But what's a recap without starting at the beginning? I need to back up.
I had to go to the expo on Friday. My son, D, was running the ING KiDS ROCK 1 mile race the next morning, so I needed to pick up his bib as well. I didn't arrive at the expo until about 5:30 p.m., which was great since it wasn't too crowded. I got my bib, goody bag and shirt, and started to wander the aisles. An announcer said that at 6:00 there would be a Q&A panel with Olympic marathoners Deena Kastor, Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi. I knew I wouldn't be able to stay for the panel, as I needed to get home to help put the kids to bed (family first!) so I just browsed. I treated myself to 5 new RazzyRoo headbands (my favorites, I wear them all.the.time) and spontaneously signed up for the inaugural New Year's Race: Los Angeles At Night Half Marathon, which will run through the streets of L.A. at night! It was $20 off if you signed up at the expo. (By the way, this will make 3 half marathons I'll be running in January. Oy!)
When I walked by the area where the panel would be speaking. I was excited to see Deena Kastor at a table signing autographs! Now, what I haven't told you is that I have a personal connection to Deena. I am friends with her cousin, whom I have known since the early 90's (my ex-boyfriend was roommates with her now-husband). My friend was always talking about her runner cousin, Deena, but at the time I wasn't into running and didn't really get it. Both Deena and I were at my friend's wedding, back in 1999, but again, I didn't really get who she was. I was barely into running myself (I was training for my first half marathon) and Deena had yet to get to her first Olympics (she represented the United States in the marathon in the Olympics in 2000, 2004 AND 2008....and she just missed going to London in 2012.)
Anyhow, I stood in line to meet her. She signed a picture of herself, and I asked her to also sign my race bib. I told her our personal connection, and we actually had a real conversation! We talked about my friend/her cousin, their wedding, and how I knew her. She asked me if I ran alone or with a running club; when I told her I ran alone she seemed somewhat shocked! We only spoke for a few minutes, as there was still a long line behind me, but I was delighted to have gotten to speak to one of my running heroes. I left the expo on a real high!
|Me and my new BFF, Deena!|
|Really wish I could have met Meb, too!|
As usual the night before a race, I had a hard time sleeping. I fell asleep pretty easily but woke up almost every hour, paranoid I was going to miss my alarm. I was up for good at 2:00, and finally got out of bed at 2:30. I went downstairs and got ready for my race. Usually at this time of morning I can't eat anything (I was unable to eat anything before either the Hollywood or OC Half marathons....food made me feel nauseous) but I felt great and munched on a Luna Bar as I got dressed. My friend picked me up, and we met 3 other friends (including Andrea and Steve) so we could all carpool down together. We went in together on a Fast Pass, which was great! Last year the pass cost $100 (!!!) but this year it was $35, and then $2 for each additional person. This was a bargain at only $9 per person! We drove down, parked at Sea World, used the clean, unused Port-o-Potties, then got on a shuttle to the start line in Balboa Park.
The race started at 6:15, but of course my corral (slated to be corral 25) wouldn't start until much later. I checked my gear, took pictures with my friends, and we waited a loooooong time for the Port-o-Potties. I even had another snack, a Honey Stinger Waffle. Two of my friends and I decided to move to corral 21, and soon enough (6:46 to be exact) we were crossing the start line.
Now, I've been worried about 4 different injuries. 1) My plantar fasciitis, which flares up when I least expect it, 2) sciatic nerve pain in my left glute, which has been plaguing me since November, 3) sciatic nerve pain at the top of my left hamstring, which is a new pain I've been feeling for the past few weeks, and 4) foot pain from when I injured it in April. My goal for this race was simple: finish it. I was NOT concerned about a time goal. I truly just wanted to finish as pain-free as possible. In fact, after I finished the OC Half Marathon last month, I was in so much pain after that I was thinking of not running Rock 'n' Roll. But I decided to do it, even if it meant me walking the whole darned thing. As it turns out, I had 3 out of the 4 pains occur during the race. My foot injury from April never happened again (thank goodness....it had hurt in the same spot during last month's OC Half) but the other 3 pains happened on-and off. My plan--which I stuck to---was to keep my mid-foot strike, run nice and easy, and walk when I had to.
The race started in Hillcrest, which I love, as I used to live there and run that very route. It brought back some great running memories. We turned onto University Avenue, and I was excited because my college boyfriend, who lives there, said he would be on that street cheering me on. I was so happy to see him, and he took this great picture! By way, I wore a running skirt for the first time, which I LOVED (adored the roomy pockets on the sides!) and a new Texas flag running bra that my sister bought for me at a running store while on vacation in Dallas this winter. This was awesome because I got a lot of spectators shouting "Go Texas!" for me!
|Smiling....at only mile 1.25!|
It was here that I met some people that really put a smile on my face. I started talking to a man and a woman, who were visiting here from Arizona. It was the man's first half marathon. I congratulated him and told hm it was my 13th. He asked when I first one was, and I told him my first half marathon was in 1999, although I didn't run one again until 2010. He asked how old I was in my first one, and I told him I was 29. "Oh My GOD," he yelled. "You look AMAZING for 41!". I told him I was actually 42, and he was astounded. He is only 26, and he told me I inspired hm to keep running if he could look this good! It TOTALLY made my day! I dropped them at mile 4.5, when I stopped for a walk break and to take my first GU. I also passed an ambulance putting a man on a stretcher. I have no idea what happened; I hope he's ok. It was also here that I started to get some of my pains, but I would slow to a walk and they would go away.
|Still on the freeway|
|My signature self-portrait while running|
|These crazy marathoners dressed as Fred & Wilma--even holding big dinosaur bones the whole way!|
Just like last year, I had a surge of energy between miles 10.5 and 12. There is a stretch that we run down on Morena Blvd where you run up and then make a u-turn and run down the other side the street. I LOVE that part! The runners whoop it up, and it's fun to look for friends on the other side. I entered a zen state---looking for my friends, keeping a great pace, and I kept the same song on repeat on my iPod here to keep my zen going. At mile 13, I was so tired....but I knew I only had a little more to go. I saw my friend T on the sidelines, who came to cheer us on, and I shouted at him that I was going to break 2:30. He yelled back to get going and get it! I pushed hard, and crossed the finish line at 2:29 and change.
|self-portrait, in tears, immediately after getting my medal|
|A better, posed, non-tearful post-race picture|