I was excited to run the Long Beach Half Marathon. The day before, I ran the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k and had a great race. I like the area of Long Beach and was excited to explore on foot. I knew the Long Beach Half Marathon would not be my fastest on tired legs, but I knew I would have fun.
Before the Long Beach Half Marathon:
The morning before the Long Beach Half Marathon, things were kind of a dumpster fire. I am not too familiar with the area of Long Beach, and parking in a downtown city with 10,000 people is not easy. I thought I might miss the race start! But luckily, I found parking in the Civic Center parking lot, which also had charging. In fact, I got a premium, by the exit spot with charging. From there, I walk-ran the mile to the Long Beach Half Marathon race start. I noticed we were actually on the marathon course, but it was troubling to me that they didn’t try to prevent people from crossing the course. Multiple times, I watched half marathoners walking along the course accidentally cut off marathoners. (The marathon started at 6 am and was running by the time half marathoners were gathering at the start)
Finally, I found a bathroom and waited in the long lines. There are probably never enough bathrooms at any race start. I waited until around 7:27, somehow made it, and then jogged to the start. I actually ended up throwing my shoes into a random bush because I didn’t have time for bag drop.
I only managed a mile of walk-running for a warmup, and I could have used more. My body was stiff.
Long Beach Half Marathon Race:
I told myself I would be happy with an under 7:30 pace (goal marathon pace). I knew it wasn’t going to be some sort of miracle when I ran really fast. Immediately when the Long Beach Half Marathon race started, I was sore. I wondered how on earth I was going to make it through a half. I told myself to just stay relaxed.
I hit the first mile in 7:22 and thought: if I can average that, I would be so happy. I thought maybe my legs would get tired. Lately, I haven’t had the best track record of negative splitting or even holding a pace. There have been a lot of “fly and die” type of races. Then again, it has been very hot during the last few longer races I’ve done.
The next couple of miles of the Long Beach Half Marathon were similar to the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k the day before. They had some turns and some bridge hills. I ran a 7:25 and 7:15. I was happy with that, especially with all of the turns. I really made an effort to focus on running tangents well because I knew it could add up.
The Long Beach Half Marathon was going by fast, and as we went on, I loosened up. I wasn’t feeling great, but not terrible either. I just kept focusing on finishing.
Around mile 5 of the Long Beach Half Marathon, an older gentleman wearing a denim bucket hat asked what mile we were on. He said he didn’t wear GPS watches. I chuckled and said it was 5.3, and he thanked me. I was amazed he was wearing a bucket hat given the hot weather.
At mile 6 of the Long Beach Half Marathon, we headed near the finish and onto the boardwalk. I knew it was going to get hot fast. There was no shade, just the sun beating down on you. Luckily, I was not feeling too bad. We were running with the marathoners, and I noticed myself passing quite a few people. I realized many were actually half marathoners, not marathoners. I was surprised.
Just before mile 7 of the Long Beach Half Marathon, I felt my shorts falling down. Not just a little bit, but a lot. I stopped to retie them, resulting in my slowest mile of 7:30.
From there, we were on the very hot boardwalk. I was surprised that I was not fading, even though it was hot and I did not feel good. Still, I passed more people, which was motivating. I ran a 7:23 mile 8 and 9. At mile 9 of the Long Beach Half Marathon, I told myself there were just 4 miles to go. Although it felt like I could run longer.
I hit mile 10 of the Long Beach Half Marathon in exactly 1:14. Then we headed up the boardwalk and around the main area into Long Beach. I knew there was a fairly large hill at mile 11, which I was not looking forward to. I grabbed Gatorade and continued on. I did appreciate the Long Beach Half Marathon had several Gatorade stops in the back half of the race.
Mile 11 of the Long Beach Half Marathon brought the hill, and while it wasn’t too bad, being tired and the heat made it feel worse. After climbing, I just powered on to get comfortable. Somehow, I still ran the mile in 7:30, and I was fairly pleased with that.
The most annoying mile was 12 when I caught up to two different people who had scooter entourages following them, taking video, and cheering. The race official told them to get off the course, but they remained. It was frustrating and annoying. Somehow, I found some energy to sprint away and ran a 7:12. I kind of miss “the old running days” when people just ran a race and didn’t need to film or have a whole crew filming them. Maybe that’s why I’ll never become a big influencer, I just don’t have the time or patience for that.
When I hit mile 13 of the Long Beach Half Marathon, I didn’t see the finish line anywhere. I was hesitant to sprint because it didn’t feel or sound like we were there yet.
I crossed mile 13 at 13.2 and then had another .2 to sprint. Once I crossed the mile 13 marker, I decided we must be close and sprinted in. I ended up running 13.38 and finishing in 1:38:20.
Long Beach Half Marathon Thoughts:
I’m happy with my effort. My goal was to run comfortably and feel like I could run much further. I definitely feel like I could run several more miles at that pace, even on tired legs. I’m slightly disappointed that both the 5k and half marathon were “long” because it doesn’t reflect as fast as I ran. Luckily, several people said it was long and even compared their Strava data, with the finish line placed further back this year, so that’s motivating. I could have run further at that pace and it wasn’t a wildly exciting race with a lot of pace fluctuation but a strong, fairly consistent race.
Questions for you:
Have you run the Long Beach Half Marathon?
What is the hottest race you’ve done?