I am happy to announce that I finished the Pasadena Half Marathon on Sunday! Despite the heat, I finished the race strong and with a smile on my face. The feeling of accomplishment  as I crossed finish line was absolutely exhilarating. I don’t know if it was seeing the support of my family at the end of the race or the sweat/sunscreen mixture that was burning my eyes, but I felt teary eyed! Here is a full race recap:

The gearImage

At 4:45am, I quickly up, got dressed, ate something and drank a mixture of gatorade/water to hydrate. I was out the door by 5:15am and anxiously looked at the car thermometer that already read 78F. I got to the race starting line at Pasadena City College with plenty of time to warm up and get ready for the start.

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The half marathon portion of the race started at 6:30am and I was off running near the middle/end of the pack. Instead of music or the usual running podcast, I decided to listen to Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes for the duration of the race. This was a great decision because listening to his crazy adventures, like running 100 miles in Death Valley and a marathon to the South Pole, made me feel like the half marathon was totally do-able! The first three miles of the race were easier than I was expecting despite being slightly uphill. I also took it really easy on the pace (11 min/mile) because I knew that the heat and hills would ramp up later on in the race. At the end of the first mile there were Taiko drums performing, which definitely helped pump me up. The first few miles started on Colorado Blvd, which has a bunch of shopping stores so I was having fun doing some window shopping.  From there we went onto the Colorado Street bridge, which was a fun experience because the bridge is an icon in Pasadena. After the bridge, we headed downhill to the Arroyo Seco Trail and around the Rosebowl. This was the part of the race I was most familiar with because I had run this route before but it was definitely the most mentally challenging. Even though it was flat, there was no escape from the sun and the asphalt made it feel even hotter. At mile 5 I started eating my Chocolate Gu and seriously ramping up the water intake. I am so thankful that there were water stations at every mile because I constantly needed more either for drinking or dumping over my head (I did this a lot during the race!). I had looked at the elevation chart before the race and knew that between mile 8-10 there would be a steady hill, so I had mentally prepared for the challenge. However when I reached this “big” hill, I was relieved that it wasn’t that big after all and I was met with a glorious downhill that lasted the final 3 miles. During those final miles, I had a smile permanently plastered to my face and waved to all the spectators watching. However, I could tell that my happiness was not shared by most of the other runners. The heat was really getting to people and it definitely showed on their grimaced faces and slumped postures. To pump me up even more, at around mile 12.5 I got a great surprise that made me smile wider and wave my arms like a lunatic. What was this surprise? My amazing sister and dad were cheering for me and waving these awesome signs ImageAs I ran to the finish line, I started to realize the magnitude of my impending accomplishment and I could not help but start to feel nostalgic. Right before I crossed the finish line, I was met with another surprise right and that was my mom waving and cheering for me. I cannot describe how elated I was to cross the finish line, get my medal, and give my mom a huge sweaty hug. I finished the race in 2:22:15 at a 10:53min/mile pace. Even though it was slow, my body and mind felt great. There were many runners who suffered heat stroke and severe dehydration, so I am thankful to have remained healthy during and after the race. Despite feeling fatigued and having slightly tender calf muscles, my body doesn’t feel sore a day after the race. I take that as a sign that I trained and raced well! Now for some photos…

The route:Image

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ImageOn a final note, I need to express how wonderful my family is. Their support was more than I could have ever wished for and I am so lucky to have them always be there for me. Training for and running half marathon was definitely a challenging experience but also a growing one. All I can think of now is when is the next race? 

 

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