Just when everyone thought I moved out of LA (including me), I came back to race the LA 13.1 half marathon from Venice to Manhattan Beach to Playa del Rey. Technically, this was a rebound race because I registered for it the week after I got back from Ironman in Hawai’i and so I was already signed up before I decided to move home to Tennessee. I was debating whether to follow through and run it but then I found a cheap flight and there I was at the starting line ready to go with the temperature in the high-30s…wait, WHAT?! Yes, the week I came back to LA was the coldest in about a decade. In fact, it was warmer back in Nashville and my family and friends there were enjoying 60+ degree weather!
At 7:05 in the morning, the gun fired and we began running along the boardwalk in Venice as the sun rose to light the ocean and set the sky on fire. Despite the cold, it was such a beautiful day in LA. I was at the race with my friends, Curry, Tori and Garrett and had started near the front with Garrett. Garrett ran 1:19 in his first and only half marathon (which was hilly) but he’d had the flu for the last week so we were going to pace together–my best time was a 1:31. I had been running a lot since November but wasn’t planning on actually doing this race in LA until about three weeks prior. I’ve started dabbling in CrossFit though, so I was keen to see how I would feel at this distance even after a week and a half of doing official Crossfit workouts.
We went out at a 6:40/mi pace for the first three miles, probably too hard, and felt pretty good. My pace gradually slowed but Garrett was feeling fine so he took off at mile 6 or 7. i went by 10K in just over 42 minutes and was just trying to focus on keeping my cadence at 180 steps per minute and landing on my forefoot. I’ve been researching the Pose running technique (similar to Chi Running, taught by Danny Drier), which emphasizes higher cadence and forefoot striking with your heel just kissing the ground.
There were a few unexpected rollers at miles 7 and 8 and then a steady and very gradual rise up to the turnaround at mile 9 1/2. I’d seen my friend, Ken, aka DJ Sleeper, the night before and he said that he’d be performing somewhere on the course–Awesome! I heard some turntablism going on at the turnaround and that got me really fired up because it’s always encouraging to see familiar faces when you’re in pain. I opened up my legs into mile 10 and saw Curry as I got to the bottom of the hill I’d just climbed.
Although my pace had slowed to around 7:15/mi, my legs and glutes were feeling stronger than I thought they should be at this point in a race (It seems even the short period of CrossFit and strength work was paying off already).
At mile 12, some guy with no shoes went sprinting by me. He was holding a pair of Vibrams in one hand and his feet looked like they had clearly developed muscles. That got me going a bit faster and then over my shoulder I saw a girl running up on me, which always lights my feet on fire–I’d already been chicked a few times today and didn’t want to let it happen again a half mile from the finish line. #justbeingreal
I hit the last mile in about 6:55/mi pace and crossed the line in 1:33:17, 14/96 in M25-29 and 86/1,904 overall. http://results.active.com/events/2013-allstate-life-insurancesm-los-angeles-13-1-marathon/half-marathon/jonathan-hippensteel.
I read an article last night and this line jumped out at me: “Pain cannot be ignored; it has be to be conquered, and when it inevitably returns, it has to be conquered again.”
Looking forward to the next race!