Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon - Recap


Let's take some inventory here of things that made yesterday really, really terrible for me:
1. The sun.
2. The hot.
3. The humid.
4. The hills.
5. My left ass/thutt area.
6. My brain.

I did not beat 2:05. I did not PR. I did not not walk.

Lest this be all whine whine whine whine, I will tell you about the event overall, and then recap all the ways I made it terrible.

Renegade Racing offered packet pick up Saturday and Sunday at Road Runner Sports in Laguna - pick up was super fast and easy, plenty of volunteers. The shirts are unisex, but nice, and super duper soft and comfortable.

The race is Memorial Day themed, and this year was run in honor of the US Marine Corps Dark Horse Battalion.

The race starts in front of the Laguna Hills Mall, and parking at the mall is free, and plentiful. I left my house around 6, and was parked by 6:15. I sat around for awhile getting my stuff situated, and headed over to the start area around 6:30. There are a billion port-o-potties, but also a billion people in line - so plan accordingly. Getting in line at 6:30 was okay for me, I was out and heading to the start line at 6:50, and was able to squeeze in just fine.

There are no corrals, but there are pace signs clearly designed to help people self-police. There were also several pace groups with signs - I lined up just between the 2 hour and 2:10 groups. Like always, the race started exactly on time (I LOVE that).

The website describes the course as "scenic and challenging", and I AGREE. There are rolling hills throughout, some short and steep, some long long long long and steady.

from the website
The course loops through Laguna Woods Village, then down Alicia Parkway to Aliso and Woods Canyon. Some out and back loops through the park (all paved), then back up the Aliso Creek bike trail to finish at Laguna Hills High School.

It's pretty and scenic...

And very, very exposed. And the canyons are HOT.

There were 8 aid stations set up, all with water, and 4 with electrolyte drinks.

After the finish, they have water, and some fruit available, and a large finish line expo and family fun area.

The medals are AMAZING.

In addition to the half marathon, a 5k and 10k are also offered (same start/finish area, same start time), and a kids race at the finish expo area. Shuttles are available to ride you back about a mile to the parking lot, but if you don't want to wait it's totally walkable. I did wait, but only waited 2 or 3 minutes. I was feeling lazy.

Registration is SUPER reasonable, starting at just $60, and going up to only $75 - for races in OC, this is a killer deal. The 5k starts at $25, and the 10k at $30. Renegade always puts on a well organized event, with nice medals, so these prices are great.

Overall: Pretty course, beware it can get warm, and it is certainly challenging. Love the shirt, everything was well organized, plenty of water and volunteers.


So to recap MY race.

What went right:
my clothes didn't chafe me?

What went wrong:
all of the other things.

Something I tried to impart on #1 during track was that it's OKAY to have a bad race, but it's not okay to just say it's a bad race and learn nothing from it. I'm trying hard to learn something, but I'm really struggling, because there was so much that I did totally wrong. Since this is not my first rodeo, I am a little puzzled at myself - how did I even manage to make it so awful!?

So, first, categorized under things I cannot control. The sun came out, before the start gun even went off. By mile two, it was full blazing hot. It was also humid. I am a sweaty person when I run, and I lose A LOT of salt, so I knew that it was something I needed to be aware of - I hydrated a lot in the days before, and thought I was on top of it.

You can caption this "Dyyyyyying".

I originally intended to start out a little faster and hope to bank some time - most of the downhill on this course was in the first half, so I wanted a buffer. Hence, I ran with the 2:00 pacer for the first mile, and that was a terrible effing plan. TERRIBLE (you can categorize this under: Things I Should Know Better Than To Try, But Did It Anyway). I didn't have trouble sticking with them, but it was certainly faster than I have any business running in a half marathon. I realized it, and tried to slow down, but didn't do enough slowing for that to help.

By mile 2, I thought I might be in trouble. I felt sluggish (even running a faster pace than I should have been), and the thutt area was starting to niggle, and it was HOT and I was sweating like a beast.

At mile 3, we passed the 5k finish, and I almost pulled out. Almost. The ONLY reason I did not, was because I figured I could at least try to make it through the 10k mark, and then see how I felt. Joke was on me, because the 10k split off shortly after that, so I just kept going.

For fueling, I figured I'd try the plan that worked for me at Holiday Half - 1 margarita shot blok every mile starting at mile 3, and a Gu at mile 8.

By mile 5, I had a giant headache, and had already forgotten when I took my last shot blok. If I didn't have runner brain, I would have realized that I needed to fuel. Instead, I figured this race was already a mess and kind of gave up.

Mile 6.5, on pace for 2:02, and while I knew that I couldn't sustain this, I figured a PR was still in the picture.

Mile 8, I started texting Becka. lols.

Mile 10, I was still roughly on 2:05 pace, and thought if I could juuuuust hold on to 9:35ish pace, I would be okay.

Now seems like a good time to share my splits.
1 - 8:53
2 - 9:13
3 - 9:12
4 - 9:09
5 - 10:04
6 - 9:29
7 - 9:43
8 - 10:28
9 - 10:01
10 - 10:07
11 - 11:38
12 - 11:21
13 - 10:51
.27 - 10:20

Finish: 2:13:00.


Quite obviously, I melted. I stopped fueling at some point, because I figured... why even bother, because I was not going to finish well anyway. I do know better, and I know I needed the extra salt, but I didn't care. I literally and for real, jogged across the finish line, and didn't caaaare.

I walked A LOT the last 3 miles, and I am, frankly, shocked those paces aren't even slower. I sure can't wait for the official pictures, because I bet I look GLAMOROUS.

It was an off-day for me from the very start, my stomach was being wonky, I had some side cramps, I didn't get into any kind of rhythm, and then I just quit. I'm not even that sad about the time, because hello, that's not even a BAD time for me. I'm just pretty annoyed that I quit. It has been awhile since my brain broke during a race (ahem, RnR Seattle), so I guess it was overdue. It's not you, race, it's me!


I feel totally fine today, no residual soreness (aside from the thutt issue). I credit this to my extensive walking "cool down" at the end, from mile 11-13.27.


  1. Nice medal! Laguna was my first race ever, and I definitely didn't break 2:05 that time. It's also my half PR when I ran it again one overcast year. You never know with conditions out there. Tough race all around. Congrats!

  2. I have left thutt issues too. Do you have some stretches for that area?
    Sorry that the SoCal weather let you down.

  3. so sorry it wasn't your race :( have you ever tried the salt pills? i use those for marathons but haven't needed them for a half...but you might with as much as you sweat. Great bling, though!

  4. You're amazing! I almost died during the 10k yesterday. Also my fault. I haven't run in weeks (nursing school) and it was so hot! I didn't hydrate enough on the days before race day so my 1:31:41 (roughly 14:45) was nowhere near my 12 min/mi PR at my last 10K.

    What I did? Remembered the Marines & vets I saw along the course & realized the race wasn't my best but it was still a good race.

    Congrats for your finish & the great recap! I feel your pain!! :)

  5. This sounds like a horrible day. Running should not ever be this miserable. I second the salt supplements. I use them in the summer, anytime I'm out running in the heat and humidity, and for long runs and races of course.

    At least the medal is pretty?

  6. When it's hot, it takes a herculean effort and luck to PR. You have to train in heat to then PR in heat. So unless you were regularly running in that kind of weather, it's probably unrealistic to expect to pull out a PR.

    Weather is the biggest asshole with racing. One can be all trained up, and then get slapped around with either heat or crazy wind.

  7. Heat is the worst. 2:13 is still a great time, be proud you gutted it out.

  8. Ugh. Running in the heat is awful. Cold is easy to deal with given a positive attitude, wind, snow rain, all that. But when it's hot, it's like GAME. OVER. Everything sucks about it. That's kind of a mean course, one of my local half marathons is an out and back and has a similar elevation profile.

    Even though you said you gave up by slowing down (which is the smart thing to do when you're overheated), you still finished! That's not giving up!

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