Hellllloooooo from sunny California. Really I could not have timed this trip any better, as the first sightings of winter seem to be hitting Denver.
What can I say, I love where I live…but I don’t really like cold, wet, days. Sorry folks, a runner, not a skier.
My excuse for traveling this time was the Jet Blue Long Beach Marathon and Half Marathon. After finishing Steamboat in June and knowing that my knee post surgery was able to handle 13.1, I wanted to give myself a chance to keep improving that finish time.
Instead of looking at my old PR’s, now I’m focused on post injury PR’s. While I managed to get back some miles pretty quick, my speed is just not coming back with the same ease…and that’s ok, I’m running!
A sub two hour half marathon had become my easy day, but now it was the only thing I really wanted out of coming to sea level and seeing some friends while running.
Long Beach Review
First up, I’ll share with you a review of the race for anyone who is considering it and then I’ll dive in to my race report.
The course is everything this mountain girl dreamed of for a fast run. Sea level, flat, along the water, great morning temperatures. It’s a semi-out and back, in that you don’t come back on the same road so you aren’t facing the runners who are either ahead of or behind you.
It really is a stunning course. You can enjoy running by the marina, then along the beach and even when on the streets you’re looking at palm trees (which no longer living in Florida, I am again fascinated with).
There are a number horseshoe turns, which can slow you down, important to consider when looking to PR.
I did also talk to some full marathon finishers who said the second half does have a few more little hills…granted by mile 20 all hills feel big.
It was actually one of the larger expos I’ve seen in awhile. They had a good mix of vendors, races and charities, plus fun stuff to get you excited. Including a name wall!! I don’t know why, but I always think it’s fun to see your name on a big old wall.Rewards
If you’re the person who tends to talk everyone in to doing a race, this is the one to choose. Based on their referral program, you’ll get money back from your registration after they sign up.
Additionally, they reward folks who have run the race for at least 3 years with access to the Beach Bum Club next to the main beer tent.
I can’t lie, this is really a super nice thing any time I’ve ever had it at a race. No exceptions here!
- No waiting for porta potties, you’ve got private bathrooms
- Express packet pick up morning of the race (bonus swag including the sailor bag!)
- Private gear check
- Actually getting a post race massage because the wait isn’t 3 hours
- Post race meal: omelet station, potatoes, bagels, drinks, it’s all there
- Did I mention the nice private bathrooms?!
It’s pricey, but a really nice way to treat yourself for a goal race!
As always I provide you my pro/con list to help decide if it’s right for you:
- Porta potties!! First start line I’ve seen where there seemed to be plenty
- Beautiful course
- Super flat course
- Makes for a great racecation!
- Course never felt super crowded
- Great support from locals and friends of runners (there was a whole crew passing out donut holes!)
- VIP option is pretty awesome
Ok I had to dig deep for these:
- Half and full don’t start together, which can be fun (but would be very crowded)
- Half started at 7:30 which could mean warm temps finishing
- We collectively agreed the race shirt wasn’t great
- Finish line only had water, bananas and coconut water, unless I missed something else
- No clocks at each mile to check time if you aren’t wearing a watch
Long Beach Race Recap
Staying at the race hotel was a brilliant idea, plus flying West means your wake up never seems early! The start time for my wave was 7:30, which actually meant I was awake for 3 hours before the race and that was plenty of time.Once I decided on this race, I was VERY lucky to find that some great friends were also going to be there. Everyone had roughly the same goal, which meant we didn’t end up running side by side, but we finished within minutes of each other and started together. ME, Danielle, Mica, Becky, Ellen.
- 13.4 miles on my watch
- 1:59:12 official race time
- no knee pain!
- 1014 out of 7290 in the HALF
- 58 out of 626 in F35-39
Breakfast: sourdough and almond butter, 1/3 of a pre-workout drink
During: 1/2 Verb energy bar, sipped water from aid stations (not enough, I need to carry my own)
Pre-race I dashed over to the VIP tent, which admittedly was really hard to find. BUT once there I enjoyed that super wonderful private porta potty and easy bag check. Then it was time to line up with the ladies!As we crossed the start line, I watched the ladies all take off like they were on fire. Like literally on fire, not the oh I’m so excited on fire kind of thing.
After 16 years of running, as I watched my pace tick lower and lower I knew I was heading for late race disaster if I kept going, so I reigned it in and followed the old adage of “run your own race“.
While I checked my pace more during this race than probably any other I’ve run, I found myself in a really good place of not letting myself go too hard too early and yet allowing myself to just see what my body could do.
It was a really great mindset shift that I made during the Wilder Retreat and I can see is going to help me keep coming back stronger from knee surgery, finally! I wanted to keep my music for those last miles when I knew my body would be asking me to stop, so I didn’t turn it on til almost mile 9. And per usual I stuck to just a 3 song rotation!
There is actually science behind the idea that these songs on repeat help you get in to a zone and I’ll be honest late in the race if I’m struggling I kind of get annoyed by everything. So I pick 3 songs I LOVE belting out in the car and they keep me happy.I was hitting right at 8:40 pace until mile 9 and then we hit a headwind running along the water for the next 3 miles. It wasn’t stiff, but it was enough just to mentally slow me down and I found myself really trying to focus on just holding under 9:10.
Usually in the last mile I play a game of roadkill. I count the people I pass as a way to keep pushing myself forward…ummm this time I held my pace pretty much, but I just didn’t have anything left to push harder.
Considering my last long run was over a month ago before we went to Croatia, I really could not be more thrilled with how everything about this race went. How could it get much better?
- Pain free and letting go of the fear of injury
- Great friends to give you a boost
- Beautiful scenery and weather (ok it was humid!)
- A huge confidence booster
Now it makes me want to come back and run some of the other races in the series like OC! All the girls gave it a big thumbs up and who am I to find reasons not to visit California!!
Long Beach Marathon Discount
They are offering a discount on early registration anyways, but you can get another $5 off with RTTF2019 until Oct 14, then they will close registration for awhile and up go the prices!
Have you run a California race?
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I did receive a comped entry to this race, but all opinions are my own.