Sunday, May 6, 2012

Action 437 - Run The OC Half.

November 25, 2011 seems like a very long time ago. It's the day I decided, "sure, it's Orange County, but I should totally run that race!"

Action 437 - Run The OC Half.

Today was my last event before the Pasadena Marathon, and I knew before I even started running that I was going to treat it like a training run. Sure, I'd push myself, but the most important thing was to get through the miles without hurting myself. With only two weeks until Pasadena, I don't have time for an injury.

Like most plans, though, this one sort of fell apart as soon as the race began. No, I didn't get injured. But I didn't play it safe, either. And I blame the course for that. Here's the description from the organizers:
The Half Marathon course is net downhill in elevation from start to finish. The first 6.5 miles will be extremely fast with only minor inclines. Mile 6.5 to 7.0 is the only significant hill on the course taking the runners from 15 feet to 75 feet. The course is then mostly flat through mile 10.5, a couple rolling hills to 11.5 with a flat and fast final stretch into the OC Fair & Event Center.

And it's true. The first half was crazy fast. In fact, I set a 10K PR with 56:33. I was flying. I struggled a bit with the hill, but I didn't lose that much time. And the chance to walk a bit and stretch out always helps me run faster later.

I kept moving at mile seven, but I did manage to snap a quick photo and even post it to Facebook.

By mile ten, I was fairly certain I was going to run a PR for the overall course. I also sorted out that I was going to be very, very close to breaking a sub-two hour half marathon time.

Me. A sub-two. Are you kidding me? Ever since my first half marathon and my time of 2:09, I have imagined a sub-two. But that is very, very fast. And for a runner like me, focusing on a specific time goal like that is a sure way to take the fun out of a half marathon... especially one that is supposed to be a warm-up run for a marathon.

By mile eleven, I had abandoned all pretense of "warm up run." I gave it everything I had and I ran as fast as I could. My heart was racing, I could feel the blood pumping in my ears, and I was completely out of breath, but I kept running.

My final race time? 2:00:24 seconds.



Yep, I was THATCLOSE to running a sub-two. But I have to say, I don't feel bad about missing that at all. I can't. I crushed my previous PR and I had what is, for me, an outstanding race and a great experience. I can't be anything but happy about that.

Who's got a shiny new medal and a new PR? This guy!