Monday, October 26, 2015

LA Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon - DTLA

The LA Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon was on my list of races to run for 2014 (the last time I made such a list) but unfortunately, a sprained fibula caused me to abandon plans half way through and I had to bail on the Long Beach half and the Rock n Roll as well. Well this year, I didn't draft up any crazy plans but was running a little bit here and there for fun and when someone sent me a discount coupon for the RnR-LA a few weeks ago, I said, why not do one for fun without too much training or planning and also because it would seem weird to let a whole year go by without any races (or blog posts on here, as a consequence). As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome:

Overall Place: 543 out of 7774 Finishers
Age Group Place: 86 out of 573
Chip Time: 01:47:35
Avge Pace: 8:13

This is a little puzzling because my pace on this race was better than flatter courses I've run in past and with a lot more training and discipline leading up to the race day. The only things that were in favor here was the weather (it was cloudy and a perfect 70 degrees) and the fact that the start line was a 10 min drive from my home (so less race day overhear anxiety?). Aside from that, the race route was changed from a flat course to one that had us going up and down the same hill (bunker hill in DTLA) twice, once at mile 7 and once again at mile 11 -- but, that didn't seem to make a difference to me (at least not going into the race) because I did not have any expectations for a finish time (Mentally I was happy to just keep my sub-2hr half marathon streak). I was also nowhere close to the shape I've been in on some past half marathons and yet, I wasn't all dead at the end of the race (as I had expected to be).

So what do I make of this and what do I take away from it?
1. There definitely is such a thing are overtraining and chasing a goal too hard. Almost like the benefit curve tapers off and then start to curve back down, as you start to train too hard or focus on a goal too much.
2. If I can get away with less-than-recommended training for a half marathon, can I do the same for a full marathon? (something that has prevented me from considering running one so far).
3. Should I get back to chasing my goal of a sub-1:40 half marathon? (too bad the long beach half just passed by for this year and REVEL is too close)

Food for thought!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Revel Canyon City Half Marathon - Azusa, CA

Ran my last race of this year today -- and almost did not run it. I had skipped the last two planned races (the Long Beach half and the LA Rock n Roll Half) due to a sprained Fibula and so had been off running for weeks and didn't think I was in shape to finish a half marathon, let alone achieve a PR (which was my original goal for this race). But all the excitement leading up to it made me want to at least show up. And once I showed up and got to the (beautiful) start line and watched the sun rise in the mountains at 3000 feet, I could not, not start, so I did. And even though the foot still hurt while running, I managed to clock in a decent time and not end up hurting myself any more than I was to begin with. I'll take this!

                           Overall Place: 157 out of ~1500 Finishers on the HM
                                        Age Group Place: 21
                                        Chip Time: 01:51:41
                                           Avge Pace: 8:32

The race itself was the best organized race I have ever run! -- I'm not sure if this was because it was an inaugural race or REVEL in general is good but the organization was perfect, down to providing custom postcards with results within minutes of the race ending to providing the best post race food options I have ever seen. Even the medal beats all the other medals I've gotten to date in design. This might just be the race I repeat!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summer's End 10K - Santa Monica, CA

Race #7 of my 2014 list is in the books. Got lucky with the weather on this one. It has been brutally hot in SoCal the last couple weeks, but today was cool in the 60s by the beach and overcast skies. Helped with clocking in some good time on this race.

 Overall Place: 3rd out of TBD
Finish Time: 47:12
   Avge Pace (over 6.1mi): 7:42
Splits: 7:30; 7:42; 7:51; 7:59; 8:04: 7:38

I seem to have done better about being consistently below 8min/mi than I've done on past 10Ks this year but I still have work to do before I can maintain this over 13.1.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Arroyo Creek Half Marathon - Simi Valley, CA

Checked off race #6 on my 2014 list today. This was also my second half marathon in 2014. I was quite happy with my progress from the shoreline half marathon, that I ran about a month ago. I managed to shave off about 5 mins overall, which is about 25-30 seconds faster per mile -- but, I'm still a good 3 minutes away from the PR I achieved on the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon about 4 years ago (although, that was a downhill and flat race, so maybe I have already? :)

                               Overall Place: 47 out of ~200 Finishers on the HM
                                        Age Group Place: 19
                                        Chip Time: 01:46:10
                                           Avge Pace: 8:00

I was bracing for a hot race given this was not by the coast (was relatively in-land in Simi Valley) and given it was in a hotter month. Luckily though there was a pretty dense fog as I drive to the start line, which cleared up to cloudy skies at the start of the race and to sun after about 3 miles. So it did get into the 70s later but it was "mentally" a cool race to begin with. What was also great was that the race was mostly run alongside a creek (the "Arroyo" creek I guess!) and there were plenty of trees that provided shade ever now and then. The course was fairly flat but there was the periodic climb up and down as you crossed a road or went under it, every couple miles or so. Overall a very nice course (and a good change of scenery from the beach!).

I got to the race with time to spare and so was able to place myself right up front at the 8min pace group. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to keep it up all through, but I figured I'd at least be able to for a few miles. I started out by running alongside the 1:44 pacer but at about mile 3 she got confused by the route and turned around (while I continued along the path) and then was heckled by a bunch of folks and turned back on the same path as me. So, I was ahead of her for a couple miles when my shoe lace went undone and she passed me. The same shoe lace came off a second time at mile 8 + I probably rested for 30 seconds twice at aid stations --for a total of about 2-3 minutes lost "resting".

All said and done, I feel pretty happy with the progress and the race. I would recommend this course to anyone looking for a new HM in the area.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Dash 10K - Santa Monica, CA

Race #5 on the 2014 list, check! -- was dehydrated from beach volleyball (which also gave me a blister in my foot) and then got an awesome 3 hours of sleep on Sat night (before the race) from having too much fun! -- still wasn't the slowest 10K race time of the year:

                                           Overall Place: 4 out of 33 
                                                     Time: 49:16
                                      Avge Pace: 7:56 min/ mi (averaged over 6.2mi)

Next official race will be the Arroyo Creek HM on Aug 10th! and will likely be a scorcher. No PR expectations there!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shoreline Half Marathon - Ventura, CA

Ran the 4th race on my 2014 list and my first half-marathon distance for the year. The heat definitely got to me on this one (was 67F at 7am and likely in the high 70s/ 80s during the race that started at 8am). Need to focus on training in warmer weather and mixing it in with hills on the next one. Official results here.

                             Overall Place: 53 out of 356 Finishers
                                        Age Group Place: 24
                                        Chip Time: 01:51:51
                                           Avge Pace: 8:30

The race itself was well organized with enough water stations but the course wasn't very creative (they made us loop the start/ finish line twice for the half marathon, so it got a little monotonous). There were also some rolling hills, so wasn't the perfect race for the PR.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Fun 15K - Santa Monica

Race #3 on the 2014 list ... CHECK!
Ran this (9+mile) distance after a long time today. Came in at #3. Felt kinda out of energy to start with (probably the slight sleep deprivation from the week).

                                      Overall Place: 3 out of 30 
                                      Time: 01:16:15
                                      Avge Pace: 8:07 min/ mi (averaged over 9.35mi)
                                      Splits: 7:38; 8:11; 8:49; 8:17; 8:19; 8:45; 8:32; 8:33; 7:56 

Splits were all over the place on this one --- Need to do a couple more 15Ks to (re)learn how to pace myself on these!