I initially wanted to run this race for me but when planning the trip I spoke to my good friend in LA, Theresa, and she said she would run it too if I ran it with her. If there is one thing better than getting a PR for yourself its helping another runner get their PR, so I happily agreed to be her pacer. I was running this race as part of Got Chocolate Milk Team REFUEL so my bib was provided by them and with that came VIP treatment at the race.
So race day arrives and we wake up pretty early to get to LA Live by 6 am. Once there we walk around and find the VIP tent. It's pretty awesome with everything you could need pre race including Gatorade, low fat chocolate milk, danishes, bagels, pastries, fruits, bathrooms with no lines, sunscreen, band aids, and many other things. This being an LA race I was curious to see if there would be any celebrities in the VIP area. The ones I saw were Deena Castor, Shawn Johnson, Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibbler from Full House), and Skylar Laine (American Idol). I'm sure there were others but I didn't recognize them. I took a few pics with them and then chatted with other Team REFUEL members. It was nice not being the only one in Chocolate Milk gear at the race.
After all the pictures and star gazing Theresa and I head to our corral and wait for the race to start. My plan for her was to get her to the finish line in 2:15 which would be about a 15 minute PR for her.
Mile 1 10:50 - 11:20
Mile 2-4 10:25 - 10:35
Mile 5-8 10:15 - 10:20
Mile 9-13.1 9:55 - 10:20
The race starts but since we are in Corral 12 we still have a pretty good wait until we cross the start line. It takes us about 20 minutes after the initial start to begin our race and we are off!
MILE 1 (10:53)
As expected the early miles are pretty congested so there was a lot of weaving in and out around other runners and walkers. All the great costumes and just the energy of the race had me wanting to push the pace but I kept as close to the low end of the pace range as possible. Theresa was having no problem at all with this pace and looked great!
MILE 2-4 (10:26, 10:30, 10:14)
Pretty nice route around LA. We passed up the La Bria Tar Pits and other landmarks.
I probably should have hit up the port-o-johns one more time before the race as I really needed to pee but wasn't willing to wait at one of the long lines during the early miles. Luckily we ran around the LA Memorial Coliseum which had plenty of restrooms around it. I told Theresa I would run ahead and find her once I was done. It worked out as she only had to slow down for a little bit before I saw her right outside the restrooms. Theresa was still doing really good with the prescribed pace.
MILE 5-8 (10:25, 10:22, 9:47, 9:33)
These were the Elvis miles. There was a fun group of runners all dressed up as Elvis. One of them was even pushing a baby stroller with a stereo in it playing Elvis songs while holding a beer. Pretty fun stuff and it really made the miles go by fast. There was a steady incline here that sucked but wasn't too bad. Somewhere around mile 8 or 9 we ran through this pretty cool tunnel. If you've ever paced someone you have to ask yourself if you are pushing your runner too hard or not enough. I looked at TSA(Theresa) and saw her running strong and breathing easy. She was doing awesome and I knew that she would be able to handle a quicker pace so that's what I did.
MILE 9-12 (9:58, 9:51, 9:35, 9:22)
Where did that mountain come from? During these miles there was this crazy bridge we had to run up. It had a pretty good incline and I thought TSA might slow down for it but she told me she has to run up inclines fast so off she went. Her fast pace uphill surprised me a bit and she actually left me behind a little going up it at a sub 9 min/mile pace. We keep speeding up with each mile and are clearly not following the pace plan anymore so I was just going to run and pay attention to TSA's breathing as a cue as to slow down or not.
MILE 13 - 13.44 (7:33, 6:58(0.44))
Just a little bit more to go!!! I tell TSA we only have about 10 minutes of running left. She tells me I better not be lying and takes off! We are running at a pretty nice pace passing runners left and right. It's all pretty much downhill to the finish line. I'm surprised to look down at my watch and see our pace is so fast and TSA has no signs of slowing down. As we get closer we see the finish line is in site. She gives it one last push and we cross together at 2:11:30.
Of course after the finish line the first thing I'm craving is low fat chocolate milk because I know that it has the perfect 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein to help my body recover after 13.1 or in this case 13.44 long miles. So good!! We also make it back to the VIP tent and are treated to more low fat chocolate milk, champagne, beer, breakfast burritos, hash browns, waffles, fruits, pastries galore.
This was an 18+ minute PR for TSA and she finished really strong I'm sure a sub 2 hour half marathon is in her near future. I'm honored to have been a part of your race and really proud of you Theresa! You kicked ass!
Thank you Got Chocolate Milk Team REFUEL for the letting me represent you in this race! It was a blast and I'm ready to go again at the RnR San Antonio Full Marathon in November!
If you are interested in becoming part of Team REFUEL or the chance to train with Hines Ward to compete in the World Championships in IronMan Kona. Check out www.gotchocolatemilk.com for info on how to submit your videos. Happy running!