My 50th half marathon was upon me. This was quite a milestone in my eyes. As the races occurred, it hit me around August that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half would be my 50th overall. It was also suppose to be my 30th states, but it ended up being my 29th. The best part is I would be heading out to LA with Kristy and I was there for her 50th and she would be there for mine.
We flew out to LA early on Saturday morning and while we had some travel snafus, we both were in LA by 1pm. We headed directly to the hotel to drop bags and then headed down to the expo to pick up our bibs. The hotel was only about 0.7 miles away from he expo and then a bit closer to the start, so it was in a great location.
I’ve said it before, but I love expos and typically Rock ‘n’ Roll expos are amazing! This one was lacking though. It just didn’t seem as plentiful in vendors.. The best part of the expo was when I dropped $300 for a new Garmin watch and when I got to meet Meb. I had been eyeing out the new Vivoactive 3 for some time now and knew they’d have a decent deal at the expo. I bit the bullet and now I’m the proud owner of my 3rd Garmin watch.
While we were heading out of the expo, we saw people lining up to meet Meb. We hopped in line and happened to also get in line with some other Rock ‘n’ Bloggers. Meb was so nice! He shook hands, high fived everyone and got his picture with you as well. Meb is not just an amazing runner, but he’s an amazing person. He cares and it shows in his actions. This was the first time I had the chance to meet Meb and I am glad it happened.
After we checked into the hotel, we grabbed some dinner. For us east coasters, it was well into dinner time and we were exhausted. When we arrived to the restaurant, we saw a packet at the bar. We started doing some social media research to try and find its owner. We sent some messages, but didn’t seem to have any luck. We didn’t want to leave the bib there in case the runner didn’t realize where they left it and then it was too late to get it in the morning.
Our Rock ‘n’ Blog leader told us to take it to the race solutions tent in the AM. As a just in case, I left my name and number with the bar as well. As we left though, we happened to run into Rock ‘n’ Roll Staff, explained what happened and they were glad to take it and make sure it got to the owner. About 45 minutes later, I got a phone call from the owner! He was actually still at the bar. Go figure! I told him what I did with it and he was very thankful. We exchanged a few texts and then again on race morning and he confirmed he received it with no issues. Thank goodness!
Kristy and I called it a pretty early night. We were back in the hotel and watched the rest of the World Series game. We were so lucky that the game was in Houston and not in LA. I think right as the game ended, I passed out. It had been a long day and Sunday was going to be even longer.
Come race morning, we were up at 5:30am and out of the hotel door by 6am. Through the Rock ‘n’ Blog program, we had VIP passes. I was very thankful for them as it made the bathroom situation so much easier! They had some breakfast out, but I didn’t partake. Nothing new on race day. We hung out inside until about 6:25 and headed down to the start line. Kristy had the first corral and I just honestly followed her in and settled at the back of corral 2. I hate doing this, but I am very conscious to stay to the side. We had a plane to catch right after the race and every minute was crucial to getting to the airport. After about 10 minutes waiting in the corral, we were ready to start! In no time the starting horn had sounded and I was off for my 50th half marathon.
Since I had started so early in the corrals, I definitely think it effected these early miles. I stuck to the side of the road and made sure I was absolutely out of the way of all of the fast runners. At no point did any try and move around me, so I think I did a good job of staying out of the way. For some reason though, I did not do my 4/1’s right away. In fact, I didn’t start my run/walk until mile 3. No idea why, but that’s what I did.
From the start line by the Staples Center, you headed south down Figueroa. You had two small out and backs before you turned back north on Figueroa. The end of mile 2 took you on the edge of USC campus. There wasn’t much to see really, but you knew you were right there.
Even though I didn’t start the run/walk until later in the race, I was feeling good. I could feel the humidity and grossness though and was a hot sweaty mess by mile 1. The weather could have been much worse, but it still wasn’t great. It was in the mid 60s, but it was humid and very smoggy.
These miles were pretty smooth. I could tell I was going faster than I needed to and tried to pull back, but it wasn’t working well. I was working though and could absolutely feel that. By the end of mile 4 I was starting to get a little concerned about how the end of this race was going to go. I figured sooner or later, I’d find the wall and it would probably hurt.
Here’s where the course start to just suck. In fact, based on the course alone, I wouldn’t jump and down and tell everyone to go run this race. Right around mile 5.5, you pass the finish line. It sucked. It also wasn’t ideal that there were a lot of 5k walkers around the finish line area. It got a little congested in this area, but just more annoying to have to go around a line of 3-4 walkers blocking the course. Just after I passed the finish line area, the male lead pack was coming in. At least I got to 5 miles before I saw the winners.
Just after mile 6 you turned left onto Wilshire Blvd. This was about a 3.25 mile out and back before turning back onto Figuroa for the last 0.6 miles to the finish line. This is also where the hills were during the race. I sort of thought this course was pretty flat, but there were some rollers out there in these back miles. As you turned onto Wilshire, you actually encountered the worst hill. I walked it. I wasn’t trying to be a hero. It reflected in my time as that mile dropped to a 12:21 pace.
These middle miles started to hurt, but I was still moving. After that 12:21, I ran a 11:11 and two 11:47’s. I certainly wasn’t consistent with my splits during this race. I did start to deviate from my 4/1’s a little more and more in these miles. If there was a gentle roller, I was walking it. I wasn’t paying attention to my time at all, but I was figuring I was on track for a 2:35 half. I was doing much better than I thought I would do, so while I was hurting, I was happy about how things were still going.
Just before mine 8, I saw Kristy coming toward me. I had missed her on the other out and backs, so it was great to see her then! We high fived and I kept running toward the turn around and she was headed toward the finish line. The turn around finally came around mile 9.5. I was happy to be in the last 4 miles and even happier when I saw mile 10. I just knew though it was going to be a long last 5k as the wall finally was rearing it’s ugly head.
Miles 10 -13.1
I really knew these last miles were going to be rough and I wasn’t wrong. As I mentioned, we had some decent rollers and while I attempted some uphill, for the most part, I was walking every one of them. I was definitely slowing down. In fact, even when I crested a hill, I found myself still walking more. I didn’t seem to be in a hurry by this point. I knew I was moving toward the finish line and while I was trying to just get there, I was just tired and not much was in the tank.
Mile 12 was perhaps the worst mile of the race for me. I walked more than I should have and was starting to feel a little defeated. I knew I was still doing well, but it was just gross out, my legs were hurting and my poor fingers were 3 times their normal size. My split time for this mile was 12:59. Gross.
Luckily though just after the 12 mile marker, we had a nice downhill. I definitely tried to take advantage of it as much as I could. At the end we turned right and we had about 0.6 miles left and only one more turn to the finish line. I knew I was coming up to a walk break and I told myself once that walk break was over, no matter when the watch would buzz, I would run the rest of the race.
As I got closer to the Staples Center, I saw the mile 13 marker and turned right into the finish line chute. I could hear this guy behind me and I tried to keep him behind me, but with about 50 meters to go, he passed me up. I kicked as best as I could, but with no much left there, I couldn’t pick it up very much as I crossed the finish line.
I quickly grabbed my medal from a volunteer and some water and Gatorade. Unfortunately I couldn’t linger very long as I had to rush to the hotel to shower and head to the airport. I found someone to grab my picture as I had to at least get an immediate finishers picture since this was my 50th. Once I had a few shots, I walked to the hotel. I wish I could enjoyed the post race VIP buffet, but there just wasn’t a lot of time. Within an hour after crossing the finish line, Kristy and I were off to the airport so we could get back home.
Official Finish Time:
286/548, Female 30-34
Disclaimer: I received entry into this race as a Rock ‘n’ Blogger, but all opinions are my own.