I literally decided to do the race at the last minute, including attempting to register on-site. I also stayed up super late the night before watching Golden Globe-nominated movies with some friends and only got about 30 minutes of sleep. This clearly was not going to be pretty, but I have committed to doing one half marathon a week for the month of January…
I finally got out the house around 6am (for a 7am race start time – I learned my lesson from the New Year’s race NOT to stand around in the cold.). Unfortunately, I-10 West was partially closed which led to an unexpected detour. I tried following the directions for parking which were confusing but ended up finding FREE parking on a nearby street!
I randomly ran into a young lady at the corner. We chatted a bit. She had just moved here from Houston, and discovered our paces were similar. The short walk had us at the registration table by 6:45am. She was so sweet and waited patiently while I registered. Registration was surprisingly easy! The people working registration were patient, nice and thorough despite the freezing temps which would have made me miserable!
In terms of the race, we had agreed to run slow (2:30-2:40 finish time). Besides, once the sun came all the way up, the views were beautiful!!! It was such a great day that we ended up stopping multiple times so she could take pictures. We ran through Marina del Rey, along the Ballona Bike Path and down to Dockweiler Beach with a finish in Playa del Rey. The course had just a few small hills, though there was a brief stretch where we had to run uphill through a very sandy path.
There were also LOTS of cheerful volunteers, with plenty of water and Gatorade at every station. The stations were plentiful even though they weren’t at every mile. They also had these cool little indie bands at various points along the way, and we even had a guy break dancing at one point in the course. Yes, the sewer smell was unpleasant, but it really didn’t last that long. I’m pretty sensitive to smells, and it wasn’t enough to get all dramatic about it.
As I approached the finish line, there was an older lady being cheered in by a friend. She yelled out that she was probably going to PR. I looked at her and said, “Do you really want to PR? Come run in with me!” With that, we took off running for the finish line. I kept picking up the pace to stay just ahead of her. She ran hard and almost got me to a sprint speed! She was so excited and happy to finish strong. It was really fun and a great way for me to finish by pushing and encouraging her to a PR since I didn’t have a particular goal in mind for myself!
At the end of the race, everything was super organized in terms of medals, finish photos, water, refreshments, vendor area and shuttle buses back to where our cars were parked. The tech shirt they gave us was really nice too, and I NEVER like t-shirts – lol!
All in all, I thought it was a great race – especially compared to some other recent races in the SoCal area! I definitely recommend people doing it next year. I just hope the weather is warmer!!!