Friday, May 13, 2011

Agoura Hills Half Marathon

I did the Pacific Half Marathon, part of the Great Race of Agoura Hills festival.

I'm in training (supposedly) for the Pasadena Marathon in May, and for a while I was doing pretty well with getting out there for my runs. But then I went on a ski trip for a week, then I went to Vegas, then we had huge rainfall in L.A. The Pacific Half was basically going to be a training run, but I was a little worried about how well I would handle a long run after a couple weeks of slacking.

When I got to the race site, it was thirty-five degrees. Thir. Ty. Five. The last time I did a race, it was 85 degrees with Hula girls. I was not pleased.

My friends Jana and Susan were doing the race, and I also saw Speedy Brian there. But I was actually doing the race with my co-worker Jason. Jason had never done any kind of race before - not even a 5k - and is registered to do the Pasadena Marathon in May.

The race start was pretty cool (and not just in terms of temperature); it took place at Paramount Ranch, which is a fake western town built for filming movies for Paramount. It was a little surreal kicking things off in the late 1800s, and I recommend it as a place to visit on warmer days (it's part of a park open to the public.)

Jason and I planned on doing the race together, and he told me he wanted to do a 9:45 pace. Fine. The gun went off, we started running, and finished the first mile in about 8 minutes. That's to be expected; you always go out fast at the beginning. After 2 miles, we were still doing an 8-minute pace. OK, there was a slight downhill in the second mile so it's not surprising if we were a little fast. Mile 3 had a big climb, followed by a big downhill, and by the end of it we were still averaging about 8:10s.

At this point I was a little worried. I know that you can't bank extra time in a long race. Any fast miles you do early on, you will pay for - with interest - at the end. I warned Jason about this but he said he was feeling fine. Who was I to question him? Maybe he could keep up this pace for the entire distance (but I knew there was no way I'd be able to do it.)

A note about the hills: a lot of people complained about how hilly the course was. The big joke was "it's the great race of Agoura HILLS, not Agoura Flats." And yes, it was pretty much rolling hills the entire way. But truthfully? I didn't think the climbs were all that bad. I've done a lot of hill stuff in Griffith over the past year so I felt fairly well-prepared for Agoura.

We kept a pretty good pace up until around mile 10. At that point, I told Jason I would "allow" him to walk to the top of the next hill. Wasn't that nice of me? (I intentionally didn't tell him that I really needed a break too.) We also took another brief walk-break at mile 12 as well.

But we finished strong crossing the finish line. We started the race side-by-side, we finished side-by-side, but the way the electronic race timing worked out Jason was clocked in at one second faster than me. He beat me. Curses!

We went to get our pictures taken together in front of the finisher's panel. Now something you need to know: although this was Jason's first race ever, he is no stranger to athletics or the gym. In fact, a recurring theme throughout the day was him complaining about how much muscle mass he's lost since he started running.

So when we went to take the photo, the picture-lady said "you guys should flex." Now I've probably had 100s of race photos taken of me and I've never been asked to flex. I simply said "we're not doing that." She persisted "come on, make a muscle." Jason was all gun-ho (sic.) about it but I was like "yeah, that ain't gonna happen." So she took the stupid picture.

I was a little underprepared for the race, but it was a good kick in the butt to get back into full marathon training at the time. Unfortunately, I didn't quite stick with it and now this weekend is the big race. We'll see what happens.


Blogger timloe said...

Good luck, Wedgie! I enjoy your blog, as always.


12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I whined about the hills...
In my defense, sir, it is named the "Pacific Half Marathon." "Pacific" is defined as tranquil or adjoining the ocean. This route was neither.

9:09 AM  
Blogger michele said...

I stumbled across your blog looking for people that recently got into triathlons in California. Thanks for sharing your stories on here

10:22 AM  

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