January 22, 2018

Orange County Half Marathon 2009

Perhaps it’s because I’m not in my “training mode” yet for Ironman Arizona. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a “runner.” Or, perhaps I’m just lazy. For whatever reason, I didn’t really train for the OC Half Marathon on May 3, 2009.

I did, however, go into the race with certain, albeit, unrealistic expectations. Gee, I wonder if I’m the only one to do such a thing . . .

My goal was to hold a 7:00 minute per mile pace as long as I could, with the hopes I could hang on for the entire race. This would have resulted in a PR (personal record) for me.

I felt good after using the restroom a good six times that morning. Coulda been the “carbo loading” the night before (Asahi Super Dry).

I entered the corral with 9,000 of my closest friends about 15 minutes before the start. A guy standing just ahead of me had an Ironman Arizona singlet on. We chatted a while about his race in November 2008 which was my second IM. I didn’t have a great day, but mine was better than his because he ended up in the medical tent.

The gun went off. I knew that the first part of the course would be pretty fast as there were some good downhills. Once I got clear of the traffic I got into a groove. First mile: 6:55. Perfect.

I was a bit more labored than I hoped and my heart rate hovered around 170 or so. My max heart rate is 200 so I still had some room but it shouldn’t have been so high, so early. Oh well, I pushed on.

Mile two: 6:55 again. Perfect.

I managed to say right on pace (I’m actually very good at calculating my pace – not as good at keeping it).

At mile six, my IM AZ friend caught me. I didn’t even know he was behind me. We were running at about the same pace so I stuck with him. The only difference is that I was doing the half, and he was doing the full marathon. He was probably 20 years younger than me so I guess we’re square.

Mile eight: 7:00. Slowing down a little but still good.

It got tougher from this point forward and I knew I was slowing. I would have let IM AZ go but he was slowing too. The course this year ran along the Back Bay in Newport Beach which is a favorite place for me to run and ride – it is also up hill from the Pacific Coast Highway with a very steep, but short hill at the end.

It was at about mile nine that I realized I wouldn’t hold 7:00. No worries, no one is paying me to race today . . . or any other day for that matter. I would do my best and enjoy my “catered workout.”

I began to struggle at mile 11 but held on for dear life. No punk IM dude that was doing the full marathon was going to drop me! We hung together until mile 12, which is where our paths diverged. I went left and he went straight. I wished him luck with a “shaka” (Hawaiian greeting) and pressed on.

That last mile was a struggle and a couple people passed me but I just had no kick left. I was toast at the end of the race but was greeted by my girlfriend Suzie and a friend from the Orange County Triathlon Club, Chris Davis. THANK GOD!!!

Time: 1:34:29
Pace: 7:12 per mile
Age-group place (M 50 – 54): 4/166 (2.4%)
Overall place: 101/4,554 (2.2%)

by Ron Saetermoe

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