…at no extra charge.
The scheduled long run this week was 10 miles. Back in June when I first put this plan on paper, I penciled in many of the local races to see where they would fit it. Back in August I ran the Run through the Pines half on a weekend that called for a 12 miler. That race went well. A couple of weeks later I faced the choice of adding other races to the schedule and I added the Long Beach Half Marathon to the plan. I sent in my registration on 8/29 before the price increase. This was a Friday. No sooner had I done that than my shin started hurting again (at the end of week 13, training for my 13th state, hmmmm). I also had to make a critical decision. That day was the last day to send in my early entry for Big Sur in 2009. As much as I really want to run that one, I just couldn’t send in that check for $108 and risk not running it for the second time.
Meanwhile this weekend, my friend Terry was running the full at Long Beach and many of the CA Cruisers were running the half. Terry asked me to pace her for the first 11 miles before the half and full split up. She was using LB as a training run for a shot at a BQ at the California International Marathon the same weekend I’m scheduled for Tennessee.
After some traffic snarl ups we made it to the race start with only a couple of minutes to spare. I had no official time goal but was hoping for something less than 2:10. Terry was shooting for a 4:15 – 4:20 marathon. We were trying to keep the pace between 9:30 and 10:00, hopefully toward the longer side while we were together and then Terry would kick it up later as necessary to meet the goal.
Our first few miles were on the faster end of the desired pace.
Mile 1 – 9:35
Mile 2 – 9:22
Mile 3 – 9:21
I pulled back a little and told Terry to set the pace. I joked with her that I didn’t want to be blamed for the end of the race falling apart because we’d gone too fast at the start.
Mile 4 – 9:32
Mile 5 – 9:30
Mile 6 – 10:01
We’d finally slowed down a little. At this point, as seems to be the case with me a lot lately, my gut needed to take a break. I’d even taken care of business before the race started. I had to let Terry go on without me at the next set of port-o-johns.
Mile 7 – 10:48 including the bathroom stop
I tried like crazy to catch up to Terry before she reached the mile 11 cut off to the full.
Mile 8 – 9:27
I passed quite a few people but didn’t really gain any ground. I shortened my walk breaks. We had been using 7:1 up to that point. In my attempt to catch Terry I missed a couple of mile markers before 11.
Mile 9, 10, 11 – 27:35 (9:12 pace)
There was no hope of catching Terry. At this point I reminded myself that this was just a training run and tried to settle into a more leisurely pace. As I ran along, I felt good and continued to pass people.
Mile 12 – 8:48 the fastest mile so far
Mile 13.1 – 9:34
I ended up finishing the race faster than I started it. That was pretty cool. The clock read 2:04:45 when I crossed the finish line. My watch had 2:03:33 (9:25 pace). The official results will be posted later this evening.
I hung around after the finish and got to see many of the Cruisers coming in. I was at the finish line when the first marathoner crossed the finish. It is amazing that he just ran a marathon in about 15 minutes longer than it took me to run the half. I also got to see a guy with a fairly good sized cheering section get to announce that “I’m going to Boston!!” He’d qualified with 30 seconds to spare somewhere in the 3:15 time frame.
I decided to head up the course to wait for Terry. I picked her up with about a mile to go and ran her in to the finish. She came in at 4:12, faster than planned but at least I wasn’t on the hook for the fast early pace.
It was a beautiful day for a race. Besides the parking hassles due to the fact that there is only one freeway that dumps you into Long Beach and the number of walkers on the course that is on a 12 foot wide bike part for part of the time, the rest of the event is well organized. The half marathon course is pretty interesting I think and before I knew it I was done. I would consider doing this one again if it fit into the schedule again as nicely as it did this year.
Burger, another LA blogger was there as well, gunning for a PR effort at the half. I hope he was able to achieve his goal and look forward to reading his take on the race.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor that I made the Monday after Black Week 13. Since then my shin has felt so much better. I’ve run an 18 miler, another speedy run earlier this week and the half today with no apparent ill effects, but I’m going to keep the appointment anyway since it took a month get in. I’ll let you know what he has to say.