Long Beach half marathon 2017 recap

I had nothing on the schedule between Nautica in mid September and the NYC marathon in early November, so I started to get antsy.  I felt like I need a teaser race to get a sense of my fitness to help decide on the realistic goals for the NYC. The Long Beach half was convenient, a bit on the pricey side, but quite a few of my fellow athletes were running it, so I signed up. Took it easy in the days leading to the race and skipped the tempo run that week. But still the legs were not feeling super fresh, but that's just how it goes - can't really taper for a half marathon.

Woke up at 4am on Sunday, had 2 slices of bread with some peanut butter and banana slices, a cup of coffee and headed out. The drive was quick and the traffic in the area was light. I like to park about a mile away and then walk down, and usually the parking is easy to find... this time it was a real hassle. I ended up parking about 1.2 miles, in a pretty run down area. But on the flip side, a walk at an easy pace woke my legs up and by the time I made it to the starting line area I was fully awake and was feeling like running some fast miles.

By the time I made it to the Aquarium area, the bike tour was starting. A fairly long line of cyclists blocked the street crossing, and I had to wait for them to trickle out to the course. Once I crossed I saw my friend Joanne who was also picking up her bib in the morning. We chatted for a bit and then I wen to the gear drop off area to change into my running gear.

We also had a Boston line up reunion which was super cool! Have not seen Alan in a very long time.

I really had no strategy at all for this race, no goals, just wanted to go out and run fast. And I did just that. The first 3 miles I simply ran at the pace that felt very fast. The heart rate was high, Z5 pretty much all the way, so I knew that soon enough I'd have to throttle back a bit. By the time we crossed back to Ocean blvd I started slowing down and holding a steady 6:40ish pace. That felt comfortable and I knew that it was a safe pace to hold for 7-8 more miles.

I was still not that far from the second leading pack, and I was still hoping that once we get to the beach path I'd be able to work my way back into the pack if the wind was favorable. But unfortunately the wind was the exact opposite, and me running solo proved to be a huge detriment. They gapped me up quickly and by the time we made it to Belmont Shores I was easily 3-4 minutes behind. Oh yeah, I passed some odd looking slower marathon runners, including some dude wearing a Pikachu costume. Here's him checking out my ass.

Now with 3 miles to go I simply wanted to bring it home without being overtaken by my buddies. With the wind in my back from mile 10 onward, the run pace felt a bit easier although the heart rate was still way too high to be able to squeeze any real gains. 175bpm is only like 8 beats away from my max heart rate so I had to be judicious about trying to gain a few seconds here and there. Also, by the time I got to mile 11 I was absolutely soaking wet from the humidity of Long Beach, and was also weighing me down - I can do heat and cold, but humidity is my kryptonite.

Anyhow, soon enough I was turning left towards the finish chute. Was quite happy to cross it with the time around 1:25:10, and my fastest 10k/10mile/13.1 mile effort to date. My buddy Kevin finished about a minute behind, but I am sure that he was controlling his pace since he is training for a real goal (ie a sub 3 at the California Intl course in December). I hung out with him for a bit, but soon had to make my way back to the car to get home to take care of some stuff. I did stop by a tiny little cash only breakfast place run to get some omelet and bacon with toast or else my body was threatening a hard crash.

Overall I thought that the race was a success. I could have probably gone under 1:25 had I been executing on some specific race plan, but I really just wanted to go by a feel and just blast it out without any regard for the strategy. The end result gave me some confidence towards trying to go 3:12 or so in NY in November, but I'll have to recalibrate depending on the race day conditions. Until then...

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