The New Year’s Race in Los Angeles, California, was an inaugural half marathon that took place on Saturday, January 5, 2013. This was not a goal race for me. I was just running it because I knew I’d be in Los Angeles visiting my family for the holidays, and it was perfect timing! The race started at 9 pm.
I liked that the race was NOT actually on New Year’s Day. This allowed me to enjoy the holiday with my family. The race was still close enough to the new year, however, to mimic a New Year’s race feel, so that, I appreciate.
The Expo was small. We went the day prior, during rush hour. We had to pay for parking and it took us FOREVER to get back home, thanks to the horrific Friday evening traffic. I’d suggest the race coordinators move the Expo to a location outside of Downtown LA for the future.
This was my first night race. I don’t think I’ll ever do another night race. It was torture waiting the entire day to start the run. We had to be so cautious about what we ate and how much we ate, and how soon to the race we ate. We had to think about drinking enough to stay hydrated but not so much that we’d have to pee while we were running. And just running at the end of the day, when you don’t really have any energy left, just isn’t appealing to me. I’m an early morning runner. Running even at 10 am is late for me! I thought a start time of 9 pm was a little late! I wish it could’ve started at 7 pm…that would have been much nicer.
The course was pretty hilly! I, unfortunately, was not prepared for all of the hills. But they were doable, nonetheless! My hubby and I pushed through this race together, and I enjoyed every step with him! (This was the first race we’ve ever run together, side-by-side.)
I felt the hills start maybe around mile 3, and they did not stop until around mile 9.5. Overall, there was an elevation gain of 704 feet, with the majority of the hills around Dodger Stadium.
We got to run through Dodger Stadium, which was AMAZING! I remember looking at the stands from the baseball field, thinking about how much history had taken place right there where I was running. I was in awe. I was running where my favorite team plays all of their home games, and it was just a spectacular moment!
There were some gorgeous views of the downtown Los Angeles skyline. We took tons of pictures of the city lights. Our home is just beautiful, especially when all lit up at night!
Now, this review may be somewhat bias, because I am in a running slump right now! I am over trained, and I’m exhausted. I am not running at the paces I had been running at (meaning I’ve slowed down a lot recently), my body is shot (it feels tired and empty inside), and I have been having negative feelings toward running lately, which has never happened before! And it all came out in this race, let me tell you.
I was a Debbie Downer. Around mile THREE, yes, THREE, I told my husband: “I think I might actually quit this one!” He told me to shut up and keep going. LOL!! So I did. He’s never really sympathetic when I feel like it totally sucks. I love (and hate) that about him.
It was flippin cold, and it just got worse as it got later. It started out in the low 40s (DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT LIKE RUNNING IN COLD WEATHER. PERIOD.), and every time I stopped to get water at a water stop, some water fell out of the cup and went onto my gloves and sleeves, which just helped create this sense of hypothermia…and YES, my gloves and sleeves were water wicking.
So I took my gloves off, but then my hands got so frozen that I couldn’t even move them after a while. They were stuck in this funny position, and were turning red, then purple. It was terrible! It got to where I couldn’t even hold the gloves, because they were so cold they just made me worse, so my loving husband held them for me for the rest of the way. He’s such a trooper for dealing with my negative ass that night!
It gets better: in mile 8, my knee locked up. Like, my leg straight up locked in place, and I couldn’t bend it. It was weird. I thought, “This is it. I’m done. How can I finish with an eff-ed up knee?” I thought I would have to walk the rest. I tried to move, very slowly, and my leg worked, but it was wobbly for a little while. So I hobbled. After a while, it stopped hurting so much, so I tried to jog a little, and I was able to. I kept on running after that. It seemed to fix itself. I presume it was all of the hills that I was unprepared for, and for which I did not train for (bad runner mistake #1,359,457).
I was so fed up with running in circles around and around Dodger Stadium, that I yelled out to everyone around me, “When are these hills going to stop?!?!” A runner next to me started laughing hysterically. He responded, “When we get out of Dodger Stadium.” I thought, “Ok, we’ve been in this area for 4 miles already, so let me rephrase the question: WHEN ARE WE GETTING OUT OF DODGER STADIUM?!” He he he.
There were areas of Dodger Stadium that were pretty dark; like, pitch black. Not for very long, but just enough for me to complain about it, because apparently, complaining was the theme of this race for me!! So Carlos kept pulling his phone out and turning on the flash, pointing it at the ground, so that we wouldn’t fall and kill ourselves on those hills.
During this race, I remember feeling like 13 miles was a really, really long time, and I hadn’t felt that way about this distance for months and months, so I was pretty upset about that. I kept telling Carlos about how I was never going to run after this, and that I hate running now, etc., etc., etc.
Isn’t it funny how you can go into a race, and things can change so suddenly for you? You have no idea what to expect in a race. So many conditions depend on that one day, and many of them, you have no control over.
I didn’t have control over the late start time, or the cold weather, or all of those hills. I didn’t have control over the harsh winter conditions that I was training for this race in. I DID have control over my attitude and my thoughts, though. And that was 99.9% of my problem in this half marathon. I really beat myself up in this race! It was an awful feeling.
I’m glad I finished this race. Even though I was beating myself up, I shut it out juuuust enough to NOT QUIT.
I guess some days are just like that.
Have you ever had a bad race? How did you get yourself through it?