Thirteen years ago, my brother and I ran the Long Beach Half Marathon. I was commuting back and forth to England for a project that proved incredibly time consuming… but I still tried to make time for me and for my family.
In 2018, I ran the full marathon.
Inbetween, I ran a number of events that used part of the beach path for their courses.
And so I should have known what I was getting myself into this morning. Yet somehow I had forgotten the views of the Queen Mary, the lighthouse, and the CalState Long Beach Pyramid.
I also, even having run as many marathons as I have, seem to forget just how LONG 26.2 miles can be.
Life lessons from the Long Beach Marathon:
1) If there is a race day packet pickup, especially for “local” events, I should just pay the extra fee and avoid the mess of going back and forth multiple times. I had to drive down from Hollywood to Long Beach on Friday to pick up my bib… and it was a traffic filled nightmarish trek. The one benefit is that I was able to park and bib and exit the parking structure within the 30 minute grace period so at least I didn’t have to pay for parking!
2) A race that starts at 6 AM is tough on the wake-up, but pleasant for getting it over with… even if one’s time is slower than hoped for.
3) If good fences make good neighbors, non-existent fences make for who knows what?
4) I’m still not sure how to get back to pre-pandemic shape. Once again, I had a decent first half that collapsed in the second half. Today I was able to hold off the 3:25 pace group through 2/3 of the event… and then it all went downhill as the course went rolling along.
5) Fifteen thousand people were involved in the various races of the weekend. They say there were only 1942 marathoners but man were there a lot of people. And I suppose the half marathon had to have a much larger field. But the whole thing felt like a super spreader event waiting to happen. I masked when I could in crowds but rehydration and chocolate milk cartons made me doff the mask a bit too often.
6) The “beach” section of the Long Beach Marathon is maybe 5-6 miles out of the whole thing. The rest is neighborhood and city streets.
7) Finishing matters sometimes more than clock times… but man, do I wish my clock times were getting better.
8) Every finish line is but the start line for the next adventure.