Long Beach, Calif. - Sun, Sand, Humidity, and GREAT times! This is how I would describe my weekend at the 2016 Long Beach Marathon. Having the opportunity to be a multiple participant for the event weekend gave a yet another unique experience. This was my first race in a beach setting. Though last year I ran Balboa Park at the AFC 5k, it wasn't actually on the beach. What can I say about half #10? HELLO HUMIDITY. 🙂
WOW! Though the start was at Sunrise, the real test began upon the 6.5 mile mark. There is a 3 mile stretch of beach trail with no shade (I was warned about this before hand) and the humidity was alive and well at this point. Please allow me to backtrack and describe the scene for the first 10k of the trail. The trail began westbound into the Shoreline Village, Pike Outlets looping back and then southbound by the Queen Mary (5k mark). While in this vicinity, there is an assortment of inclines, twists, and turns leading you back across the bridge into the most scenic parts of Shoreline, downtown LB, and back into the Marina (10k). As you pass the Marina, there in all it's 3 mile glory...the beach trail (and the Sun). 🙂
Let's just say fall has set in the South and replicating that setting was not in the plans. After all, it is October, there is no way the beach in LB will feel like Summer. WRONG! I was feeling a little fatigued already at the 10k mark. I haven't been training my best throughout the Summer. It showed at this particular race. I hit the wall at the 9th mile. So, here is where the exercise specialist in me took over.
Scenario: Is it better to sacrifice the body for the clock? (personal record) OR is it better to sacrifice the clock for the body? (injury prevention). You don't have to tell me or anyone else your answer. I will tell you all mine in this instance though. As I was sucking wind on the 9th mile, this scenario came to me. Should I push myself or acknowledge that I have hit my current threshold and walk? It didn't take too long as I went through this checklist,
1. Are you being paid to run this race?
2. Are you penalized by any sponsors for walking?
3. What is your main platform?
4. Will anyone run your business if you are injured?
Answers: 1. No 2. No 3. Injury Prevention 4. NO! It was a no brainer. I am an exercise specialist who specializes on injury prevention. I practiced what I preached. Yes, I walked. It could be consider sacrilege in certain circles. I call it listening to the body and a learning lesson to be better prepared for the next event with this setting (which is 5 weeks away). Bottom line, I love running for the challenge, the experience, and if a PR is there, that is amazing. If not, I still have a wonderful time and do not allow a run time to define my worth. This is about health with a challenge...not a medal for my country or a paycheck. Keeping perspective on the big picture helps greatly in these scenarios. I am pretty sure I am not the only that has the same goal - improving health with a slight challenge.
So suffice it to say, I proceeded to walk miles 9-12.5. It didn't bother me one bit. Using Cali language, it was "hella hot". I went on to enjoy the westbound scenery provided by Naples, Belmont Shores, Bluff and Bixby Park, as well as Alamitos, all on Ocean Drive. As I got to within a half mile, I did have enough recovery to jog to the finish line. One thing I truly love about races is that you are able to have a unique site seeing experience to areas of the city that may otherwise be too congested to appreciate.
As I crossed the finish line, I had no regrets. I ran (and walked) a smart race. I had an absolute blast going into double digits, as LB Half 2016 was my tenth overall half marathon. 🙂
WHAT A WEEKEND
Prior to the run, I was able to get a feel for the endurance race world by volunteering with USA TODAY Sports Active Alliance member, the US Bank Orange County (OC) Marathon. They were exhibiting with at the Long Beach Marathon Expo. They also have a link with the LB and Huntington Beach based, Surf City Based Marathon. Through participation in all three events in a consecutive order, an individual receives an annual award known as the Beach Cities Challenge medal, a very nice piece of bling.
For me, I wanted to the experience, as it will prepare for my next endurance adventure. It will not be as a runner next time. I will be at the Alliance booth as part of the administration team for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Weekend, November 3-5, 2016. From my experience with the endurance space at the LB Marathon Expo and the AMAZING crew of the OC Marathon, it is going to be a BLAST!
See you soon Indiana!