in all it was a little bit of a disappointment in that I was really confident that I could PR and maybe even break 1:55 and it didn't work out that way. With several more races coming up, I'll have a chance to redeem myself and run more intelligently, especially during those first few miles. Rock and Roll Los Angeles is coming up on October 27th, so I'll give it another shot then.
What a fun weekend, though.