If I want to get good at hills, I have to start training and running on them so that's what I decided to treat that as this!
Capping off 4 running weekends in a row would be tough but I knew it was good training for future endeavors like running the NYCM, wine and dine 5k and avengers infinity gauntlet challenge.
They were doing a small expo so I decided to go and get all of our bibs and see where we would be going. I had never been to the Hollywood park and wanted to make sure to know where to go and also where to park for Sunday. The lot was pretty small and was packed so I definitely knew parking there wouldn't be a good idea. I walked over, grabbed our bond and shirts, visited a few booths (there were only about 10), and on my way out, ran into a reader of my blog! (Hi Lynn!). I was in and out in 20 min which was great.
It was getting very warm (not hot, just super bright sun with no clouds)so I was trying to stay hydrated. We did lunch, the Festival of the Books at USC, had horrible traffic getting back to Pasadena and had to run errands and got dessert before making dinner when we got home. With all going on, I knew getting to bed by 8 was not going to happen and my apartment was hot so we opted to sleep on the couch and I was asleep by 9PM.
I woke up at 12:30 feeling horrible. This may be TMI, but my monthly visitor had decided to arrive with HORRIBLE cramps-the aleve I took before bed didn't seem to help. Somehow I kept calm,grabbed my heating pad, put it on the couch and slept on my stomach for 4 hours. I was able to fall back asleep and felt much better when I got up.
I got dressed, had breakfast, stretched and rolled and felt much better than I had in awhile. We headed out at 5:15(later than I wanted because someone was moving slow in the morning and it wasn't me haha) and picked up Ralph's brother and were parked by 5:45! We didn't hit any traffic which was great. We gathered our stuff and walked the 15 min to the expo starting area and got there around 6:15. We used the ports potties, stretched, gear check and headed to the start.
One thing that was not good was the portapotties as there were only about 13. Now this is the smallest race I've ever run (around 3000 for both the 5k and half) and was shocked they didn't have more. The lines got so crazy so fast. And not to mention, most ran out of toilet paper.
I prepped the guys on some strategies including giving each of them a pack of margarita clif shots and talked about the important of running the tangents and also getting water at every stop (mom mode!) and we waited for more instructions for the corrals.
The corrals were a hot mess. Self seeding and one big start and huge crowds of people. I tried to move back towards the 2:11 but that was never going to happen so I decided to hold back a bit and just start slow.
We of course started late (after the start had already been pushed back 15 min a week before the race) and I was getting worried. The sun was coming up fast and it was going to get warm very quickly. We eventually started at 7:08.
One thing to note; Rudy was the announcer! Hearing his voice always puts me at ease and since this was my 14th race of the year, it was also my 12th race he was the announcer!
The course was flat for 3 miles, then the crazy San Vicente hill, then the rolling hills of Sunset before heading back down the hill for the slight incline of Santa Monica Blvd before finishing.
I realized as soon as we started that I needed to pee. I guess all of the extra hydration really went through me. I was planning on holding off as long as I could and then right before the first mile, I saw a portapotty with no line. I ran over there and 5 people got in line right before me: #fail. I knew this would effect my time but also did not know how much longer I could hold it or where the next set would be.
it added about 2-3 minutes to my time. #fail! but it was well worth it to stop. I always stop my watch so I know my true run time (and my intervals stay on track) but leave my ipod going and I know it had added at least 2.5 min to my time and decided to just stay as easy I could and then I would push it as I felt better. I kept my running splits to around 9:45-10:00 min miles. As we passed the 5k mark, we passed the starting area with portapotties and no lines-yeah I should have held it until then. oh-well! One great thing was the 5k had started and it did not effect me climbing the hills as I thought it would but the course was definitely more crowded with the added 5k.
After that was the San Vicente hill and it was just as bad as I was expecting. I decided to do a run 1 min, walk 1 min and see how far it would get me. I got up the hill and was pretty drained. I knew the rolling hills of Sunset Blvd would not be much fun and that they would also be hot with no shade. I just focused on trying to exert the same energy all the time and if that meant I would slow down, it would be okay.
There were many water stops when we got up the hill which was nice but after the 5k turn around spot, there were none. and by none, I mean all the way down to La Brea and turn around. TWO MILES without water on a course with a rising sun and no shade. NO BUENO. As we got back to the hill, the water stops on the other side started running water over because they felt bad. This could have been fixed by easily putting the water stops in the middle of the street so it could serve both sides.
This part of the course was very quiet which is so strange as Sunset Strip is usually always packed. At some of the famous sites it would have fun facts like "this gangster lived here" at the Sunset Tower and "Led Zepplin rode motorcycles through the lobby" at the Chateau Marmont. Also, this part of the course was supposed to have bands. I saw 3 bands and when I passed the first one, they looked like they were setting up, the second one was taking a break and the 3rd one was finally playing. It would have been nice to have music the whole time.
As we were heading back down the San Vicente hill, we got water bottles(from hustler Hollywood-haha!) and I started taking my Mocha clif shot. For some reason, I got chest pains going down the hill so I had to walk more than I wanted and the water bottle was super helpful. I could tell I was dehydrated and needed the liquid.
Santa Monica Blvd had a bit of shade but still the same issues with water being spaced out weird. The street was also quiet: nothing was opened and not many people. The warm heat was affecting me (it was honestly probably dehydration) and I took more walk breaks. However with the extra walk breaks, my time was still averaging the same!
I passed Ralph on each out and back of the course and I noticed each time I was getting closer to him. The last turn around, I could tell he was struggling and my goal was to catch him. I had my pump mix and was in the shade (I decided against running the tangents as it was all in the sun) and was able to catch him pretty quickly. He was very tired (he didn't fuel!) so he said he would stick with me for intervals as long as he could. At one point, he fell behind and I pushed forward. I did math and I knew i was close to a PR. As I turned the corner, I saw the clock said 2:13! I knew I didn't start right away so I could PR! I pushed HARD over that last .1 miles (7:10 pace!) and crossed with a PR! 2:13:14-29 second PR which is awesome considering how hilly the course is, my crazy long bathroom break and the extra walk breaks I threw in towards the end.
Ralph came in about 50 seconds after me: a PR as the only other half he has run is Avengers.
Overall the race is a solid B. I had a good time, the hills were killer and the medal and shirt were awesome. There are a few things that should be changed and added mainly I would like to see an earlier start and more frequent water stops with them in the road and more bands on the course.
- fun course and challenging course
- the medal is great
- the mile markers were on point
- the facts were fun on Sunset-add more!
- easy package pickup
THINGS TO WORK ON:
- self-seeding corrals with signs with a wave start
- more activity on the street-spectators, something
- if there are bands, they need to be playing
- more water stops-at least one every 1-1.5 miles
- starting on time. I think this can be solved by reminding people
- discounts on restaurants-we were trying to figure out where to eat and werent sure what would be open. If the restaurants that are open would let you know, maybe provide a discount, i think more people would stay around to eat
- more portapotties at the start
- short sleeve tech shirt