I've avoided training outside all summer, because... hello, I just don't like to be hot.
As it turns out, you can't very well participate in a race on a treadmill in the AC when it gets too toasty for your liking.
It's a damn shame, really.
I stalked the weather man all week, and was optimistic that he was mistaken with his 80* and sunny forecast.
Sadly, he was (for once) dead on. It was 80* and SUNNY when I finished.
Anyway. To recap....
Saturday, The H and I hit up the expo. I met the lovely XLMIC there, and we walked out to check out the start/finish area, and the GIANT horseshoe of porta potties....
The H and I headed home shortly after. There was a bloggy meetup happening for dinner, but I ended up cancelling. Birthday party + Race day Sunday = too much stuff to get done.
Got stuff together, and went to bed by 10. Alarm set for 4:32am.
Managed to get dressed and scarf down a half of a pb&j before heading out. I *tried* to hit up Starbucks, but apparently, 5:05am is too early for Sbucks on a Sunday. Rude.
So, it takes me normally about 45 minutes to get to downtown Long Beach from my house. I figured, Sunday at 5am, traffic would be minimal.
And it was. Until I got off the 405 onto the 710. And then it was just effing stupid. Eventually, I saw Elisabeth tweeted that she hopped off the freeway, so I did the same. duh.
Off the freeway, on surface streets SEEMED faster, but I was totally panicking about time. It was almost 6:30 when Elisabeth and I headed out of the parking lot (some of us with keys and fuel belts, some of us not....). That left 30 minutes to walk about a mile, gear check, and porta potties. Yikes.
At least the sunrise was pretty.
We were literally in the line for bathrooms while they were singing the national anthem. Nothing like cutting it close...
We managed to sneak into exactly the right corral. Both of us were kind of aiming for 2:15-2:20, and we were in line with the 2:20 pacer. Perfect.
So, I don't have my splits or anything. I was running with Elisabeth, and she had a Garmin, so I was letting her monitor our pace.
We started out great. Plan was to stick a 4:1 run/walk, and we were (with the exception of a giant bridge - walk interval came during the downhill, and both of us were all over the momentum of the downhill, so we walked after. I seriously love downhills). All around some Long Beach stuff, nothing super exciting to report.
Aid stations were all well stocked, and tons of volunteers.
The course was a little narrow through miles 4.5-6 (I think?)
But nothing to terrible.
The course runs through some figure-8 type stuff for the first 5 miles, then straight out the beach bike path for miles 5-9.5, then Belmont Shores and the Ocean Blvd neighborhoods from 9.5 through the finish. It's a pretty course, especially after you get out around mile 5, but man. That beach path was running due east, pretty much DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN. And I really don't do well in the sun (I know, I know - totally my fault).
Around mile 7, Elisabeth had a cramp in her foot and stopped to stretch it out. I jogged up to the next aid station and waited a bit, but didn't want to stop moving (sorry, Elisabeth!), so I kept going... except now I had NO CLUE where I was on pace. I ran the rest in by feel. (Note, there were mile markers, but I only saw one timing clock, at either mile 10 or 11, I can't remember... but I wasn't sure what time we actually crossed the line in wave 3, so I was still in the dark about my pace).
I felt GREAT through the entire beach path. Mile 9.5 we came off the beach path and it was about 1.5 miles of a very gradual uphill.
At mile 10, a group was handing out donuts - apparently this is a tradition, they do it every year. I love donuts. They're so good. I thought I would puke if I ate a donut at that point. Run, walk, run, walk. Somewhere around mile 10.5-11, I got a RIDICULOUS side cramp. Like, stopped me dead in my tracks to breathe cramp. That sucked.
I ran when I could, poking at my side, and walked when I couldn't. It was annoying, and frustrating. I ALWAYS have kick at the end of my long training runs. ALWAYS. And I was just... walking more than I have ever needed to in training. I was pretty pissed.
The crowd support was FANTASTIC through the last 5K...
And, there was.... this....
I don't even know. It certainly doesn't look comfortable to run in... or walk.
I hit mile 12, and sprinted until I couldn't keep moving (damn cramp), jogged while poking at my side until it was manageable, and repeated that all the way home. I passed a bunch of people the last 400m, and no one passed me (haha, thank you, 400's!). I just wanted to be DONE. I was over having crampy sides. It was stupid.
2:29:48. PR by 3:07. At least I beat my C Goal.
I am guessing my problems stemmed from drinking too much water too early. I was super paranoid about dehydrating, with all the freaking sun, so I sipped a water at each aid station. I never do this in training, I'm not sure why I thought race day was the time to play with my hydration plan. When I hit mile 8, I felt like I had SO MUCH WATER I was sloshy. It made me nauseous. So I stopped drinking it. But I'm slow, so that left me an with almost an hour of running in the heat without water. Dumb.
I got a lot of comments and emails that at least I PR'ed.
I did, and it's great. I also made mistakes, and wreaked my own race. That's frustrating to know. I feel like I could have done at least a 2:20, fairly comfortably, if I just trusted my training.
But I didn't. I did weird stuff that messed with my head. I know what works for me in training, and I didn't follow through. Lesson learned.
The Shin.... the shin behaved beautifully. No trouble. Today, no pain, but it's definitely swollen. Such a weird critter, that Shin.
After the race, I collected my bag, and hung out waiting for Elisabeth. I meant to go watch for her in the finishers area, but it was just so congested, and I was in some pain (STILL WITH THE DAMN CRAMP!), so I sat, and waited by bag check. After we re-grouped and re-fueled, we hung out at the finishers area watching for Sarah to Sub-4 (sadly, not her day either - go tell her nice things, she's pretty bummed, too). We saw Monica breeze in at a sub-4, though, so go congratulate her!
Then, to finish up the morning of disaster, we had to trek up this giant hill and walk a mile back to the garage.
All in all, the race was REALLY well run, everything was well organized - the expo, pick up, everything. I know there were issues with bag check last year, but none at ALL this year. Plenty of aid stations, all well stocked and well staffed, and even - gasp! - REAL bathrooms at a few points! I might do this race again. I feel like I have a score to settle in Long Beach. But if I do, I'm waiting to register at the expo, after I see what the weather looks like. I am NOT JOKING when I say I'll avoid a hot race if at all possible.
Today, my legs? They are SORE. Not injured sore, just... I obviously did some work sore.
What's next... Mission Inn, which is going to be a fun training run for me. Operation Jack in December is a nice, flat course... I might shoot for another PR then. We'll see.
Depends on the weather, I suppose.