Category Archives: Half Marathon

AREC Practice Half Marathon – 2011

August 27, 2011

Truth be told, I haven’t run a lot of half marathons in the past few years.  This is my 4th half in 3 years (and previous to that, I last did a half in 2003).  It is NOT my favorite distance.  Lots of people like half marathons because it is 1-2 hours of quality exercise.  I have come to see half marathons as the most IMperfect distance, because you don’t have the endurance factor of the marathon (where you could have a legitimate reason to slow down).

Additionally, I cannot still run the times I used to, but my “bad” times may still be faster than many folks can run.  I consider this lose/lose, because I get disappointed with my time AND people find me annoying for being disappointed with my time.  With ultramarathons, just by finishing people are impressed, EVEN if you averaged 25 minutes per mile!

I wasn’t sure I was going to do this “event” again, but I figured to give it a try… and of course, woke up, not feeling great… and the weather was NOT temperate (by the end of the run, the heat hit 90 degrees!).

I did my usual ultra-strategy, which is to say I ran when I felt OK, walked all of the hills and then walked when I didn’t feel like running… and I finished close to my original half marathon time (1996) with a 2:08.

Running Coto Trails Half Marathon – 2011

April 23, 2011

Laura and I decided to do a Charlie Alewine Half Marathon in Coto de Caza.  It’s mostly horse trails and usually and out and back course (downhill out, and uphill back).

This is essentially the same course that I did a 50K on in January and a marathon last year (well, supposed to be a 50K, but Laura didn’t want to wait for me).

I felt really good for the first half (no surprise, running downhill, eh?), doing 6.5 miles in 54 minutes (around 8:00/mile)…

but on the second half, my stomach was bugging me and going uphill on trails is no picnic.  It’s not like I ran horribly – 1:08 – but it was a massively positive split… maybe this race should run the reverse direction… and end with the downhill!

My time of 2:02, put me just out of the running – 4th place overall.

New Year’s Resolution Half Marathon – 2010

January 3, 2010

Went out for another Charlie Alewine race – because it was local (within a mile of my house), Laura was running it, and most of the competitors were running 4 half marathons in 4 days!

The course was a 3.4 mile loop around Colorado Lagoon and Appian Way, and I was near the front for most of the race.  My friend Jon Chernila was one of the people running 4 for 4, and I was able to keep him in my sights for the first three loops.

On the fourth loop, I decided that I might be able to track him down and be the overall winner of the event (small, but still at least 15 runners).  At about Mile 11 (halfway into the loop), I overtook Jon, and held him off to come in first in about 1:52 and change.

This was my third time winning a race… and the largest attended race of those three.

AREC Half Marathon – 2009

August 29, 2009

As part of our marathon / half marathon training program, AREC puts on a practice (though we count it as an official race) half marathon and 10K about 6 weeks prior to the actual marathon and half marathon race.

I decided to give it a try, even though it had been over SIX years since I had run a half marathon.  I know.  I can’t believe it, either.  I know most people do more than 6 half marathons IN a year… but ever since I started doing ultramarathons, a half marathon seems like a couple of wasted hours (especially with the expensive price of them nowadays).

I wasn’t sure what to expect, so went out at a moderate pace.  It was a bit overcast and I didn’t do so well in the muggy conditions.  I overheated fairly rapidly… and ended up using my ultramarathon skills in walking up all of the hills and just coasting.

In the end, I had a certain expectation of a time for myself, and came in, just under 2 hours.  I will say that I am neither elated nor upset with the time, because it’s a decent time and not bad considering that I hadn’t paced myself out for one in such a long time.

Golden Bay Runners Half Marathon Challenge – 2003

June 1, 2003

Back in the Bay Area for a visit, so I decided to run the Golden Bay Half Marathon (Challenge).  The challenge of this race was that it was most trail running and some of the same trails as utilized by the Skyline 50K (only in reverse).

The run still starts at the Lake Chabot boathouse, but then proceeds counterclockwise around the lake to the suspension bridge at Mile 3, and soon after, the difficult ascent up the 15% grade hill.  The difficulty of the hill is apparent in my mile splits (8:13, 8:30, 9:45 for the first 3; then 14:42!).  At least after struggling up this hill, I don’t have a marathon to run!

It winds for a few more miles in the wooded area above the lake (where I range from 8:27 to 10:30), before finishing around the lake from the dam back to the boathouse.  I finished in 2:11:27, which is around the same time as my first half marathon, but for a cross-country half marathon, I am very satisfied with this time.

Valley of the Flower Half Marathon – 2002

June 15, 2002

Laura and I decided that we wanted to run the Valley of the Flowers Half Marathon.  Neither of us had gotten around to registering in advance for it, but we didn’t see anything on the website that would convince that we couldn’t just sign up on race day.

The race is at Vanderberg Air Force Base, near Lompoc, a little north of Santa Barbara.  Since I can typically get up to Santa Barbara in around 2 hours, I figured it would take a little longer.  We allowed 3-1/2 hours to get there, based upon the directions saying, “Exit at 1st Street, turn left on A Street, right on G Street, go through the gate, and you’re there.”  (This is before the advent of Mapquest, or I didn’t know about it and we didn’t have a local Thomas Guide.  We assumed that it wouldn’t be too long a drive.)

So, like I said, two hours to Santa Barbara, another hour to Lompoc, got off the freeway and followed the directions, except that each of the 4 streets named in the directions were 3-5 miles between turns.  Then we got to the gate, and of course, we were not on the list, because we didn’t preregister, so that took a little bit longer than expected.  By my watch, when he let us through, the race was to start in 5 minutes, and we had not registered or parked or anything.

In fact, we couldn’t get to the parking lot, because we would have to drive across the starting fine staging area.  A volunteer directed us to park the car on the shoulder (leave it there, too) and then they would get us registered just after the race started.

Laura ran off to the port-a-pottie (as we had been in the car for nearly 4 hours without a break), and I registered us, and watched even the slowest-of-the-slow fade off into the distance.

Laura and I started off a good 3-4 minutes after everyone else.  We decided not to run together, but made every effort to catch some people and not have to run the race by ourselves.

I was a bit ahead of Laura and started catching up to people.  It made for interesting conversation, as everyone had seen us pull up late.  Basically a lot of “Oh, good you caught up.”

Part of the course was paved, but for the most part, we ran on a hard-packed dirt road.  When I say “Hard-packed,” I am also referring to the fact that these roads were the ones used to transport tanks and other vehicles with treads.  The hard surface was made harder with having to run on the uneven hardened tread-marked dirt.

Around halfway, we were back on the paved portion and running into a powerful headwind.  It was so loud, that conversation was impossible… but then we came to the turnaround, and had the wind at our back.  I tried to tell the people heading into the wind that it gets better, but they could not hear me over the wind (from my standpoint, I was shouting very loudly, because the wind was behind me.).

The finish of the race was back up the hill we descended at the start (I don’t think I mentioned that, but that is what helped Laura and myself make up some time at the beginning.).  After we finished, we noticed a couple of our hasher friends from Los Angeles, Dwight and Cathy, who also ran the race (and were having a weekend with Cathy’s dad and stepmom (or the reverse?)).  Cathy won an age group award, and then the shockers!  Laura got 3rd in her division and I got 3rd in Clydesdales.  That’s right!  The people who showed up late still got awards!  And, no, it was not chip-timed.  We made up the 3-4 minute stagger and STILL placed.

We had breakfast with Cathy and Dwight (and parents) and then decided to head off and find out WHY the race was called Valley of the Flowers, since we saw neither valleys nor flowers.

So, nowhere near the race, there is a large rectangle of planted flowers, in the shape of an American flag.  The only way to see it with any perspective is to climb up a big hill and look down on it.  We were too tired for that after running 1:46 and 1:50.  We unobjectively looked it from eye level.

Las Vegas Half Marathon – 2002

February 3, 2002

Normally, on Superbowl Sunday, I would find myself running the Redondo Beach or Surf City runs (as most of my friends were doing), but because of my sister Riva, I found myself in Las Vegas.

We need to backtrack a little for some reference.

In 1999, Riva graduated from Medical School and moved to Dallas, TX, to do her residency in Internal Medicine.  More often than not, her regular schedule was 36 hours on, 12 hours off, with maybe one weekend a month off.  With such a heinous schedule, she didn’t really go to regular run workouts.  She mostly ran to-and-from work (when possible) and if she had a weekend off, would do a long run (like 20 miles).

In late 1999, a friend suggested Riva accompany her to Chicago for the marathon (I think this was the year that the World Record was broken… and it poured!).  Riva is a good runner, so I’m not certain that lack of training would hurt her here.  She had the best race of her life and she did 2:50:46 (which at the time was less than a minute off the Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying standard).

This gave her renewed confidence that her fitness was such that she could jump into whatever marathon at any time, and have a reasonable shot of success (by the way, that time in Chicago was good for 16th (!!) in her age group).

So… in December, she ran the Dallas White Rock Marathon in under 3 hours (maybe 2nd female overall), in January 2000, ran the Houston Marathon (50th female), and in February won the Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon.

After winning Cowtown, she got an offer to be coached toward achieving the Olympic Marathon “B” standard (which was now 2:48), and ran some incredible times at races and training to prepare to achieve this goal.

Her best bet was the Las Vegas Marathon, because it had a downhill tilt (but still could be used as a qualifier).

My parents decided that they would go out and support her, and my dad’s brother, Rolfe, and his wife would also come out.  I decided to drive out with them and also to run the half marathon.

We stayed at the Jockey Club hotel (a small 3-story hotel next to the Bellagio, with no slot machines).  We were staying on the Fountain side, so the crashing of water did not help me get to sleep that well.  What also didn’t help MY race (and I guess didn’t help Riva all that much) was that she was recovering from a case of pneumonia and was coughing up a storm.  My dad suggested that my sister not run, but she insisted that she would be OK race morning and would not push it – in other words, all of the work to achieve the standard would go out the window… but what do you do when you get really sick?

The general plan was that I would run my race, and no one would come support me and cheer me on, but they would make an effort to come see me finish – they wanted to watch Riva for the most part.  I said that because I had run 1:38 at Long Beach Half, I didn’t expect a time THAT good (because of the PF and stubbed toe).

Like the marathon, the half marathoners are also bused the entire distance out of town super-early in the morning.  I remember walking down the Strip in my tank top and shorts and given catcalls by some “Ladies of the Night.”  (or they could have been clubgoers…)

I ran the first mile in 6:54 (which surprised me) and maintained a pretty good pace the entire way to finish in 1:33:39 – probably my 2nd or 3rd best half ever.  As I was coming out of the finisher’s chute, I noted my parents and aunt and uncle walking up from the parking lot, so they missed my run entirely!

I later learned that I missed placing in my division (Clydesdale) by 1 place – and that the top 3 got a medal and a little money (like $25)..

Riva ended up running 3:12 (jogging!) and also finished 4th in her age division.

Afterwards, we watched the Superbowl in various casinos, and Mom and I even rode the rollercoaster at New York New York.

The next day, I drove back with my aunt & uncle, who live in Northridge.  We stopped in at Stateline, so they could do a little more gambling.  I had gambled about $10 in Vegas, so I demurred and was just watching… but I did end up finding $40, which I gambled with and ended up with… $40.

Always nice to come out of a weekend ahead.

Four Bridges Half Marathon – 2001

October 21, 2001

For several months, I had been planning on running the Humboldt Redwoods Half Marathon; however, I came across an issue while I was in Portland – I noticed that my checking account did not have as much money in it as I knew it to have.

When I received my monthly statement, I noticed that a number of my checks had been washed and rewritten to a mystery woman.  These checks included my car insurance, electric bill and my entry form for the half marathon.  I only discovered what had happened about a week before the race, that in fact, I had not registered for the race.  I contacted the RD and they told me if I still wanted to come up and do the race, they would give me the original price.  I had already booked an airline ticket and planned to drive up with some GVH friends.

Once I got into Davis, however, some of the people I was to ride with made other plans or it just didn’t seem like my heart was in it.  I noted that there was another race, more in the area, called the Four Bridges Half.  If I stayed in the area, I could visit with my college buddy Jessica (who said she would give me a ride to and from the race (run some errands whilst I ran)).  That seemed like a better option.

I had a decent start, but a lot of turns in the course, coupled with headwinds periodically slowed me down.  Still, I managed to run a 1:37:40 (my 3rd best half marathon).  Afterwards, they gave all the runners chips and guacamole, and a coupons for a free burrito and free smoothie (which could be used at the chain in Davis – I don’t remember which chain, though).

I guess I was a Legacy runner for about a year (until they had another race and I didn’t participate).

Flo Jo Half Marathon – 2001

May 29, 2001

I ran a hash run out in La Canada the previous week and the hare took us through a patch of poison oak.  I have a rather bad history with poison oak; I first got it at Choir camp in 1982 and had a hard time getting rid of it.  With this particular batch, I had to make 4 appointments with my doctor before he finally prescribed corticosteroids (he tried a bunch of creams that didn’t work).

Along with running the PV Marathon last week (8 days being the closest now between half marathons), the itchiness on my legs doesn’t lend itself well to having a great result.  (Getting corticosteroids prescribed doesn’t take place for another couple weeks anyway, so legs are oozy and itching.)

Flo Jo Half Marathon, which I have now done 3 times, is an down-and-up hill affair.  I don’t have a particularly great downhill run, and then I don’t have a lot left for the uphill remainder.  I manage 1:52:15, which is about 8:30/mile.

Palos Verdes Half Marathon – 2001

May 19, 2001

Decided to travel out to Point Fermin in San Pedro and run the Palos Verdes Half Marathon.  This event has been going on for 40 years, is well organized and a very small event.

Runners head out along the coast for about 1.5 miles and then heads up a steep hill for about a mile, then continues along PV Drive South until the turnaround at 6.5 miles.  (If you ever find yourself on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, make sure you figure out WHICH PV Drive you should be on, because they are not functions of the same street – there are actually 4 different Palos Verdes Drives, each with a North, South, East and West designation.)

There are a couple of really evil spots in the course – starting with the huge hill at mile 1.7, continuing with a couple of quick steep spots where earthquakes shifted the road, the unending incline from Mile 8-9, and then the long steep downhill at Mile 11.5.

For the most part, I walked the uphill sections because I wasn’t going a hell of a lot faster than I was running (and walking was less exhausting).  The reason why I think the last downhill section is evil is that on a long downhill, there is the tendency to go all out.  Problem is, once you get to the bottom, there is still nearly 2 miles of course left, and if you go all out, what do you have left?

I finished in 1:45, which is awesome considering that I walked between 7 and 10 minutes.