2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Halloween Half Marathon!
This was my 16th half marathon. A few weeks ago, NWM Half was a 2:17 finish and a huge course PR. Heading into RNR Los Angeles, I was hopeful that I would set another PR, visualizing a modest 2:15. The course is much easier than NWM but I wasn’t treating this like a goal race and so perhaps I wasn’t fresh and fully rested.
We arrived super early and I even got to be the first to use a clean port-a-potty! Weird runner joy. Anyway, one thing I love about this race is that the weather is rarely cold this time of year making it unnecessary to wear ditch-clothes to stay warm. It’s perfect for costumed runners and kiddos; and there were some fabulous costumes! Lots of Where’s Waldos and Bananas, and things that incorporated tutu’s. Not as many zombies as I had expected.
I was smart this time and borrowed my husband’s watch so I could make sure I had a good sense of my time/pace. I completely missed the mile 1 marker. When mile 2 came around I was surprised to see that I was doing 9 minute miles. I was shooting for 10’s and was worried I was setting myself up for a bad finish.
But I couldn’t slow down. I didn’t need too. I felt like a brand new runner. I had set out to PR and I knew that wasn’t going to be a problem if I could just hold steady.
The scenery on this course isn’t fabulous, but the course support is great! Lots of happy volunteers, enthusiastic mini cheerleaders, and a modest amount of spectators. If you keep your eyes open, you will see quite a few homeless folks on the side streets.
Last year, I remember crossing the half way point and being able to see others already finishing. Ugh. That’s just the way the course it set up. This year, the course was nearly the same, however, I didn’t really notice the finisher’s as much as I passed. I did hear the announcers calling out Deena Kastor‘s name. She didn’t take 1st this time but I still think she’s awesomesauce.
The hubs missed me at the half way point because the Tiffany Train was ahead of schedule! By a lot. But at least he caught me for the finish.
After the hill/mountain running/hiking I’ve been doing, the elevation of this course had NOTHING on me. Climbing the bridge on the last out-and-back required the most effort but I was easily able to recover on the run. I was looking for those Subaru Smile Zone cameras! Clearly they saw me but I didn’t see them. I had signed up for this prior to the race – they were supposed to post your photo to your Facebook page during the race. The photo showed up about 24 hours after the fact, but it was still cool.
Once you turn back for the last 3+ miles toward L.A. Live, you see the best view of the entire race – the city is spread out before you as you look down from the bridge. It’s a great moment and you know the end is near. I kind of, sort of wanted to get a photo but I just couldn’t bring myself to stop running, which is a new realization for me. If you’re having a really stellar run, you don’t want to stop. Huh.
I finished triumphantly. I had looked at my chrono in the last mile and thought, what the heck?! I had come awful close to my Someday-Sub-2 Dream Goal without feeling like I was pushing too hard at all.
I tried not to brag too much to our friends at the finish area about totally crushing my PR but I’m still super proud of myself. I am 100% confident that I will beat the 2 hour mark on my next half marathon. I just don’t know what race that will be yet. I should pick a special one. Perhaps RNR Pasadena?
When I started running with Team in Training, the idea of running 13 miles without a walk interval was out of the question. Inconceivable. I wondered what it felt like to be one of my faster-friends who powered through a half marathon with just a few quick stops to throw some water down their throat, and then just muscle onward toward the finish line. I imagined their walkless run with awe, but never actually saw them run… because I was 10 corrals behind and finishing an hour later.
I’ve ran RNR Los Angeles 3 times:
- 2010: Finished in 2:34:09 (One week after my first NWM)
- 2011: Finished in 2:46:47 (My 5th of 7 events for the year)
- 2012: Finished in 2:02:40 – WHAT!?
Now do you see why I’m so proud of beating Will Ferrell?! Have I actually put the days of run/walking behind me?
Hula Girl Fuels with Island Boost!
I wanted to dress as a hula girl for this race and, even though I couldn’t find a coconut bra or grass skirt, I think the ensemble worked out pretty well. Between my Maui Jim sunnies and Island Boost fuel, it seemed like a great costume idea!
Pinning my Maui Jim lei to my sports bra (front, back, and straps) was the key to keeping it from flying into my face or around my shoulders and generally driving me insane.
I broke away from the norm (I’ve done so many half marathons that I feel I can take calculated risks on race day) by taking an Island Boost pack about 10 min. before my wave started. I had three on me and figured it wouldn’t hurt to get some in my system right away. It had been nearly 2 hours since I’d eaten my traditional Coach’s Oats pre-race breakfast. I took another Island Boost about 40 min. in and then again at about the 1:20 mark. Pretty much just as prescribed. At 1:20 into the race, I realized I should be finished within the hour so I was feeling good about budgeting my fuel well.
If you’ve ever sampled it, Island Boost is like a sugar explosion in your mouth but the taste quickly dissolves. I can easily shoot it down on the run. My tummy had no problems with it. The entire race, I never felt like I lacked for energy. There was no ‘crash’. Aside from the Gatorade and water at the aid stations, I only used Island boost this entire race.
Well, this was a huge PR and it way surpassed my goal time so I DEFINITELY wanted to celebrate. We grabbed lunch at one of my favorite local places called Secret Spot. They just started serving their Pumpkin Pancakes for the fall and they ARE DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS!