Operation Jack Half–2011 final installment

Awesome : Sweating out days of holiday indulgences

Awesome : 60s, clear skies, and gorgeous Manhattan Beach views

Awesome : Breaking a 2+ year old PR & ending 2011 on a high note

Most Awesome : Supporting a local and admirable foundation, and the family behind the movement

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


This morning’s Operation Jack Half Marathon capped off my 2011 racing season. I woke up thinking that was a pretty big deal.

And then, standing at the start line overlooking the Pacific with 300+ fellow runners, Sam (@OperationJack) & wife Tiffany said a few words. Words of thanks, gratitude, and motivation.  (“Walk/Jog/Run your ASS OFF”)  Of awe of the support they’ve received.  Amazement at what their foundation has become.

That the day’s event raised $40,000 for Train 4 Autism.

And I realized what it meant to be a part of something SO.MUCH.BIGGER than yourself.  To have a race be more than just another time on a record sheet.  That sometimes your little hobby can make a difference.


Sam, Tiff, & kids (from the Operation Jack facebook page)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The race itself was exactly what I love about small events – Familiar faces and new friends (Hi Julie, Heather, Andrea, and the nice girls that yelled during the race!), friendly volunteers, and a level of runner camaraderie that can transform the stoniest soul into a waving/smiling/heyo’ing running fool.

Oh and TP in the bathrooms.  That’s a big deal, too.


When discussing strategy with Chacha while we warmed up, I told her I wanted to run “stupid and gutsy.”  She told me obviously yes I am stupid, and also don’t eat that piece of gum you found in the grass and did you lock your car?  Should I tie your shoes for you, dumbass?

What I REALLY meant was that I wanted to push myself – run at my limit – test my guts, not my head or legs.

Spoiler : My guts last about 11 miles.

We ran together for the first 6 miles, when I decided it was a good time to surge and picked it up from 8:10’s to 8’s.  We were approaching the turnaround and seeing all the faster runners coming back got me all jacked up.  Fast!  Wanna go fast!  So what if we’re not even halfway done yet!


(Are you throwing things at your computer screen yet?)

The pace felt natural since that’s what I’ve been doing my weekday runs at, and I felt AWESOME.  I skipped a water station and kept my second Gu tucked in my bra, telling myself it’d be over soon and I didn’t need it.


(No really, are you throwing things?  You should be.)

I reigned back a little at mile 9, telling myself it was a “breather” so I could crush the last 5k.

When mile 10 hit, I didn’t feel like kicking.  ‘No way dude.  Fast running sucks.  Just a few more minutes at this pace…’  like what I tell my alarm clock every morning – ‘just a little bit longer!’

And then Chacha caught me.

And passed me.

And I didn’t chase her.


(Anybody yelling at me to quit being a pansy whiney girl yet?)

Surprise surprise, mentally/physically/gutsally I smashed into the wall and couldn’t turn my damn 10 foot legs over if my life depended on it.  Those things sure are a pain sometimes…

Poor fueling and a dumbass early surge toasted me, and I paid for it.


(This is where you say ‘told you so!’, btw)

I managed to pull a teeny tiny kick for the homestretch (8:13 avg) where I got totally finishline-photo-cockblocked by some seriously rude people.  Ugh didn’t they know I’d commissioned Chacha’s husband as my personal paparazzi?


Forget my piss-poor running – look at that view!  Finishline photo-op mecca

Miserable finish be damned, I did earn myself a non-Fontana PR.  (Background : Fontana was ridic net downhill that I called a “cheater course” despite it being USATF certified, and am hesitant to claim it as my “real” PR)    My previous best was from Columbus in October ‘09.

Yes, over two years ago.  I’ve raced the half EIGHT times since then.  Definitely overdue.

I’ll use it as a springboard into 2012, the year of RUN FAST, and pinky swear to negative split and never skimp on fueling again.  I’ll bold it on my “Glory Days” sidebar and refer to my final race of 2011 as a PR’d high note.

But most importantly, I’ll remember it as the time my recreational hobby helped raise $40,000 for a worthy cause.  A sweaty drop in the bucket, but a drop none less.


Operation Jack Half, 12.26.11 – 1:47.32 (*new PR)

Sarah OUaL

30 thoughts on “Operation Jack Half–2011 final installment

  1. Great PR and what a great cause. Definitely a perfect way to close out 2011. Sorry your photo got blocked by some idiots, that blows! You can run those elusive negative splits next time!


  2. Sometimes running gutsy works – it did result in a PR! It just felt like shit at the end. But it’s still a PR! Gotta go download my splits now. I had a miserable 8:20 in there as well at the end.


  3. Next time you’ll need to hire photogs AND bodyguards to protect against photo bombers. Congrats on the PR! I did Operation Jack Northwest yesterday. Your weather looks slightly more inviting than mine was :)


  4. Congrats on your PR!! Woohooo! (yes I was yelling at you through the computer, but you said it was ok).

    What up with the finish line bouncers hogging up your photo? Not only are they in your shot but they are blocking the gorgeous ocean view!

    Love love love the medal. Such a great cause!!


  5. I’ve never run a whole mile that started with an 8 let alone 13! But I did get a PR by almost 20 minutes yesterday. That race was amazing! No rock bands or cheering squads with signs but who needs that when you have the ocean.

    I’ve never felt so supported by fellow runners in a race… I even got a smile from you after you had hit the turn around and I was making my way to it.


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  7. Congrats on your end of the year HM PR. Not too bad considering you PR’ed in the full last month. I ran Fontana in 2009 and I set a ridiculous PR there. I’m still hesitant to claim it as the real deal. Don’t feel bad my old HR PR before Fontana is 10 years old.


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