I wasn’t sure what my goals for La Jolla Half this year was. I knew there were hills. I knew myself that hills aren’t my breakfast or lunch- hell , not even a snack! I looked at my past race data and pace information from races like Palos Verdes Half, and Xterra and came up with my own pace plan which worked out mostly ok. I surprised myself at few miles, and didn’t push hard at few miles. Knowing what I know now, I do want to remember these 6 things in this blog for next year – 2018! – Yes. I am already signed up! I want to aim for 1:40 next year.(1:43 finish time this year!) and I think I can do it, if I train properly and prepare myself for the run.
1. End of April is Almost Summer
As I will run through holidays and January, its easy to forget end of April is almost summer here in California. With the 7:30 am race startup time, its going to be nice and sunny, not nice and cold. I dont know about others, but I don’t do well in heat. Adjust my expectation for fast pace to 7:10, not 7:00! Hydrate well! Wear a tank that is more summer friendly. As we started with mile 1, I was already sweaty and it wasnt even 100 meters at that point yet. I will miss my winter/cold weather for running races for next few months for sure!
2. Don’t worry about Mile 6 until you hit Mile 6
I spent a good part of my first 5 miles worrying about mile 6. In doing so, I paced poorly on the flat miles, and down hill miles. I wish I had kind of enjoyed the first 5 miles for what they are, and figured mile 6 at mile 6! Next year, don’t think about mile 6 until I really hit mile 6 aid station!
3. Mile 4 is pretty hilly too
When I studied the elevation chart, Mile 4 didnt stand out as big of a deal, next to the mile 6 hill, however, as we started to run, and as my initial high start to wear off, Mile 4 hill caught me off guard. It wasnt very challenging, but because I wasnt anticipating it to be a 10% grade hill, I didn’t prepare myself to breath right and pace myself properly. When I finished that climb, I literally had to stop to catch my breath. I wish I could have paced myself properly with short strides, and better breathing, with better anticipation of this hill, so I could have had a better mile 5 speed.
4. Mile 5 is a downhill – Speed
When the downhill at the second part of mile 5 came, I couldn’t help but keep starring at Mile 6 – Torrey Pines hill, trying to study it. That was unnecessary in someways, and it made me not to speed as much as I should have at mile 5. So keep in mind, not to look ahead at the hill at mile 6, but to enjoy the descending hill on mile 5 and gain and bank as much as time!
5. There is no water station when you finish your Torrey Pines Climb
As I started the climb at Mile 6 /Torrey Pines hill, I had a sip of water thinking there may be another water stations at the end of the mile 6 at the top. Wrong! Being the park area, there wasnt any water stations allowed between mile 6 and 8. Which is all up hill. It took a little toll on me mentally. For next year, I want to have little more water at the start of the 6th mile, and not anticipate to have a water break for another 2+ miles. This will help a little bit, with better pacing. My 9:28, 8:39 pace at mile 6 and 7 could have been little better had I anticipated and prepared well with this.
6. Mile 13 is a Bitch – but keep climbing
In the big scheme of things I under estimated Mile 13 hill. I knew it was coming, but with the fact that this is the last mile , and there is also a down hill, I didn’t realize, at mile 13, I would have been super exhausted and the 160 ft hill would knock my ego down and freeze me for few seconds there. I kind of lost my ability to talk to myself at both mile 4, mile 6, and mile 13 hills, and literally stopped for few seconds. I could have managed that with a shorter stride and an easier pace and still kept moving.
La Jolla Half 2018 Registration is open at $75. Sign up . The prices usually go upto $120.
Strava Segment if you are interested in exploring others pace performance in this segment.