Sunday, December 12, 2010

LA County Holiday Half Marathon

This race is run mostly in my favorite little running route - Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park. This is the second running. I can't remember why I didn't end up running last year, but this year I decided to join in the fun. My new planned called for a 13 mile run this weekend, so the timing was perfect. None of the CA Cruisers were joining me, so it would be a solo effort.

The race started on the grounds of the LA County Fairgrounds. As a training run my prescribed pace was PMP (planned marathon pace) + 15 sec. That would put me at 9:24 which seemed reasonably doable. I really wanted to try to get the thing done in 2 hours or less which is really my PMP. I figured since all more other long runs on this plan had been run significantly slower than planned it wouldn't hurt to throw a little bit of speed at this effort.

At the start I ended up running into fellow Cruiser that I didn't know was going to be there. He is much faster than me at the short distances. At the sound of the air horn, we took off and I let him go right away. When we hit the 1 Mile mark I was surprised to see him only about 20 feet in front of me. My watch read 8:22, over 30 seconds per mile faster than I really wanted to go. At this point we were had left the fairgrounds and were traveling across the parking lots.

The second half of Mile 2 was run on the Pomona Raceway dragstrip. At the 2 Mile mark John was still less than 30 feet in front of me. I clocked that mile in 7:47. Way too fast. I worried that that one was going to come back and bite me in the arse for sure. I stopped at the next water stop and made a conscious effort to slow the pace. The race was being used by Students Run LA as a training effort for the LA Marathon. Running along all those young folks I think got the race of to a pace faster than I could hold on to.

Mile 3 took us along Puddingstone Drive and even with my best efforts to slow down I still clocked an 8:09 mile. Soon after that we entered the north side of Bonelli and ran west through the parking area. Mile 4 came in at 8:28. I feared that the correction had begun from my careless Mile 2.

Mile 4 took us across the dam. We had a great view of downtown Los Angeles over 30 miles away. The weather was perfect southern California "winter." The temperature at the start was 56 degrees and was probably warmed up to the 70's by the end. Mile 5 came in at 8:38. Slowing down some but still going better than the sub-2:00 plan.

After the dam we headed south on Raging Waters Drive and then east into the park on a nice little downhill. At Mile 6 I ran into John unexpectedly. He, like me, had gone out too fast and had run out of steam. I was getting tired I told John I was going to hang on as long as possible. I passed him by and didn't see him again until the finish line. Further slowing on the gently rolling course, Mile 6 was 8:43.

At the far east of the park we doubled back and round what I call the picnic loop route. I missed the marker at Mile 7. Mile 8 read 17:33 (roughly 8:45 pace). I was definitely running out of steam as well, but I'd been with a couple of the same folks since Mile 3 and we were all in the same boat, no one taking off and no one being left behind.

Mile 9 included a nice little incline that took us out of the park and into the adjacent Eastlake RV park. Along this section we had a great view of the entire Puddingtone Lake over our left shoulders and an amazing view of the San Gabriel Mountains just ahead. The uphill was followed by a nice little down hill into the RV park but it didn't help much. Mile 9 was 9:06, almost exactly on the pace I should have probably been on all along.

Mile 10 took us through and then out the other side of the RV park. The poor folks in the RV park probably wondered what all these crazy folks were doing. Still at 9:10 pace for Mile 10.

The next mile included a long slow grind up a little bump in the road passed Brackett Field a small airstip in LaVerne. We'd gone passed the other side of it on Puddingstone Drive back on Mile 3. I trudged up the bump, noticeably slowing but trying my best not to break stride. I was rewarded with a 9:20 Mile 11.

I thought that this would be the end of the rolling course but the way up McKinley Avenue towards Fairplex Drive was a long slow slog ever so slightly up as well. I don't mind a rolling course but it was definitely getting the better of me by this point. Mile 12 found us with a nice reprieve on Fairplex coming in at 10:02. I chuckled. The correction that I'd feared at Mile 2 had certainly come back to haunt me now.

We wound our way back through the fairground parking lots, onto the fairgrounds proper right back to where we started with 10.11 for the last 1.1 miles.

My final time was 1:55 and change. I'm super happy with that. It wasn't a PR but I wasn't aiming for one, but it is well under my secret hope for a sub 2:00. I waited around at the finish line for John. He came through right around the 2:00 mark. It was a decent showing on an absolutely beautiful Winter day.

This run came on the heels of my tempo run on Thursday. I was supposed to do an 8 mile run with 6 at Long Tempo Pace, 8:30-9:00. My first two were 8:22 and 8:33, then I ramped up to 8:06 without trying to. I took walk breaks each of the next 3 miles to try to keep the pace in check and still clocked 8:15, 8:14 and finally 8:43 which included a the one and only real hill on the trail (twice since it was an out and back mile).

This new approach to training is working out so far. Ten weeks until Austin.


Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

Congrats. I know it's not a PR but sub 2 hour I think is always respectable. Great report.

Joe said...

Good write up, as always, Darrell. Congrats on a good race. I remember well all those kids from the LAM last March...hope they can stay on the wagon till then!

Running down a drag cool...and from the way you started you needed the parachute to slow you down at the end :-).

Your legs are coming back and I'm guessing with some newfound quickness... this program is serving you well.

10 weeks to Austin, eh?? I hope so... you ran in "California winter" today... we have "Indiana winter" here... 5" of snow with 40mph winds drifting it all over. I'm looking forward to Texas...

Have a great week!

Wes said...

SUPER SPEEDY :-) pacing really is the hardest thing to learn! Congrats on beating your goal! Great effort out there!!!

p.s. send warm weather...