Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rock 'N' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon 2012

I have always joked around with my friends that like Natalie Nunn from The Bad Girls Club (minus the horse face) that 'I RUN LA!' Well, I can finally say that I did! This was my Rock 'N' Roll Triple Crown race which is an exciting feat all its own. So here's the rundown about the race. The race jumped off on the corner of Figueroa and LA Live Drive. Start corrals were parallel with the iconic Staples Center arena. The corrals were filled with lots of fun and energetic people. Many of which were dressed in Halloween costumes and attire. Considering this race was Halloween themed, I found that fitting. Although the man dressed nothing but a diaper was a little odd. We started out at 7:30AM (which I thought was a little late personally) and headed south on Figueroa towards USC, or as I like to call it 'The University of South Central'. We ran around the perimeter of the campus and headed towards Exposition Park. Home of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, the California Science Center now the home of the NASA Space Shuttle Endeavor, and the Coliseum that was used in the 1984 Olympic Games. We ran around the Coliseum, and headed back toward LA Live and back into Downtown LA. For those that may not be aware, Downtown Los Angeles is actually built on a HILL! So from miles 6-10 we were basically smashing the pavement on an incline.

We ran through lovely parts of metropolitan Downtown and headed through the Hill Street tunnel. I continued on my 13.1 mile journey and reached the Los Angeles River bridge at mile 9. You may know this bridge from seeing it in just about every car commercial that is filmed in Los Angeles. So I walked up the incline because my knees were bothering me and galloped across the bridge to the turn around point and headed back. But I had to stop and take in a breath taking view of Downtown Los Angeles from the bridge. Sunday was a clear day, no smog, just amazing splendor of my city. So of course I snapped a photo.

After I took in the view and took a breath, I headed back to LA Live on the route. Back through Downtown, through the tunnel and down hill to the finish line. My motivation to finish was to one get out of the sun because it got really hot! And two, give my knees a good rest because they were over worked...and I am pretty sure if knees could talk I would have been cussed out. I did finish strong with a smile with a time of 2:28:55. Still under 2.5 hours so I call that a success. Every race is a learning experience. A new boundary to push through. Los Angeles was no exception. Mind over matter was the lesson this week. Oh, and remember to keep more KT with you when possible. Hahaha. Next up, I fly to Walt Disney World for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend. Can you say Coast-To-Coast? I sure can!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rock 'N' Roll St. Louis Half Marathon

You can't spell the word hustle without STL! The Hustle City was a very good race! For starters, I spent the majority of my trip in the The Lou with a very near and dear Fraternity brother of mine who showed me all that St. Louis has to offer. Great sights, great food, and such rich history. And don't even get me started on the beer! Needless to say I had fun in a new city. Now, here's more tea on race day!
First, another dear friend/fraternal sibling of mine Benny raced with me. Came all the way into town and dominated his race (way to go Benny). So... race morning was C.O.L.D.! COLD! But this is St. Louis after all so can I really complain? The race started on Market Street, facing the Old Courthouse and the Famous Gateway Arch. Watching the sun come over Illinois, the Mississippi River, and reflect on the stainless steal Arch was a VERY special moment.

The race kicked off and we ran toward the arch, made our way past Busch Stadium which is home to the St. Louis Cardinals (BIRDS!). We continued through Downtown St. Louis looking at all of the wonderful architecture and culture that the city has to offer. We continued making our way down Del Mar Blvd. for quite some time until we got to Art Center which is home to the Fox Theatre. This is literally the cultural heart beat of the city. I then magically sprouted wings and FLEW up this ridiculous hill around mile 5 next to Saint Louis University . I told you I wanted redemption after Long Beach. I came for ALL of these hills and paid them nothing but dust. We made our way over the SLU bridge and headed into The Grove. Gar bars on those side and the home of Sweety Pie's (as seen on the OWN Network). I kept flying right on over to Reservoir Park and the Botanical Gardens. I must share this with you...seeing the leaves change colors in fall and watching them fall as you run past is really quite the sight. The smells of Autumn in the air, the squirrels watching from the overhead power lines wondering what the hell we are all running for is really something to appreciate. Nature was a beautiful inspiration for this race. More hills here...but I paid them NO mind.

We then came to Lafayette Park which was another beautiful area of the race course. This was close to the home stretch. Mile 11. I had made it to mile 10 in under 2 hours so in an effort to save my knee I dialed back the pace a bit. So I made my way back toward downtown passing Union Station and returning to the Arch Mall where I crossed the finish at 2 hours and 21 minutes. I am proud of this run and certainly look forward to running it again some day! Not to bad for a Rock Encore! Next up, RNR Los Angeles! Can anyone say Triple Crown?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Long Beach International City Bank Half Marathon, um...Long Beach kicked my butt. Sorry, I can't make that any nicer. Allow me to explain. The Long Beach Half is really a wonderful race. This was my first time running 'The Beach' and I have to say, it is VERY scenic, and energetic. The first five miles of the race take you through Rainbow Harbor, which consists of parts of the Long Beach Port, near the historic Queen Mary, past the Catalina Express docks, past Lighthouse Point, The Aquarium of the Pacific and other lovely Pike points of interest. The first 5 miles had variable inclines due to the many many MANY vehicular ramps and bridges...and this is where I suffered burn out. By mile 6 at Shoreline Village, I was pretty much spent. Even though I was dialed in at about a 7 out of 10 with about a 10 minute/mile pace...I was still worn OUT. The next 4 miles are along the cement bike path on the beach itself. This was pretty nice considering the breeze off of the ocean kept us cool.

Let me just say, as many of my close friends and fraternity brothers know, I have spent A LOT of time in Long Beach. I think another reason why this didn't go as 'fast' as I would of liked was probably because I knew that running from The Pike to Belmont Shores and back was just kinda crazy haha. Just a sidebar.

Meanwhile, when we arrived in Belmont Shore around mile 9 or so, we were greeted to more yummy Go-Go Juice 'Powerade' and donut holes...which might I just add were rockin'! We made our way back through Belmont Shores and headed back up Ocean Avenue back towards the The Pike! With the minor pain in my IT band in my left knee I hobbled across the finish line with a finishing time of 2:33:35. Not the best, but hey at least I finished! You have to keep in can't 'win' every race. It is important to keep that into perspective. The next race is Rock 'n' Roll - St. Louis and I am ready to get back into the saddle and try again! Will I run this race again? Absolutely! I want redemption! That race time ain't hot! But the race was beautiful! One more race (Surf City 2013) and I will complete the Beach Cities Race Challenge!!! YES! AHHHH The Clink of Success is Near!