Southern California Half Marathon Race Recap
First race of 2015 done! Woot! This day started out with the most beautiful sunrise and some pretty harsh looking clouds rolling in from the ocean. The forecast said the rain wouldn't come in until around 11. Those weather folks are always so optimistic, aren't they?
Ricky and I got down to Irvine around 7 with an 8 am start time. You had the option to pick up your bib the night before or the morning of. I jumped out to grab my bib while Ricky waited because the parking was about a half mile away. They only gave me my bib - no shirt or any swag at all - which was fine. This was a smaller race with only around 6,000 runners and a lower price tag.
Once we parked and I got my bib on, we walked toward the start and I was looking for Edgar. We met through Instagram and when I posted about signing up for the Southern California Half Marathon, he said he was going to run it! Perfect opportunity to connect! We met a quarter mile before the start, and he introduced me to his friend Daniela who was also running. Both of them had run a half the weekend before - Daniela had run 2 halfs back-to-back!! So crazy and awesome! So we hung out for a few minutes before I had to head to the porta-potty line before the start.
Once I got back, we walked to the start because everyone was lining up. Daniela had an injured foot that she was hoping wouldn't bother her too much, and Edgar PR'd the week before with a 7:15 minute/mile pace. So, we started together and separated pretty quickly. There were a lot of high school kids at this race who were part of the Students Run LA program and other LA Marathon training groups.
I had heard that the course was pretty flat, but there was no elevation chart on the website. I would not consider this a flat course at all. There weren't any huge hills by any means, but we were on the riverbed for quite some time, and every time we came to a bridge or to turn back onto the street, there was a small hill. It definitely messes with your muscles. By mile 4, I could tell my legs weren't liking it - it probably didn't help that I had just started my first hill training this past week. The rain started around mile 4 with a light drizzle, but by mile 8, it was full on raining (So Cal raining; nothing crazy, but a very steady downpour). I was really hoping the weather folks would be right and we wouldn't get rain until after the race. Then around mile 9, my belly started to feel weak. The night before I ate simple - grilled chicken, rice and broccoli, and then had some banana "nice cream." The nice cream is a good way to get the potassium I need before a run, but I think that bananas mess with my belly a little bit.
There were quite a few turns and in and outs on the course. Those always slow you down a bit, but I actually enjoy seeing the folks ahead of me and behind me running where I will be or where I was. It also makes sure that the course isn't too boring if it's not in the most scenic of areas. Around mile 10, I saw Edgar on the other side, which meant the next turnaround was quite a while for me because he looked like he had a great pace going. Mile 11 through 12 was back onto the river bed with a small jump back on the street before another run on the riverbed for the last mile. I didn't have any juice left after that last jump back from the riverbed to the street for the last quarter of a mile and my legs slowed down. I tried to speed it up and mentally kept telling myself to push. I couldn't look at my watch when it buzzed for the 13th mile because I was trying so hard to go faster. I crossed the finish line and turned off my watch - saw it was at 1:42:18 and that I just barely missed a PR. Just 19 more seconds and I would've had it (yesterday I thought it was only 17 seconds, but it was actually 19 seconds). Those are the most brutal - I'm stoked that I was consistent with my previous finish time without trying too hard, but also bummed for barely missing it.
Edgar and I waited for Daniela to come in - he had PR'd again in this race at 1:33!! 2 PR's in a week - super stoked for him. Daniela came in at 2:15 and got herself a PR too! So awesome!!! Ricky and I took off after that, and then saw that on the other side of the course was the post-race fuel. We walked over to check it out and the lines were long, but there were some great things to grab - Muscle Milk, bagels, OJ, oranges, cookies, a brand of Fig Bars and shave ice. There was also a HUGE line to get your race t-shirt. My legs were getting tight, and I was over it so we left. I wish they would've given out the t-shirts before with the bibs (I love t-shirts, not tech shirts).
Overall, a great race to start the year. I was very happy to meet some fellow runners that I follow on Instagram, and happy to log another 13.1 (13.16 miles to be exact). I'd recommend this race for sure!