January 17, 2010

SoCal Half Recap + PR!

I PR'd by 9 minutes!!!

I'm really surprised by this PR, since once again I did not train very well for this race.  I noticed the number of runs I've completed before each of my half marathons has been about the same (not many), but the distances I'm running have increased.  I ran a few 8-10 milers, and even a 13.1 mile run before this half...I guess the increased mileage is helping!

I really wasn't nervous for this race at all, and felt at ease when I lined up in the crowd at the start.  I recently got a new iPod for Christmas, so I made a fun playlist the night before and was excited to listen to it - running with music helps me SO much, and I realized a few days before the half that music was what I had been missing - once again, I was excited and motivated to run!

Anyway, I lined up at the starting line, and almost immediately became a stand-out in a crowd of a bunch of kids.  What?  I was thinking to myself, these little people (around 8-12 yr old) can't possibly be running an entire half marathon...at least not very fast.  I learned later these kids were all part of Students Run LA, and not only would they be running this half marathon, but they were gearing up to run the LA Marathon in March.  Wow.  I really hope I can run a whole marathon if they can!  And kind of makes me wish I had done something like that when I was younger.

Soon, we were off.  The first mile went by super fast.  I remember looking down at my garmin a couple times and noticed I was running around 8:30 pace, so I slowed down a bit, but not a lot.

I felt really good, so I kept running around 8:45-9 min pace...and was still cruising along at this pace by mile 5.  The goal I set for this race about two months ago was to break 2 hours - and I knew I needed to run around 9:10 min miles to do so.  But by the end of [inadequate] training, I definitely didn't think I could do it because running 5 miles just a little faster than that was difficult for me.  But I had just ran 5 miles in about 44 min - ah! That was faster than my 5 mile race PR!  I kept telling myself I really needed to slow down or I was going to totally burn out...but I couldn't.  I kept finding people to pass ahead of me (usually little kids), and still felt pretty dang good.  I was just going to hang on to my pace for as long as I could.

Mile 8 came along and I finally started to feel it.  This is also when I realized that even if I did slow down some, I had a good chance of breaking 2 hours and I got really excited.  This is also when I started to drive myself crazy thinking things like "ok...if I hold on to this pace till mile 10, I can then run 10 min miles and still  break 2 hours."  I must've done these annoying calculations about 20 times before the end of the race...especially once I got to mile 10 and I really just wanted to walk.  Everything hurt at this point.  I've obviously been in pain in my other 2 half marathons, but nothing like that - guess I finally learned how it feels to race.  This also makes me wonder how much harder I could push myself, and what kind of pain tolerance I have - assuming I'll find out before or during my first marathon in May!

So at mile 10 I definitely slowed down some.  A few of the kids started passing me too, which was annoying.  I started looking at my garmin a ridiculous amount (I did this the entire race and it started to annoy the crap out of me), and continued calculating what pace I needed to maintain - which is probably why when I got to mile 11 I thought I was at mile 10.  Despite driving myself nuts, that was a nice surprise.

I hate mile 11 tho, and it was a huge struggle.  It's always the point in the race where I'm tired and in pain and there's nothing exciting about it like mile 10 where you realize you only have a 5k left, and mile 12 when you realize you only have a mile left and before you know it you're at the finish line.  Mile 11 just sucks, for me anyway.  I tuned into my iPod and just focused on getting to mile 12.

I was in some sort of zone at this point (didn't even look at my garmin) and before I knew it I saw Pete, Jeff, and Jeff's son Thunderclap sitting on a curb - I was almost to the finish!  I rounded the corner they were sitting at and ran the last 0.1 miles as fast as I could.  The race clock said 1:59:40, so I knew I had broken 2 hours - holy crap!  Did that really just happen?  Then I started walking towards my "fans," and already in pain, realized yes, yes that did happen.

This picture makes me laugh.

I finished with an official time of 1:58:57 -  just the kick-start I needed for my first week of marathon training: maybe I don't totally suck at running afterall!

Also, congrats to Pete on getting his PR in the 5k that day, and getting closer to his goal to qualifying for Boston :-)

Race Splits:

Mile 1 - 9:03
Mile 2 - 8:53
Mile 3 - 8:50
Mile 4 - 9:04
Mile 5 - 8:45
Mile 6 - 9:00
Mile 7 - 8:50
Mile 8 - 9:08
Mile 9 - 9:07
Mile 10 - 9:17 - yep, definitely started getting tired :-)
Mile 11 - 9:31
Mile 12 - 9:26
Mile 13 - 9:21
Mile 0.13 - 0:47


  1. Great job! I always end up fading at the end of my races too, its so hard not to go out too fast! But at the end, you feel like you gave it all you got that way, and its a great feeling, right? Good luck training for your first full!

  2. thanks, brittany!

    even tho i got tired, it was definitely a great feeling to know i gave it my all by then end - didn't feel that way with my 2 other half i've done!

  3. groovy stuff. congrats on the big pr and beginning to feel what 'racing' a long race is like. i don't think you'll have any problem with the full. trust the training, do the miles and stay positive; everything else falls into place.

  4. Your blog looks great!

    Congrats on the PR ... 9 minutes is huge. Well done!