Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Monday, October 18, 2010

Long Beach Half Marathon Race Recap

I think what augments my nervousness at the start of a race is that I'm usually unfamilier with the race logistics and end up driving or wandering around lost for a while. This time I knew exactly what I was doing and where I was going. Parking was a breeze. I hit the bathrooms at the Hyatt instead of the lines at the porta potties. Bag drop was easy. I walked directly to the start of the race.

Well go figure, but somehow I still managed to miss my wave start. I had to line up with a slower wave 6-hour full marathon, 3-hour half marathon pace group. It's hard to feel like a person when you're corraled like cattle. I worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up the pace I'd wanted because I was trapped by the amount of people around me. A couple of shots of the start of the race:


Once my wave started the crowd thinned out and I was able to weave around some slower runners. I must not have been the only one to miss my wave because most of the runners I was running with were at least as fast, most faster, than me. The 3-hour pace group in our wave was left in the dust.

The before and after pics:

Throughout the course my mind was kept busy as I went by all the familiar buildings and streets. We ran past The Reef restaurant where my good friend Renee had her wedding reception, past the building where I used to work, the street where I used to live. And then I over heard someone say that the Belmont Pool was the turnaround point. I knew exactly where that was and exactly how long it would take me to get there.

I avoided all the lines for porta potties along the route and waited to make my pit stop in the public restrooms along the beach path. I've run this beach path many many times before. Today it was so over crowded there was no room to maneuver. I minimized the weaving and passed runners by going off the path and into the sand because I knew the sand alongside the path was hard-packed.

As we approached the finish I knew we'd make a left turn at the Batman building and then downhill all the way on Shoreline Drive. This was where I started my sprint.

I hadn't admitted it to anyone other than myself but I was aiming for a 2:15 today. I'd picked up a 2:15 pace wrist band at the Expo on Friday and had been using it over the weekend to help me visualize a 2:15 race.

It worked!
my unofficial garmin time and pace band
The official race results:
FINISH: 2:15:44 PACE: 10:22
Overall: 3838 out of 9669
Women: 1665 out of 5824
Age group: 286 out of 925

This was the flat fast course they'd promised. And the Yassos are working, I'm a convert! Next Half is Huntington Beach Half Marathon in February.


  1. Wow! Awesome on the time. It's liked u aced a test. I thought the next 1/2 marathon is Virginia beach in November hmm?

  2. Wow! Awesome on the time. It's liked u aced a test. I thought the next 1/2 marathon is Virginia beach in November hmm?

  3. Congratulations!! I started in the second wave and thought that was maybe too crowded to get a good time. I can imagine how crowded the path must have been when you were on it.

    As of now I'm running the full in HB in Feb so we'll be training hard for Feb. 6 :)

  4. Awesome job Irene, hitting goal's just feels great. I hate waiting for the race to start. I am a mess from about 45 mins before the start until about 5 mins after.

    I am glad that you were able to put your blog back together. I don't want to think about how it felt after you hit that delete key.

  5. What a great feeling, coming in EXACTLY on pace! You visualized it, you rolled with the changes (wrong corral), and you kept your head when you needed to get out of the pack. Brilliant run, congratulations!

  6. Congratulations!!! 2:15 is fantastic! What a great run! =)

  7. Awesome race recap and awesome job of nailing your pace goal! It sounds like you had some great strategies for making sure you stayed on pace!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog! I'll be following yours and your training!