Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Long Beach 1/2 Marathon
On Sunday, October 11th, 2009 Colin and I completed the 25th Annual Long Beach City ½ Marathon. For those of you who do not run much, that is a 13.1 mile race. We decided to challenge our physical abilities back in June of this year. After I had a baby I knew I would need some additional motivation to get back in shape. Colin, after gaining his, "support pounds," decided he needed the same. Originally he wanted to complete a mini-triathlon. However, we don't have a road bike for him to train with, and he would have needed to purchase a wet suit and new goggles; not really in the budget.
So, we joined a small group called, “Ripped,” at Sandals Church and began training for our event. The training was mostly in Riverside, so we followed along with the schedule at home in Lake Elsinore. The series was a combination of exercises; spiritually and physically. We had a daily study, and daily workout. We asked our Small Group to join in and challenge them as well; they began to work out too.
Cross Country Summer Training began shortly after that and I began running 6 days a week. That was all I needed to help me stay on track. Colin, found an article in Runner’s World Magazine that had a training schedule for new ½ marathon runners, he decided to use this to help him train.
Before we knew it race day was upon us. Race participants were required to pick up their racing ID chips and Bibs either Friday or Saturday before the Sunday race. We were unable to get out to Long Beach until Saturday after my athletes Cross Country race in Chino. Our bibs were waiting for us, but they ran out of t-shirts and goody bags (so much for pre-registration in August!) Colin’s shirt is being mailed to him. We stayed the night with Colin’s grandparents and they treated us to a pasta dinner. Our babysitter, Bethany, came along to watch Kellen on race day. Originally we were going to bring them to the race, but Kellen was having a hard time with his teeth, and not sleeping well.
We arrived at the start area with about 5 minutes to spare. Unfortunately I had to use the restroom (seriously) and we had to go and get in line. There were a ton of port-a-potties, but HUGE lines to each of them! It took us 20 minutes to get in. Then, we found out that we had to check in our sweatshirts and anything we weren’t planning on carrying with us in the race. SO- another 15 minutes later, we were heading to the start line. Thirty five minutes after the race began we took off. I was a little frustrated with the situation, and mad at myself for not arriving earlier, combined with the adrenaline so I went out faster than I thought. I was going to shoot for an 8 minute mile pace, but ended up running the first mile in 7:23. I got into my grove, but because we started late there were many people in front of us that were walking, talking with friends, etc. I had to zig-zag throughout the entire race to get around them. The only benefit to this was that I was constantly passing people; which made me feel kind of good!
As I was running, there were plenty of things to look at. Besides the roads, buildings, ocean, trees and cars, there were thousands of people all over the bridges and along the side of the race that were cheering. Some were cheering for anyone that passed by, and others had signs for particular people. At certain points in the race there were volunteers passing out water, Gatorade, and Gu (sugar that looks like pudding to keep your energy up). DJ’s and bands were also strategically placed to encourage you to keep moving. At one point I grabbed a water cup while trying to keep moving, and I knocked a few over on accident. Even though I apologized profusely to the lady filling them up, she still gave me dirty looks! The best was the little kids cheering. They had their hands out waiting for high fives from any runner that was willing to slap them on their way by.
On Mile 2, I got a cramp, so I slowed down a little. I am sure it was because I didn’t get much of a warm-up. The weather was perfect, over cast and a little chill. I wore my ¾ length stretch pants so I wouldn’t chafe. However, if I had decided to wear shorts it wouldn’t have mattered; there were volunteers near the water stops with dry erase boards that had clumps of Vaseline on them! Colin grabbed some (chaffing in the arm pits and between the legs isn’t pretty). The only bummer is having gooey, slippery hands until you can wash them off after the race.
Running along the beach was pretty cool. Unfortunately we were on a sidewalk, that wasn’t very wide and that required me to dodge and zig some more. My knees didn’t bother me too much after the race though. Colin’s were pretty achy yesterday.
When I finally reached the finish line I tried to pick up the pace a little, after running tough for 13 miles you don’t really have a kick (unless you are competitive like me and you want to pass as many people as possible). My cramp was getting pretty bad… it is still a little sore on my side (like a muscle pain) in that area. I FINALLY made it across the finish line. My official time was 1:48.48; my GPS time was 1:47.29. By the end of the race I had added almost a quarter of a mile because of all the dodging. I averaged an 8:16 mile pace. My goal was 1:45.00, and I may have made it if I would have started the race with the other runners on time. However, I am pretty satisfied. I wasn’t exhausted… I actually liked it. I wore my iPod with some energetic music that helped keep me moving. The only bummer was that I forgot my carrying case, so I tucked it into my shorts, and I had a cut on my hip by the end of the race.
I am already making plans to run another one in January (Irvine ½ Marathon), and hopefully in May (SD, Rock n Roll ½ Marathon). If anyone would like to help pay for me to run that would be great, ha ha just kidding, (seriously though, registration fees add up!)
So, if anyone is planning on running a ½ marathon, I definitely recommend it. The challenge is great, and you feel pretty good about yourself once you are done. Plus, it is shorter than a full marathon, you can recover much quicker and you don’t feel like someone beat you up. However, I will get a full marathon one day. I would love for more people to participate with me! We could hang out in the Finish Line Villa area after the race! I’ll just have to plan for Kellen to hang out with someone, or see if anyone would be interested in pushing him in the jogger. Most Marathon races also have 5k’s and kid runs.
There are a few things I would have done differently. If you plan on running, you may want to consider them:
-Get your bibs and timers the first day they pass them out, usually on a Friday.
-Get to the start time with 30 minutes to spare, and use the restroom before you get there.
- Leave EVERYTHING in the car. If you can swing it, get a hotel room as close to the finish line as possible. That way you can leave your belongings in the room, and go back to get anything you may need without having to leave.
-Bring a plastic bag with your (like in your shorts, or sports bra) for after the race. They give you bananas, bagels, water, and electrolyte replenish-ers and you run out of hands fast!
-Plan on staying a while, they usually have massage booths and places to eat and enjoy the rest of the day. I would have liked to not have to rush.
So, who’s with me?? Anyone interested in running the Irvine ½ Marathon (or the 10k, or 5k) in January? It is even on a Saturday! Seriously, you won’t regret it.
Check out my results!