This event will be my 7 marathons since October 9, 2011(Long Beach International Bank Marathon). I was reluctant to join it because the event is geared for young and stronger runners on a mission to set PR and BQ. The free registration (HM AG 1st place last year) was hard to pass, though. Also, I believe I can beat the time the course will be opened to traffic. Game plan was to be at Mile 25, 5 hrs from gun start.
My race day started at 3:00 am. Dressed up, had light breakfast and drove to the shuttle pick-up station. Took the first bus and arrived at the starting area in Ojai with plenty of time to spare before gun time. It was dark Race start was delayed by almost an hour and was worried that course will be opened to traffic as scheduled.
Twenty minutes after the gun start, 700+ out of 810 runners were out of my sight and the trail from Ojai to Ventura was left to the motivated, brave and slow runners like me. I enjoyed the scenic view and crossing the bridge. Got familiar with some of the runners and most specially to the sweeper (guy with cowbell). The sweeper cheers and motivated runners with "looking good, good pace, you can do it". His main duty though, was to make sure no runner was left behind. Saw him at least five times on the trail and responded to his cheers with " Still kicking".
At mile 13 my split time of 2:30:00 was on target but no allowance for rest or walking. Worst, my foot problems (Metatarsalgia - pain on the foot ball; Plantar Fasciitis) started to bother me. These problems forced me to walk a lot at the Orange County Marathon held last June 3. Started counted my strides, cycle of 100. 100 strides with more weight on my right foot, then switched to my left feet for the next cycle. It didn't ease the pain but it didn't get worst. This method plus the gradual downhill kept me running. Runners will pass me and once they switched to walk mode, I will pass them. It's a back and forth scenario and I got familiar with runners footsteps who are about to pass and back/behind of runners ahead of me.There was also stretch of trail that I didn't see anyone ahead.
When I entered the street portion of the course, Mile 21 to Mile 24, the service personnel were in position to remove the traffic barriers and cones. I took it as a personal challenge and kept on running, looking for runners to pace me or to pass. At Mile 24, about 200 feet ahead of me was a familiar back/behind. She is young and pretty( finally saw her face at the post race area). Caught up and paced with her till we reached Mile 25 where she was met by her cheerleader friends to cheers and motivate her. She waved them off. Also, I sensed that she need her space so I turned on my after burner and took off. Mile 25 to the Finish was the beach front trail/pathway/promenade lane. Have to share the lane with the public(tourists, dog walkers, cyclists, trikes, beach bums, surfers,etc), but they were nice and kept out of the way.
|Another familiar runner. Almost caught up with her at the finish line|
|Made it! The oldest 2012 O2O Marathon runner.|
Photo Update - 06/11/2012
|The Finish Line|
|The other Activities.|
|See you Next Year|