LA County Half-Marathon

About a month or so ago, Sandra and I were chatting about December races, medals, etc., and the next thing I knew, I found myself with a trip booked to LA for the LA County Half-Marathon. Only thing is, I never really prepared for it...foreshadowing...

Pre -Race We flew to LA on Saturday afternoon. By the time we picked up the car rental it was about dinner time, perfect timing to meet my friends, Carter & Sarah, for dinner. They live in Manhattan Beach, which also happens to be where Back Home in Lahaina is (an onolicious Hawaiian restaurant). Since we’re all from Hawai’i it was a no brainer that we’d meet there for dinner.

I hadn’t seen Carter & Sarah in about 3 years, which is absolutely silly since we live in the same state! Ironically, the last time I saw them was when Little Miss Kaia was 4 months old. This time, I was meeting Baby Casden for the first time who is now 4 months old.

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It took a little bit of sweet-talking; i.e., lots of candy, to convince Kaia to be my friend. :) Isn’t she just the cutest thing ever?!

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After dining on kalua pork, lomi salmon, lau lau, won tons, rice (great pre-race dinner, huh?) and a lots of catching up, we said our goodbye’s and headed out to our hotel in Pomona, to where the race was.

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The Race Although the race didn’t start until 8 am, we woke up early to get the race site a little after 6 am because we still needed to pick up our bibs and race packets. That was one of the great things about this race - same day pick up!

The expo and race were just steps apart so it was so convenient to pick up our packets that morning. There were no crowds, indoor bathrooms (no porta potties!) and most of the vendors’ merchandise was being sold for 50-70% off. Yes, we bought a few things. :)

It was also great that when picking up our goodie bags, we could try on the race t-shirts and pick which size fit us best. Not very many races do that, and I honestly think its my most favorite race shirt so far. Seriously, the expo experience I’ve ever had.

When it came time for the race to start, we made our way to the Starting area and ran into Maritza! There were no corrals or anything, so we got in line and slowly made our way to the Start where we were off.

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Now the race itself was great; I really can’t say anything bad about it. Yes, there were a lot of hills - but that was pre-advertised.

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LA_County_Hills

Me, being completely unprepared for this race, just didn’t realize it. It was also really hot - it got up to 87 degrees that day. But they had plenty of aid stations to keep us hydrated.

Once we ran through the motor speedway track, the course itself was gorgeous, looping around Puddingstone Reservoir.

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LA_County_Course_Map

And because this was around a park, there were plenty of park bathrooms; i.e. real toilets; i.e., no porta potties! Talk about a gold star!

My Race Now just because I said the race itself was great, doesn’t mean “my race” went so well.

Did I mention that my longest run since the Portland Marathon had been 8 miles? Did I also mention that I never run hills? Ever. And did I also mention that I am a complete wimp and can’t run in anything over 65 degrees?

So you can imagine how this race went for me.

I told myself that I was just going to take things easy, but like every race, the first couple of miles are spent doing the bob and weave trying to get around other people.

I went out with way more effort than I would have liked, and with less than 2 miles into the race, I knew I was toast. Literally, it was so hot. People crowded the first water station to get cups of water and Powerade. I had decided beforehand that I would walk through every rest stop, but I actually had to stand there and wait a few minutes until I could grab a drink. And from then on, it was a battle - me versus myself.

I had a long conversation with myself during the race and realized a lot of things:

- I have no ability to pace myself. - My mental stamina is non-existent. - I’ve spent the past year being mentally exhausted and haven’t pushed myself the way I did in 2008 and 2009.

Funny thing is, cardiovascularly I was fine, and my body held up pretty well too. There were a couple of times where I felt like I was one step away from a charley horse in my calf, but it went away fairly quickly. And the rest of me felt fine during the race. So even though the course was tough, and it was really hot, I never felt like it was a death march. I just didn’t have the mental fight in me to push myself to do better.

I finally crossed the Finish Line...

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Look at that knot in my calf. And that's the good leg!

...and got my Snowflake Medal!

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Isn’t it so pretty?!

Half-Marathon #8 turned out to be my slowest one, but still productive because I came out of it with a lot of resolve.

After the race we met up with everyone, Danica too!, for some quick photos, then raced back to the hotel with only 45 minutes to spare before checkout.

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Thereafter, we met Sandra’s friends for lunch, at where else, but Back Home in Lahaina, this time in Carson. Different place, same great food! I had saimin and ahi poke for lunch - perfect combination of carbs and salty protein.

We wore our medals for the rest of day, I mean, after all, we earned it!

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I really did enjoy this race a lot, but I know I can do better, so I've already told myself that I want to come back next year, better prepared, and run this race. It'll be my birthday weekend, so my friends are now on notice that they have a year to prepare to run this, because this is how we're celebrating next year! :)