Race Splits [Mile | Time]
| 1 | 8:49 |
| 2 | 8:58 |
| 3 | 9:01 |
| 4 | 9:01 |
| 5 | 8:36 |
| 6 | 8:43 |
| 7 | 9:00 |
| 8 | 8:46 |
| 9 | 8:39 |
| 10 | 8:24 |
| 11 | 8:40 |
| 12 | 8:30 |
| 13 | 7:49 |
This is my first Half Marathon, and I completed this race as a warmup (race day environment, and test my current conditioning) for the LA Marathon in March. I’ve been training consistently for 14 Weeks now, and this Half Marathon matches my longest distance run yet. Up until a week before this race, I had not run further than 10 miles.
In an effort to help things be as smooth as possible on race day, my wife and I opted to stay the night at the beach, just down the street from the start line the night before race. It definitely was the right choice since 6-month-old baby Brielle was with us, and this was the first big race since her birth. Jess was also running her first race since the baby (5k that started before the Half Marathon ½), so we wanted it to be as smooth as possible the morning of. Thanks for Grandma for coming to hang with Brielle during the races. It’s worth noting that the weather was absolutely terrible here in California all week. Rainy, cold, and windy. YUCK. It was raining all the way till about 10 or 11pm on Saturday night, and the forecast looked bleak. I was prepared for downpour during the race, and I accepted my fate, and closed my eyes for the night. I only slept for about 4 hours the night before, woke up around 5am, and saw ZERO rain in the forecast! It was a (late) Christmas miracle!!!
My strategy to hit my goals was to keep it cool, run a comfortable pace through 7, then let it flow and finish strong. Also, since this is really a training experience for me on the road to the LA Marathon, I wanted to get used to thousands of other people, and not get caught up in their pace. RUN YOUR RACE!!!
I started in wave 2, and that was fine because it would’ve been probably that much harder to keep my pace if I was in 1 with the elite crew. I was able to run the majority of mile 1 with my buddy, which was dope because his goal time was around 2:30ish, so it was either Mile 1, or just waving at the turnaround points. Hitting that first mile marker felt like it took forever!!! I was a bit shocked when I heard my pace, because I was a bit nervous I had gone out too slow. Chalk it up to race day adrenaline!
Fast forward to mile 3, and I am feeling great. I preemptively eat a Gatorade chew here, just to keep the body fueled up. The sun is peaking through just enough to keep my hands warm, and my body feels nice and comfortable. My pace was spot on for my goals. There was an uphill portion around this time, that took us up off of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), and through a neighborhood. So glad I’ve had some hills to train on, because my pace didn’t slow at all. Crazy looking back mile 3 and 4 were exactly the same time, even with the slope.
Mile 5 is downhill and takes us out of the neighborhood, and back to PCH. I’m being passed by a lot of runners on this downhill stretch, but I maintain my strategy, and don’t push hard here at all. We get back to the flat ground and I still feel strong. My mind then starts playing some tricks on me *is your hamstring tight?* *do you have to pee?* *did you hydrate enough?* All nonsense, but at the time I contemplated all 3 and so much more. During this stretch is also when Mother Nature decided it was time to shower on us a bit. It maybe rained for 2 minutes, or so…if that, so it was more like a light reminder of what could’ve been. Anyways….Music is flowing through my headphones, I skip to the next song, and keep on chuggin.
“Seven Miles completed, Avg. pace, 8:53/ mile” Nike Run Club (NRC) app relays the perfect message. With each mile I grew more confident that I would hit my goal, and after 7 at that pace, I was confident as ever. At this point I told myself to go negative split. Speed it up just a bit, and finish strong. I started to open up the stride, focus more on my form, sing a little louder, and remember that my training prepared me for these next miles, and I was ready.
The finish line is getting closer and closer. 10 Miles in, and I’m getting faster and really feeling strong. I’m singing loud as ever (sorry not sorry), and I can hear NRC’s message that my avg mile time is dropping. LETS GO. Really enjoying catching and passing people that started too hot, and are now slowing down big time. There are some people I recognize that blew past me, and this provides validation for my strategy so far. PCH starts to narrow, and on the sidelines the amount of people holding signs, and bells is increasing. Our hotel room overlooked the race route, and I look up and see my wife, baby girl, and my Mom all waving and cheering as I kick towards to end. HUGE moment. I can’t contain my excitement, and it’s like I took a double shot of expresso straight to the veins. I’m HYPED. Time to finish this thing.
About a mile or so left, and I’m maybe starting to feel my legs doin work. Not so much that they are tired, because I still felt plenty strong, but I do notice them now. Push on, and finish strong. The crowds are blocking out the curbs now, and things really turn to tunnel vision. I can see the finish line up there, and I promise myself to give it all I have now. Music’s up, smile on my face, and I am loving every minute. I put my hands out like a jet (preplanned race ending pose), crusin’ in for a nice smooth landing, and I’m now running as fast as I have all day. In my head, I’m happy I did all that tempo work, and ran those distance repeats to simulate this moment. Through my headphones I hear a muffled race announcer, clapping, and bells, and I give it my final three strides and finish with a lean through the imaginary tape at the finish. BOOM!!! I hit my phone to stop my timer, and am overjoyed to hear the results. I take a quick knee, thank the Lord, and soak in my PR moment.
After getting my medal, I start doing inventory on my body. I still feel explosive, I have some bounce left in the legs, I’m not tightening up, and not a cramp anywhere in my body. Awesome. At this moment I know, that I am well on my way to that twenty-six point two, and I immediately start visualizing that race in my head. I remember all the do's and don’ts of postrace, and continue to walk around and stretch while I wait for my friends to finish. I mentioned the singing earlier, and I’m not kidding I had at least 3 people come up and let me know they appreciated it! “You sang your way through that one!” “Thank you for showing me its okay to sing and Im not the only one!”, “Your playlist must’ve been on point” :) …What a time!!!
LA Marathon is 7 weeks away. And while this was all kinds of awesome, I know the big fish still needs to be captured. This race was the perfect addition to my plan, and I am fired up for the final leg of training before LA. My goal is to finish nonstop, sub 4. Let’s do this!!!