The JetBlue Long Beach Half Marathon was my lifetime half #100! Sunday, October 11, 2015 was the big day! This was my 12th Long Beach Marathon event! I ran my first full at Long Beach in 2003. I’ve run the full 5 times, the half 5 times and 5k twice. I’ve only missed the event once in 2007, the year I ran Chicago (the meltdown Chicago year!) Long Beach has been an annual tradition and it is one of my favorite weekends!
The highs were going to be in the 90s so we had the option of starting early with the marathoners at 6 am, which was really nice! The bike tour began at 6 am, too.
Race morning is never complete without saying hi to running friends! We had an Orange Mud Am-badass-ador meet up! It’s always great to meet fellow runners in person!
I got to hang out with my AREC peeps, INKnBURN ambassador friends and Team NutriBullet alumni friends! Yeahhhh!!!
We started at about 6:15 am and it was already kind of warm but it was definitely better than starting at 7:30 am.
We ran by The Pike and everything looked pretty at that hour.
I just ran on this bridge the day before for the 5k! (Read about the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k here!) I felt pretty good at the start.
The great thing about starting when it was dark, was seeing the sunrise! Gorgeous!
The view of downtown Long Beach is pretty amazing.
I ran with a gold mylar balloon attached to my Orange Mud pack and it was great to have fellow runners say, “Wow, this is your 100th half!” or ” Congratulations on your 100th half!” It made the day really celebratory and fun!
My favorite part of the course was running by the lighthouse and the Aquarium of the Pacific.
After that, we ran on my least favorite part of the course…the beach path. The beach path is new and that was nice. I just always have a tough time on this part of the course as it’s all cement, the sun beats down on you and it’s long.
I looked forward to seeing Bernie on the bike path. Bernie is involved in several running groups in Long Beach and has been a good friend since I joined AREC in 2003. Every year, he’s at the same spot on the bike path, cheering us on!
The beach path stretch has always been the toughest section of the half. It’s quite long and the pounding on cement is hard on the body. I looked forward to seeing my running club friends, Tina and Rosie! They were in the same place last year, too! It gave me a boost to see them and Rosie had cold water waiting for us.
After that, I was excited to see fellow ARECer, Christina and a fellow Orange Mud Ambassador, Cindy! I had only seen Cindy online so I was happy to meet her in person. They were pacing for the marathon and I stuck with them as long as I could to just keep my mind off of the bike path and for some company. We ran for about a mile which really helped.
The leader of the half ran by me! It was cool to see the lead runners go past us although I’m sure they didn’t like having to weave around us. Since I started early, there was still the regular 7:30 am start for the half. Anyone who wanted to qualify for age-group wins or overall wins, had to start at the regular time.
We came off the beach path and were greeted with this awesome sign! I also knew something special was coming up at this point…donut holes!!!
Every year, TRIBE, our sister triathlon club, has glazed donut holes for the runners! It’s almost Mile 10 at this point. The donut hole was delicious!
Runners could also get Cool ‘n’ Fit spray just after Mile 10.
The course splits off with the marathoners after Mile 10. Marathoners went to the right and half marathoners, to the left. After this, we ran on Ocean Blvd to the finish.
It was very warm and I was feeling a little tired at this point. It was great to see many friends along the way. I always feel a surge of energy when I see a friend. The Ocean Blvd. stretch is good because it’s the last stretch of the race. When I was on the beach path, I kept thinking, “I just need to get this over with.” But as I was running on Ocean Blvd, I started to reframe my thinking. I didn’t want to have a negative attitude and think, I need to be done. Instead I said to myself, “Soak it all in. This is the last stretch of your 100th half marathon!” I relished in the fact that this was my 100th half marathon and this was Mile 11 of my 100th half, Mile 12 of my 100th half, Mile 13 of my 100th half…
Hooray! I finished my 100th half marathon! I was so excited and happy that my 100th half was at Long Beach! (I was interviewed by the Press Telegram at the finish, too! Read the article here!) It’s where my running started and it was special to have this milestone at a race that is an annual tradition for me.
It was a hot day but we all survived and lived to tell about it! (Read about the post-race fun here!)
Thank you all for sharing this special moment with me!
Your path, your pace, Tam