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Great Race of Agoura – Pacific Half Marathon

Today was the day of the climax of my training. Not the race I have been training for, but the hardest longest training run in my plan – the fast finish 20 miler. I decided to enter the Great Race of Agoura Pacific Half Marathon as part of my 20 miler. The plan was to arrive early, run a 7 mile warm up and then do the half marathon. I would run the first part easy and then do at least 10 at marathon pace or faster…

I arrived in Agoura a few minutes after 6 and met Chuck at the Carl’s Jr there. We were parking near the finish area – the starting area was several miles away. After a quick trip to the RR, the application of sunblock and talking with some other runners for directions, we started our “warm up.” By the time we actually started running it was 6:26, so we had to cut the warm up to 5.9 instead of 6.9. I reasoned that I could tack a 20th mile on at the end to make up for it…..

I lined up for the race with about 5 minutes to spare and chatted with some of the other runners. The gun went off and we were on our way. Chuck’s plan, btw, was to run back and view the finish area.

Miles 1-3: I had told myself that I would run these easy, but the others sort of pulled me along. The overall pattern was uphill here and there were numerous short steeper sections mixed in. Splits: 8:07, 7:37, 7:45

Mile 4: This mile included on horrendous hill!! Split 8:55 – I caught a few and didn’t worry too much about a few others catching me on this one…..

Miles 5-7:  Here is where I started racing. A little earlier than planned, but I had to catch those who had caught me on the uphill. I was also curious to see if the downhill pounding would bother me later in the race. So, I let her rip. As you can see mile 5 had the huge downhill, but it turned up before the end. Miles 6 and 7 were net downhill, but there were still those short steep ups thrown in to keep the overall pace from getting too fast…. Splits: 5= 6:49, 6=7:12, 7=7:19.

Miles 8-12 were mostly uphill. Mile 8 was actually about the same spot as the start of the race – we had completed a large loop.  I was slowly catching and passing people throughout the whole section. Miles 11 and 12 had the added bonus as we got closer to Agoura, of a nice headwind! One person, a black lady ran real well through this section with me. I first caught her near the low point of the race and I got ahead of her. The first time a steep section came along, however, she passed me back. When it leveled off a bit, or when we would have a little dip I would catch her again. This continued all the way until the very end. At mile 11 she was right with me and we spotted a trio of runners up ahead. I noticed that one of them was female, so I said to her, “One of that next group is a woman, let’s go catch her.” She replied, “I think we can catch that guy with dread locks as well.” So we sped up a bit together and caught all three of them. We focused on the next group, but my now we were in the final mile and the next group was quite a bit ahead. She finished about 1 second behind me. Splits: 8= 7:38, 9= 7:26, 10= 7:12, 11=7:47, 12=7:30, 12.9= 6:30.

On the last section we followed the street. We followed the runners we could see out ahead of us but I am sure we missed a turn. I remember passing a deputy at one corner and another deputy had just pulled up to him in a car. The one standing at the corner said loudly, “Well, no one ever told me!” After we had gone 100 – 200 meters past the corner the officer used his loudspeaker to say, “Attention runners, turn right on Foothill.” We were just approaching a corner then, but it was not Foothill. We continued straight ahead and never came to a “Foothill.”  As we neared the end a lady said, “Make a right at the corner and turn left into the finish chute.” I made a right at the corner and had to do an almost u-turn to go into the chute. Chuck said that all the lead runners had come in the way I did. Shortly after I finished we started to see the runners finishing from the other direction. According to Garmin, we lost about .2 to .3 miles from the course.

The total time from my Garmin shows 1:37:51 for 12.9 miles. That is a 7:35 average pace.  Not too bad for such a brutal course….

As for official results. They have added an adjustment of 2 minutes and 30 seconds to my time and the other top 19 finishers. Indeed, the girl who was running with me, and I, were the last two finishers taking the shortcut! I placed 18th out of 500 runners and 3rd placeout of 21 in my age division. Now I get to wait and see what kind of medal I will be getting in the mail!

Total today – 20 miles
Weekly total 53 miles
March – 240
2010 total – 646

2 replies »

  1. Great job! A 7:35 pace (after a 6 mile hilly warm-up) on that course is outstanding! That was the toughest half marathon course that I have seen. Not only was it very hilly, but the headwinds were very strong after already having run 11 miles (17 for Dale). You looked very smooth coming in! You also showed to signs of fatigue walking around the post finish area! You are ready for a great marathon! Boston here comes Dale!

    I do not know how they can determine which runners made the right turn up “Foothill” and who went straight. I was standing on the corner of Thousand Oaks Blvd and Argos Street for 25 minutes and did not see a single runner pass with a “Red Bib”. After 1:35 elapse time on my watch I decided to jog down to the finish line. I got there just in time to see you finish. When I jogged by the intersection of Driver & Foothill on my way back from the start there were no signs, markings, or volunteers there. I ran straight to the finish area and was told that all the races finish down Argos Street. That is the reason that I jogged up to the corner.

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March 2010


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