one girl's adventures in
the world of ultramarathons...
and other stuff...
I think the Rock N Roll LA Half Marathon may have been my best race ever! My favorite is still the 50k, because that was totally awesome, but this was the best I’ve ever felt during a race.
I’ve been running for 1 year now and had 4 races. The weird thing about this one was that I went in thinking of it as just another training run. Of course, I wanted to do well, but I felt unprepared for it. I have been in recovery mode for a month. And I didn’t follow any of my normal pre-race routines, in fact all sorts of things were very off for me that I thought would ruin my race:
- Didn’t eat my normal pre-run breakfast (I had a plan, but it was foiled due to a lack of fridge in the hotel) So I ate beef jerky, a zone perfect bar, a banana and a clementine
- Slept on a mildly uncomfortable stow-away bed
- Didn’t eat that great of a dinner the night before (french fries & half a kobe burger without the bun)
- Spent Saturday sightseeing and sitting in LA traffic instead of relaxing
- Didn’t do a CFE style taper, just took 3 rest days leading up to the race
Obviously, none of these things seemed to matter once I got to the start line. I told myself that I was going to finish in 1:55 and I needed to maintain an 8:45 minute mile average. Luckily I had the Garmin and I kept it at 8:43. I went out too hard the first mile, but slowed it down to the right pace by the third. At the beginning, I honestly thought I would only really be able to hold that for the first half then I would slow to a 9:00, but I managed to hold onto that pace the entire race.
First quarter of the race I felt great, this it pretty normal for me. Around mile 4 my left foot started cramping up, I just had to tell myself to relax, if I think about it too much it gets worse.
The hills didn’t really start until about halfway through, but I just picked someone ahead of me and kept running at my pace up the hill until I caught them, then picked another target. I think all of that trail training on hills made these hills seem like gravy. I did have to remind myself that it’s not okay to walk the hills on a short road race, as I have been walking lots of hills on the trail training to prepare for ultras.
One of the pacers at the start described three hills to me, so once I topped the third one around mile ten, I was feeling home free. HA! I must not have been listening to her very well because I turned a corner at mile 11 and about 400 meters ahead was about a 600 meter very steep hill. Everyone I could see on it was barely trudging up it, most were walking. And my right calf had been cramping. I found a salt tab in my hand bottle and took it before I started the ascent. That brought immediate relief to my leg. I charged up this last hill leaving as many as I could in my dust. Then it was a quick descent into downtown LA, with only 1.5 miles to the finish. Of course the last mile sucks, I felt like I was running in slow motion, but my Garmin still said 8:43 average.
As I neared the finish line my legs magically picked up the pace to a sprint for the last 200 meters bringing me in at 1:55:19.
24 hours later I still have a smile plastered to my face. I could not be happier about my time. It was exactly what I wanted. I would have been happy with a 1:59:59, but I crushed that time and I’m stoked!
I think running a half marathon after a 50k is brilliant, the mental aspect of this race was so easy. 10 miles in I was like, “Hey, I only have 3 to go,” instead of 23 more! I had very mild pain compared to most of my races and my energy level stayed pretty consistent throughout (thanks Genr8!). I had no IT band flares, and the only pain was in my left foot and right calf which ended up being fairly mild. Of course, they hurt like hell this morning, but I was able to ignore it for 2 hours yesterday. This was a true time trial, as I was totally smoked at the finish and I know I left it all on the course!
Now I can’t wait for my next race, so I can get that runner’s high again!
// Photo of my friend Lisa and me (right) at the finish