My home is 6.2 miles from the Rose Bowl. That means that I travelled less distance driving to and from the event than I did actually racing it. Sweet.
I got to the race WAY too early- 5:15 and it was COLD. Probably one of the coldest race mornings I’ve been to. I had four layers of shirts/sweaters on and was still shivering. But by the time we were ready to start the race I was able to drop 2 layers and it was just warm enough to be comfortable.
I went out too fast for the first 5 miles or so. I knew I was going too fast. I told other people from Disney near me “I am going too fast and I am going to crash near the end.” Did I slow down? No. I knew better, but still didn’t do anything about it.
My friend Jana came out for support and saw me at mile 4, and told me she would have a Mtn. Dew for me when I looped back around mile 8. Let me tell you, there are few things more motivational than knowing you have a cold citrusy delicious Dew waiting for you. I started looking for Jana around mile 7, and then at one point I saw a woman in light blue t-shirt about a block away. Well actually, with my eyesight all I could make out was a splotch of blue, but next to that blue was a glowing spec of neon green. My Dew! I took a few gulps, it was delicious. Jana told me to take the bottle with me and I REALLY wanted to, but I knew I would have just chugged the thing and gotten sick on it so I wisely returned it.
As I predicted, around mile 9 I started bonking a bit. Tri Team Coach Heather, who was running a far more steady pace than I was, caught up with me and we sorta did the last few miles together. (I would pass her a bit, she would pass me a bit, etc.)
Things didn’t really fall apart until mile 11 or so, where I just stopped running completely and stretched out for a bit. It’s a shame because I was so close to the end, but the legs just weren’t there anymore. Still, I don’t think I walked more than 2/10 of a mile total, so overall it wasn’t bad.
I predicted a 2:20 finish time and came in at 2:17. It was not a great race time-wise, but considering where I am in my training I was actually very happy. My longest run in 18 months was last week’s 10-miler where I was having some foot problems, but everything seemed to be OK today.
This was my first “Rock n Roll” race. Overall, I liked it. Parking was a breeze, there were porta-potties-a-plenty, and everything just seemed to run smoothly. If there was a weak part of the race it was, ironically, the music. Maybe Pasadena has a noise-ordinance, but the bands along the course did not seem very loud to me. And some of the songs they were playing when I went by seemed kind of mellow. I’d much rather have a DJ playing high-energy songs to get me going. There was however a traditional Asian drumming group around mile 5 or so and they were very cool. Also, all of the local school cheerleading squads were great.
After the race a group of us went to “La Grande Orange Cafe” for brunch. I went into the bathroom to wash up (I could not believe how much sweat salt I had on my face!) Another guy came in to wash up wearing a race shirt. I made some small talk: “How was the race?” “It was good.” I told him “yeah, my legs feel a bit tight now but overall it was a good race.” Then he said something odd: “I feel fine. I stretched for 30 minutes after the race. When you’ve done as many of these as I have, you start to learn the tricks.”
OK buddy... First of all, I don’t know how many races you’ve done, but this ain’t my first rodeo either. I know a thing or two about recovery, and there is nothing wrong or unusual about being sore after a race. Second, there is absolutely no reason for you to be stretching for 30 minutes after a half marathon. Come on. Seriously? After you cross the finish line, walk it off for a few minutes then hand in your coupon for a free drink in the beer garden. Done.
I didn’t have much of an appetite so I nibbled on a burger, but as we were leaving they had a tray of free chocolate chip cookies. They were soft and chewy and were covered in large chunks of... salt. Yes, salt. Now I don’t know if this is just the dehydration talking but those cookies were AWESOME. I should have skipped the burger and just chowed down on the cookies. Amazing.
So overall, a fine day. The Agoura Hills Half Marathon is next month, and it’s a lot hillier than Pasadena. It’s on the radar, but I’ll recover for another day or 2 before I make a decision about doing that as well.