This race will always be very special for me. I started running and competing in the 2nd half of 2009 (after taking a couple of years off from high school running) and ran my first half marathon by the end of that year. But it was at Carlsbad in early 2010 where I ran my fastest half time (1:28) and have yet to beat it since. Unless I spend as much time and effort as I did when I first started running, I don’t see myself breaking that record any time soon. I became ambitious and registered for the full marathon in 2011, but did not train enough to feel confident to run 26.2, so I sold my bib instead. I decided to go back to the half this year although I knew I wasn’t going to get near my PR time. I keep saying it, but considering my lack of training, I did better than expected. Results: 1:34:08 (7:08 min/mile), 28/356 AG, 223/7269 Overall.
I think it’s safe to say that my average half time these days is about 1:35-1:38, which is not bad if you ask me. I ran a 1:38 the week before and I had a good feeling that I’d beat it that time; the question was by how much. I read my race report from 2 years ago and it’s amazing how similar I ran both races. I decided to run with the 1:35 pacer (which I did in 2010 as well). And similar to two years ago, I took off on my own after running with the pacer for a number of miles. I don’t recall when I split from the pacer before, it couldn’t have been any more than 5-7 miles, and this time I was with the pacer for about 9 miles before I ventured off on my own. And similar to last time, I felt good during the race and was able to surge to catch up to runners and even pass a few.
Even before the race started, I felt like 1:35 was too aggressive of a time to aim for and I would not be able to sustain such a fast past for the entire 13.1 miles. But I felt pretty good for most of the race although I did feel like I was running out of gas toward the end of the race, but obviously survived. There was one runner who was with the pacer but left the group around mile 7. I saw her up ahead for the next mile or so, while I stayed back with the pacer, to be on the safe side. But then at one of the water stations, I had a burst of energy and surged while people were slowing down to get their drinks. Once I got through that station, I realized the pacer wasn’t near me. Similar to last time, I didn’t slow down for him and just went off on my own.
I had a made a mini goal to try and catch that other runner who took off. So I worked on each runner around me either by running with them or surging and going on to the next runner. Whenever I have the energy to do something like that, I know I’m running a smart race. Although there were still some situations where I would not even put up a fight when someone comes up to me, so I just let them pass. I eventually did catch that other runner, but she either kept going at the pace or surged, because I was not able to hang on and actually fell back a bit. I don’t know how, but I caught her again but for the 2nd time I fell back for the 2nd time pretty discouraging, right?
We were coming to the last few miles of the race and I started to pick it up and caught the runner again. But this time I surged right past her and never looked back. The finish wasn’t particularly strong, but I didn’t let anyone pass me, so I was proud about that. The pacer did a great job and hit his goal pace, so if I had just stayed back with him, my overall time would only have been 1 minute slower. But I suppose it’s technically one minute over a 4 mile distance, which is a significantly faster pace.
I still haven’t decided yet, but I think I might hit up a track meet this weekend. I first thought about doing something like this a couple of months ago. Although competing in general back in high school was nerve racking no matter the distance, I always liked track and field more just because it was a shorter distance (even though the pace was significantly faster). I remember before I started competing, I ran an all-out mile and hit 6 minutes exactly. I highly doubt I can hit that right now. The track meet this weekend has some strange distances: 600, 1000, and 3000 meters. It’s only $10 for all 3 events and I’m hoping I don’t get last for any, but would still be happy if I hit a decent time. Other than that, I have a 10K in LA against my brother and his friends in February. There’s a pretty steep hill within the first mile of that course, so I’m also planning to do some hill/trail running at least once before that race. Other than that, hopefully I’ll get out and run more.