I ran a race this past weekend, the 13.1 LA half marathon. My first half marathon since *gasp* high school 9 years ago! Wow, I feel old.
I only raced an 18 mile race and the LA marathon last year, and only one 5K sometime in June. Only 3 races in a year is disappointing since I had high hopes for more racing last year but things didn't end up working out.
Anyway, to get back to the half marathon this past weekend. I went in full of doubts. I barely got any running in the week before. Work started up again and I was back to my crazy night shift hours...ugh. And to top it off, my puppy got sick :( and I went into crazy dog mom mode. So I only managed a short 4 mile run on Thursday which was horrible! Absolutely nothing clicked that day and I found myself deep in despair like you always do when you have a horrible run...especially when it's just a short one and you feel like you're dying. How the hell am I supposed to run 13 just a couple days from now? And 26 in just a couple of months?! I didn't run Friday or Saturday because I wanted fresh legs for the race on Sunday. Instead I spent the weekend relaxing, eating a lot of pizza, drinking beer and watching football with the boy. I still don't understand football hahaha...but it was a good distraction.
Friday night I laid out my clothes and packed everything I needed into my backpack and went to bed at around 11pm. Waking up at 5:30 was painful! I so did not want to get out of bed, but thank goodness the Christmas hiatus from work gave me the chance to switch my sleeping schedule to nights so that I at least managed to get some sleep before this race. I got ready, ate a piece of toast with peanut butter and drank 2 glasses of water and was on my way out the door by 6:15 am.
I got to Venice beach at around 6:40 and managed to find my way to the parking lot pretty easily. You had to go pay for parking at one of those parking machines. I ran up to it and there were only about 4 people ahead of me. I was relieved I was already there with plenty of time before the race start. Then the person paying got their money stuck on the machine and couldn't get it out...ugh. Then the next 2 people had the same problem! By this time the line was like 30 people long behind me! When it was finally my turn, I was praying my money didn't get stuck and luckily, it didn't. Woohoo! I was free to go grab my iPod from my car and head to the start line.
Oh...I decided I wanted to wear a pink tutu for this race. So I'm walking around in a pink tutu and people are looking at me weird haha...Since the tag line for this race is "Where the party meets the pavement", I really was hoping to see people in costumes but I didn't see anyone. So I'm the only weirdo in a tutu at the starting line *sigh*.
Race starts promptly after 7:13 am. I take off and make my way through the crowd of people in front of me, being mindful of keeping a comfortable easy pace for that first mile to see how my body was responding. First mile was easy, the pains I'd been feeling the week before on my right knee and left ankle were barely there so I kicked it up during the second mile but still trying to keep up a pace that I felt I could maintain for that length of time. As the first few miles progressed, I found myself running each mile about 10 seconds faster than the previous one to where I was running at about an 8:20 pace which is usually a fast pace during my training runs. I kept passing more and more people and some gave me funny looks when they saw the girl in the silly tutu pass by them.
Made it to the turnaround point and I kept telling myself I wanted negative splits for this part of the race and even when I felt like I was slowing down, I'd look down at my Garmin and my pace would be 8:05 or something like that. I could not believe it. At the 10 mile mark I was thinking that I was going to cut it close to making my sub 2 hour goal time. The math was just off in my head. And this was also the point where I was beginning to feel really dehydrated and the rest of the race felt like I was just chasing an oasis of water up in the distance. I kept seeing the water stop up ahead of me and then felt disappointed when I realized it wasn't there yet. Yikes.
The last mile was painful. I had given it all I had during those middle miles. I was slowing down and I just felt like I couldn't get enough water in me at those water stops. Just 200 meters short of the finish line, I was done. My body did not want to run anymore and I walked for about 3 seconds when "I'm on a boat" came on my iPod! Hahaha! I swear this song gets me through the toughest parts of a run all the time, it's just so funny and upbeat. It was like divine intervention at that moment and I took off with whatever energy I still had left. I crossed the finish line and got my sweet medal and some goodies.
Finish time- 1:52:41
Yay! PR! My PR in high school was just 1:59 and that's when I was in really good running shape. I even beat my secret goal time of 1:55.
My pace averaged out to 8:36 per mile. Way faster than any long distance I've run probably ever!
So I'm ecstatic...can I keep up this sort of pace for the LA marathon?! It's going to take a lot of hard work to get me there but I'm so excited and it's all I can think about right now. I've got over 2 months to get me there.
I've only been training since the very end of November. The months between July and November saw practically no running at all because I was going through some tough personal stuff. But now that I'm out of that rut, I'm ready to go all out for this race. And I'm looking forward to doing some more races after that. I just have to remain positive and not lose focus and continue doing what I love most, running :)
Sorry for the long ramble.