Before I start, I have a little gripe that needs airing. The race itself starts in Venice and ends near Playa Vista. For whatever inexplicable reason, they decided to make packet pickup for each day - the Friday and Saturday prior - about 20+ miles away from the start. The first day deep in the Valley in West Hills and the following day way down south in Torrance. I just could not wrap my head around this. No race morning pickup either. What if guests had flown in from out of town and didn't think they'd need to rent a car?
|Make sense to anyone else?|
I scanned the crowd for familiar faces but didn't see anyone I knew so just tucked in a bit behind the 1:30 pace part of the corral, heard the national anthem and about 5 minutes after 7am, we took off.
I decided to run purely by feel and based on my training (or lack thereof really) I still figured a 1:40-1:45 would be easily manageable. I ran steady but easy during that opening mile and just as we hit the end of the Venice Boardwalk to turn inland, I glanced at my opening mile split: a 7:05. Hmm...I deliberately took it easy knowing it was easy to get carried away and run a fast initial mile split. But as we ran down Venice neighborhood toward Marina Del Rey, I clocked off my 2nd mile split this time a 6:56 mile.
Mile 1 - 7:05
Mile 2 - 6:56
Mile 3 - 7:02
Mile 4 - 7:01
It was very surprising to me to run at this easy an effort and to be clicking off mile splits like that. While a part of me waited for the inevitable fatigue, I just tried to say positive and accepted what the day was giving me. Game on.
From the Marina, we ran through Ballona Creek a bike path that goes inland to the beach. I was still feeling good and passing folks here and there running a steady pace.
|All smiles at Ballona Creek|
Mile 5 - 6:57
Mile 6 - 6:59
I hit the 10K mark around 43:30ish which would be a new PR for that distance. I also took out my one and only gel here but took me awhile to get down because the cold weather gave it a thicker consistency. Although I had a small water bottle on me, I still took in gulps of Powerade when the aid stations had them because I also forgot my salt pills. But given the coldness of the day, I knew I wouldn't be losing too much sodium.
A little after mile 7, I finally started to feel some fatigue in my legs. And it was starting to get difficult to stay engaged without much music and fanfare. Sweet relief came in the form of leaving the concrete bike path of Dockweiler Beach as I ascended briefly up to Vista Del Mar street - the main highway that runs parallel to the beach.
Mile 7 - 6:59
Mile 8 - 7:04
Mile 9 - 7:11
Vista Del Mar is the lone out and back portion of the course and I of course eyed the front-of-the-packers with envious eyes knowing they were on the homestretch while I was temporarily running further away from the finish. There was another gradual climb as we ran towards the end of the street towards Manhattan Beach and just before mile 10, we made a U-turn to run the remaining 5K down the coastal highway.
Mile 10 - 7:05
Mile 11 - 7:09
Mile 12 - 7:10
Mile 13 - 7:01
I kept my eyes peeled for friends and familiar faces but unfortunately did not see anyone I recognized. However, I did bump into my friend Andee who was out doing a casual long run with her friend Matt. She gave me some quick words of encouragement and after a slap of hands, I proceeded to keep on truckin' down the road managing to pass a couple of runners along the way.
As I stated before, I was pleasantly surprised by this result especially considering I'd done very little specific training to prep for this race. But this gives me some encouragement that a PR at the LA Marathon is very possible thing assuming I do some very specific road training leading up to it (officially signed up last night). Thanks again to the good folks at 13.1 Marathon Race Series (please change the packet pickup locations!). Hope this is a sign of things to come in 2013.