First off, Congratulations to Gray who did awesome running a negative split for a 2:37 and second overall! He just took off from me at the half point and sucked up runners and ran a strong race to the finish! Look out, he is a force in the marathon to come.
Now the rest of the story...
Gray and and I awoke around 3am and made our way to Huntington Beach around 4:30am to get a close parking spot. As we were leaving the hotel, two guys who were at the hotel for a Fox convention that we had seen on Saturday were just stumbling back in from a hard night of partying. When the saw us and found out we were heading out to run, one guy blurted out a loud "WTF!".
We chilled in the car for a bit and went down to the start to use the facilities and check out the logistics. We waited in the lobby of the Hilton for about an hour to stay warm then worked out way to the elite starting area and met a few other runners and did an interview with a Podcast guy (MarathonRadio). Due to the fuel for this race, I wore a fuel belt with 5 PowerBar Gels...glad I had them as I would really need it later in the race! PowerBar is the best! I hated wearing the fuel belt and it frustrated me all day. Around mile 6 as we were running through a park and past an aid station, some young girls started laughing. Another runner (Martin) indicated that due to all the messing around I had been doing with the belt to get it to ride right, my split shorts had hiked up and my buttcheek was full hanging out...so I was flashing the crowd! Hope you liked the view girls!
Started off well and had a great group of runners through mile 11 just running easy and chatting alot. This section ran you along the beach for 3 miles then turned inland and uphill for a bit to a big park which we circled then headed back to Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) which was totally closed down for the race. At 11 miles we turned north on PCH and ran about 2.5 miles then did a 180 degree turn.
Gray and I and a 2 other runners were right together at the half (around 1:19). Gray and Craig started to pour it on here and I let them go as I was feeling a bit fatigued but not running too bad. Martin also started to pull away around mile 15. I ran ok through 17 miles, then after that my left hammy started to get that crampy feeling so I dialed it back a bit which I hated!! At the 16.5 mile mark you do another 180 degree turn and head north again on the boardwalk adjacent to PCH. I was running solo here and it was lonely fighting the wind plus the cramping was starting to hurt.
At 21 miles, the last of the 180 degree turns to head south to the finish on the boardwalk. Still fading a another runner (Ben) who was with us early passed me. But, I also passed Craig who went with Gray at the half way mark (he was fading bad, poor guy). At mile 23, my left knee twinged a bit and just another issue to cause me to slow down. A runner passed me at mile 25 and I just couldn't go with him. I tried to push with all I had to hold off 2 more runners who were coming on and just made it to the finish ahead of them.
Overall I am pretty happy with the race as it taught me what I need to work on for Boston (longer progression runs with Gray!). I felt mostly good through 18 miles then just started to feel it in my legs. I was shooting for a few minutes faster but will take a top 10 result and notching a marathon in my 10th state.
I wore the Cortana's for the race to see how they would work as a replacement marathon racer. They were ok but my forefoot kept getting really sore (starting around 11 miles) so I had to change my stride periodically to a heel strike to wake my foot back up. For Boston I will definitely stick with the Tangents and keep my search up for the replacement (probably the Saucony Mirage). I think the Fastwitch or Mirage will be the next go to marathon racing shoe.
I also had a recurrence of something that happened right after St. George. While standing in line for the massage, I suddenly and for a short period of time had a hard time taking a deep breath and talking, like I had a touch of exercised induced asthma. I might have this checked out this year. I did ask a doc about this issue and he indicated is was likely just a bronchial spasm which are not uncommon after hard exercise..whew!
Gray and I hung around the expo afterwards for a while, got a massage a beer and our awards (they only went 1 deep in the marathon for OA but 3 deep in the half, what gives? So Gray got second place but only an AG award). Drove back to the hotel, showered and hit the road for the airport.
We had a great trip and will try to the get our IF running group to put this on the calendar for a destination race for everyone in the next couple of years.
Splits: 6:08, 6:09, 6:04, 6:08, 5:45, 6:02, 6;00, 5:58, 5:58, 5:54, 6:07, 6:19, 6:07, 6:10, 6:19, 6:10, 6:14...crash 6:36, 6:36, 6:50, 6:49, 6:29, 6:44, 6:56, 7:02, 0.2(0.31) - 1:54.
Post script: Now after running Boston in April in my Tangents in horrible heat, I know that wearing the Cortana's affected my running ability and time for such a long run. My feet were great after Boston in much worse conditions. The pronounced forefoot strike and low heal drop on the Cortanas are great for training but not racing marathons. I think I lost 3-5 minutes just due to the impacts the shoes had on my feet and stride.