Thursday, May 5, 2016

Race Recap: OC Marathon

OC Marathon | May 1, 2016
Newport Beach to Costa Mesa, CA

Have you ever had one of those races where two three four (this is how long it's taken me to write this) days later, you're still not sure what happened? And you keep going back to the race results page to make sure it's a real thing and that you in fact achieved it? That's what this race is. Like, I seriously have no idea where to start because I'm still in disbelief - but then I get up and walk again and am reminded that yeah, that happened.

I don't know where to start.

But we'll start here. Mandatory race day essentials:

Garmin | Road ID | You Got This! | PureConnects | Pro Compression | Hydraquiver | Sparkly Soul
I think it's important to note that the Monday prior to race day, the high for Sunday was forecasted at 91 degrees. When I woke up Saturday morning to head to the expo in the rain, I knew we were better off. The high had dropped to 68, and then by Sunday morning had jumped a little to 70 or so. I went back and forth for a while on using my Hydraquiver or not, but ultimately determined that I had trained with it, so I was better off taking it and having it as a resource should I need.

Doug and I were up about 3:30 to be out the door about 4. He was going to drop me at the start line and then head over to the Orange County Fairgrounds, home of the expo, finish line, and 5K, which he was running. The full started at 5:30, half at 6:30 and 5K at 7:30, so he unfortunately had a boatload of time to kill. Thanks, babe! We were at the start right about 5, and by the time I walked from my drop off to the corrals, convinced a nice guy to let me cut in the porto line, and found my way to the corrals, I had less than 10 minutes to kill until the gun. Timing at its best. 

Noteworthy: reader Jennifer and I have been emailing back and forth for the last month about our long runs and how things were going. We knew what each other was wearing on race morning, but I was so scrambled at the start, I hardly saw anyone! Two minutes before gun time, I got a tap on my shoulder: "Are you Megan?" Found! So fun! She started with me in the group below... 

Yeah, you see that pace time? IERC friends!
After my 21-miler a few weeks ago where I managed a 9:12 pace (yeah, what?!), I decided that I could at least start with Jen and the 4:00 group. What did I have to lose (I mean, besides all my energy, but that's whatever)? I'd give it a shot. Mind you, my goals for this race may or may not have been in line with this, but remember that my marathon PR is a 4:52 heading into this morning! Jen's a regular pacer with Beast and I know her from around IERC and Fleet Feet, so I knew she'd hold me tight and help me get to a finish - a pacer I trust, fo sho. 

9:10 - All the weaving! I thought I'd sputter out there. No lie.

It was already about mile 4 that Jen and I both noticed that our watches were about a tenth of a mile further than the mile-markers. Throughout the entire race, this varied anywhere from .10 miles to .30 miles further on my watch (i.e. when I crossed the halfway mat, my watch read 13.4). 
Photo cred: Michael, because for once I wasn't taking photos mid-run.
9:08 - Not a hill but a long gradual incline up to the trail. I remembered this part from the half last year and hated it, but remembered the views at the top. 

Proof that I was there. For more than the start line photo.
8:50 - It's THE hill. I hate this hill. Oh look, there goes team 4:00. Okay, well, I can still see Jen clearly. Keep them in your eyesight, Megan, they're not far ahead.
9:28 / Half Marathon in 1:57 (Garmin), 2:00 (chip)

11:17 - The last real climb of the course, an overpass. My stomach flared here so I managed, walked the overpass, and moved up, ready to see some club supporters at South Coast Plaza.
9:58 - Energy. Just tons of energy, and it's mile 17? 

I was banking on seeing some club people at mile 17, just to learn that they had been turned away from actually parking in South Coast Plaza, so were just outside with no banner so I missed them all completely! Oh well. 

10:06 - Shoot, there's 4:10 guy.

4:10 guy was a minute fast, and his Garmin and mine read the exact same time, so I knew I was in okay shape to still carry on.

10:34 - 20! This is where you started to feel like crap at Phoenix and look at you! You're still golden! The 4:10 pacer is still behind you, you feel good, you look good, keep rockin'. Just a 10K to go! And only three miles until Jacky. 

Tina texted me the image of my splits and at 20, I was on track for a 4:08. What the what?!

11:01 - Jacky! There's that bounding, smiling ball of energy. Just what I need.

I had told Jacky that from about 20 on, I'd been walking the first minute of each mile, and then running the rest of each mile. My miles were getting notably slower, but I felt good. I told her I was happy, and I just wanted to stay happy until the finish.

10:48 - Mental math: you're at 24, and you could walk these next two miles and still come under a 4:30. That's HUGE. But maybe you should run.

I was at that point where shuffling just sounded best. I found Eric, my 21-mile buddy, told Jacky I just needed to keep moving and maybe we'd give Eric a boost if he saw us come up from behind (sorry, Eric!). 


Running the last 3/4 mile through the fairgrounds is beyond awesome. The last quarter-mile is even more awesome because you run through a tunnel of people, dozens handing out high fives and yelling for you - I teared up. I couldn't cry, because there was nothing left, but definitely teared up.

8:55 (.52 mi)

Do you see that?


That, my friends, is a 33:32 PR. Huge. Admittedly, this isn't what my A goal was. It's actually a little shy of it. But when you beast your B goal with a 33 minute PR, who the hell cares?! Not this girl. 

The moment of realization.
GUYS! I did it! Massive PR in the books, awesome race in the books. 250+ miles in eight weeks pays off. hard work pays off and a little belief pays off. HELL YEAH.

Did you run the OC this year?

PS. If you read all this... thank you!


  1. YAYYYYYYY!!! Congratulations on the HUGE PR!!! You smashed it!!

  2. OMG You're amazing! Huge congrats and thank you for being such an inspiration!

    1. Dawwwww, you're too sweet! You killed it too! <3

  3. Congrats on the massive PR Megan! You rocked it!

  4. Congrats! That is just so amazing! All your hard work paid off. Whens the next race?

    1. Thanks so much! I'll be rockin' at Rock 'n Roll San Diego on June 5. The half that day.. I've got a summer break from fulls! :)

  5. Congrats on your HUGE PR! That is amazing! :)

  6. AWESOME!!!!!!!!! I'm a little late getting to read it, but I have been so looking forward to this recap!! I hope you are STILL basking in the glow of your HUGE PR!!

    1. Definitely basking. A little too much! Haha. I need to get my butt up and moving again, but these rest weeks have been pretty fantastic!