| Mile | Time |
| 1 | 8:44
| 2 | 8:24
| 3 | 8:21
| 4 | 8:27
| 5 | 8:12
| 6 | 8:27
| 7 | 8:10
| 8 | 8:48
| 9 | 8:13
| 10 | 8:13
| 11 | 7:47
| 12 | 7:58
| 13 | 7:19
| .1 | 1:41
Coming into this race, I felt a little bit unprepared, only in the sense that I didn't have a heavy month of running or training, due to it being only 6 weeks after my first Marathon. That being said, when I put this race on my radar, I told myself I would PR because of having marathon trained legs and this being only half the distance. It took about two weeks post marathon to feel fully recovered, and with the then short window I had, I was able to log about 3 solid tempo runs, and 2 distance runs, with the rest of the training being low mileage, maintenance work.
6:15am start time. Woof!!!! That's 45 minutes earlier than my earliest race start ever. The commute was about 45 mins, so I was able to be up at 3:30am, and out the door with my friend around 4:15am. Standard pre-race meal of oatmeal, water, and bananas, all consumed about 90 minutes before race start. An extra bit of coffee this morning too, because again....6:15am start 😳
I wanted to work on my pre-race warmup routine, but simply ran outta time with the bathroom line being long, and the gear check line being even longer. Luckily the sweats and hoodie I had on got me plenty warm from hustling around before the start. I had a few moments to take some pics with my group of friends that I peer pressured...err I mean, motivated into running with me, and then the national anthem hit and I was instantly locked in.
Race start was smooth as can be, a little bit crowded but the wide streets in the mall area at the start made it not even noticeable. Miles 1-2 we're hilly as ever, so I loosely had a plan to start a bit slower, allow myself to warm up, and then get to work. As it turns out I ran a bit quicker than anticipated, and laid down a (8:44, and the 8:24) to start. Looking back, I'm glad I started strong as this set the tone for the entire race. While I knew I wanted to PR, and I wanted an 8:30ish average, I didn't plan my mile times and reference points like I did for LA. Essentially, the plan was hammer all race long, and finish strong.
By mile 4 we were running through the neighborhoods, and the views are absolutely incredible. The weather BTW was amazing, nice and cool around 50 degrees with cloud cover. I rocked a black on black race kit, so the lack of direct sun was perfect. I started to settle in a bit, as I was slightly concerned that I started too fast, and didn't want to burn out. I watched the race course preview probably 10 times, and I'm putting together where I am in regards to upcoming inclines or drops. Again, I didn't put too much emphasis on it though, as the plan was stay loose, get through 6 and then turn in on and finish strong. Unlike during Surf City and LA, as I come to down hill portions, I'm actually allowing the hill to do the work, and pushing a little quicker instead of keeping myself on a set pace in an effort to conserve. This was one of the keys to hitting my goal for sure. While it may have only shaved seconds off, it at least kept my mindset on the goal at hand which was to run as quick as possible for as long as possible.
Miles 5, 6, and 7 come, and I realize we are already halfway done with this party. Its such a refreshing thought to look down, be around an hour, and know the end is already incoming. The mental load of a half marathon is honestly not even close to that of a marathon, and I am loving every minute of this. I'm hammering the inclines, and my heart rate shows me in Zone 4, confirming that I still have plenty in the tank (for reference, Zone 5 is the highest, and is 171bpm and above. I usually don't hit Zone 5 until it's redline / all out effort time). As I told myself earlier, mile 6 means GO and I make a conscious effort to push a but stronger. Earlier in the race a woman stated she was going for an 8:30pace, and I see her just ahead of me. I lock in on her and mirror her pace. She has no idea Im sure, but she definitely was a key to me hitting my time, as I stayed with her until I decided to pass at mile 8 or so.
Miles 9 and 10 are absolutely identical in time (8:13) which makes me feel confident in the final push. My legs don't feel tired at all, but instead I'm concentrating on my breathing, and keeping my heart rate in check. Mile 11 comes, and it is absolutely brutal. This was no slight slope, it's a straight up hill. Uncalled for!!! Nevertheless, I know I need to keep pounding or risk missing my goal. At the top of the hill I know it's all downhill (actually it's flat, but it feels downhill) from here. I start picking people ahead of me as markers, and begin making a game out of passing them.
Im through miles 11 and 12 and I'm getting faster and faster. I spot a group of two that seem to be doing the same thing as me, about 75 meters ahead of me, and I put in my mind that I have to pass them. Again, while they don't know it, they were a key to me hitting my time. Mile 12 was the hardest, coming off that hill but I still managed to go sub 8. The 13 mile marker hits and I still have work to do. I honestly wasn't even looking at my watch past mile 10, but I can now feel it vibrating, letting me know I'm running faster than my 7:45 "speed" setting. This is good. All out effort now as I see us rolling into the Fairgrounds, and I can see the finish line in the distance. I pass those two I was chasing, as I make the turn for the final stretch. People lined up on each side of the final half mile, and I'm getting pumped!!! I glance down at my watch and see that I am for sure going to PR !!! I see my friends and my mom on the side cheering me on, and that provides the final shot of energy I need to finish this thing. Wings up as I come into the final 100meters, and this plane is coming in hot! One more person passed, and I lean across the line to take every second off I can. STRIDE, STRIDE, STRIDE, ANDDDDDD FINISHED!!!
"LETS GOOOOO!!!" I check my time and see that I crushed it. 1:48:52. I've dropped nearly 7 minutes off of my previous time and I feel damn good. While I listed a bunch of time barriers that I wanted to check off as goals, the ultimate goal was to finish and feel strong and confident, and I did that!!!
Great question! There is one more race left in the Beach Cities Challenge Circuit...Long Beach, October 13th, 2019. I've decided that THIS WILL BE MY RETURN TO THE MARATHON, and I WILL go Sub 4 hours. Training shall resume within the next week, and it will be GO TIME once again 😤