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Palos Verdes Half Marathon

May 3, 2009

**Edited to add**

FEMALE AGE GROUP:  20 - 24
    1    41 ELAINE WOODWARD      2844 23 LOS ANGELES        1:35:03
    2    87 LYDIA LINDHULT       1528 23 REDONDO BEACH      1:41:59
    3    88 NICOLE MAREK         2524 20 SAN DIEGO          1:42:00
    4   158 ANDREA TORNG         2776 22 PLAYA DEL REY      1:48:28

Yeahhh! Even if I came in without the break in the middle at 1:45, I still would have placed fourth. Too bad I didn’t stay long enough after the race to claim my victory! Here are some “action” shots, looks like the photographer found me well, there were lots of pics to choose from

Trying to pass him...

Trying to pass him...

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I sense a little competition

I sense a little competition

Still smiling...

Still smiling...

Luckily, the rain held off nicely the entire race. I didn’t want another Pasadena to start off my training race for the LA Marathon. I was so happy to be running this race, finally, my hometown. I ran through the town I grew up in and the course was right outside our doorsteps. It was also on the smaller side which was nice. No crowding and not too much traffic getting to the race site. Woke up at 4am to do my ritual pre-race breakfast and left around 6:30, the race started at 7:30. Weather was overcast and cool. The Mapquest directions from my parents house to the race site was actually along the race course itself. We didn’t even need directions because we just followed the orange cones straight from our house to Pt. Fermin Park in San Pedro. During the drive, I made mental notes about the course. Lots of rolling hills (Portuguese Bend) and a killer hill close to the start of the race. Even in the car, that hill felt very steep and it lasted for a mile. I was a little disappointed when I saw the half marathon course and realized that I would not be running by my house, because our turnaround was near Wafayerer’s Chapel. I have never ventured down PV Drive South, along Portuguese Bend so the race course took me by surprise. The half marathoners started at 7:30, everyone was bouncing up and down trying to stay warm. I made the smart decision to tie my jacket around my waist before it started because I knew I would get hot once I started running.

Because of the small size of the race, I had no problem getting to the head of the pack and experienced no bottle-necking for once. The race started off well, Mile 1 was so incredibly windy. I had to hold on to the tip of my hat to keep it from flying off. We ran along the park and finally reached the dreaded hill, only at Mile 2. There was no point in trying to look up to see how much further you had left of the hill. I just wanted to get it over with. It’s interesting how much of a difference in incline/decline you feel when you are running. You start to feel all the different muscles in your legs working to get you through the hill. It wasn’t just a gradual incline, it was by far the steepest hill I have ever encountered in a race. I focused on my breathing and looked at my feet the entire way up, cursing underneath my breath at the directors who decided a hill was the best way to start off a race. Good thing was, once the hill was done, I could look forward to running down the hill on the way back. Mile 3-6.5 was wonderful. We ran along the cliffs of PV looking down at the water. It’s so different than running by the beach and made me appreciate the course so much more. There were scenic spots along the entire course and I finally got to see the famous Trump golf course. It was just as prestigious as I imagined, the entire golf course was so green with it’s own lakes and stretched out for a mile or so. I didn’t realize we had been going at a steady decline the entire race, besides a couple rolling hills. I was feeling great and thought I had a PR in the bag. Once at the turn-around, those happy thoughts quickly disappeared. It appeared we were running at a gradual incline on the way back. This couldn’t come at a better time because I had to go to the bathroom really badly. I held off from mile 6-11, but couldn’t take it anymore. I knew it would hurt my time, but I figure I might as well be running the last 2 miles peacefully. The rolling hills were kind of funny because as I was heading back and going down a hill, the opposite side was climbing up the hill and visa versa. Such a difference in expressions. The gradual incline was pretty much how I remember the last 6.5 miles back. I couldn’t concentrate on enjoying the scenery as I did for the first half, I just wanted to finish and wished the ground would level off. I just looked forward to the steep downhill around Mile 11 and finally after the hill, I made a dash into the restroom. I stopped my Garmin because I didn’t want it to affect my overall time and average pace. I knew I was probably not going to beat my last PR (1:45), but I wanted to come in close. I saw Brennan with the camera around.50 mile from the finish and got a couple good shots in before I sprinted to the finish line. The official time was 1:48, but without the break in the middle I would have came in at 1:45. Oh well, it was a good shot and I definitely will be doing this race again next year.

Even after running my third half marathon and running 40+ miles a week, the thought of running 26 miles is still very intimidating to me. I keep thinking about how mentally challenging Surf City was for me towards the end of the race and how I had to give it everything I had to keep going and finish. After Pasadena, I really changed my workouts and focused more on quality vs quantity. Instead of running 7 miles 7 days a week, I would run (10-15 miles) every other day and a long run on the weekends. I also throw in a treadmill workout of hills and speed intervals to improve my time and fear of hills. I also started taking yoga twice a week and it’s been great for streching me out after a long week of training. I still strength train 3-4 times a week, mixed in with boxing and various polymetric exercises to help me with short bursts of activity for when I need it the most. Hopefully all this training I have been doing the past couple of months will come together for me during LA and give me a good shot at running Boston next year. Here are my Garmin stats for the race and a couple pictures of the beautiful course:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/4555593

Cliffs

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Pt. Fermin Park

Pt. Fermin Park

Horray last half mile to go!

Horray last half mile to go!

Gradual Incline

Gradual Incline

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Brennan permalink
    May 3, 2009 3:59 pm

    Congratulations! Another great race, and good job beating fierce competition from both Mocha and Toffee.

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