La Jolla Half: It’s Like I Wasn’t There

Let me start off by telling you that my chip time didn’t register. They also lost my drop bag. I told the guy, it’s like I never ran the race. I went back at the end and they still didn’t have my bag. I had a funny feeling I shouldn’t put my cell phone in the bag, but I’d never had a problem before. So I only lost a shirt, sweatshirt, my sunscreen, and some recovery food. At least that’s all it was. As for the missing race time, I spoke with the ladies at the Information Booth and the first response I got was “The rules say no chip, no time!” I’m not one to anger quickly, I do get annoyed but I rarely ever lose it. I was fuming after that response. She gave me a phone number and offered to give me a P.O. Box to write to. The attitude I got from that woman sent me into a rage. I had to walk away. After a few minutes, I got my cool back and walked up to the awards table, typically a race director can and will handle this kind of problem. I came in 11th place, I placed 3rd in my age group, this stuff happens. The first guy told me to talk to the Race Central people but then the woman at the table told me I needed to send a corrections request from the website. I figured it wouldn’t get handled in time to get my age group medal. On a lark I walked over to the timer and asked him. Turns out, he had my time and bib number written by hand. Apparently they do that for the top 15. Fixed. Done. Now this is important because I needed to register a half marathon time in order to qualify for the Houston Half Marathon in January, otherwise I was taking my chance with a lottery, no thanks. Since I’m ranting, I’ll also rant that at the expo I had to stand in a very long line because I was never mailed a postcard. Everything about this race reminds me why I stopped running it in 2008. Onto the race report!

My confidence had taken a dive after my Torrey Pines run last week. I suddenly felt very out of shape in regards to hills. So I decided I’d run by feel and take it easy on the hills. The gun goes off and I take off with Jess about 50 people from the leaders. We pass the first two miles in 6:02 and 6:05. At this point I told Jess I didn’t want to blow her up, since I was aiming for 1:20 and she was looking more like 1:23. At this point there were already two girls in front of her, one who was definitely faster. I think that took the wind from her sails. I left Jess and slowly started to pick people off through Del Mar. I passed the #2 girl and her pack of guys at a water station never to see them again. I finally caught onto the lead girl at the hill. We kept hearing “First woman!” and I thought to myself “That must never get old.”

Powering up the hill was kind of like seeing how hard to can push a knife into your leg without actually drawing blood. I tried to take it easy as to not repeat last weekend. I actually walked 3 times on the hill. No, really. It was calculated. Better to not be in oxygen debt when the hill crested because I really picked up the pace again. At this point I was told I was in 14th place. Cool. Top 15 is what I expected. I could see a group of 4/5 guys far ahead and I tried to make up some ground. Trouble is, the course never flattens out so you can find a rhythm. The pace just yo-yo’d all over the place. I felt good aerobically but wasn’t sure how hard to push on the hills.

Going down the big hill to La Jolla Shores saw me running 5:10/mi pace and getting passed in a major way. As the guy flew by I said “If our legs weren’t toast before, they will be now.” He put 25 yards on me fairly quickly and then passed a straggler who had fallen off the back. At this point I was all smiles. I was enjoying myself. I hadn’t really put myself into the pain zone, just heavy oxygen debt on some of the hills. The crowd was very cheery, which isn’t always the case. I tried to acknowledge them as much as possible, especially the little kids.

One final push up Princess and up to Prospect saw me pass both the guys in front of me. I knew I just had to reach the crest and it was all downhill from there. Once I made it, it was such a huge relief knowing I wouldn’t have to deal with anymore hills. My final quarter mile was 4:39 pace down that big hill and I finished in 1:22:04. (Probably closer to 1:22:01, but I got a gun time and I wasn’t on the line at the start)

Splits: (6:02, 6:05, 6:10, 6:21, 5:51, 7:09, 6:50, 6:15, 6:04, 6:15, 5:29, 6:07, 6:21)

That’s La Jolla for you, no rhythm at all. Keep in mind, the splits above are EVEN EFFORT. Seriously.

On the bus ride back to the car I ended up talking to the woman next to me who said she finished the race and had her D-Tag but had lost her bib. As a result, they wouldn’t give her a medal. Even after some pleading with race staff, offering an ID and proof, they wouldn’t give her one. So I gave her mine. It felt like the right thing to do. I got an age group medal anyway and I knew she’d appreciate it more than I would. That’s my good deed for the day.


About thedillyruns

In 2007 I decided to join a running group to train for a marathon. I'd never run more than 4 miles at a stretch and never raced. I grew up playing basketball. After a promising first half marathon, I grew hungry to run faster.
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