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Best Race Ever?

Welcome to 2021. I have not been blogging much during Covid… I have not been doing a lot of things during Covid… traveling – teaching in person – going out to eat… But I have been running, and walking, and Elliptigoing!

So, 2021 begins with me in pretty good shape – at least running wise. I finished 2020 with 1244 miles running, 910 miles walking, 1197 miles riding (almost all on the Elliptigo) and 226 on my Ebike. This makes a grand total of 3577 miles!

In 2020 I had a couple of pretty good races. In March, the weekend before the shut down I ran the Los Angeles Marathon in3:37:42 – not really intending to race it, not really fully trained for it. In May I ran a virtual Half Marathon in Bakersfield, on a real Half Marathon course in 1:39:18. In September I ran my virtual Boston Marathon, again not intending to “race” it in 3:35:12. On the side I trained for, qualified for and competed in the Elliptigo World Championships! I placed 18th out of 25 or 30 competitors.

In November I went to Las Vegas and ran in the Revel Mt Charlston Marathon – Special Edition. This race is almost all downhill – 5000′ elevation loss. I was on pace for about 3:20 until the wheels fell of at mile 23. I got calf and foot cramps the rest of the way in. I still managed a 3:26:20!

Meanwhile I have been training by running 4 times a week. A typical week includes a drills workout, a 6 to 8 mile hill run, a 400 or 1000 m interval workout and a long trail run. I try to get a bike ride in and lots of walking as well. On those hill runs I have been racking up some Personal Records on Strava segments showing me that I must be in pretty speedy shape…

So Saturday, Jan 2, I headed down to Anaheim to compete in a local half marathon. The race was put on by Caren Ware Events. Somehow she seems to be able to hold races here in So Cal, when no one else can ??!! The race was very well organized and Covid measures were in place. Masks were required at the check in table, and before and after the race. The start line was open from 6am till 9 or so with runners starting at their convenience. The only time I got close to another runner was when I passed them…

Molly Zorba, has been doing most of my long trail runs with me and she went to Anaheim as well. We met right before our planned start time of 7 am. I started first and she started a couple of minutes later.

I had two goals going into the race. I wanted to beat the 1:39 time from May and I wanted to try to win my Hyland’s team New Years’ Challenge. Coach Mike from Hylands told us to each run as far as we could in the number of minutes corresponding to our age – It looked like 7.5 miles would win the challenge so I hoped I could do that during the first part of my race.

The race began with a young lady 30s ahead of me. Her name was Ashley – she had her name on the back of her racing singlet. She started pretty quick and I tried to match the pace. My first mile was 6:42! Too fast! I backed off a bit, but so did she and I started gaining. I passed her a couple miles in. They had a 5k and a 10k going on in addition to the half. The 5k was out and back, the 10K a longer out and back. The half was two out and backs just a little longer than the 10. Between the three races there were enough runners out there that there was always someone up ahead to focus on. And since there was staggered starts this meant that there were slower runners ahead of me that I could go chase down and pass — roadkill!!

Slightly downhill going out – slightly uphill coming back. Started out again and noted that I was 7.8+ at 58 minutes. Woo Hoo! I won the challenge! But had I gone out too fast? Turns out, no. I held a remarkably consistent pace the rest of the way. I came across the finish line with an official time of 1:34:53! Wow! Garmin said the course was short – 12.87.

Turns out there were only 24 in the Half and I placed 4th. 2nd in my age group. I did a little math and figured if the course had been 13.1 my time would have been 1:36:30! I put this in an age graded calculator and got a score of 75% This makes my “Run in the New Year” Half Marathon my new Age Graded Personal Record for any race distance!!

I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of 2021!!

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