My very first 1/2 marathon. I never thought paying for the 1/2 was a good value. You run 1/2 the distance, and yet only pay about 10 bucks less than the full. However, having run a handful of marathons, and invariably cursing myself anywhere between miles 16 & 26, I thought I’d give the 1/2 a try.
After Surf City Marathon, I wanted to continue running to maintain the fitness level until Boston, and I thought running a race would help motivate me. So I signed up for the OC 1/2, which starts in Newport Beach and ends in Costa Mesa.
Training got off to a good start, but my dedication to training for a half just didn’t last. The training program asked for 6-7 days of running, but I cut it down to 4-5 because I felt ‘junk miles’ (i.e., runs under 4 miles) would just increase my risks for injuries. I also cut out all speed work for the same reason. With that said, I still managed a 30+ miles/week, which is more than my usual base of 25 miles/week. The back to back days finally did something to my right ankle, so I decided to take myself out of training all together one week before the race – 0 miles before the race.
I was debating whether I should even bother racing, but the thought of having paid $100 and not race was just unacceptable. So I used the race as a Sunday long run. With so many people on the course running along side, it made the long run that much less boring.
Having read about nightmarish attempts of people trying to get out of the finish line parking lot (>2 hours) in past years, I decided to park at the starting line, and get shuttled back after the race. Luckily the race started near J’s office, so we just parked at his office parking lot. I went off to the starting line, and J went to his office building to climb stairs (10 reps of 8 flights).
As usual, most runners don’t check their excitement and adrenaline at the start, and just blast out the gate. I’ve learned to hold back for the first mile before settling into a comfortable pace. First mile was a 8:34 mild incline, and I thought it was too fast until I realized I was running a 1/2 not a full. I tried to check my pace for the 2nd mile steep downhill as runners were storming past me, but ended up with a 8:00 pace. As we wended through CDM and my training ground, I was looking to settle in with a group that was running around the same pace. No luck. Caught up and passed a lot of the hares, and then the back of the pack marathoners at mile 6. Mile 10 was the steep uphill with the sun ablaze, and that was when I thought to myself, “Thank god I’m not running the full”. After cresting the hill, I picked up the pace.
Mile 10 – 8:20
Mile 11 – 7:58
Mile 12 – 8:15
Mile 13 – 7:45
Last 0.22 miles (I always end up running 0.1 miles more than the actual distance due to poor tangent running) – 7:33
I booked it towards the finish line, and felt like I was about to have a heart attack.
The one huge difference between running a 1/2 and full is that you can actually pick up the pace at mile 12 and sustain it, whereas at mile 25 it’s all just wishful thinking.
Final time – 1:48:08
So, will I run another 1/2? Hard to say. It was definitely much more enjoyable, but the ‘value’ is still not there unless the fee is 1/2 that of the marathon’s.