Did I really run two 10ks the day before the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon? Yes yes I did.
I woke up Sunday (October 27) morning with the realization that I was actually in LA to run that amazing Half Marathon. Ha!
I bound off the couch before the 5am wakeup call that morning. I was ready to go. I am always worried that if I hit snooze I will sleep through the race so I make sure to keep that little extra pep in my step in those moments. :)
Thankfully I always lay out flat Dani the night before so getting ready was easy. Ray, my teammate, wasn't running, but offered to drive me to my friend Andrea's place so she and I could drive to the race together.
Yay not having to take the Metro by myself.
It was great to catch up more with Andrea (a fellow Weight Watchers Leader) while driving to the race. We are both early birds and like to get to races with time to spare.
Since we left the place she was staying right on time and she found a "secret" parking garage for the race, we were there with plenty of time to spare. It was perfect really.
She ended up parking under the LA Convention Center (where the expo was) so I actually knew where we were. Yay! We exited the Convention Center and a block later we bumped into the Starting Line (on our right)
... and the post-party stage/party area (on our left)!
Talk about convenient.
Before Andrea and I parted ways, we ran into my Got Chocolate Milk #TeamRefuel running mate Jeremy.
Thanks for the pic Jeremy!
It was soooo nice to finally meet Jeremy after interacting together so much on social media!!
I bid Andrea and Jeremy adieu as I headed to find the Rock 'n' Roll VIP tent. I can't thank Got Chocolate Milk enough for the access to the VIP area before the races. Wicked nice to have special bag check and bathrooms.
Thank you to the Farms of Beverly Hills at LA Live for opening a portion of their website to this VIP area. I even got to take a pre-race selfie! Phew! :P
I was even able to charge my phone so I would be able to take it on the course with me.
Before I knew it it was creeping up on 7:30am (Start time) and I headed out to Corral 3. I was searching along the way for friends running, but didn't notice any of them. The course would be two different loops/out-and-backs so I hoped to run into everyone I knew along the way ... literally!
I made it to Corral 3 with minutes to spare.
I love taking in the atmosphere at races especially the pre-race vibes. You see some people that are totally calm, some that are nervous, some that are making last minute adjustments to their playlists and on this day people fixing their costumes. Yes, since this was October 27 many people we rocking some pretty sweet costumes out on the course.
I was too wrapped up in the people watching to realize it was our Corrals turn to hit the pavement.
Before the race started, I knew I wasn't going to PR so my goal was to have as much fun as possible and enjoy the race. Especially since I had run just under 13 miles the day before.
The first few miles felt effortless which made me think I was probably running at a pace slower than race pace. I was sticking with the 1:45 pace group for awhile and thought if I stuck with them great - if not, I'd be okay.
I promptly lost that group in the late Mile 2/early Mile 3 because I started taking pictures. What was I taking pictures of? The LA Coliseum. The. LA. Freakin'. Coliseum.
I was going to take FULL advantage of this experience.
Go ND! :P
And there was no way I was making it out of the Coliseum without taking a pic of the Olympic rings.
Soooo freakin' cooooolll!!!
It was the happiest 10 min/mile pace I've ever had. :P
After leaving the Coliseum, I actually noticed Doctor Dribble out on the course. He dribbles two basketballs while running half marathons and marathons. A-freakin-mazing.
Can you tell I was enjoying the run? We weren't even four miles into the race yet and there was so much excitement.
Once we left the coliseum, folks were coming towards us for their loop around the stadium. I peered through the crowd looking for any familiar faces, but unfortunately didn't see any of my peeps. Darn! But there were a ton of amazing costumes out there so I was still entertained.
There was also a Mini-Marathon race going on alongside the half. Folks were running and walking 3.55 miles. It was great seeing those folks costumes, but I was slightly jealous as we passed the six-mile mark and those peeps were heading to the Finish and we had to keep going. ;)
But, I pulled up my big girl shorts and kept putting one foot in front of the other. My legs were feeling pretty good despite all the running and walking I'd done the day before.
There was a slight incline as we headed through the Financial District, which woke my legs up from the night before. You may remember those hills during the trail run - yikes! But, I channeled my Spinning training and powered up. As we approached the hilly bridge at Mile 9/10, we entered a tunnel first with a DJ and lights.
I took pictures and video in the tunnel of the wheelchair races and elite athletes zooming past us, but they came out a blurry mess. I should've stopped to shoot them rather than snap on the go. Next time.
But it was wicked cool to see those speedy guys zooming past and looking as if they hadn't even broken a sweat. The wheelchair athletes as well are such amazing inspirations. I couldn't stop cheering and yelling for all of them. Just one of the reasons I love out-and-back type courses.
The bridge - and it's subsequent incline - seemed to last from about Mile 9 through mid-part of Mile 10.
Can you see how foggy the whole race was?
There was a water station and band stationed at the top of the bridge and it was just what I needed as my legs were starting to feel the hill workout they had done the night before.
I hit Mile 10 and my legs felt like lead. I tried to remind them (and yes I talk to my body parts) and let them know that the inclines were over. As I enjoyed the downhill off the bridge, the friends I know and love started popping up all over the course. I was able to cheer for all the familiar faces I know and love. I threw up high-fives when possible, big arm waves in other instances and air kisses to anyone that wanted them.
My smile got bigger and bigger as I passed familiar faces. Have I mentioned I love the out-and-back course? ;)
Every time I saw a familiar face I got a little pep in my step.
I knew I had less than a 5k to go and I was ready to give it my all, while still trying to take pictures and tweet. Yes I was attempting to tweet and run at the same time.
We re-entered the bridge from before and I was met with a homeless person pushing a shopping cart. He was pushing the cart and trying to race the other runners. It was an enjoyable site for sure.
Sorry for the blurry pic, but again a result of running and snapping at the same time.
As I approached Mile 12, I thought it was the perfect chance to snap an in-race photo to share on Twitter and Facebook.
So on my phone screen this picture didn't look as frightening as it did on the computer. :P Can you tell how excited I was to be running ... and almost done? ;)
Once we passed that 12-Mile Mark, it was a straight shot to the Finish and I was ready. I love seeing the Finish Line in sight and giving everything you have to reach it as quickly as possible. Even if your mind is moving faster than your legs. ;)
See ya Mile 13, I'm Finish Line bound.
And there it was. Half Marathon #14 was in the books. I got my water, my medal and was off to stock up on my low-fat chocolate milk.
How cool is the Finisher's Medal?
If there's one thing RnR knows how to do, it's medals!!
I was proud to post a 1:53:19 - very respectable for me/the conditions. I never thought I would expect myself - even with stops, pictures, etc - to post a sub 2-hour Half. Oh how times change ... and I love it!
And as always, I pay the $20 to get my medal engraved on-site. I would never want to get all the way home to have someone engrave my medal only to mess up my name or time. If they mess up on-site, they have a box of medals to replace it! :0)
Gotta love a mimosa post-race, right?
I had a great time chatting with running mates post-race, especially Jeremy and Paul.
After soaking up some final minutes of free food, it was time to head out and meet up with my friend Dave for beer, brunch and Patriots football.
I wish the race had less fog, but I guess I should expect that in Cali, right? The race was well organized, had great cheerleaders and spectators along the course and was a blast overall.
Have you ever run Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half?