In 2008, after the insanely hot weather and debacle getting to the race, I swore off the La Jolla Half Marathon. I ran a 1:37, almost nine minutes off my PR in hot conditions. To add insult to injury, I didn’t start the race on time because I was sitting on the offramp for 40 minutes. I think a thousand people may have cut in front of me. Instead of being a dick and driving up to the offramp and getting over at the last minute, I just sat there patiently. I should’ve been a dick. I had to park across the street from the track. Nothing like starting in the second wave and running along the curb to pass a few thousand people. I came in 100th that year, if that tells you anything about how many people I had to get by. I was so pissed about everything that happened that year that I decided I wouldn’t run the race anymore. (Coincidentally, that was also the year that the top two men had borrowed bibs and got disqualified)
This year I had to bail on the Carlsbad Half Marathon at the very last minute. I was frustrated because I hadn’t raced in 6 months and I was chomping at the bit. So I decided I’d sign up for La Jolla again. I’d get strong and run the hill a bunch of times. Well.. daylight savings put a monkey in that and I only ran up it once beforehand. After running up the hill last weekend, I don’t feel strong. I’m probably in 1:19 shape on a flat course, perhaps a little faster. But my hill work has been minimal and my endurance is lacking, so I really have no idea. La Jolla might not be the best place to discover my endurance isn’t going to cut it. It’s such a heavy rolling course that you don’t get a lot of time to find a rhythm and any weakness you have will be exploited by the many and massive hills. Can you tell I’m not totally looking forward to this race?
On the bright side, I really have no goals. I’m not putting pressure on myself to perform. Ideally I’d like to run sub-1:20 but I think that’s doubtful. The last good half marathon tempo I did was about a month ago and I ran 6:07/mi for 8 miles on flat ground. My recent 5k/10k times indicate closer to 1:17 according to McMillan but that’s typical. I’m faster at the shorter distances. I figure instead of being a slave to my watch, I’ll just run by feel and try not to kill myself out there. I’m probably going to go out too fast, but the first few miles are the flattest by far. We’ll see what happens. I’m going to shoot for 1:20 and I’ll be happy with anything plus or minus a minute.
A few years ago I ran San Dieguito as a fun run and decided I’d run a light tempo and then finish strong. I think I went out at 6:15 pace and enjoyed racing without pushing so hard. It just felt good to run like that, even though that course was all hills. I finally started racing at mile 8 and killed the last 5 miles. I ended up running a 1:19:57 that day (although somehow the official results had me at 1:20:01, but that’s Kathy Loper timing) and felt like it was a strong training run for Boston. Maybe I should run La Jolla similarly.
All I have to say is, I’m not sitting on the freeway offramp for 40 minutes this Sunday. I’ll go all monster truck on them if it comes down to it. Or I’ll take a smarter route that avoids the bottleneck, I’m smart like that.
For posterity, I’m going to guess Jessica runs a 1:23:35. Hopefully that’s good enough to win.