Yesterday was the Half Marathon that I have been training for the last 4 months. Yowsa… it was hard! I’m not sure what I expected but I thought I would potentially do a bit better than the HM I ran last Spring in Portland OR. Wrong Wrong Wrong. This one was tougher with lots of hills and ups and downs. It took me to my limits.
This was my first Rock n Roll event. They hold them at lots of places around the Country and are very good organizers. I was impressed with the set-up. They require you to attend the Health / Fitness Expo to pick up your packet personally. The Expo is held the two days prior to the event so we had to be in town the day before. I typically will do my packet pick up the morning of so I don’t have to take extra time off work, so this was a switch for me. Since we were on vacation and had the time, I really enjoyed the expo and seeing all of the vendors and the gadgets. I ended up buying a new pair of Brooks running shoes… something I have wanted for a long time. I am going to retire my Nike “Livestrong” shoes. They will be a back-up pair for me after this event. Every time I put them on I think of Lance Armstrong and I feel sort of embarrassed to wear them. They have a lot of miles on them so I’m really not wasting …
The Pasadena course is gorgeous. We start and finish at the Rose Bowl so that in itself was cool. I got to the start point about an hour early so I could figure out what I was doing. At 6:30am in the morning the sun still wasn’t up so it was nippy out. Fortunately I decided to wear a jacket and planned to use the gear check before the race. Lots of people were using those space blankets for wraps which I thought was pretty smart. The gear check was sponsored by UPS and they had UPS trucks all parked in a line with drivers in uniform at the rear of the truck to take your gear. I checked my gear, put on my sunglasses and went to my corral to wait for the start at 7:30am. The photographers were milling around and I had my photo taken several times .. I’m sure because I was wearing my purple sparkle skirt lol. The start was really smooth with each corral being released a few minutes apart.
I carried my iPhone with me and used my Nike running App to track my time and distance. Time wise the Nike app was spot on. Distance wise it showed I ran 13.3 instead of 13.1. I’m not sure why that was different but maybe because you weave back and forth on the course around people at times?
I started out running strong and felt a little emotional at first. Not sure why that happens. I think sometimes I just can’t believe that I’m actually doing something like this. A few short years ago I never would have believed this was a possibility and here I am doing it today. Got over that feeling quickly as I hit the first hill and my left hip which has been asserting itself lately gave me some twinges. It will be interesting to see if my new Brooks solve that issue. Usually my hip will start giving me a problem when my shoes need to be changed. Almost from the get go I noticed I wasn’t keeping pace with what I had planned. Nothing I could really do about that other than try my best. Even though I have a goal in mind, I have told myself that just doing the run and finishing it is a reward in itself. I will never be a fast runner and for me it is important that I enjoy the journey so I don’t just give up and quit. I am going to try and work on some speed drills in the coming months and see if that will improve my speed…. Can’t hurt. I also read that running fast naturally helps improve your form and I’m sure I need some improvement in that department as well. I read an article on Active.com that suggests you start drills with 10 seconds running as fast as possible followed by 20 second jog and repeating for 200 meters. Build on this over time increasing your sprint time and distance. That sounds doable.
Back to the race… As I was approaching mile 4, I saw the fast runners coming returning. It was really something to see. They were about finished when I was at mile 4 lol… Later looking at the results the winners came in at 1:12 – they sustained 6 min miles.. wowsa. I can’t even imagine!
The flattest and most fun part of the course was running on Colorado Boulevard. This is the route you see on the televised Pasadena Rose Parade. The streets are wide and the downtown area is charming. As I got to about mile 9 I started to fatigue. During my training runs this is usually when I will eat a fig newton or something. The volunteers were handing out jellies and skittles so I took a few of those. I didn’t want to have stomach issues, but I did fine. By mile 12 I was going pretty slow but knew that the end was coming shortly. I did cross the finish line with a smile on my face! They gave me a medal and handed me a bottle of water. As I walked through the finishers “village” they gave out chocolate milk and jamba juice. I took both and they were heavenly.
The downside to this tough event is that I’m now really questioning whether or not a full marathon is something that is realistic for me to do. I still have over 6 months to get ready for the full, but I doubt that I could double the mileage that I did yesterday without a lot of pain. I’m going to keep up with my training and decide in a few months. My next event is the Shamrock 15k in Portland on St Patricks Day. A 15k is a little over 9 miles so shouldn’t be a problem. The finishers medal for that event is a souvenir bottle opener!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my re-cap. Even though it was tough it was fun and I encourage any of you that are running to participate in an event. It keeps you training and motivated… and I love collecting those medals!