RUN TO REMEMBER HALF MARATHON RECAP

So. I’m the worst. I’m so sorry I disappeared for so long. Last week was insanely busy and I felt absolutely exhausted every minute of every day. Not much has changed this week, but I’m excited to get this recap out of my head and onto the Internet so I’m back for now.

Just a little background about the race, before I dive into my recap…

This is only the second year Run to Remember LA has been around. But Run to Remember Boston has been a thing for basically ever. Both are half marathons/10ks to raise money for and honor the local police department and their fallen officers. S is on the race committee for both, so for me, participating is kind of a given. I ran a PR at both races last year and both courses are relatively flat and very scenic. I’d highly recommend either. But anyway, let’s jump right into race day morning.

Sunday morning was an early wake up call of 5am. I felt a little rough around the edges because I volunteered at the expo for 12 hours on Saturday. Annnd I was out past 9pm (I know, I live a crazy and hip life) the night before, so I didn’t get my required 8 hours of sleep. But, by 5:45 I was down in the lobby and meeting up with some Boston Police Officers to carpool to the race starting line—which was about 15 minutes away from the hotel.

By the time we got there, we had just enough time to hit up the port-a-potties and for me to swing by the Mobile Locker Company to lock up my extra clothes and water bottle (so handy). It was quite chilly in the morning (about 50ish degrees) so I spent the remaining 15-20 minutes shivering at the starting line.

The race started promptly at 7am (Mario Lopez was the guest emcee who fired the gun!!) and we were off! Right from the first few steps, I wasn’t feeling so hot. My first mile was even an 8 minute mile, so the remaining 12 didn’t feel so promising. I already felt like I was struggling a bit, so I reminded myself to trust the process and keep my breathing steady for the first half of the race. My plan was to run a heck of a negative split, so I wanted to take the first half pretty easy (which was fine since the first 6 miles are a very slight and steady incline), and then haul ass on the way back. By mile 3, I was down under 8 minutes per mile, but just barely and it didn’t feel as easy as I would’ve liked. BUT around then we went through Paramount Studios (picture below!) and I saw a few of S’s friends from the race and even caught a glimpse of S driving a little golf cart thing while leading the first 10k runner. From there, I just kept my head down and focused on keeping my breathing even.

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Around mile 6 or so, there’s the turnaround (it’s mostly an out-and-back course) and boy, was I excited to head downhill. After running 7:45s, I let ‘er rip. It’s like I completely changed gears mentally and physically. Suddenly I felt energized and on cloud 9. I was even shouting out words of encouragement to complete strangers on my way back down the hill. AND I managed to shave about 20 seconds or so off my pace.

At mile 7, I made a friend. I caught up to a 40-50 year old man and he held my pace with me. He clearly wasn’t about to let me pass him, and I wasn’t about to waste my energy trying so I did the next best thing: I started up a conversation. We chatted for a while and my first full mile with him was a 7:10! From there we were always within 10-15 seconds of each other (no more 7:10s for me though). He led for a while (from about mile 9 to 11), and then around mile 11 I passed him again, with the intention of flying to the home stretch. Well, he must’ve held onto to me because right around 12.5 my friend was right back on my shoulder and yelling at me to finish strong. I was giving it everything I had, but my legs were just starting to shut down. I was struggling to hold onto my pace, but José wasn’t about to let me give up that easy (no way, José). He kept saying “come on, we’re moving forward,” and if I started to drift back he’d look over his shoulder and say “come up here, we’re still going. We’re doing this together.”

Guys, it made for the best experience ever. I’m giddy just thinking about it. Here’s this man who doesn’t even know my name and he was doing everything he could to lift me up and pull me forward. It was just one of those interactions that made me love running even more.

I told him as we were about to round the corner to the finish line, “If I PR, I’m going to hug you” and he said “Ok, well let’s get you that PR then” and we went into an all out sprint to the finish line together. IT WAS AWESOME. AND GUYS. I PR’ed by a whole minute and then some. And I did hug José, my running angel. Which I’m sure he wasn’t super psyched about because I had been dumping water over my head for the last 10 miles of the race and was absolutely soaked (IT WAS WATER JOSÉ, IT WAS JUST WATER, I’M NOT A SWEATY MONSTER!)

My running pal, José, definitely made this race one for the books. Along with a PR, and a KILLER negative split, it is hands down one of the best races I’ve ever run. I’m still downright giddy about the results. And now I’ll break up this essay with a few pictures…

 

My splits from race day:

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And a picture of me post-race, taken by another one of S’s friends who was at the finish line! I was only a little exhausted…

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And breakfast the next day. If you’re ever in LA you HAVE to go to Crepe X-Press downtown and get the Croque Madame. It’s absolutely heavenly.

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And because you shouldn’t have to choose between savory and sweet…a Nutella and banana crepe.

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Anyway, that’s all I have to report for now! Thanks for checking back in on this blog enough to finally catch an update. I promise I’ll keep trying to be better about this regular blogging thing. Until next time!

 

 

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WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE RUNNING

On Wednesday I did my speed workout. I was foolish and saved it for after work (I usually don’t like doing speed work in the morning) and by the time I got in my car at 5pm, I was coming up with every excuse on the planet to bail. I even rationalized that I could do it on Thursday, a day before my long run (scheduled for today). However, S killed that idea before I was able to even get the full sentence out. So, after being stuck in traffic for nearly an hour, I finally stepped up to my treadmill at 6pm sharp. And let’s just say I did NOT have a positive attitude about it.

Then, something weird (except not at all weird, because pretty much every runner experiences this as one time or another) happened. I felt great. After my mile warm up, I boldly set the treadmill to 7:41 with plans to increase every mile after that. And I did! AND it felt pretty dang good! I wouldn’t say great, because if you’re doing a tempo run and it feels great, you MUST GO FASTER. BUT it felt good. It was the first time since we moved here that that pace actually felt “comfortably hard” instead of “this-is-the-hardest-thing- I’ve-ever-done-and-I-am-going-to-puke-and-collapse-hard.”

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So, all-in-all I ran 7 miles (1 mile w/u, 1 mile c/d) at 7:51 pace, with 5 middle miles at an average of 7:30. Pretty dang pleased with myself, I gotta say. If we’re taking altitude into consideration (which we always are on THIS blog, because it makes me feel better), I’m at about the same fitness level that I was at last year around this time. Because according to this article, 5000 feet adds about 10-20 seconds to your pace. For this particular instance, let’s just say it adds 20 seconds…

Anyway, horn tooting and altitude rationalizing aside, isn’t that strange how that almost always happens? On the days I really (and I mean, really) don’t want to run, I always end up feeling pretty good out there. It’s like the universe is patting me on the back for getting up and doing it.

Now, let’s just hope the universe pats me on the back again today during my long run.

LAST WEEK TOLD IN PICTURES

As I mentioned in previous posts, it was a pretty busy week and we had S’s parents in town. Here are just a few things that happened while they were here!

We finally busted out the Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook. And by “we” I mean S’s mom. She made us this delicious Sausage Minestrone Soup. It was so tasty and so so so filling. Plus we had leftovers for 4+ days after.

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It was so cold out last week that I had sweatsicles hanging from my hat a couple of days in a row! Thankfully,  it’s over 60 degrees today!

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S surprised me with this beauty one day. I swear if there’s ever a Harry Potter themed road race, I will be the FIRST person to sign up. Price is of no concern.

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I got some new kicks! The Vazee Prisms v2. I will do a review on them after I get a few more miles in, but so far I’m in love. I think it’s also insane that I was excited about the price. They were ONLY $99.99. I mean, that is quite the steal for running shoes these days. unnamed-4

We celebrated S’s birthday, with a bigggggg freaking steak.

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He ate every bite, and was much happier as a result. Might’ve been the wine…

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The next day, we went up to Estes to show his parents the best place on earth. It did not disappoint, except it was freaking freezing. This picture was taken just as a huge gust of wind came through and blew snow in all of our faces. It didn’t feel great, despite the smiles.

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Once his parents left, I was sure this pile of shoes was going to go down. Not the case. This is what happens when two runners live together.

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Lastly, my exciting news: I’ve accepted a part-time job at Boulder Running Company! I’ve always wanted to work at a running store so when I saw an open sales position I jumped on it. I’ll be working with their web sales team, amongst other runners, and receiving some pretty sick discounts on running stuff. We’ll see if I ever pocket a paycheck. I get the feeling all of it will be going right back into the store. Stay tuned for some serious fashion shows and pictures of a very well-dressed, albeit financially poor, runner.