This past Saturday night I ran the New Year’s Race through Downtown LA. I competed in the half marathon. It was a night race with a start time of 9 pm. My first race in a while, but it felt good to get back on my feet. It was also my first night race since track season back in high school, so that was a bit of a change.
First, I’ll give my race recap.
I came into this race on the tail end of a nasty cold, with about one month of ‘training’ – if you can call it that. I took about a month off of running between October and November due to nagging injuries. Needless to say, this race was hard. I wanted to come in around 1:30, although I expected this might be a lofty goal. I started out strong the first couple miles, logging 6:30 and 7:00 miles. Then I faced about 5 miles of hills. Steep hills. I am not naturally good at hills, especially when I do not run them often. My lack of training and hill inadequacy got the best of me. Around mile 7, I stopped mid-hill and cried. I actually broke into tears on the side of the course. This was right before the scenic entrance into Dodger Stadium, and I told myself I had to at least run through the stadium before I could find the med tent and call it quits. I made it through the stadium, took my GU to refuel, and thankfully the hills turned into mostly downhills from there on out. Once I got through mile 10, I knew I was going to finish. I made incredible speed on the way home, dropping into 7:00-7:15 miles. Ended up coming in at 1:36, and 3rd in my age division.
I will definitely take this as a lesson. Racing actually sucks when you don’t train. I can’t say I’ve ever broken down and cried in the middle of a race. Overall, I’m proud of my finish time given that I 1. barely trained 2. was sick and 3. stopped and cried during the race.
Now to my race review.
Overall, I felt that the event was well run, but the actual running course was terrible. The course was advertised as a night race through the streets of LA, although we ended up spending 5 miles running around the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. The race also started 15 minutes late, which is really inexcusable given the temperature was in the high 40’s – low 50’s. The course was also longer than 13.1 miles. I gathered that it was about 13.5, which is a significant difference. However, there were some perks of the race that were neat. The night race was an interesting idea and a nice change, but perhaps it should be rescheduled to a warmer time of year. Second, we got to personalize out race bibs. We were supposed to put our New Year’s Resolution, although clearly I missed the memo…
Would I do this race again? No.
Was it a good kick in the pants to get me back into race shape and worth while? Yes.
So, here’s to starting off 2013 with 13 miles!