So here we were, Super Bowl Sunday and I was to run the 1st race I ever participated in back in 2007 (then called Pacific Shoreline). Was I looking forward to it? Not really. Was I going to run a hard and honest race despite a lack of focused training for these kinds of races? Absolutely.
I got up at 5am grumbling and groggy from a full day the day prior. It was work, a baby shower in the valley, a screening of Unbreakable in Santa Monica then my mom's birthday dinner in Koreatown. Eventually hit the sack around midnight. My drive down to Huntington Beach was serene although I found myself stealing glances towards the east of the San Gabriel Mountain range and the sun that was rising behind it.
Thanks to my friend Danica, I procured a spot not too far from the start/finish. We met up and made the walk down together before I hopped into Corral 1. National anthem done and at about 7:45am, the half marathoners were off.
|Tony K, JB Benna, Scott Mills, Jimmy Dean.|
I did my very best to not get caught up in the sea of fast starters and be diligent about not taking off too quickly. Almost off the bat, I felt a curious tightness in my inner right calf and had difficulty getting into a comfortable breathing vs. stride rate. In fact, I wouldn't feel "comfortable" for a long time into the race.
Mile 1 - 7:02
Mile 2 - 7:08
Mile 3 - 7:12
The course itself is pretty flat and fast. There comes a point after about mile 3 when you encounter a minor hill but it's something most trail runners would laugh at. While I wasn't laughing, I did ease up to keep my heart rate and breathing steady.
|How is that thing in yellow beating me??|
Mile 4 - 7:25
Mile 5 - 7:12
Once we rounded out of the hills and neighborhood of the first few miles, the course spills back out onto the main stretch of Pacific Coast Highway. I was starting to warm up and feel better as the miles progressed but still had difficulty finding that sweet spot.
|Leg muscles bitch. What.|
Mile 6 - 7:18
Mile 7 - 7:20
Mile 8 - 7:23
Mile 9 - 7:20
Mile 10 - 7:25
With about 5K remaining, I was just ready to be done. However, I knew I didn't have it in me to sprint it in yet. Crowds were getting larger and larger as I approached the finish but despite that long stretch of road, it was still nowhere in sight. As tired as I felt, I at least took some comfort in that I wasn't one of those poor souls who were running the marathon that had to veer right about a mile away from home.
Mile 11 - 7:24
Mile 12 - 7:09
Mile 13 - 6:54
Mile 13.15 - 6:01
Watch clicked as I crossed the finish line. Final time = 1:34:57.
|Chick'd + Utility Belt'd.|
As I made my way out of the finish chute, I decided to tack on some cooldown miles and ran back up the course. I saw Lori again and ran with her for a few seconds but she was hauling at that point so I decided to back off. After a couple of miles, I ran back to the finish, met up with Danica again (who ran a solid race herself) and grabbed some post-race iced coffee before saying goodbye.
Good times, great weather and my last road race before the LA Marathon next month. Bring it.