Sunday, January 8, 2012

Southern California Half Marathon

Well this is exciting!
My first post about my first ever running race!!!

If you told me a few years ago that I would someday fall in love with running and that I’d actually be decent at it… I probably would have laughed at you. I used to haaaaaaate running with a passion. I thought it was pointless to do because it would never help my swimming and I just didn’t enjoy doing it. That’s mostly because I was bad at it though and it made me feel fat and sluggish. Every time I tried to run, I thought I’d be okay at it because I had the cardio background with swimming, but again and again I just couldn’t do it efficiently.

Well after months and months of getting into triathlons and finally owning up to the fact that I need to focus on my weakness, I’ve slowly fallen in love with it. There’s so much technique involved with running that it’s a lot like swimming. I guess I just thought that you run the way you run and that’s that... but that’s not the case at all. After reading the book Born to Run, and getting a lot of coached tips on running from Marc, I learned a lot about how important technique is.

Now let’s fast forward a little bit to the race I just did in Irvine!

I have been focusing on a lot of mileage lately with running, so I decided to take a glance at the local running races going on during the time that I was planning on being home. told me there was going to be a race called the Southern California Half Marathon in Irvine onJanuary 7th. Perfect! I had found it just two weeks prior to race day and only committed to signing up a few days before the race.

I had done a super hell week during the previous week at home with 23 hours of working out. Then I went to Mammoth and did a couple 9-mile long high altitude runs on top of snowboarding.. then took that Friday off from running and woke up refreshed and ready for some racing on Saturday.

Here are the details:

It was quite an experience.
I have seen plenty of videos and pictures of mass start running races and big crowds of people, but never have I ever experienced that until this day..

The game plan in my head was, ‘just do the miles.’
Then I ran a mile for warm-up and felt good.
Then I decided to try a little bit.
Then I decided to see how long I would last if I cranked up the target pace.

I was told to take the first couple miles easier and then pick up the pace.
Click on the "View Details" button on the Garmin thingy above to see my splits.

I apparently negative split the race. Go figure. I guess I’m good at harder efforts on the back half.
Sound familiar? Yeah, I would do that ALL THE TIME in my 500 and 1650 at taper meets hahaha. Wow. Some things don’t change I guess. My approach was to ease into it and then see how long and hard I could go once I was in the thick of it.

Also in the beginning, it was so weird to be surrounded by so many people. They had attempted to designate waves based on what you predicted your pace to be, but once everyone crammed in for the start, it was all a jumbled up mess of people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. The first couple miles also consisted of an obstacle course of people! I thought I was doing the right thing by staying by my designated wave based on running pace. False. Next time I’m just getting as close to the Start line as I can.

There’s definitely a different atmosphere surrounding a running race than a triathlon. I feel like just about anyone who can walk can sign up for a running race. But that’s really not the case with a triathlon and in my opinion it feels like collectively there are more athletic and fit individuals at a tri. I could be totally wrong, and wouldn’t mind if someone wanted to debate that point, but that’s just what I gathered from the people I came across.

You can skip this next paragraph if you don’t care to read about my rant on all the Mexican kids that were there.
Speaking of the people, this race was the epitome of the melting pot that is Southern California. There were so many Asians. There were so many Hispanics. There were so many White people. One of the things that annoyed me the most was the dozens and dozens of yellow school buses that transported hundreds of Mexican kids from Los Angeles. Yes, I’m totally complaining on justified terms here. Sure, it’s great that an organization like “Students Run LA” is getting kids to be more active and get physically fit. But do they belong at a normal road race like this where they have zero race etiquette, they create passing blocks because they run in packs, and they speed up and slow down so often like bad traffic on the I-5?? No. They don’t belong unless someone teaches them the proper way to run respectfully in a race next time around. They were super inconsiderate, especially in the beginning. Someone should suggest they set up their own student race. I hate annoying kids. Okay, done with that rant.

Shout-out to my local running shop, A Snail’s Pace, for being stellar. I got a new pair of Vibram Five-Fingers from them for Xmas from my Dad. And while I was there, I got the package of Cliff Shot Bloks that I consumed half of at mile 6.something of the run. I wasn’t physically hungry, but I’m glad I ate something to keep me going because the back half of the race was rough.

So that’s that! I promise all my future reports on running races won’t be as lengthy haha. I just did a full analysis of the atmosphere and the people this time around since it was my first one and I was so stoked about it : )

Thanks for reading! I hope it makes you want to go run!

Some parting pictures that my dad took of me when he found me! He left the house in the morning on his road bike and stopped at a few points along the race to snap some photos of me! I'm still so shocked he found me... as you can tell from my facial expressions hahaha..


  1. "I have seen plenty of videos and pictures of mass start running races and big crowds of people, but never have I ever experienced that until this day.."

    Seem to have forgotten a certain race...

  2. no no! Totally different because TM had groups. This was literally MASS start haha