Monday, October 10, 2011

Long Beach Half Marathon - Recap

It's no secret I'm pretty bummed about yesterday. Bummed isn't really the right word... I'm annoyed. Frustrated. Pretty pissed. And it's all my own fault.

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....

25,000 people need a LOT 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.

Oh well.



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.


That's cute.

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.


  1. I think you rock. A 3:07 PR is pretty huge. When temps cool down, you'll do even better. AWESOME job! Where is the picture of your outfit though??

  2. definitely do NOT feel bad about leaving me. i clearly fell completely apart after that, and i would have felt bad about slowing you down. we will both conquer sub 2:20 sooner rather than later, i know it. its there, just waiting to happen. (and i feel like i need to re-run this race next year too, but definitely not in the heat, i like the idea of buying in at the expo after seeing the weather forecast). oh, and im really sore today, more sore than i was after my last full. wtf? anyway, congrats on 229, better to hit the c goal then none at all ;)

  3. You took 3+ minutes off your time - that's HUGE! The heat can definitely do you in and I really struggle with that. It's a shame it was so flippin' hot. Doesn't it cool off down there in winter? It's WINTER after all. Otherwise, you're going to have to travel up here to find some cool weather!

  4. You still Pr'ed! Don't worry about the cramp, it probably was from drinking too much water :( Good race though! Glad you enjoyed long beach!

  5. Good job & thanks for the OJ plug! Hopefully you'll have as much fun running this year as you did (wo)manning the aid station last.

  6. I am sure you CAN do a 2:20, but it was freaking hot and clearly the stars did not align for you to be as awesome as you can be in the future ;).

    Nice job though, a PR is great and you are awesome!!!! :)

  7. Well done! You've got to stop beating yourself up, mylady. At the very least you weren't dressed like a skank. :)

  8. I'm sorry that you didn't do as well as you had hoped, but take what you have learned from this race and apply to future races for even better PRs! :-)

  9. I was totally on track to hit 2:20 in a race in June, super stoked at mile 10, tons of energy, feeling great and then at mile 11 my sciatic nerve was pinched. Every.single.step. hurt - badly. I still Pr'd that race by a few minutes but was so upset. I really had to force myself to just move forward, focus on the next race and forget about the past, take it as lesson learned. My lesson = visit the chiro and extra foam rolling before a race. In fact, I think every half this year has taught me a lesson. Those lessons are what makes us better runners. :)

    You'll get 2:20...and it will feel SO good!

  10. Congrats on your PR!!!! Way to go!!

    Running with the sun in your face in a heard of 25,000 runners makes it feel at least 10 degrees hotter! BRUTAL! You did it girl and you will get your sub 2:20! YOU WILL!!!

  11. I totally understand your disappointment (I'm feeling the same way right now), but a PR is awesome! 80 degrees and sunny is tough..I faced it too this weekend and it beat me up! Congrats on the PR! You may be disappointed but you are also learning from it which means next time you will crush it even more :)

  12. Cramps drive me nuts, you never know when they're gonna hit, and when they do they suck.

    Bonuse that the shin behaved, and a PR is a PR!!!! Congrats!

    Happy Belated Birthday to Gabby : )

  13. I think they added more potties this year - that looks like more than last year. I know I waited 20 minutes in line. And, yeah, the bag check was appalling.

    Good to hear they took the runner survey comments into account and adjusted. It's still a race, though, that I think you have to get to super early just from the sheer number of people in a relatively small area.

    And, hey, PR is a PR!!! Just means that it'll be easier to break it again the next time.

  14. I think you ROCK. I know it wasn't "your day" but I still think you did what you could under the circumstances and finished with a PR! Your "day" is coming and you'll reach your goal :)

  15. I think you did great! Congratulations. I say do the same in a race that you do in training. When you wrote that you that you never drink water like that in your training, I thought, "Oh no!"

    Love the pictures and your comments. Especially the one of the girl in 2 piece, bikini-type outfit.

  16. You're pretty much awesome ... and beat Team Jam's finish time by over an hour! BOOM!!

    The heat sounds so sucky. I'm with you - let's just avoid those hot ones from now on.

    Okay, fashion moment .. um, first - number goes in FRONT, not on your ass. And was that a regular every day LACE bra that miss cheeks was running in?? WTF??

  17. Wait ... could this potentially happen at the same time as W&D next year?? W&D trumps LB!

  18. The Long Beach 5k and 10k marathon is all about Team Spirit! Teams are made up of individuals...a group of friends, family members or coworkers, fundraising to support breast and ovarian cancer programs at Long Beach Memorial's Todd Cancer Institute. Join the 15th Annual Team Spirit Long Beach 5k and 10K marathon and help put an end to breast and ovarian cancer today! To start a team, simply start spreading the word! A small team consist of 5-15 members. A large team consist of 16+ members. Prizes for top fundraising teams will be awarded in each size level for 2014 Teams. We will give additional prizes out for the top individual fundraiser and the most spirited individual.


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