My First Half

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Rock “N” Roll Los Angeles

 

My first half marathon, the biggest race we’ve been to yet.  It was very weird for us, as a family, to be going to a race that my husband wasn’t running, at all.  Every race (except one) that I’ve been to, my husband has been racing also.  And we’ve been to several others that just he was running.  It was a very odd feeling for him to be there to babysit, be my cheering squad, and not be worrying about his race.

LA is about 2.5-3 hours from us, so it was a relatively uneventful travel to get to the race.  We stayed at the Sheraton Downtown (less than a mile from both the start and the expo) which was the most reasonably priced in relation to the race events.  We were able to check in early, drop our bags and walk to the expo for packet pickup.  Being the first big expo we’ve been too, I had high expectations.  I won’t say I was let down, but I also wasn’t that impressed with the expo.   Bib and t-shirt pick up was seamless; I didn’t have to wait in line at all.  Competitor Group has that part figured out!  I appreciated getting an envelope with safety pins and drop bag zip tie in it.  I didn’t have to worry about digging through a box of safety pins and then losing them while I was walking around getting all the neat stuff at the expo.

At the expo I ended up buying a SPIBelt because it fit my phone!  Best $24 I’ve spent in a while.  I wanted to have my phone with me for when I finished because there were a lot of people and finding my husband was going to be a chore.

I did end up having to call him to find out where he was.  I know I would have been very upset if I couldn’t find him and had no way to get a hold of him.  I was already wore out, then having to walk around to find my family.  No thank you!   Every other race we’ve been to, there are only a handful of people and there hasn’t been a finisher’s corral, so that was different.

Generally, I would probably not run this race again.  I would run another RnR, just not LA. It was a neat experience to run in downtown LA, but I’d rather run a race that had a different course.  I wasn’t a fan of the two out and backs the course took us on.  I liked that I could see my family in the middle, but since there are two out and back sections, it was discouraging for me to see people always coming back past me. After watching the NY marathon this weekend, I appreciate that the race started in small waves.  I didn’t have to jog to cross the start line!  So, that was a positive experience.  The finisher’s corral was also very congested.  There were vendors everywhere trying to hand you things you don’t have any way to carry.  It would have been nice for a vendor to be handing out plastic bags to drop all your goodies in.  I ended up carrying a box of chocolate mile, an orange, a smoothie, a bag of chips and some kind of protein bar.  I know there were several vendors I turned down.  I can’t imagine having taken one of everything (thought if I had a bag, I would have). I had all that in my hands, plus wearing a huge heavy medal and trying to get into my waist belt to get my phone to call my husband.

My Race

I had a very good race until about mile 10.  I ran the fastest 5k yet, I hit 5 miles at 1:01 and 10 miles at 2:02, so until then I was running pretty consistently.  I was also running significantly faster than I usually do.  I know a lot of that has to do with race day adrenaline, but I needed to not do that.  I kept looking at my watch telling myself I was going too fast, but I kept going anyway.  My internal argument went like this “you’re going too fast”, “I know, I’ll just keep going this  pace until I get tired and then I’ll slow down to where I need to be”.

Mile 10 I was at 2:05, mile 13.1 was 2:52.  The last 5k took me 50 minutes!!  I don’t think it should have taken me that long.  Looking back, I probably should have slowed down in the beginning, maybe.  I’m not so sure, because I kept a pretty consistent pace through 10 miles.  I think my head just got to me.  My legs were hurting a lot, it hurt to run and it hurt to walk.  I was dwelling on how much discomfort I was in.  I didn’t compartmentalize the pain and move past it.  I knew I wasn’t injured, my legs were just tired.  Thinking about it now, I let it beat me.   Finishing my first half marathon should have been a glowing achievement for me and I should be overjoyed, but just knowing that I gave up on myself in the end makes it bitter-sweet.

My next half is in 5 weeks; I know what I need to focus on to have a better race.  I’m not expecting a better time since it’s a trail race, but I’m hoping to have a better outlook during the event.

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