It has been a long time between PRs! The last was the 5K PR 15 months ago. I was beginning to wonder if my age had caught up to me. But today, I scored a nice one!
The day started with alarm clocks at 2 am! Cheryl and I got up and got ready. Chuck, who had already picked up Lance, came by and picked us up just before 3 am.
We then headed over and picked up Lauren. The 5 of us headed down to Ventura. We arrived at the fairgrounds and found the VIP check in table. They had it set up where, for an extra fee, you could pick up your timing chip, bib and shirt on race morning. Nice! We then followed a random bus towards the Half Marathon starting area. The only problem is that the bus did not know where it was going! Eventually, after driving around a road closed sign we got to the right spot to drop off Lance and Lauren. We headed on up to Ojai and got there with around 30 minutes to go till race time.
I had just enough time to wait in the port a potty line, visit with Sarah and June (and Jen who had driven Sarah). About 10 minutes late the race was underway. I should note, now, in case you did not already know. This was purported to be a fast course! I chose to run it as a sort of redemption after dealing with the upper 80s weather in Boston. The race starts at about 700 foot elevation and ends at the beach. There is, however, one significant hill. You can look at the splits below and guess where the hill was. It started just before the end of mile 3 and continued through mile 5. I got off to a quick and comfortable start. I actually found myself in front of the 3:15 pace group! As we ran up the hill the pace group caught me and got 80 to 100 meters ahead. As we started down again I steadily gained on them. Somewhere around mile 10 when they all went for a drink at a water station I surged ahead. All the way through the middle of the race I steadily picked off runners. At times I would feel myself starting to falter but I would remind myself to lean forward and keep up a quick turnover. At mile 20, though I was beginning to worry. I told myself, however, that I had not already run 20 miles that fast just to blow it on the last 6!
You may be wondering why I did not need water when the pace group did. Chuck had taken it upon himself to be my personal support crew for this race. Starting at mile 5, every couple miles or so there would he would be. My wife was with him. She was taking pictures and he would be standing there with these cute little bottles of water! He would start running, WAY too early, and I would have to chase him down for 20-30 meters. Then he’d hand me the water and I would drink and hand it back to him. At the aforementioned 21st mile as I approached the 101 freeway underpass, he asked how I felt. I told him not to ask me, but to tell me! He quickly responded. “You look great!”
Just a minute or so later I spotted Tiffanie running on the path toward me. I said “Hi Tiffanie!” and she turned and ran with me. My pace instantly quickened as I ran by her side. She ran with me a mile and a half or so and helped me put in decent 21st and 22nd mile. After she stopped, as I headed down the coast I just concentrated on hanging with the other runners. I continued to pass a few, so I did not notice that I was slowing. As I approached the 24 marker a few guys caught and passed me and that 3:15 pacer guy pulled along side. I went to a bigger breathing pattern in an attempt to hang with him. As we ran the last couple miles the guy did everything he could to encourage me to hang with him. I would drift back then dig and catch him. At 25 1/2 Chuck was there with the water once again. I passed on the water as I was just putting everything I had left into a strong finish. Chuck gave me some encouragement – by name. Now the pacer guy knew my name and he yelled it out often that last half mile. He got the crowds cheering go Dale! As we went under the pier and I saw the finish up there about another quarter, I really tried to sprint. together we went by some other runners and into the finish chute. I crossed the first mat, stopped my watch and gave a big fist pump! I thanked him for his help and walked very slowly through the chute. I noticed Lauren, Lance, Justin and Tiffanie all there to cheer me in!
Here is a slide show of the pictures Cheryl got during the race:
Now, my watch says 3:15.10 but when I checked the official results it has me at 3:15:20. Looking at the results and figuring out which guy was the pacer guy it looks to me like the first mat may have not registered my time. There was a second set of mats (which they always use for backup) and I am thinking my finish time was registered by them.
Here are my splits:
They did not have any mid race timing mats so I have to estimate my half marathon splits. Based on the 13 mile split of 1:36:36 and adding 10% of the next mile my first half would be 1:37:21. The second half would be 1:37:49 by my watch or 1:37:59 with the extra 10s added.
My official time of 3:15:20 got me a new PR by more than 4 minutes! It also was good for 8th place in my division. I was the 91st overall finisher out of 1000 entrants.
So, how did everyone else do out there today? The other HDR runners I knew of in the full marathon where June Heaton and Sarah Bird. I never saw them after the start. We could not hang around long, as I had a granddaughters birthday party to get to. Checking the results on line June finished in 4:19:28 and Sarah finished in 4:47:07.
Now the half, I wish I could have watched the half…… Justin Pantananan and Tiffanie Marley went down there today looking to win it! Tiffanie did just that winning the women’s race with a time of 1:19:34! Awesome race Tiffanie and thanks for picking me up when the going was starting to get tough! Justin came in 2nd place with a time of 1:11:50. Great race Justin! Lauren and Lance started together. Both runners stated a goal of breaking 1:40. For Lauren who’s PR is just under 1:40 this would enable her to shoot for her PR. For Lance, with a PR of around 1:44, an under 1:40 race would be huge! Apparently they did not hang together for long. Lauren got herself a new PR with a finish time of 1:37:28. She was the 6th finisher in her division and the 19th female overall! Woo Hoo Lauren! Lance did not get that 1:40, but still got a big new PR in 1:41:08!
Also in the half, from our Tuesday night crowd, Deborah Petty and Bev Oneal ran the half finishing in 2:27:45 and 2:34:29 respectively! Good Job!
Finally, I’d like to offer a huge congrats to David Weary who ran the San Diego Rock N Roll marathon today. He also got a nice new PR with a 3:25:55 finish.