Hey gang. Remember less than a week after I ran a marathon and I was all “I’m going to bust my 1/2 marathon PR!” so I signed up for this half marathon but then I took a ton of zumba and yoga and stopped running more than 3 miles a week? Yep. Less than a month ago I decided that I needed to get cracking on that training thang. I did a 6 miler, 8 miler, 10 miler and an almost 7 miler. Today, with less training than I’ve ever had going into a race I ran the inaugural Pasadena Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon.
The excitement started yesterday when I went to the expo to pick up my bib. The only other Rock n Roll race I ran was in San Diego and while I loved the race, the expo was mayhem. I braced myself for terrible lines BUT I was so happy when I arrived. The lay out was the same as San Diego but with a fraction of the people!
I was able to zip through and get all the free sample too! It’s called priorities people.
I also peeped at the medals.
People have critiques of the Rock n Roll series but they give fantastic medals! So heavy.
Then I went home and grabbed some friends. None of them were running today but they agreed to carb load in solidarity.
I got noodles with chicken and BACON.
This morning I actually got to sleep until 5 am (which is actually kinda late for race morning). I ate a bagel with peanut butter, as per the usual, and headed out the door to the race.
The race started and ended at The Rose Bowl. I kinda love the Rose Bowl. The first time I ever went there was in 1995 when Northwestern played USC (we, meaning Northwestern) lost. I didn’t get to see the game but I had a vivid memory of wandering the parking lot with my Mom and brother, hearing that Northwestern had lost and dealing with what felt at the time to be a crushing disappointment. It was the first of many to come as Northwestern has a truly terrible bowl game record. Can’t win them all, or any. I’ve been to the Rose Bowl several times since for the flea market they have their monthly or the see UCLA play. I was excited to run a race there today.
Darnell Autry, star of the 1995 Northwestern Wildcats. Source.
The weather today was perfect when we started running but freezing while waiting at the start line! I waited til the last moment to give up my polar fleece and then I headed to the start line and made small talk with some other runners. Before I knew it the race was underway!
I really loved this race. The course was hilly. The first few and final few miles were the most hilly. I hardly noticed the hills for the final few miles. The first 3 or 4 miles were through a residential neighborhood stacked with California craftsman style houses. I really loved this part of the course. After 4 miles the course turned onto Colorado Blvd. which is a Mecca for shopping! Clearly I enjoyed that part. The course also went down Green St. and out and back on several other side streets before heading back down Colorado towards the Rose Bowl. This went on til about mile 9.
Then we ran down my favorite part of the course:
Downhill, beautiful views, just gorgeous in every way. Of course what goes down must go up again. The course wound around and then headed back to and around the Rose Bowl. I think I prefer hills to flat running. Call me crazy but I’d rather see an uphill, get the satisfaction of running up the hill and then enjoying the downhill.
I felt good throughout the race overall. At no point did I want to quit or die. I set off at a conservative pace and I managed to hold even splits until after mile 10 (ha, what else is new?). It took about two miles for me to loosen up but after that I was in a zone until about the 10k mark. I took a handful of walk breaks in the second half. I mostly just walked some of the more aggressive up hills. I knew going into this race that this was probably going to be the slowest half marathon I’ve run. I barely trained at all coming off cold turkey not running. I won’t sugar coat it, my tush and legs were sore around mile 6. I was still pretty proud of myself for keeping even splits throughout the race.
My favorite part of the course, as I mentioned above was the Colorado Blvd bridge. It was a gradual downhill and the view was fantastic. After the bridge, however, I turned the cover and was faced with a steep uphill. I thought eff it, and walked up. This was at the 9.5 mile mark. As I reached the top “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston, the dance remix came on my ipod and gave me the boost I needed to get moving again. Woo hoo for running for Whitney! After that downhill the last two miles was around a golf course next to the Rose Bowl. This part of the course was my least favorite. It was totally flat and felt like it lasted forever. I was having motivational issues trying to keep my legs moving. I actually ran past my car at one point, thought “oh, seeing the 26.2 sticker on it will motivate me!” and then I promptly took a walk break.
Around this part of the course a woman I was running near me introduced herself. We’d been giving each other encouragement since mile 9.5. Her name was Christine and she was a god send! Right before mile 12 she said, “I don’t know you but let’s hold each other accountable. After mile 12, we don’t walk”. I agreed. I always intend to run the final mile with no walking but I never actually am able to do so. We actually stuck to it too! I ran the final mile and .1. The best part? Mile 13 happened on a hill. Remember how mile 26 in Chicago happened on a hill? And I swore I would crush it but then of course I was exhausted and walked it? WELL. I redeemed myself a little bit today by not walking on the hill. It’s the small victories.
After I hit the mile 13 sign I sprinted. My legs were quaking but I thought to myself that I’d run the whole 13 mile race to get to THIS .1. It was awesome.
Here are my splits:
10 miles: 1:44:59
Average pace: 10:45
Again, not my fastest by any stretch but I really loved this race. It was good to get back into distance running. This race reminded me that I love running and 13.1 is a great distance. I can feel my marathon burn out fading away and I’m excited to dig into training again. It feels good to be back. The fact that with 1 months notice I can hop into a half marathon and run at a decent pace makes me proud. I used to be the kind of person who couldn’t run two miles and now I can hop into a half on short notice and THAT is pretty groovy.
After the race I met up with Danielle, her fiancé Tim (who I never met before and is awesome) and my friend Josh for brunch at the Griddle. You know, home of the HUGE pancakes. I got the oat and cinnamon pancake (personal favorite), bacon, hash browns (the carb special!), an ice tea and a mimosa. I actually scored a second mimosa for free! Our waiter noticed my medal, asked me what I had “won” (I told him I only won in my own heart HA!) and he refilled my mimosa gratis! The Griddle FTW!
Overall, this was a great race. I really loved running in Pasadena and I think I will be back there shortly. I’m going to jump into a more intense training plan (speed workouts and hill workouts and long runs oh my!) starting Wednesday with the hopes of getting in shape to PR in May. For now through I am happy to be back in happy racing mode.