Slow and steady
Well after five weeks of healing my foot, dealing with my tooth infection, getting used to (still a work in progress) my new (and considerably more awesome) work schedule, and NO RUNNING – I went out yesterday and asked my body to run 13.1 miles in Long Beach without any training.
Yeah. I did that.
It was my slowest half marathon since my first one. (And Disneyland this year, which I’m not counting as I walked that whole race due to injury and stopped for EVERY character picture.) I started out slow. Usually, my first 5-6 miles are at a 10:30-11:00 minute per mile pace and end up in the 11:00-12:00 at the end of race, hence my usual 2:29-2:42 finish times. (Negative splits are not something I’ve been able to manage yet. I still have a lot to learn.) Right off the bat, my first mile was 11:40. I just felt off and clearly under trained. Slow and sluggish, but strong. I knew I’d finish. I just figured at that speed it was just going to get slower.
But you know what? It was a great day, a fun race, and I’m happy I did it, pokey as I was.
Long Beach is a great course – one of my favorites. And thanks to the Metro Blue Line – easy to get to and free to park at. The trick? Park at the Wardlow or Willow stations and take the train nearly right to the starting line. This weekend the last four stops were closed for upgrades, but shuttle buses were running continuously from the last stop through the remaining train stops and didn’t slow any of the runners’ progresses to the expo or race.
In fact, the blue line makes it so easy, I didn’t have to even get to the race area until 7am for my 730am start. Genius. And $1.00 RT fare versus $10+ to park each day.
Saturday I met up with Jennifer and her darling niece at the expo. Ran into Kat. Got recognized by the NUUN vendor and shoe charm vendor which tells you where I spend my money at local race expos. I picked up some super cute race merchandise – a hoodie and a tote bag — and was pretty happy with the race shirt. It’s white, which I don’t love, but v-neck, fits well, and had a cool design to commemorate the 30th anniversary of this race.
Jenn and her niece and I all had lunch and then I headed back up to LA to run errands, relax, and watch the USC game.
Sunday was supposed to be VERY HOT. 86 degrees at 8am when race started (ish. It started late.)
Instead it was a very comfortable 69 and overcast. The sun didn’t come out until after I was done. Or maybe near the end but was blocked by tall buildings. In any event the only time I felt miserably hot was on the walk back to the blue line shuttles.
I ran into a number of friends before (Jenn and Kat, which was planned) and during the race. The dog was part of a group of people dressed in mascot costumes dancing at mile 8. I was laughing so hard I snorted taking that selfie. Ebony and I met last year at the Malibu half marathon and have run a number of races together and Damaris and I met at last year’s Santa Clarita half marathon and have run into each other on a couple of race courses now.
Then as I closed in on mile 10, there was my Alpha Running crew. I squealed like a the sorority girl I am and ran over to say hi. Dan and I trained for the San Francisco Marathon together and soon I’ll start training for the LA Marathon with the Alpha crew.
Then it was a short 5K to finish and finish up my second consecutive Beach Cities Challenge and get that big, beautiful bling above. The races for the challenge are Surf City, Orange County, and Long Beach. Three great courses all relatively close to home.
My time was horrible. 3:10! So embarassing! My foot started bugging me a bit at mile 12, so it is not totally healed but close. I have to look into a new running shoe as the balls of my feet just shouldn’t hurt that much in a half. My right hip went mutinous at mile 5–a side effect of new mid foot running form–making running for more than a few minutes pretty damn painful– it felt like a pinched nerve and burned. So I ran/walked it, stopped worrying about my time, and just enjoyed the course and the fact that despite not training for more than a month, I would manage to get 13.1 miles traversed.
Today I woke up exhausted but not at all sore, so maybe I didn’t lose as much conditioning in the past 5 weeks as I thought. I know I need to get consistent with my running again and after the Nike San Francisco Women’s Half Marathon next weekend, that will be the first order of business. Less racing, more work on form, strength, speed, and endurance.
Half Marathon #27 is in the books. #28 is next weekend and then I have no more planned for the remainder of 2014 after two 5Ks, two 10Ks, 13 half marathons, and 1 marathon.