Race Report: Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half-Marathon

First, the vital details:

  • Yes, I finished
  • No, I did not trip, fall, or otherwise injure myself
  • Also, I apologize for the photo quality, and for the fact that I’m using swiped proofs

One of the nice things about having the race start pretty close to home was that I didn’t need to get up at a ridiculous hour to get ready. I was able to get up pretty close to my usual time (which I have been told might be considered a slightly ridiculous hour anyway), have some peanut butter pretzels, get dressed, and head out the door.

K drove me to the drop-off point, and from there it was a pleasant enough walk to the corrals. I was in corral 16. Everyone was in a good mood, which is always nice. I saw a few other shirts from One More Mile, and got some compliments on mine.

We crossed the starting line nearly 30 minutes after the gun, and ran a few miles through Griffith Park.

Smiling in the Early Miles

I went out a little faster than I intended, running the first three miles in 11:25, 11:3, and 11:18. That was with planned walking breaks, so I know that when I was running, I was running a little faster than I should have been. And then the hills came, and the walking breaks started getting longer, and I stopped caring about smiling for the cameras.

Walking

It really was a nice course, though, despite the hills. The water stop volunteers were smiling, and I heard a lot of people thanking them as we went through. The bands were entertaining. There were a bunch of different spirit groups, including one that I think was made up of the cheerleaders from Temple City, but I’m still not sure. And, once we left the park, there were lots of people gathered along the streets, cheering us on.  I saw  a lot of great signs; I think my favorite was the one that said, “That’s not sweat, it’s your fat cells crying.”  The most memorable, to me, was one that said, “Run, B****, Run” – without the asterisks. I really, really, REALLY hope that someone asked him specifically for that sign. And also that he figures out for the next time that maybe the rest of us won’t find it quite so amusing.  Somewhere in mile 10 – I think, and it was my slowest mile (14:54) – there was a man holding a sign that said, “You’re doing great! Big hill ahead!” I hoped he was joking, but then I turned the corner, and there it was, just as he said, a big hill for our tired legs to slog up.

In mile 11, I think, there was a little girl sitting on the curb with her mother, a cooler full of water bottles in between them. I took one gratefully. It had been a while since the last water stop, and my Nathan handheld bottle was empty. So, thanks, whoever you were!

Once we reached downtown L.A., I started counting down the streets. I knew the finish line was near 11th, and we entered on 3rd (I’ve driven into the city that way many, many times over the last eight years on my way to the Central Library, so this amused me a lot). Of course, a few blocks from the end, we had to turn and do a little zigging and zagging to finish out the last mile. My Garmin, which had been counting down from 13.1 as a “quick workout” decided about a quarter mile from the finish line that I had reached the goal, and stopped recording. Oops. I perked up a lot once the end was in sight, and ran across the line with a smile for the camera.

Finish Line Photo
Crossing the Finish Line

A race volunteer hung the medal around my neck (backwards). After slurping down a bottle of Cytomax (in retrospect, not the best idea, I should stick with water next time), I went for the posed medal shot.

Medal Photo
The Official Finisher Picture

In the secure area, there were lots of munchies (mmm, bagels) and cold, cold water. I never made it to the various booths at the Festival. I called K to let her know I was done and that I would be inside ESPNZone, because the insanely loud amps at the Finish Line Festival were too much for me. When she arrived to pick me up, Little Miss ran up to me, saying, “Congratulations!” And, really, that was even better than the medal.

Finally, the official results:

  • Time: 2:52:27 – a new Half-Marathon PR by 41 minutes
  • Overall: 7575
  • Among Women: 4196
  • In Age Division: 870

And I beat my co-worker’s time by about 4 minutes, although I never saw him, because he started a few corrals ahead of me. Isn’t chip timing fun?

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Race Report: Ovarian Cancer Coalition “10K”

You know the scare-quotes can’t be good news, right?

I signed up for the 10K event of the Ovarian Cancer Coalition Run a while back, when I was using the RW training plan. In the Higdon plan, which I started with and then switched back to, today was supposed to be a 5K race.

Hey, I split the difference! But we’ll get to that.

I was a little nervous about doing a 10K, but after last week’s 6-miler, I was feeling more confident.

I arrived early, since I needed to pick up my shirt and race bib. I walked in the front gate of CBS Studios, but there was no indication of where to go from there. (Had I parked in the parking garage rather than on the street, this probably wouldn’t have been a problem.)  I asked the guard at the gate where I was supposed to go. He asked if I was there for the event or to volunteer.

If I were a volunteer, I would have been wearing longer pants. Just saying.

Once I found my way to the registration desk, I got my number and timing chip, and wandered around the Health Fair, which was just getting set up. The Goodie Bag table had a small, nearly hidden sign, and the t-shirt table had no sign at all, leaving a few people asking if they were supposed to pay for the shirts.

The race information had said that the 5K run started at 8:00, the 10K at 8:15, and the 5K walk at 8:45. I saw a sign when I walked in that said the 10K would be at 8:30 and the 5K walk at 9:00.

I was not expecting the local pastor (who lost a family member to ovarian cancer) who led everyone in a prayer. After that, and some announcements, and the National Anthem, the Laker Girls led a brief warm-up. The 5K runners got started around 8:10. Then, it was announced that the 10K run would start in about half an hour, “after the 5K runners finish”. I can only assume that announcement meant to refer to the leaders of the 5K run, and not the back of the pack folks. So, we 10K runners meandered around, keeping warm, sampling bits of Yummy Cupcakes, sipping water, waiting, waiting, and waiting some more. Another announcement: there had been some sort of problem with the course, and 5K runners being sent the wrong way, causing a delay. Finally, the Laker Girls came back out to do another 5-minute warm-up, and then we were off at about 8:40.

The first mile was a zig-zag through the studio lot and out the gate. Inexplicably, there was a water table just .1 mile in. I skipped it, settled into a comfortable pace, and finished mile 1 in 11:52.

About a quarter mile later, I rolled my right ankle. I was running along, listening to my music, scooting over to the right to move between the person just ahead of me on the left and the curb on my right, when my foot just flipped. I ran a few more steps, then slowed to a walk. It was exactly that sort of roll that ended my marathon training in 2002, and that broke my left foot in 2001. But after a little walking, I sped back up, and finished out mile 2 in 12:08. I took planned walk/GU Chomp breaks at miles 3 and 4, as well, finishing those miles in 12:09 and 12:03, respectively.

It was somewhere around mile 3 that I realized that there was something very wrong with the course. I had set my Garmin for a “quick workout” of 10K at a 12:03 pace, so it was counting down from 6.21 miles. It said that I had 3.5 miles to go when I passed the “4” marker.

“That’s odd,” I thought.

The 2-mile marker was also, according to the signage, the 5-mile marker. Yeah, not so much.

When I crossed the finish line, I knew the time was impossibly fast for me to have actually done 6.2 miles. The Garmin says it was 4.85 in 58:16, for a 12:00 pace overall. At the Results Table, they had posted the times for the first two 10K finishers (both of whom were in my age group), who had finished in about 30 minutes.

Overall, it was a little disappointing. I was looking forward to setting a 10K PR (since it was my first 10K, you see). And running a 10K had been one of my goals for 2010. I’m going to look for another one, but it’ll have to be in November or December, after the Half-Marathon. The Higdon plan actually calls for a 10K race in a few weeks, but there aren’t any local races that weekend, so I’m planning on a 6-mile run that day.

At the moment, I’m icing and elevating the ankle, since it started hurting again once I stopped running. I’m really hoping it’ll be enough to head off a real injury.

Addendum: I’ve checked up on the official results, and my chip time of 58:12.3 placed me at 17th in my age group,  83rd among women, and 136th overall. The top man finished in 29:58, and the top woman finished in 36:19.

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