For the first time ever I crossed the starting line as soon as the gun went off. This was important because it meant when I reached the finish line the clock time displayed would actually be pretty close to my actual time. That was definitely a nice side benefit for competing in a small race!

The problem with being so near the front was that I had to start at a run. Faster runners are towards the front, the very fastest are in the very front. I was frontish so it was important that I crossed at a good clip and kept going. For the most part that was okay, I’ve been doing a lot of running on treadmills and local park trails but it’s a bit different when you can feel a wave of people behind you trying to get past. At one point I really started feeling the pace and looked down at my watch. I was running a 9:30 mile. Advanced runners run 9:30s and there was no way I was keeping that up for very long. I moved as close to the side of the route as I could and started walking for a bit.

At that point I was feeling pretty good. I’d made a big dent in my first mile and was just about to start a second running interval when my foot slipped on a lane line. Yes, the lines they paint on asphalt to direct cars are incredibly slick in the rain. I recovered without injury but I frightened myself and my muscles tensed. The next time I tried running my shin splints flared up and bam, there went my fantasy of jogging a substantial portion the half marathon. Which was especially annoying because I was wearing compression sleeves for shin splints.

Right around the time I started feeling sorry for myself for having a setback so early in the race granny passed me with her walking sticks. The shock actually rendered me mute (miracle!) for a moment and I’m sorry to say she was ahead of me by the time I got it together and cheered her on. How cool that she was out doing a half marathon on Sunday morning! (And leaving me in the dust!)

If you look at the map everything in the white space after the first mile marker basically until you hit the blue resevoir area was a private airport. I’m assuming Pomona airfield but don’t quote me on that. The route went right past the flight tower and about 10 of us in a pack all simultanously waved at the air traffic control guy. A woman behind me said “This is probably the most variety that guy has had in his day all year.” We all laughed because she was probably right.

By the time I hit the second mile I realized one weird thing about the course. It had no spectators. I mean NONE. You could argue that rain would have discouraged even the most hard core race enthusiast but when you looked at the land you couldn’t tell it had just rained. There was none of the flooding I’d seen in my car. The earth just soaked it all up (which tells you how desperately we needed the water).

Every half mile or so for the first part of the race there was a cop parked in his cop car watching us from across the street. Didn’t honk. Didn’t clap. Didn’t wave. Just sat there and watched us. Every other race I’ve done the local support has at least cheered or smiled or something. Notsomuch in Pomona. Kind of a bummer.

What I didn’t know during that second mile was that I should be soaking up every second of the flat route. As a finisher of two coastline events it never even occured to me to ask what the elevation was for LA County. Oops. Hills galore! short ones, long ones, steep ones requiring signage, the whole enchilada.

Here is the route in pictures:

On the resevoir trail

That’s Raging Waters Water Park and this is the closest I’ve ever been to it.

As for the resevoir trail itself

Looks kind of flat right?

That was before

See the sign? I listened to it and was half way down that dirt trail (my first ever trail run) when a college guy from behind me shouted “Hey red shirt girl! That’s the wrong way!” He and his girlfriend became my race buddies. Had he not saved me from my horrible mistake I would have ended up at this boathouse about 2 miles round trip out of my way with no hope of returning to the race in time.

Thanks again B!

Plus I had company for what turned out to be a hilly course.

But I did learn one thing. Sometimes you’re okay with hills and slopes if you think they’re going to take you somewhere good.

By mile 7 I was all ready for that!

But the fat lady wasn’t done singing and the fat chick wasn’t even halfway done racing.

According to my GPS watch the total elevation change in feet for the race was +1,381 / -1,367.

Did I mention I live at sea level? I’m not used to this stuff!

Now this made me think two things:
1) Damn if only I’d known I would have been mentally prepared for it at least!
2) If only this race was in June because I really need a warm up for the San Francisco 1st half marathon!

Yes, most of my thoughts pertaining to racing are punctuated by exclamation points.

Other pictures include:

Notice how the road is empty of all other competitors. This would never happen in a race with 18,000 people. There are fields on the right and an airport on the left. This is somewhere around the 9 mile marker and it was a little creepy. I was grateful to have two race buddies with me.

I also had a glorious realization: NO BLISTERS SO FAR!

Huge. Yes that is HUGE!

And let me tell you that perked me right up! The rest of the course from 9 on felt like it went a bit faster.

From the middle of mile 10 on you were pretty much on Fairgrounds property again. Parts of the course were very well marked. Other parts not so much. I’d printed the map you see above before my race which is what allowed us to figure out where we supposed to go in several instances if you can believe it.

See the water drop before 12? We passed the water station and then it was like a ghost town. There were barricades in several different places and the path could have been in either of two directions. The map saved us.

Do you also see that loop above 12 that runs parallel to North White Ave? That segment of the race was through what basically amounted to the Fairgrounds backlot. There were a lot of food carts being stored. Full sized Union Pacific train engines (not sure why). There was also the:

And the final water stop?

I kept waiting to see Clifford the Big Red Dog racing for the fire hydrants.

If only I’d known that was a precursor for heading to the back 40. The last 2 miles of the race route took us through mini vegetable gardens and tiny apple orchards. We moved past an equestrian center (and smelled it) and then went right through the Pig Patio

I’m serious the sign on the back wall says Pig Patio!

It was an interesting glimpse at the county fairgrounds.

Believe it or not I didn’t get a picture of the finish line but I did manage to run to it. I’ve never done that in a race before because by then the blisters are so bad I won’t even consider it. This time I was just fine!

Oh and for those of you who read this far (I’m sorry).

But here your treat.

Dirty D turned out to be a speedy young woman running with her arm in a sling. She raced past me not long after granny. (I missed the pic of granny but I still had my phone out and managed to snap a pic of D)

Next year’s goal is to catch up with Dirty D and maybe beat granny!

Leave your Reply

  1. Deb says,

    Hey, red shirt lady…I’m darn proud of you, and that was a GREAT recap. I loved reading it. I love all the pictures too – really puts you there. The fire hydrrants? ROFL and hey! you found Dirty D!!!

    You’ll beat Granny next year, and ya know what…kudo’s to mystery Granny for getting out there too!

    dated December 15, 2009 at 2:35 pm

  2. Andi says,

    Don’t feel bad about slipping on the lane line! My chronic Achilles injury started out as an acute Achilles injury (that I stupidly ran through) due to not just slipping, but actually falling on one of those stupid things during a race in downtown Atlanta in 2007.

    dated December 15, 2009 at 2:39 pm

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