The day is here, it came so fast. When I signed up I couldn’t believe that I was signing up for my first half marathon. Most importantly, it was going to be in Long Beach, which is very sentimental to me. I won’t go into detail, but I found myself in Long Beach, and made it my home for years.
October 10, 2015; Health and Fitness Expo:
This has been the best Health and Fitness Expo I have been to this year! It was held at the Long Beach Convention Center. They had signs directing us where to park, parking was ten (10) dollars, and we parked right next to the entrance, which I must admit was very nice.
A lot, and I mean, a lot of vendors were there. It was amazing, I had to do two laps just to see all the booths. A lot of the races I still ned to register for, and they had the medals on display. I loved seeing the medals, and talking to the race ambassadors. They are so nice, funny, full of information and advice about the race they are ambassadors for. IF you are unsure about a race, and looked on the website, I suggest asking one of the race ambassadors. They’ve run the course, they know the race event, and can answer all of your questions and give you the best advice.
I had injured my right middle finger the week before, and my finger was in a splint, which meant the time had come for me to do some serious shopping for something that will store my keys and ID in. I saw some armbands that not only stored your cell but also held your keys, ID, credit cards and money. I saw that they were $44.99 and I moved on. I didn’t have that kind of money to spend.
Then I came across the SPIbelt booth. I’m so glad I found that booth, because the ladies there were extremely helpful. Please see my product review on this fantastic item! I also purchased pre-paid parking, all day parking for $10.00 and that was a sweet deal to me. I took it.
I was happy I stayed for the convention, a few of my friends were busy working their booths, but I was happy to see them doing their thing and interacting with people. It put a smile on my face and I left feeling full of positive vibes.
October 11, 2015; Race Day:
The week before we all received an email that due to the extreme, and record breaking heat that we were going to be getting on race day, the half marathon runners had the option to start at 6am, which was the time the marathon runners started. I opted to take this option because I did not want to deal with the heat. I also figured that it was going to be extremely packed so I opted to arrive at 2am to beat the crowds. I arrived at 2:30am because the 710 freeway was closed from the 405 in both directions. I took a slight detour by getting off at Alameda and taking city streets all the way to Downtown Long Beach and to the parking structure.
I just relaxed, I was too exited to take a nap in the car. I got to meet new people, which all of you know I love meeting new people and hung out with them at the start line. I was surprised when a friend of mine from IG found me at the start line. I was so excited to see her and so glad that we got to meet up! We weren’t sure where to line up, so we just guessed.
We waited as the waves before us went, and before we knew it, we were off and running up Shoreline Dr. toward the 710 freeway. The Long Beach Fire Department were hanging a huge American Flag above all of us runners as we ran toward mile 1. That was a beautiful and awesome thing to see. It put a huge smile on my face. Next thing I knew we did the turn around and were running toward mile 2. I stopped at the water table for a quick water break, and we started running up the Queensway Bridge toward the Queen Mary and mile 3. We took a left onto Queensway Dr and we took that and hit miles 3 and 4 before making our way back onto Ocean Blvd. The views of the Queen Mary and Downtown Long Beach were fantastic.
Once we made our way down Ocean Blvd I saw we were going to take a right turn onto Queens Way. I swore we had been this way before and had made a wrong turn, until I saw that we were headed toward Golden Shr, which took us on the docks along the Los Angeles River, and the Catalina Boats. It was interesting to see, I’d never been this way before and we hit mile 5 at this point. We continued on, and were at Shoreline Aquatic Park, where we ran around the light house before making our way past the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Pine Avenue Pier, and we hit mile 6.
I had started to slow down my pace by mile 6, and lost my friend that I was running with. I wanted to save some energy for the last miles and didn’t want to heat getting to me too bad as the sun was already out and shinning brightly. We took a right on Shoreline Village Dr. and we were on the Shoreline Bike Path along the Pacific Ocean. Now enter, what felt like the longest miles of the race.
Headed toward mile 7; I was alternating between running and taking walk breaks. I was doing great, and even decided to take out the head phones (which i had in my pouch), and crank up the tunes to take my mind off the heat. On mile 8.5 when I felt the heat get to me badly. Physically I felt like I was done, I pushed through mentally and told my body that I’m not done. By mile 9 all I kept thinking was I needed to get off this path and soon. The sun was shinning directly in our faces, and it felt like someone was squeezing the right side of my ribs, which was caused by breathing in too much hot air. I finally made it off the bike path, and back onto Ocean Blvd on mile 10. I was so grateful to have the sun on my back, but the heat had drained me, and had already physically got to me.
At mile 10.5 I saw the Kool n’ Fit spray tent, and I was thinking ‘Thank God!’; I stopped and had them spray my legs, and the guy was kind enough to spray the back of my neck. That felt so good, it took the pain, and cramping out of my legs. I felt rejuvenated.
I attempted to run at a slow pace, however, I wasn’t able to keep that pace for a long time. I had to stop and walk. My right side was killing me and at times found it a bit difficult to breath while running. I walked with the power walkers and felt better. When I reached mile 13 I saw a woman sitting in the street, it looked like she was suffering from the heat as well because medics were with her. Then I saw a male who had hurt his ankle. The reality sunk in on just how important it is to listen to your body, and to keep yourself as healthy as possible during the race.
I started to run at mile 13 and decided I wasn’t going to stop, I wasn’t going to quit, and I was going to finish this race strong. I took a left back onto Shoreline Dr. and I ran all the way, and I crossed the finish line. I felt good, and got my beautiful medal. I quickly grabbed a bottle of water, a huge can of C2O Coconut Water, and a banana. I ate the banana, and decided to start walking to the car, after all, the car had air conditioning and I really needed to get out of the heat.
It didn’t hit me until I was half way home, that I am now a half-marathon runner. I did it, I just ran and completed a half marathon! I started to cry, happy tears, I couldn’t believe it. I was so proud of myself, and I proved to myself just how mentally strong I truly am. I pushed myself to finish, and I finished. I was healthy and didn’t get injured. That’s all that matters. My time for this event is 3:11:31 and I was only 45 minutes off my target time. Not bad at all.
I stopped at the water tables and drank water, and Nuun when it was available. I also had a 20oz. water bottle with water and a Nuun tablet in it. I was also sipping on that through out the time. I also stopped every 40 minutes and had some Stingers Fuel chews and gels.
t truly was an adventure, it is a special event to me, and it taught me a lesson. It taught me that I truly do need to train to run in all environments; heat, cold, rain, humidity, etc. That’s what I will be doing from now on. Time to step it up, and train harder.
Thank you to all my friends on IG who encouraged and inspired me. I am grateful for all your kind words, advice, and I’m truly glad to have such a fantastic support system! Thank you Rundalay, and GRVL Runners for cheering all of us on!! Thank you Rundalay and UnitedLA for your support, inspiration, and your love for running and all of us runners!
“Back in the Day” by Ahmad
“Harder Than You Think” by Public Enemy
“Boom Boom Pow” by Black Eyed Peas
“Pushing Forward Back” Temple of the Dog
“Distance” by Cake
“Missing You” by Black Eyed Peas
“Lets Get It Started” by Black Eyed Peas
“Missing You” Rolling Stones
“We Are (Mauna Kea)” by Sudden Rush
“Mony Mony” by Billy Idol
“Fantastic Voyage” by Coolio
“Pili Me Ka’u Manu” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
“Ride Through Paradise” by Sudden Rush
“California Love” by 2PAC
“Where Is My Mind?” by Pixies
“Gangnam Style” by PSY
“Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley
“American Bad Ass” by Kid Rock
“Hero of the Day” by Metallica
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
“Imma Be” by Black Eyed Peas
“Changes” by 2PAC
“Express Yourself” by N.W.A.
“Go” by Pearl Jam
“Alive” by Pearl Jam
“Kick Out the Jams” by Bad Brains w/Henry Rollins
See you all at Rock n’ Roll Los Angeles!!!