Thursday, October 22, 2015

Race Report: Long Beach Marathon

About two months prior to this race - I was named a Long Beach Marathon Ambassador.  I was at the point where I was 50/50 as to whether I'd register for this race, and one of the perks of ambassadorship was that you get a free entry.  So, that more or less sealed the deal and had me running it.

Me with two other ambassadors.

One of my original goals for 2015 was to make an attempt at a sub 3 marathon while pushing my son in a stroller.  That goal, as with most of my athletic goals, was delayed until later - so this marathon was definitely not going to be that race.  In addition, the forecast (both the long term forecast at the time and, as we got closer to race day, the immediate forecast) called for a heat wave during this run - with the temperatures reaching triple digits.  That meant, in a nutshell, that pushing the stroller would be a big no-no.

I was, however, able to get a decent amount of training in before the race - and I was actually feeling somewhat decent leading up to the marathon, so a sub 3:30 was something I was gunning for and hoping to achieve.

Picking up my packet.  The Daniel Strong T-Shirt is in support of Daniel Allemond, a teammate of mine who is battling cancer.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

The race started out fine - even though I was near the very back when the gun went off and the various corrals started moving forward.  I took off and kept a fairly even pace all the way through the crowd, weaving in and out of people as I tried to find a bit of space.
Some shot of when the run was going pretty good.

Trucking along the bike path, nice and easy - nothing too bad yet.

Still moving right along, again, the wheels were still on at this point.

The run, as I've alluded to in previous blog posts, goes all around the shoreline of Long Beach, Ca (which is where I do quite a bit of my training).  I was used to running there and had run various races that covered most of the marathon course.  The course has a few rolling hills in the later miles, but nothing too bad or obnoxious.

I kept it slow and even, maintaining an easy (but also easily sustainable) 7:30 to 7:40 per mile pace and tried not to get too caught up in running people down and going faster than I should have.

Everything was going smoothly until about mile 17 or so - where my glutes started really screaming at me whenever I tried to fire them up.  By that time, the heat was beginning to get to me as well.  I was roughly on pace to finish at a sub 3:30, but it also was not meant to be and I started to walk.

The look on my face in this picture when I saw the camera guy snapping pictures of me walking. haha

Trying to pick up a bit of a jog, but it wasn't gonna happen here.

Eventually, a familiar face (Anthony Sanders, a SKORA running ambassador and all around badass) caught up with me and we "ran" a bit together for a couple miles (I put the running in quotes only because we both were feeling the heat at that time).  I wasn't able to keep it up.  As much as I wanted to, my legs were killing me and I knew if I kept going I ran the risk of hurting something, so I wished him luck and started walking again.  Then, within the last two miles or so, another friend (Peachy Poso, one of the people I was an ambassador with at A Runner's Circle) caught up with me and I ran/limped into the finish line with her.  She was aiming for a Boston Qualifying time and missed it by seconds - so I'm confident that if she does a marathon in a cooler climate she'll easily attain that.

Jogging a bit with Peachy at the latter stages of the run.

Finishing the race was a welcome sight for me, mainly because I was just glad to be done.  I was out there for 3:52:14 - which isn't a PR by any stretch and definitely not the best time I could have put together - but it was what I did that day, and I'm proud of it.

Finally crossing the finish line.  The first time that I can remember walking across a finish line.

After the race, I was pretty well done.  Trying to cool off was next to impossible and I was overheating until I got to my car and blasted the A/C.

All around, the Long Beach Marathon was a great race.  The medal and race day swag is all honky dory and all, but the thing they do best is the volunteers.  There were several aid stations through the course and not once was there an issue with any of them being understocked.  When you add to that all of the cheer stations they had (there were several areas of people cheering that ended up as "unofficial aid stations"), they had plenty of support for any runner on the course.

The medal was pretty sweet - and well earned.

Now, the heat was an issue.  It reached triple digits around the time I finished (probably 30 minutes or so before I finished) and I would guess it caused a lot of problems for some people (because it did for me, and I train often in the heat).

Looking back on it, there's not a whole lot I could do better/different in terms of the actual race.  I fell apart because of lack of specific marathon training and because this wasn't treated as a significant race for me.  I think I would do a lot better at this race if I were to train specifically for it without having other races so close in succession.  I think lack of training was the one biggest set back - even though I had plenty of miscellaneous run training in the months before this race (mostly for Ironman Lake Tahoe).  

All in all, fun race and a great day - even if I was completely miserable through most of it.  haha

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