Monday, May 12, 2014

RACE REPORT: OC Half Marathon | Much Improved

This was my second year racing the OC Half and I went down kicking.  I did not want to run it again.  My 2013 experience was less than positive (see my 2013 race report here).   Yet, I lost out on my Beach Cities Challenge medal since I could not run Long Beach, due to an injury. 

#RunningBro reminded me several times that if I didn't make another go of the Beach Cities, I would regret it.  Yea, he was right.  So - another round of OC.  Ugh.  I was going to thank him or hate him for making me run OC again. 

#RunningBro and I carpooled and that sure helps out with expenses, along the way.  Since my husband cannot travel with me on the weekends (due to his work schedule), it's nice to have some adult conversation along the way and back home.

We arrived at the Expo on Saturday.  We helped out with the Island Boost both for a bit and then walked around.  I did not attend the Expo last year, I had my bib mailed to me, so I had nothing to compare it to.  The bib pickup was smooth, but the Expo itself was way crowded.  We got out of there pretty quickly, thank goodness. 

At the Island Boost booth with #RunningBro, Laura & Kelly
After Bib pickup.  Yes, we covered up our Bib numbers.



After last years bus disaster for me, I insisted we get to the Start, way early.  #RunningBro complied.  We arrived at the Fairgrounds at 4am and was at the Start Line hotel by 4:20am.  Works for me!  At least I know, I won't be starting 45 minutes after the gun time, this year.

We hung out in the lobby.  Met up with several friends and had some great chats.

LtoR: Eddie, Dee, Stephanie, myself & Kirk (#RunningBro)


With Paula and Stephanie (Paula ran her 50th Marathon on this day. Congrats to her!)


With my foodie & buffet buddy, Emil


Marathon start was at 6am and our start was 6:15am.  We made out way out to the Start Line by 5:30am to get a warm up and last minute porta potty stops.

We were in the Corral 1 by 6:05am.

In Corral 1


Our luck, Ken N came to see us and it was great to meet up with our Team Super Hero team captain and friend, before the race.  Kirk opted to run along side of me, not that I needed it, but he is still recovering from Boston and my hard run is his easy run.  I did not have any pace goals, per se. I knew my baseline, but I was not going for a PR, that was for sure.  My last PR was at HHM, a month ago and I didn't have the mindset nor desire to gun it this race.  I saw it as a good long, tempo run.

We started off at a great pace. I refused to look at my watch until Mile 3.  I was running by feel and whatever my legs wanted to do that day, I would let it.  That is something I am working on, running by feel and not looking at my watch every mile. 

Unlike the LAM, I kept silent most of the race.  While I was not gunning it for a PR, I was taking this serious.  It was a serious training run for me.  Maybe a few words, here and there, but we didn't have any conversations going on.

I hardly remember any of the course from the year before, except for a few spots.  The weather was great. Nothing scorching hot and no winds.

Crowd support was excellent, as in 2013.  At mile 4-5 I dialed it back just a wee-bit, as I was feeling a side stitch coming on.  Nothing major, but I could feel it.  At that time, I was sweating a lot, so I decided to take a salt capsule.  No fueling needed yet.

At Mile 7, I took my first Island Boost (VALOR, chocolate flavor).  I always carry 3 with me, but I typically only need 1-2 during a Half.

Around Mile 10, I had this sudden and STRONG urge I needed to pee.  Whoa, that is really weird!  I never have that happen in a Half since - I am not sure when.  I thought I could hold it off for another 3 miles, but I couldn't. So, at Mile 11 I took a pee break.  I knew by my watch I was holding a steady pace, so I really didn't care what my finish was.  Legs felt great.  Yet, I lost about 4 minutes during this pee break.

Then, at Mile 11 I could really, really feel the humidity.  I was sweating like no tomorrow.  Of course, anything above 1% humidity is horrible for this desert dweller.  

Making our way into the last mile, we ran into (literally) friend and fellow Running Trooper, Eddie Hahn.  He got a great picture of us.



The finish was different this year. It was a straight shot in, instead of a series of curves and turns. This was good.  From Mile 10, I do not look at my watch, I just run.  It worked for me at HHM, and I felt I needed to do the same at OC.

As we got closer to the finish I looked up at the Gun Time Clock and started laughing, I new I had another PR.  I crossed the finish line at 1:51:36.  A 19 second PR, and with a 4 minutes potty break.  (yea, do the math, on what my finish time would of been without a potty break). 

The race felt solid, but I view it as a tempo training run.  No regrets on not opening it up my legs and pushing myself to a faster time.  I had no need to open it up, I needed a long tempo run and that is what I got.  I am training to improve my focus and keeping a solid pace, by feel.  I just happen to get a PR out of it. 

The next improvement I noticed was volunteers were not limiting our water, post race.  Last year, they would let racers have one bottle, only.  This year, it was wide open. The Finish Line area was larger and more spread out. Much, much improved.

They even gave us a disposable cool-down jacket.  Nice touch, I like it.




After finding a shady spot, we had our pictures and chatting with Kelley and her husband (they were not feeling well).  A few pictures and then we headed back to Vegas.


I like the bling. A nice way to commemorate the 10th anniversary.


Overall, the 2014 was much improved vs 2013.  I have no plans to return, anytime soon as I still believe the cost is too high for what they offer racers, but it's a nice event.

Onward to claim my Beach Cities in October at Long Beach. 

When will I try to break the 1:50 mark?  Right now, I have begun my training for the Fall Marathon season.  My eyes are to BQ so I can race in Boston 2016.  

A race report is never complete without the proper thank you's.

  • #RunningBro, you are a great driver and great race day company.  It's always a pleasure to share the course with you, always.  

  • Rudy Novotny - I think you are my good luck charm. Why is it that I always do well when you are announcing?  Let's ponder that for a few moments.  

  • Mark Jones - thank you, thank you for giving me a leg workout that is OBVIOUSLY strengthening my legs.   2 Half PR's in 2 months?!?!

  • Teri Mahaney.  Yea, you are my "secret weapon" and I am so glad we have become friends.  I love how you are that little voice in my head.  I want to be like you when I grow up, can I?

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
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Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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1 comment:

  1. You Go Girl! A better PR, even with the stop. GREAT. I'm so pleased to be part of your support team, and to know my Change Your Mind program is helping you be your best. PS - you won't be like me when you grow up, you'll be better. I don't even run! Smiles, Teri

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