2018 Long Beach Half Marathon Race Recap
I haven’t blogged in a while! Time is scarce, but I thought it would be fun to recap Long Beach because it is my hometown race and the first time I got to be in a race with my athletes and meet up with them in real life!
I recapped this on my recent IG post, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not in the right place with my running right now. I also think that may be my excuse for my less than stellar performance at Long Beach, but I really miss the marathon distance so much and have felt a little forced in this season of trying to chase down the half marathon goal. My biggest reason for dedicating time to the half distance (aside from lack of time for 20 milers) was that I thought getting a 1:26-1:27 would help me feel more comfortable and capable going after a sub 3 in the fall. THAT IS LAME. Someone commented on that same IG post that you don’t necessarily need to get x:xx time in any other distance to be capable of your goals at other distances. Some people just suck at 5ks, but crush the marathon distance. Doesn’t mean you have to lower the bar just because your 5k or half marathon time doesn’t translate. I TOTALLY AGREE.
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Back to the grind today with 4 recovery miles. I am SORE from Sunday and still feeling little pangs of disappointment about my performance - questioning my fueling, hydration, whether I went out too fast, surged at the wrong times etc. I’m always honest and open on here, but I feel like I’ve been putting up a bit of a front in the hopes that forcing myself to want this half goal would help things start to click. The reality is that taking a step back from the marathon distance this season has really been heartbreaking for me 💔 and I’m left training for distances that I’m just not that into. After 5 months away from it, I know 26.2 is where I want to be. There’s no way I could’ve managed 20 milers in the midst of 2 full time jobs and wedding planning tho. As accepting as I’ve tried to be of those time constraints by finding new goals to chase, I’ve struggled to find motivation in and connection to my training and what I’m trying to achieve. My goal this season has been to run a 1:26-1:27 half to feel more “comfortable” with going after a sub 3 marathon goal in the spring (because #mindgames). My other goal was to feel excited and hungry to get back to the marathon bc I was burnt out after Eugene. While the half marathon time goal may or may not be accomplished in 4 weeks, I’m determined and excited AF to get after 26.2 again ❤️#missionaccomplished #realtalk 📷: @dualr
Onto race day - I had so many athletes racing last Sunday! 15 athletes in Chicago, one at Twin Cities, another racing in San Jose, and several at Long Beach racing with me. It was exciting and I pulled on knowing my athletes were out there accomplishing goals and dreams as inspiration for me to chase my own. Leading up to the race, my left glute and hamstring had been (well, still are) leaving me high and dry. My right leg is doing all the work and is just tight AF, and my left leg has no power and is doing absolutely nothing. I went to ART a few weeks ago and he confirmed what I thought - no activation! While I felt better for a few days after the appointment, the pain and lack of motion came back and there was nothing left to do but do my best on race day and pull out if it felt like I was getting injured.
Ricky and I got to downtown around 6:45 am and walked to the start. I was hoping for cloud cover and while we got a teeny tiny bit of it and the temps were a little cooler, it was still humid and I knew we were going to fight the sun a bit. I did some activation work prior to leaving the house, but did some more after a light warm up jog and some strides. We waited in line for the restrooms before I jumped into the start line. I stayed near the front so I wouldn’t have to worry about weaving. We were off.
I checked my watch and was hitting 5:50 - way too fast. I slowed it down a bit and let two girls pass me. I found the 6:30 and it felt good, but doesn’t mile 1 always feel good?? Just after mile 1, my friend and fellow Oiselle Volee girl, Lindsay, came up on me (she’s a 1:24 half marathoner), so I was happy to see her, say hi and watch her gracefully pass me. Just before mile 2 we make our way up one of the few (and biggest) hills on the course.
As we cruised over near the Queen Mary, I realized the course was different. We started going a different way than in prior years and I wondered how we were going to make our way back to the other side of the port only to find we were going back up the hill we came down at mile 2. This is a decent hill. I did some hill training during my 5K season back in July and August, but with my endurance kind of lacking, it felt like a monster hill. I wasn’t too concerned but could feel the strain on my legs once I got to the top of it. I also noticed at this point that my watch was going off prior to the mile markets. Long Beach has been a pretty accurate course in years past and I usually get to 13.12 on my Garmin, but this concerned me since I felt like I’d be fighting for seconds on this one. We came back over the bridge and made our way near the lighthouse - my first chance to see Ricky! At this point, the 6:30-6:40 pace was flowing and I felt good.
Once we weaved around the lighthouse, we make our way onto the beach path. This is the last chance to get some good spectator action before spending miles 7-10 alone and pummeling right into the sun. I saw my friend Keri just after mile 7.5, which was a nice pick me up to help me through the next couple miles. I was running with 2 men for the most part and I tried to stick with them. Once we turned back onto Ocean at mile 10, it’s a straight 5k back to the finish line. I started to lose the guys around mile 10.5, but kept them in my sights. I could tell I was fading and my single goal was to make sure I didn’t let the 1:30 pacers catch me.
There’s one last hill (like 50 feet you guys, but at this point in the race it feels like a mountain!) at mile 11 and I trudged up that thing like I was running in mud. I tried so hard to lift my feet and get some better turnover, but I had nothing. I saw my friend Lindsay up in front of me. She was still well ahead of me, but I made sure to keep looking for her bright orange shorts to ensure I didn’t slow down anymore.
One thing my coach and I chatted about was that the low mileage weeks were hindering my endurance. Both of my 14 miler long runs felt terrible and anything over 10 was painful. I had the speed down, but I just didn’t have the energy on those last few miles. I’m not sure if that went to my head, but as soon as we hit mile 11, I couldn’t get under 7 again. Last year when I raced this, mile 13 was my fastest and I was so consistent throughout. I was also training for NYC and ran Long Beach in one of my peak weeks. This year, mile 11-13 were my slowest and I had some serious positive splits.
I was hurting through the finish, but somehow thought I might still come in under 1:29. Clocked a 1:29:07 and I was bummed. There was no juice left in my legs and try as hard as I could, I just couldn’t go faster. Last year, I finished this race with mile 13 being my fastest and this year, I couldn’t even get close to my goal pace after mile 9. After I crossed, I knew I wanted to race again. My coach and I briefly discussed before the race some of my aches and pains and not feeling up to par on the longer distance endurance work because we’ve been focusing on turnover and speed. She said if my leg bothered me and I didn’t feel a drive to race again, we could end the season here instead of wearing me out before marathon training. I want to give it another shot, so we’ll see what happens in a couple weeks at my next half.
I waited on the other side of the finish line for my athletes. Sarah, Ludo and Riley were racing the half. I quickly met Riley who snagged a PR in the middle of training for her first marathon! It was a rough day for so many people. Sarah suffered from the heat and Ludo’s blood sugar and HR spiked pretty hard around mile 7-8 and he dropped out, which was a good idea. There will always be more races, but if your health is at stake, it’s not worth it.
Dawn was my marathoner and I was getting updates pretty regularly, but could tell she’d fallen off pace a bit. Sarah’s dad was running the full, so we wen’t up the finisher shoot to cheer him on - Dawn should’ve been pretty close behind him. I stopped getting updates for her, so I texted her. She had suffered a hamstring strain at mile 8 and was just getting through mile 24! OMG!! She had been run/walking the last several miles. I waited for her at the 26 mile mark so we could run in together. When I saw her, she looked so strong and determined to finish. I ran with her and she was crushing that last .2 miles.
After we crossed the finish line, I hugged her and told her how proud I was of her finishing today. She kept saying, “I never gave up. I’m sorry I didn’t hit my time, but I never gave up!” Now, Dawn is a freaking badass you guys. She got in every single workout the last several months, and had such a kick ass training cycle. Regardless of the finish time, I’m so proud of her - and this goes for all my athletes. Finish times are important, but pushing through and being gritty and determined towards your goals, whether time based or not, is what makes running so special. It was amazing to be able to run in with her and experience that moment together. I cannot even express how meaningful it is to be there for an athlete, when you’ve virtually seen them work their butts off every day for months and then become a part of their final journey to the finish line.
It was an epic day - I didn’t hit my own goal, but cheering for and meeting my athletes in real life was special and such a great experience. I’m looking forward to doing more of that! What’s next? Well, I still want to race. My coach and I discussed prior to the race that if I didn’t feel excited or rejuvenated about racing, then I would drop my next half marathon in early November. I walked away knowing I can do a bit more and I want to see what that is, so 2 more weeks until I race again!