I ran my 10th half, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon last Sunday!
The race started at 7AM so I left home around 5:15 AM. Even though it only takes 25 minutes to drive downtown, I was worried I’d have trouble with traffic off the exit and parking. I hit no traffic, took a few random turns and found FREE street parking about 1/2 mile from the starting line. It seemed a little sketchy (seeing as I was parked under a bridge in the dark, SMART) but when a couple people in front of me got out of their car with bibs on, I knew I was fine. I was super early so I hung out in my car for a bit and waited for some other runners to walk by so I could non-creepily follow them and not have to walk alone.
There were no lines for restrooms, everything was clearly marked, and the race started right on time. At this point I felt like things were going TOO well and something bad was bound to happen. (Like my car being towed. I was afraid it wouldn’t be there when I got back – but, spoiler alert, it was. Thank God.)
OH AND THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: The ASPCA was the official charity for the race and there were puppies everywhere. I couldn’t be happier.
I was a little terrified that my back-of-knee whatever it was would start bothering me and I’d be stranded in the middle of LA lost and limping. My muscles were definitely tight and I stopped to stretch a few times (and had a few random freak outs that it was going to get worse) but I survived and was, for the most part, totally fine. I never once felt that I want to be done now feeling and was just loving being out there running. I mean, it certainly wasn’t my best effort (my second slowest time ever, actually, if you’re keeping track) but this was a pretty last minute addition to my race schedule and I certainly wasn’t going for a PR. I just had so much fun. I stopped to take pictures (and tweet occasionally, oops), group-texted with some friends from home, listened to the bands along the course, and walked through water stations in an effort to take it easy. (All while paying attention to my surroundings, I swear.)
I loved the course because I got to see a few different parts of Los Angeles. Even though we’re now a Bruins family, it was pretty cool to run through the Coliseum.
The course was completely flat until about mile 7, at which point I realized A) there hadn’t been any hills and that’s awesome and B) I was currently on a hill. Since I haven’t really been running routes with hills, it felt extra hard. Thankfully there was only one other big hill – otherwise, the race was flat and fast.
Uh, fast for others, that is.
I, on the other hand, was positive splitting every mile. But I had absolutely no problem with that.
Eventually I stopped and chatted with my new friend Courtney who so sweetly came to cheer with her adorable dog Seamus.
I had no idea she was there and was extremely pumped to see her. I had excitedly texted her when I got to mile 11 saying I wasn’t going to crash and burn like I thought I would, and she let me know that she was right up ahead around mile 11.5! It totally made my day to see her and Seamus. She gave me the boost I needed to pick up the pace for the last mile, but as I was coming to the finish I got an annoying side stitch. I haven’t had one in forever and it was horrible! Randomly my Garmin says my 13th mile was 7:33 which is in no way, shape, or form correct. (It had a mind of its own the entire race. Maybe because of the buildings? Who knows.)
My watch tells me I ran 13.7 miles total in 2:18:43 for an average pace of 10:07, making this my second slowest (but SO FUN!) half marathon.
AND THEN…the best part. The finish line festival. With free beer and wine and music! It was beautiful and warm and such a perfect end to the morning. Courtney, Seamus, and I hung out for a while and soaked up the California sunshine.
What’s even better is that I felt fantastic afterwards. A little soreness the next morning, but my knee actually feels better than it did before. Was it fake-taper crazies? Maybe. But I’m so glad my legs feel back to normal!
All in all, I 100% recommend this race and hope to be back next year!
Oh and PS, I finally found the Geico Gecko.
Do you like to race for fun, or do you prefer to go all out every time?