Monday, April 30, 2012

La Jolla Half-Marathon 2012

EVENT: La Jolla Half-Marathon
DATE: Sunday, April 29, 2012
LOCATION: Del Mar & La Jolla, CA
RACE BEGAN: 7:30 am
FINISH TIME: 02:09:47

I did this race because it is Part 2 of 3 of the Triple Crown.  Part 1 was Carlsbad Half-Marathon in January.  This was a repeat race for me, last having done this in 2008.

Before I go on, this race is one of the handful that I've run without portable music.  I tend to leave music behind in trail races, but otherwise, I had forgotten about the "no iPod" rule for this one and then debated internally whether I should abide, since I keep the volume low anyway.  Finally, I decided that I should just follow the race's set rules as part of good sportsmanship, though I really missed my tunes and am pretty sure I could have shaved some time off with that kind of motivation.  In addition, I didn't appreciate hearing snickering, heavy breathing, hacking of snot, talk about other races, and talk about upcoming hills.  While these things are audible to me normally, I can usually distract myself with music. 

The weekend itself was very packed.  Friday, I headed down to the San Diego area to attend a networking event, and then it was a packed day-and-a-half spent with friends and gluttony.

And these guys (at the La Jolla Cove):

On Friday, I realized that I wouldn't be able to pick up my packet on the way down, since the expo is only open on Saturday.  That was pretty disappointing.  On Saturday, the trip into La Jolla was extremely slow due to traffic, and given that the materials said "9 am -1 pm and 2-5 pm" (a whole other gripe in itself), we were running close to the "lunch break" and were worried we would have to wait through it.  At least they did improve the expo by moving it to a huge grassy area versus a small parking lot four years ago.

Unfortunately, they lost my bib, so I had to stick around for them to void that missing number and assign me a new one.  Not a big deal, but in my many half-marathons, I have never had any hitches like that before. Oh, and now I was 25 years old again according to my new registration. =)

On race morning, I was terribly bloated (due to the gluttony I referenced above?), and because of the VERY congested way into the parking area, I barely had time to use the port-a-potty before taking off. Because of this last-minute stuff, I didn't get to eat my Honey Stingers that I usually do and had to carry those and a plastic water bottle throughout the race.  That certainly slowed me down a bit, but since it was so humid and water stations a bit far apart, I was glad I had the option of drinking as I pleased.

I didn't push that hard during this race, as I have another half next weekend and really didn't want to push my luck, considering my lack of long runs as of late.  I treated this more like a training run just to get myself used to being out there for two hours, on a tough course and all.


Mile 1 - 9:22
Mile 2 - 9:03
Mile 3 - 9:34
Mile 4 - 10:22

The first few miles had quite a few small climbs and a steeper one in the fourth mile, which I decided to walk because I already felt as if I was overheating.  The weather was overcast, but humid.

Mile 5 - 8:57

Flat bridge.  I felt chest pain during this mile, but I've been running long enough to know that it was simply a pectoral cramp (kind of like a side stitch) and not something more serious.

Mile 6 - 12:41
Mile 7 - 10:34

Big hills at Torrey Pines Reserve.  Very reminiscent of the hills at Elysian Park, maybe even worse since I was able to run just fine those but not these??  This is the part of the race everyone talks about.

Mile 8 - 9:46
Mile 9 - 9:20
Mile 10 - 9:53

Small ups and downs in Miles 8-10, even though all a runner would want after the climbs above is a nice strong downhill!

Mile 11 - 8:41

There was some of that nice downhill here, finally.

Mile 12 - 9:21
Mile 13 - 10:43

Half a mile climb toward the end... it was pretty cruel, but we all knew it was coming.  I tried running up, but soon I realized I just didn't want to push as it got steeper.

Was trying to at least beat 2:10 and made a run for it at the end.

.21 mi - 7:01 pace

When I did this race four years ago, I only finished a minute slower than this time, and that weather was much warmer.  So while I should have done better now that I'm more "experienced," my real goal coming into this was just to beat my previous time on this course.  It is definitely not a PR course, and at least at my level, not a sub-2 course, either.

I'm pretty sure I won't be revisiting this race anytime soon -- not just because of the hills but because the congestion around the La Jolla area kind of blows me away every time I visit there, and the logistics need a bit more ironing out to make it a more pleasant experience for everyone.  Strange rules about "no iPod" and limited expo time (which contributed to the congestion) need to be looked at again; if you're going to have a prohibition on my beloved musical drugs, please enforce it because nobody besides me seemed to care.

(The medal came in a baggie, which I actually appreciated.  Shirt is Men sized but tech material.)


  1. Was it an open course? I have heard of many races prohibiting music but most just ask withing the first and last mile...I would really miss my tunes! Nothing mkes me more angry at a race than a congested finish. I think you are wise to move on. Great job getting your race on!

  2. Congrats on your "training run". Similarly will skip this one next year. As a first timer to this event , I thought it must me thinking it was completely disorganized. Bus took over an hour from LJ to start, getting me there is little time to warm up/check morning clothes. Empty water tables along the course and congestion at the finish line with no directing folks to keep moving. Triple crown will be a one and done for me.

  3. Congrats on your finish!
    I have a love/hate relationship with La Jolla... I need a few years off between races on the Torrey Pines hill -- because it takes that long to forget how much that hill bites. ;)

  4. A lot of races around here have really softened their stance on the "no iPod" rule. Or at least I don't seem to hear that much about it anymore.

    Very nice job! Sounds like a tough course!

  5. I ran it yesterday as well. It's a tough course. The toughest 1/2 marathon in San Diego.
    I think the complaints are kinda whiney though. It was hardly disorganized.
    I did notice at the finish, no staff was there to say keep moving.
    But I finished in 1:43 so it wasn't all that congested at the finish. But the bus ride back to Del Mar did take forever. Even so ..the most important things we're done right: enough porta potties that the lines weren't too long, great bag check, and plenty of fluids along the course. I'll definitely run it again as long as I' m healthy. Congrats to Julie and others on a good race and blog.

  6. Hey! I didn't give you permission to take my picture in the cove! Ha ha ha.

    Congrats on a tough race!

  7. Seals ROCK! What an awesome sight! (and site!)

  8. My experience wasn't too much different when I ran it a few years ago. There are so many things that can go wrong in a race, I don't think I've ever had one that was completely issue-free. Oh well, you survived and are now 2/3 of the way for your triple crown!

  9. They lost your bib. How stupid! That's great that you beat your pr there from before. Thanks for sharing all those splits. Looks like you had even pacing through out despite the ups and downs. Good luck next weekend and Congratulations for this one! Love the medal too. For my first half, the medal was in a plastic protective sleeve. Yeap, still on it. lol

  10. I've seen the hills around La Jolla and they're no joke. You killed it out there. I probably would've been one of those runners who sneaked my ipod with me. The music definitely helps me through the tough parts and I always keep it low enough to be aware of my surroundings.

  11. My first race was also really disorganized, souring my taste for races for a long time.

    Glad you were still able to hold a good pace, though!