For anyone who has competed in a race before, you must have crossed the finish line, got your medal and when you finally look at the results on your watch, you’re surprised to see a distance that is not the exact mileage you expected to run. I just checked all of the half marathon race reports I published in the last few years and here are the ones where I had something other than the official 13.1 mile distance: 13.23, 13.22, 13.54, 13.23, 13.16, 13.06, 13.01. I think most runners know about things like running tangents and how the start of a race may involve zig zagging around slower runners. But it’s interesting to read how each race is actually measured. Check out this infographic from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series that describes the very detailed process and special tools that are used to measure each one of their courses. Cool stuff!!
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This is the third time running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon. This race was #2 of 3 in my Rock ‘n’ Roll Tourpass, #3 being the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas half coming up in a few weeks! I was initially planning to run the San Jose half to get the Cali Combo medal (run 3 of the 4 California races), but a friend wanted to run Vegas and who can say no to a trip there? As usual, I didn’t have any specific goals for this race, but I did run a 1:31 a few months ago in San Diego, so I was hoping to run no slower than 1:35 (my default goal time). The results were quite surprising: 1:31:17, 6:57 min/mile, age group: 20 out of 483, gender: 94 out of 3202 and overall: 103 out of 7821. The only time I broke 1:30 was in my second half marathon over 4 years ago and I haven’t really gotten close since then. I thought so at the time and I still do now, that race was just a series of events that worked out perfectly for me (just enough water/food before the race, not going out too fast at the beginning, not wasting time at the water station, cool temperatures, etc.) But I’m pretty sure if I dedicate real training for a race, I could beat that time! Read the rest of this entry »
After completing the Spartan Race, I knew that running the Del Mar Mud Run would be a nice change. In comparison, this race was shorter (5K vs 12 miles), cooler (80 vs 100 degrees), with easier and less obstacles (16 vs 28) and at a slower pace. I was participating in this race with a co-worker and her husband so it was a nice change from running solo like I do in most races. I was also able to get some great footage on my GoPro. The organizer of the Del Mar Mud Run is Vavi, who does a lot of the social events and sports leagues in San Diego. Knowing they were involved, I knew this would be more about fun than competition (which I was fine with). Read the rest of this entry »
The Spartan Race is hands down, the hardest race I’ve ever participated in. This includes all the marathons I’ve ran (even the thunderstorm at the LA Marathon), trail race with the ‘widow maker’ hill. This race combined all of the worst possible scenarios you could ask for in a race: extreme temperatures (100+ degrees), long distances (12+ miles), multiple difficult obstacles (28) and a lingering cough to top things off. The mere fact that I completed the race was an achievement in itself, let alone being able to successfully succeed in all but one obstacle (darn you spear throw!) This worked out since I had not practiced doing burpees at all.. My training program leading up to this event was pretty basic compared to others I know who have completed this race before. Here are the official results: 3:27:05, age group place: 31, gender place: 151, overall place: 170. The two things I said when I posted my results on Facebook: it was a respectable time (which I agree) and that I’ll never do this race again (maybe)! Read the rest of this entry »
This was my 3rd event in 2 weekends, but the way I liked to compare it, it was 10 miles less than last week’s race! Obviously, the 5K is its own beast since I’m running at a much faster pace, it’s just as difficult to run a 5K as it is a half marathon. Running along a bunch of college-aged kids who are anxious for their upcoming finals and that just made things worse. But first the results: 3.05 miles, 19:35 (6:27 min/mile), 9/200 AG, 70/2313 overall. Splits: 5:50, 6:47, 6:44, :09. This was the 2nd year running this race, I’ll probably participate every year that I’m available to run. Why? Well, I went to school at UCSD, it’s a good excuse to come back to the campus, support the future students and I get to reminisce back to when I was still in school, walking to all my classes. The course actually changed a little bit this year, but still ran through some of the most well-known landmarks on campus. Check out the highlights, course map and photos below.
- World famous Geisel Library
- Run near the Sun God, inspiration behind the infamous annual Sun God Festival
- Meet a 23 foot high stone Bear
- Witness the mysterious force of the Fallen Star
- Explore UC San Diego’s very own Stonehenge
The longest ride I’ve done prior to this event was 45 miles, which was pretty tough. I have no idea how other riders were able to do the 100-mile option for this ride! It definitely wasn’t a world record, but I completed the course! Results: distance: 66.72 miles, 4:40:56, avg speed: 14.2 mph, max speed: 31.5 mph, calories: 3,223, total ascent/descent: 3,957 ft. I talked to another participant and she said she was over it after 40-miles, it was such a long course! The good thing about this event was that there were 4 aid stops, which allowed us to break up the rides into shorter rides with breaks in between. There were a few climbs (2 major ones), but none that were too difficult, I suppose the ones closer to the end of the ride were harder but that was more because I was running out of energy. Since this wasn’t an actual race, I wasn’t really pedaling too hard and cruising for a good amount. The other issues I did run into was the sun (starting at 6am helped, but I was out for almost 5 hours!), slight discomfort sitting on the bike, one of my toecaps broke near the end of the ride, and I just started getting bored from the ride (I had listened to 3 different podcasts).
The only reason I did this ride was because the person who actually registered for this race was not able to participate and he didn’t want to waste the entry fee that was already paid. I was already registered for the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon the day after and that was a race I wanted to do well in. But since I already said I would do the ride, I needed to train for this (a little). So about 2 months before the event, I started biking long and longer distances (20, 30, 40, 50 miles). Those last few weeks were tough, I really didn’t know how I was going to do 67 miles! I remember being at mile ~55 and thinking ‘wow, I still have a half marathon distance left!’ Definitely not the mindset to have at that time.. But I was able to get through it and complete the ride. Will I ever do it again? Not any time soon. I’m hoping to get some clipless pedals in the near future to make the rides a little bit easier.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon was probably one of the most hyped races I’ve ran in quite some time. What do I mean when I say hyped? There were just certain expectations that I felt pressured to accomplish, whether it was reasonable or not is another question. Let me first share the official results: 1:31:30 (6:59 min/mile), 55/938 age group, 343/16897 overall. My PR for the half is 1:28 but I ran that over 4 years ago. I actually ran a 1:31 again back in 2011 in SD, but my average half marathon pace has hovered around 1:35 (usually with minimal training..) So it’s definitely a good time and I’m pretty satisfied with the results. But the bigger story is who I was running with and who was pacing me. Believe it or not, it was Meb Keflezighi! So let’s start at the beginning..
This year’s Boston Marathon was probably the most important race it its history, considering last year’s tragic events. It brought the city of Boston together and there were definitely more people paying attention to the race than usual. So it was quite fitting that Meb Keflezighi, an American runner, won this year’s Boston Marathon (first since 1983). Shortly after the victory, it was announced that Meb (who grew up in San Diego) would actually run at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego half marathon. But instead of competing in it, he would just run as a pacer for the 1:30 group. I knew I was going to run the SD half since at least February or March, but hadn’t really been training for it, which should not be a surprise anymore. Meb won Boston on April 21, they announced he would pace on April 30. As mentioned before, my PR was technically faster than 1:30, but I have never really gotten close to 1:30 for a while now. I did run a 1:34 at the Carlsbad half marathon in January, so I knew there was a possibility of me actually keeping up and running with Meb, I had to at least try..
What I forgot to mention was that I was also registered for a 66 mile bike ride the day before the half marathon! Long story short, I was participating for someone else who initially registered but could not do it anymore. So the past month or two before both races, I was doing a long bike ride on Saturday followed by a long run on Sunday. It was hard doing both in one weekend, and it usually involved taking a nap after each workout, but at least I knew I would be able to do it. The only problem was the half marathon was really the only event I cared about doing well in, and that was after the 66 mile bike ride! But I had already promised to do the ride, which was pretty expensive too! So I did my best to get as many runs in as possible, leading up to the race on June 1.
My initial plan was to try and get a picture of/with Meb before the race started, while we were waiting in our corrals. He didn’t actually show up until about 2-3 minutes before the gun went off, but I actually had the opportunity to meet him in person at the race expo! It was only limited to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour Pass holders, so it was a short wait and line to meet him. After I got the photo with him before the race, I didn’t have to worry about it during the race and just focus on trying to keep up.
The first few miles were pretty exciting, running with Meb and everyone else trying to hit 1:30. Obviously, the pace was not difficult for Meb and he was able to easily run at the pace, while acknowledging spectators, talking to and answering questions from other nearby runners. It was funny to see as our group passed slower runners and they realized it was Meb, they would then proceed to take a selfie with him before getting passing them. My goal was to hang on as long as possible (ideally the whole race), but after the first 5-6 miles, I started to get more and more tired. I knew I was going to fall back soon, so I did what all the other runners who were getting passed, I made sure to take a selfie with Meb too! It took a couple of shots since I was still running at the time, but I got a decent shot of myself and Meb running together (although he did not bother to even look in my direction). There was actually an official photographer riding a motorcycle ahead of us for the first mile of the race. They posted one of those photos on their official Instagram page with me in the shot! Unfortunately, I had blinked in that shot, but it’s still official proof that I ran with Meb…for 7 miles.
The rest of the race was tough, the 1:30 group was gone now and other runners were passing me too. There were one or two runners I tried staying with. The pace for miles 8-11 were much slower than the previous 7. Mile 12 and 13 were a little bit faster, mostly because there were downhills that I was able to take advantage of. I was also able to finish the race on a sprint with another runner, which was a good sign.
When I found out my official time, I was surprised that I finished just 1:30 behind Meb and his group. It wasn’t until later that I found out that the group actually finished at 1:28. My theory is that the people who ran in the 1:30 group were actually faster runners and just wanted to hang back and run with Meb (who can blame them, I would have done the same). I’m sure there were some slower runners who were able to go faster and PR with Meb, which is great. I’m still happy I was able to finish just 3:30 behind Meb and I got photographic records of me running with him, not very many people can say that!
Like all races I’ve ran the past year or so, I did not feel prepared for this race. I stopped running in the mornings and started going to the gym after work (if it’s not too late and I feel motivated to go..) At the gym, I’ve been doing the same routine: 1 mile warm-up on the treadmill, 7-minute workout on my Pebble watch, 3 sets of dumbbell chest press and crunches and one set of 12-15 reps of pull-ups (my worst/favorite workout). It’s good enough to put me in a sweat and keep my in decent physical shape, but definitely not good for race training. I usually run long(ish) on the weekends, which seems to be good enough. Here are the results of the Xterra Black Mountain 16K trail run: 1:17:48, 9.40 mi (8:16 min/mi), 10/22 AG, 51/326 overall. Placing doesn’t really mean much to me when it comes to smaller/trail races, you can never predict how well you’ll do in these types of races. What I was happy with was the overall time and pacing. I ran this race 2 years ago, the course was more or less the same, rolling hills throughout the race, noticeable ones around miles 5 and 6 as well as the 1-2 mile uphill to finish the race! My time then was 1:20:03 which is pretty good, especially considering I had ran 4 half marathons and 2 10K’s that year prior to the race. This was only my 3rd race of the year, I definitely need to catch up! Read the rest of this entry »
A Family that Runs Together, Stays Together
This is the 4th year I’ve ran this race now, and 2nd that I’ve ran it with my siblings and nephews. It’s always fun to run this race since I get to run it with family and compete against some other friends that are always trying to beat me. It’s also in LA so it gives me a reason to go visit the parents for the weekend and it’s a local race so it benefits my old high school too. I have a running competition with an old high school runner friend, so far I’ve beaten him in the last two 5Ks we’ve ran and was supposed to race this time too. But he didn’t get a chance to train and bailed out, so I ended up running the 10K like I have been the past 3 years. I actually did a few hill/trail runs before to prepare for this race. I guess it paid off. Results: 42:53 (6:54 min/mile), placing: 5/180 age group, 35/2387 overall. I actually got beat by my brother’s friend by 6 seconds last year (46:03), so my goal for this year was to hopefully run around 45 minutes (always nice to exceed expectations). This years’ time was the 2nd fastest I’ve ran this course, but I am still happy with the results and placing! Read the rest of this entry »
Looks like I’m making it a habit to run this race ever other year. When I ran it in 2010, it was my 2nd half marathon and it is still my fastest half to date at 1:28. I ran it again in 2012 and ran a decent time of 1:34:08. I just realized now that I just barely beat that time today at 1:34:01! Here are the official results: Miles 1-7: 51:43 (7:23 min/mile), Miles 8-13.1: 42:19 (6:50 min/mile), Finish: 1:34:01 (7:08 min/mile), AG: 21/304, Overall: 217/7,256. The strategy was pretty simple (although still hard to accomplish): run with the 1:40 pacer for 7-8 miles and then pick up the pace for the rest of the race. But the last time I ran a half was in June 2013 and then I broke my hand and stopped doing anything for about 2 months before getting back into running. Like always, the training program wasn’t very focused; just run as often as possible (mostly 3-milers 3-4 days a week) and get some long runs in. I never really broke 8:30 pace during any of those runs! Read the rest of this entry »