Race Report - OC Half Marathon 2023

1400 Words | Approximately 7 Minutes Read | Last Modified on May 7, 2023

Race information


Goal Description Completed?
A Less than 2:10:00 Yes
B Less than 2:00:00 Yes
C Less than 1:55:00 Yes
D Less than 1:50:00 Yes


Mile Time
1 8:29
2 7:38
3 7:48
4 7:52
5 7:51
6 8:07
7 7:59
8 8:28
9 8:15
10 8:34
11 8:42
12 8:42
13 8:18


Mostly followed the generic half marathon guide on runningfastr, ran 3 days a week at around 3-6 mi on Tuesday and Thursday and then a long run on Saturday. Progressively increased the mileage by 1 mile each week until getting to 12 miles the week before the race. Luckily the weather in SoCal has been perfect for running as it was a little cold and overcast so getting the miles in was easy. As for diet, I didn’t really try to cut (even though I should), this was my first long distance race. I had done some 5k training before to try to get a sub-20 minute 5k (ended at 22:36 I believe), but the longest I had run before training was probably 5 miles some time in high school over 10-14 years ago.

Overall the training went by smoothly, with the only issue being that I had originally bought a pair of Nike Vaporflys for race day and tried to train in them. I got to 2 or 3 weeks before the race and my feet just couldn’t take daily training in them anymore. I switched over to a pair of Nike Pegasus 39 and my feet thanked me for it.

Prior to the race I did run a portion of it on my own, Newport Beach Back Bay trail. It’s a 10.2 mi loop with minimal car interference and was probably my favorite long run.


The week before the race I mainly just kept the training program. I didn’t feel like I needed to taper or reduce the mileage coming up to the race, my legs felt fresh from switching shoes and overall was excited going in. The day before I carbed up with some jajangmyeon and went to bed at 9. I’m a pretty anxious sleeper so anytime I have to wake up early I end up waking up multiple times (10:30, 2am, and at least one other time). Needless to say, my rest could have been better going into the race.


It’s a beautiful race, lots of great scenery as well as a net-downhill elevation made this a easy target for me as a first time half marathoner, having run a portion of the race 2 weeks prior, I was pretty comfortable going in. The only issue was getting to the start line a little too late. The first corral started at 6:15AM and I was probably at the start line at 6:14AM. I took a caffeine gel and started the race in corral #2.

When I signed up to the half marathon originally, I hadn’t run since October of last year according to my Apple Watch. In addition, I had never run long distance before with any sort of regularity. My original goal was to at least hit a 10min/mi pace, which meant around a 2:10:00 finish. Since then, I had drastically increased my speed and endurance over long runs and was ready to try to hit a sub 2 hour or sub 1:55:00.

Miles 1 to 7

The first 7 miles were a breeze. Though, having never run a large race before, dealing with the amount of people at the start line proved to be a bit of a new challenge. I started in corral #2 and quickly tried to reach the pacers for the 1:55:00 time which had left with the first cohort. I know that the final time would be calculated from my original start time but I just wanted to catch up in case I needed to use the pacers to motivate and push myself.

After getting through the onslaught of other racers at the beginning, miles 1-3 were ok. I wasn’t moving quite as fast as I had wanted, but I also recognized that as I got further in the race the field would open up. Around mile 3 I spotted the 1:55 pacers and felt like I had enough energy to maybe even hit a sub 1:50, their pace seemed a little slow, and I was really energized by running with a big crowd.

Around mile 4 there’s a great view of Corona Del Mar, the harbor, and Pacific Ocean. It then cuts back into the neighborhood and there’s a few downhill shaded sections which made keeping my pace up really easy. I took my first in race gel here as well.

After the easy first few miles it was mostly autopilot for me from miles 4-7. I knew that there was a hill at mile 7 so I was trying to conserve some energy but overall the fresh legs, caffeine, and gel made it hard to slow down.

Miles 7-13

The hill at mile 7 came and luckily I had ran this before during my long run in Newport Beach. It’s a long hill, but not too steep. I pushed to the top and felt like I didn’t lose much time and was greeted with a pretty pleasant flat and downhill few miles.

The course goes through a few neighborhoods, which are sparsely filled with spectators and friends and family. Some were giving out snacks and drinks, I mostly just relied on the ones from the event itself.

Around mile 8 I took my second and final in-race gel. I had realized in a previous long run that my heart rate would stay relatively high (175+) and I could sustain it for pretty long runs. The main issue though, was that at anything longer than 1 hour, I would hit a brick wall and bonk pretty bad without some sort of refueling. I know for many veteran runners a half marathon isn’t much of an effort, but I really wanted to go all out and hit a time I could be proud of so I planned to take 3 gels total spaced around 30 minutes apart.

At mile 9 I grabbed some water and an electrolyte gel drink that I kind of wanted to try. It ended up being too much for me so I only took a few sips. Miles 9 and 10 were ok— I wasn’t feeling nearly as good as mikes 1-9 but I knew that I was getting close to my long run thresholds. At mile 11 there is one final long hill. Again, there isn’t much of an incline, but the shear length of the uphill made it a struggle to get though and stay on pace.

At miles 12-13.1 I knew that I was gonna be able to hit a sub 1:50:00 so that gave me a little bit of an extra boost into the finish line. Overall, the second half of the second half was certainly the hardest but I finished right under 1:50:00 and felt Lim good about the race.

What’s next?

As this was my first half marathon, I think the obvious thing to consider is when will I be going for my first full marathon? I’m aiming for the LA marathon next year, but also planning on running a bunch of smaller local half marathons.

Training wise, i’m going to be significantly slowing down my pace. I typically run in zone 4 and would like to get it down to mostly running in zone 2 and increase my aerobic health. My next “race” half marathon I would like to get down to a sub 1:45:00.

Overall, training and racing were both way more enjoyable than I had imagined. I used to be incredibly obese (250lb+, 5’8”) so I never would’ve imagined being able to run a half marathon, especially at this pace!

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