OC Half Marathon
May 1, 2016
After a couple bad years with injuries and performances that left us wanting for more..a group of us have been doing some races together as we all have June marathons. For Vic, Jessica, Andy and some others it's Grandma's marathon in MN. For Leonard it's the Tunnel Marathon in WA a week earlier. We are about 8 weeks behind the SDTC Boston Group (that had their race a few weeks back) and closely aligned with the SDTC RockN'Roll group which is also in June.
Leonard, Jessica and I have been doing some long runs and tempo runs together - only a few so far - but they've been some killer workouts (for me anyway). I need months of regular tempo to keep the progress going. Moving out of weekly track work and moving to long runs and tempo - with some marathon pace on the long runs is the plan for the next 6 weeks.
Yesterday Leonard, Jessica and I ran the OC Half Marathon in Newport Beach. It's a large half marathon with over 8,200 finishers. I was 118th overall, 103rd male finisher and 58th "age graded" finisher with a 73.8% age grade which is OK, but not where I need to be. I was 4th in M55-59 which frankly did not include any fast runners as a a time under 1:25 for M55-59 is clearly possibly on this course.
We drove up the afternoon prior and stayed at the Hyatt in Newport near the start line. Not quite close enough to walk there, we awoke at 4:30 am and caught the 5:15 am shuttle for the 6:15 start of the half marathon.
Start of the full marathon: 5:30 am in Fashion Island
After watching the full marathon start we loafed around and killed time for 45 min until our race began. We dropped our bag in the UPS spot for drop offs and headed over to the start line.
The course winds quite a bit and has a hill at the start and a couple other smallish rollers during the race. It does finish slightly lower than it begins, but the massive downhill is at mile 2 which - like Boston - is a bit early to try and bank time IMHO, but that's the course.
Around mile 5 - 6:55 pace passing another old dude
I felt mostly good during this race. My right hamstring had been bothering me over the past few days but I took off on Saturday and did very little on Friday and it never really felt that bad during the race. Likewise with my left Achilles tendon - mildly sore as always but no real pain.
Looking at the race in terms of 5K splits, it was truly effortless to run the first 5km at 6:46/mile which surprised me as I'd been struggling doing that during the tempo runs. I did a 20:54 5K which was almost exactly the pace I did a week ago in training when I was dead at the end. But to be fair, there was a mild uphill as we ran around "Fashion Island" and then it was a mile of all downhill followed by some flat running through the rich bastions of Newport.
The second 5K I did in 21:42 @ 7:00/mile. this part had very mild rolling terrain through newport. Still feeling fine. We ran through the $10M home neighborhoods and then down to sea level with a view of Balboa Island and the dock. Again - mostly easy.
The third 5K got a bit nasty. First we meet up with the marathoners, run under a bridge and up a paved trail, then a wee little hill to a parking lot then onto another paved trail where "slow runner avoidance" - now underway for over a mile - began taking it's toll. There was a sign when we merged that said "Marathon runner stay right, Half Marathoners stay left" which was mostly followed be the marathon group, but this was the 6 hour pace group not the Kenyans on the trail and there was a ton of dodging and turning while running uphill and navigating the course at this point. This was my hardest 5K in the race and my slowest. My HR went from the 140 average i'd been on up to more like 150 and remained there for the rest of the race.
Thankfully the last four miles were a bit easier and, well, it was the end of the race. Time to grit your teeth and just bear with some "discomfort". Unfortunately I did not feel like I was racing any more but just thinking of the upcoming marathon and running accordingly. Could I run a marathon this fast? While this was my goal pace, I did not feel like I could do two of these - this course anyway.
The last long straight I prior to turning into the OC Fairgrounds and finish line I just ran even and my HR floated up to 153 and I was not all the tired at the end. Could have easily done this race about a minute faster, which I've got to work on!