It took me long enough to write this post, but it’s finally here! I’ve always enjoyed reading race recaps so I want to continue sharing my race experiences with all of you!
The Long Beach Half Marathon was my 16th half marathon- SWEET 16. It was my first race I ran when I moved to Southern California 4 years ago so it definitely has a special place in my heart. I almost didn’t run the half this year. After battling on and off knee issues since the middle of the summer I probably should have given my knee a break after Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon back in September. I managed to run 26.2 miles downhill in that marathon without knee pain so figured I could push through another month to get to the Long Beach Half.
After Big Cottonwood, I took a full 10 days off from running. I started working out slowly again- first with yoga, then cycling, and finally back to running and weight lifting. My first run after the marathon didn’t go well. I set out for 3 miles and barely made it a 1.5 miles without knee pain. It was probably too soon for me to run. I went to PT, gave my knee a few more days off, then gave running a try again. No knee issues for another week. I was able to fit in one final long run before the Long Beach Half- 10 miles on the strand without knee pain the weekend before the race. The following Monday I set out for a recovery run and barely made it 3 miles without pain. I broke down and had one of those “feel sorry for me moments.” I was just sick of the back and forth with my knee. I wasn’t going to let it stop me from running the Long Beach Half though.
The main reason I wanted to run this race was my friend Ellen and I ran Surf City and The OC half this past year. Long Beach would be our third race in the Beach Cites Challenge. I also was meeting up with some long time Instagram friends and didn’t want to miss out on a fun race with them!
Two days before the race I headed down to Long Beach to pick up my race bib and packet, and take my obligatory pre- race photo. On the way home I stopped by my physical therapist’s office to have her tape my knee for the race.
The day before the race I headed out for a 20 minute shakeout run. No knee pain during my run- I know it was only a 20 minute shakeout run, but it made me feel a little better going into the half.
The night before the race I had my usual Banza pasta with veggies and chicken sausage! That’s been my go-to pre- long run dinner all summer. It always hits the spot!
The morning of the race I woke up extra early to make sure I had enough time to eat, do some glute activation exercises with my bands, and hip opening stretches. I also had a bowl of oatmeal with 1/2 banana and 1 tbsp nut butter before I headed to Long Beach.
Once I got to Long Beach, I met up with Ellen, Amanda, Danielle, and Micca. We arrived at the start line with plenty of time to spare. My plan going into this race was to run/walk like I did at Big Cottonwood. Once the race started I threw the walking plan aside and decided to actually race. The coarse was relatively flat and the temperature was perfect! A few years ago when I ran this race it was 80 degrees at the start line. This time around it was in the 60s and overcast. The sun came out about half way through the race.
Besides feeling out of shape from not running that fast in a while, my knee felt great for most of the race! I was able to hold an 8:30/mi pace until about mile 7. Then around mile 9, I could feel my IT band and calf lighting up so I decided to walk a bit. I thought if I walked now, and gave my knee a little rest, I would be able to pick it up towards the end of the race.
I saw my friend Amanda pass me and she was just the push I needed to get going again! I ran with her for a mile or so until my IT band started firing again. I took one more walking break so that I could finish strong!
My final time was 01:59:43 at a 00:09:08 pace.
This finish was huge for me. I started crying as soon as I crossed the finish line. My marathon training cycle for Big Cottonwood didn’t go as planned. I cut out all speed work, tempo runs, and hills, and even had to take a week off from running because of my knee. After a rough few months I didn’t think that I was going to be able to run a half in less than two hours. This was the perfect way to end my racing season. I also got my shark medal for completing the Beach Cities Challange- woahooo!! After the race we all celebrated by taking a ton of photos and grabbing brunch together!
A big shoutout and thank you to Relentless Runners and T.R.I Physical Therapy for helping me get through another race. I’m excited for 2019 and have some big goals that I want to achieve. For now I’ll be taking a step back from running and focusing on getting stronger again.