Sunday, January 5, 2014

Day 332 - The New Years Race Half Marathon 2014

January 4, 2014                    

Race Day! I woke up late with a headache and lower intestinal issues. I also had to pee every twenty minutes. Great! I also felt a little bit anxious. So I spent the few hours before the race hydrating carefully and loading my glycogen stores, aka: eating. I also made my own all natural energy gels for the race and prepped my iFitness Hydration Belt with a scoop in each flask of Skratch Labs Hydration mix and filtered water.

 The race seemed even better organized this year with a significant increase in police presence and less crazy people yelling at me to run faster from the sidewalk.

We started right at 7:00pm with a significant crowd watching. I planned to alternate a minute of running with a minute of walking throughout the course. However, when we took off and the first interval signal from my Garmin 910xt beeped, I was too embarrassed to walk. So I didn't. I ended up running about sixty five percent, walking mostly on the tough uphills.

We ran from near Flower and Seventh Street, up through Chinatown and into Elysian Park.

Around Elysian Park and into Dodger Stadium.

Where we got to run around the field itself. I'm not much of a baseball fan, but I got a kick out of this as I have seen a couple of games there from the nosebleeds.

 One thing about the course that was a challenge. HILLS!!!

Two thirds of it or more was made up of hills. I was not prepared for them. Then again, I was not really prepared at all for this run. Well, maybe that isn't true. From February to November, I established my base fitness and though I hadn't worked out for a month and a half, I was still able to keep going up those darn hills when I needed to. I was surprised how many times I was able to chug up them.

I took the above picture as I passed the nine mile marker because it was officially the farthest I had run up to that point. 

As we headed out of Elysian Park and back into downtown, the course felt as though we were going more downhill.

 By then my legs were getting pretty tired. Fortunately my running form was strict and I maintained the proper forefoot style the entire time.

As I got closer to the end, I noticed I was beginning to lose motivation to push hard. Something about knowing I was almost done. Like my brain wanted me to shutdown.

 Still, kept going as well as I could and pushed harder to cross the finish line. Besides my legs and feet feeling worked, I felt pretty good overall. Surprisingly. I can only imagine how I would have done of I would not have missed that month and a half of training.

 I crossed the finish line at 03:11:30 and got my first "Big medal." Marathon and half marathons tend to give out bigger medals than their 5k counterparts. As I made my way through the finisher shoot, I realized that I did not get my shiny foil blanket that they normally give to marathon runners. Darn it! I know it's silly, but I see it as a right of passage to earn that stupid, cheap piece of foil. Maybe at my first full marathon.
Anyways, I took one of the offered waters and a banana. I only cramped just slightly at one point on the course, but I drank my Skratch Labs and it went away.

As I write this several hours afterwards, my legs have tightened up and my calves are pretty sore, but I feel good. I have a lot of work ahead for Ironman but I am delighted with what I was able to do.

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