Malibu HM 2017 – Race Report

Another half marathon in the books! This experience was VERY different from my other races, primarily because I was unprepared. My running has been intermittent during business school (I’m now in my 2nd year as a full-time MBA student at UCLA). I’ve only run 4 miles here and there at a pretty slow pace. According to my Nike Run Club app, I ran 6.6 miles in April, but, well, that was over 6 months ago!

I meant to downgrade to the 5k, but missed that deadline, so I decided to run anyway. How bad could it be?

PRE-RACE: Woke up at 4:45am. Thanks to daylight savings, it felt more like 5:45am! I ate a Dean & Deluca Matcha and Espresso Bar and a banana. Weather check: 58 degrees in Malibu. Headed out at 5:15am to make the drive and arrived around 6:00am, 1 hour before the start time. I pre-paid for parking ($5) and found a spot in the third lot. Used the porta potty, went back to my car, and stripped down to my short-sleeved shirt and shorts. It’d be around 60 degrees by race start and I could see that the clouds were starting to clear up. Uh oh, I want the clouds!

MILES 0-6.5: It was slightly chilly at the start of the race, but I knew that I would heat up quickly, especially seeing that the sun was coming out! I lined up between the 2:15 and 2:30 pacers, which meant a start in the second wave. By the time I started running, the sun was already out. I was already feeling hungry!

The first half was really not bad at all. There was a hill that I partially walked, but otherwise, I felt comfortable. The views of the Pacific Ocean were quite nice, as we were running along the PCH. I was, however, getting hungry, and started picking up a pretzel at each water stop. It was also pretty hot. I was regretting the choice to wear a short-sleeved– should have stuck to the no-sleeve shirt!

Around the half-way point, there were Honey Stingers available– yes!!  I refilled my water bottled, walked, and finished my Gold Honey Stinger.

Miles 6.5-13.1: Shortly after the half-way point, my ankles started bugging me. Ugh, I blame the hard roads! I’ve been hiking more than running, so I’ve been spoiled by the soft dirt from the trails. I also wore my Brooks Caldera (trail running shoes), which probably were more suited for the trails than for the roads. Also, as the race is an out-and-back, once you hit the second half, you’re facing the sun. In summary, it was hot, my ankles hurt, and I was hungry.

20171107_135312 malibuThe rest of the race was really just me trying to force myself to run, despite my ankles bothering me.  I kept reminding myself that the sooner I finished, the sooner I could eat. Although another part of me thought, I might as well walk– it’s not worth the ankle pain. At some point, the 2:30 runners passed me while I was walking. I thought about running with them, but decided I was cool with walking, haha.  I was really dragging in the last 2-3 miles, although, in the last mile or so, there were sections of the road with a dirt shoulder, which felt MUCH better on my ankles.  I really should look more into trail racing again! While some of the runners around me seemed very tired, I was mostly just annoyed with my ankle pain and wanted to be done.

20171108_062008.pngI managed to run the last 0.1 miles of the race, but up until that point, I did a ton of walking. I felt pretty lame, but I knew it was probably better for me to take it easy!

POST-RACE: After getting my medal, I picked up water, a slice of watermelon, some coconut water, and a chocolate milk. I didn’t stick around too long– I was really looking forward to the leftover Ethiopian food in the fridge at home!

Officially, my slowest half-marathon! I think it’s my slowest pace for any race, lol. I don’t think I’d run another half marathon again without at least getting up to 6 miles. I’ve actually got three more races before the end of the year, so maybeI can redeem myself!

Malibu Half Marathon
Date: 11/05/17
Time: 2:43:38
Pace: 12:29
Division (F30-34): 172/221
Gender: 957/1271
Overall: 1561/1983


RNR Dallas HM – Race Report

After 12 weeks of training, I PR’ed at the RNR Dallas Half Marathon!! My previous PR was from May 2013, so I was feeling the pressure to beat my time. My training was modified from a 16-week FIRST training plan and I signed up for 5 other half marathons as training runs! My training wasn’t perfect– I got sick once, had some ankle pain after one of the races, and had a strained hamstring after doing yoga a day after a race. I might not be a seasoned runner, but I’ve come to expect these types of obstacles!

PRE-RACE: Race start was at 8am, and since Michael had come up with me to Dallas for the race, I was able to sleep in until 7am!  My weather app had predicted 54-55 degrees during the race, so I made this insane last minute decision to switch from the shorts/tank/sleeves to capris/long-sleeve. I apparently forgot about how to dress for a goal race, lol.  Breakfast was half a banana in the car, on the way to the race. Michael dropped me off just in time, a few minutes before the start. We were fortunate to have ideal racing conditions– overcast
and no wind! I kinda had to go to the bathroom, but I figured it could wait. Priorities.

MILES 0-3 (8:40, 8:31, 8:28): I was assigned to Corral 4, so I started less than 5 minutes after gun time. One mile in, I knew I should have stuck with the tank and shorts. I felt warmer than I would have liked and there was no wind. Honestly, the running conditions were ideal! I contemplated taking off my top and pinning the bib to my shorts but decided that it was too much work. I was already losing time weaving through the crowds of runners and didn’t want to eat up more time. I run in Houston all the time in heat, so I should be able to handle it, right? Typically, everyone gets caught up in the excitement of the start of the race and that first mile is a little fast. I clocked in at 8:39 for that first mile, and I was a slightly concerned. It was still early in the race, though, and I usually take about 3 miles to really warm up, so I figured I’d just have to push through and try to maintain a 8:30ish pace.

I managed to stay on point for miles 2-3, and while I felt more comfortable, it was feeling a little tougher than I thought it would. I know it’s a goal race and all, but I had still expected it to feel a little easier than it did, that early in the race! As Michael had reminded me a few days ago, I needed to trust in my training, so I told myself that I was physically prepared and to just try to stay mentally focused.

MILES 4-6 (7:57, 8:25, 8:28): Luckily, there was a good amount of downhill in mile 4, and my pace picked up. Also, Michael joined me shortly after the 5k mark! Well, he ran just a little ahead of me to not throw me off my pace. I’m not exactly sure how long he ran with me– maybe a mile or so? I took my first gel about 43 minutes in, between miles 5-6. Definitely felt like I needed it. By this time, I had noticed that my Garmin distance was about 0.1 more than the actual course, so I had to remember to adjust the time in my head.

MILES 7-9 (8:45, 8:33, 8:20): I refilled my water bottle in mile 7, and thus the drop in pace. Can’t wait to finish and go to the bathroom.

MILES 10-13.1 (8:30, 8:47, 8:15, 8:34, 1:46) By this time, I knew I’d have to go faster than 8:30 miles if I wanted to hit a sub-1:50, and I wasn’t too sure I could manage that– I’d try, of course. I took the second gel in Mile 10, and I believe there was a hill in Mile 11. It really sucks watching your pace drop considerably and doubt creeps into your mind as you imagine that goal time slipping away! I do NOT remember there being so many hills when I ran this last year. On the plus side, a PR was still in sight and I was feeling determined to at least PR. I was briefly confused about what my last PR was. Was it a sub-1:53 or sub 1:52? Could I PR?? Ya know, race brain. Also, I’m thinking that caffeine is not going to help that bathroom situation.

rnrdallas2015Michael jumped in the race again– maybe around this time? I was impressed he was able to find me a second time! And THEN, in Mile 13, there was another cruel, big hill! It was tough and I considered just giving up because it would be so much easier to just walk. Which I did. For 5 seconds. Then, I thought– I’m less than a mile from the finish– I can push through one mile, damnit. Plus, porta-potties at the finish! Is it possible to run and have my legs give up and collapse? No way, right? My legs were feeling tired and I had to really get my breathing  in control to gradually speed up again and get back on pace. I had doubts about whether or not I could even speed up enough, but my pace slowly sped up! I saw Michael again (a third time!) and he yelled, “GO JESSICA!” Despite how tired I felt, I flashed him a smile (or at least I tried to). I REALLY pushed it for a strong finish once I rounded the corner and could see that glorious finish line. There’s nothing like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel to get that extra burst of energy! My watch hit 1:52:00 on the dot as I crossed the finish. PR!! (Where are those porta-potties?)

POST-RACE: According to the Garmin, I ran a 8:27/M pace, but since it also calculated a 13.25 miles, I knew the official pace would be slower than the 8:30/M I was hoping for. Regardless, it was a PR!! I grabbed a water, a medal, and a chocolate milk before exiting the finisher’s shoot. I chugged half the chocolate milk and looked around for Michael. I stretched a little and then spotted him going towards the post-party, not quite in hearing distance. I caught up with him (cool, my legs are still working!) soon after, hit up the porta-potties (THANK GOODNESS! Also, finishing earlier meant that I found a porta-potty that was relatively unused! Wohoo! It’s the small things in life.), and we were outta there. True Food Kitchen for some much-needed caffeine and food. =)

 RNR Dallas Half Marathon
Time: 1:51:55
Pace: 8:33/M
Division (F30-34): 74/889
Gender: 350/5164
Overall: 1164/8486

Dallas Half Marathon Race Report

I signed up for the Dallas Half Marathon in 2013, but the race was cancelled due to bad weather! We didn’t get refunds, but instead, got a discount on registering for 2014. Also, if we ran 2014, we’d be able to pick up our medals from 2013! No-brainer– I signed up as soon as they sent us the discount email.

Unlike the small race from the prior week, big races require waking up ridiculously early the morning of, but on the up side, they have race expos! I drove up from Houston Saturday morning (couldn’t skip Rascal Flatts playing at the company holiday party Friday night!) and in the afternoon, went to packet pick-up and explored the expo, picking up a few items. Also, I signed up for the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon in September at a discount!

IMG_1523Pre-race: I stayed at a friend’s place overnight in Lower Greenville, since it’s a much shorter drive from there than from Plano! The morning was going relatively smoothly, until I got close to the race and realized I had no cash for parking.  Shit.  I ended up finding street parking and did the Pay by Phone option, after coming up short on change to put into the meter. I waited until 30 minutes before the start to leave my car. I thought I would have plenty of time to go to the bathroom and then meet up with some friends, but I was wrong, lol. I waited in line for 15-20 minutes to go to the bathroom. By then, the corrals were so crowded that I wasn’t able to maneuver over to where my friends were standing!

IMG_1530Race: After running RunGirl 13.1 last weekend, I decided to take this one easy. Glad I had decided that, because turned out I was a bit dehydrated and had minor side cramps going on! Walked EVERY water station, and thus, the pretty varied paces in my splits. It sprinkled lightly during the race. Wasn’t too bad except that it made the roads a bit slick and I had to tread carefully.

Around the last 1/4 mile of the race, the first place marathon runner came running by! I was prepared– stopped to snap a shot before finishing the run.


Official time: 2:07:28
Pace: 9:44

IMG_1544Definitely much slower than last week’s race, but I’m not beating myself up over it! Picked up 2 extra medals after the race and then walked probably a mile to get back to my car! It was rather tricky getting over there with all the sectioned off areas for the race & post-race party! I headed back to my friends’ place, showered, and we went to True Food Kitchen for lunch, followed by much-needed coffee from Ascension Coffee. =)