Saturday, May 22, 2010


No, it’s not the same as shake, rattle, and roll. This has more to do with Saturday morning’s first AREC training run of the year for the Long Beach Marathon come October. After a somewhat lengthy registration process, introduction, and orientation to the training program (due to a lot of newcomers which swelled the group to over a hundred!), the marathoners set forth on their 5 mile run, while the half marathoners left for their 3 miles. Wait, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Waking up in a spacey mode which lasted throughout the morning, I got to the staging area early, said hello to Sophie, filled out my registration and waiver forms at Kate's, Emmett's, and Deb's tables, then caught a glimpse of Tam, Jamie, and Jean starting out already. Not wanting to warm up all by myself, I caught up with them and learned that they were going for 9 miles. I ran with them for one and a quarter miles then turned back to the starting area for a total of 2.5 miles as my warm up.
After the above mentioned introductions, I searched for and found the 10 minutes per mile pace group with our Aussie mate, Allison leading the way. I stayed with them through past the half mile mark when I saw Rosie up ahead, so I upped the pace slightly and gave chase. I talked to her for a few minutes so I could slow down and catch my breath. Then I saw Michael up ahead and the chase was on again. Upon catching up, I did the same thing I did with Rosie to recover. I thought I saw the 9 minutes per mile pack up ahead and in between me and them, was a woman who I had a nodding acquaintance with last year. So I gave chase again. When I caught up with her, I mentioned remembering her losing her husband on the course in one of last year’s long runs (no, losing is not a euphemism for dying, she and her husband just happened to run different paces and somehow she got separated from him during the run). So that was how the run went for the first half, with me chasing people and recovering or catching my breath when I caught them. While I was eyeing what I thought was the 9 minute pace group up ahead, I missed the turnaround point going out and coming back. Was it supposed to be Covina Street? Well, I never saw it so I didn’t turn around until I reached Nieto Street, which I knew was way past where we were supposed to turn. By that time most people I was keying on were too far to catch, but not for lack of trying. I tried to keep the pace close to my redline point the rest of the way and didn’t catch any more runners until the last two miles. The long drive to the finish lasted for about 2 ½ miles which I felt I covered at 10k race pace. Due to missing the turnaround, the run that was supposed to be 4.9 miles became 5.65 miles for me. To my astonishment, I had run the course at an average pace of 8:54 per mile. I didn’t think I still had it in me to run sub 9 minute pace. Well, it was just about 5 miles after all. For sure, I’ll be slowing it down when the distance increases and will be doing the run/walk too. But for Saturday’s run, maybe my spaciness was just another word for focused. I thank my ankles and knees for holding up to the hard paced run.

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