This was my third half marathon and I loved the course!
Pre-race: I drove down from LA and headed directly to the expo before checking into my hotel. It was confusing to figure out where to go to pick up my bib, but once I figured it out, it was a breeze. The expo was okay — nothing too exciting that I haven’t seen before and a bit on the small side.
I stayed at the Ayres Hotel overnight because of the very early start time. I chose this hotel because it was one of the ones that offered a free shuttle to the start line. Getting on the shuttle was easy — but the driver didn’t know where he was supposed to go which was odd. A hotel representative ended up riding with us to give the drive directions (while a passenger translated into Spanish for the driver to understand.) We were told by the hotel that the shuttle was provided by the City of Costa Mesa and it was the city’s fault that the driver didn’t know where to go. In the end, we were dropped off at 5:30am, which left us plenty of time before the start line. It was freezing and I saw no porta-potties anywhere. But the Marriot at the start was warm and had restrooms and their staff were very nice and accommodating to the swarms of runners huddling in the lobby!
The course was gooooooorrrrgeous!!! I don’t know how anyone could complain it was boring. (Surf City up and back was boring, if you ask me.) It took us down to the ocean, along the harbor, up through some sort of nature preserve, through residential neighborhoods with residents who were cheering us on. It was fabulous. Most of it was downhill, although there were a few uphills. (I would describe it as “rolling hills.”) Plenty of water, plenty to see. I couldn’t believe when we got to mile 10 how fast it all flew by!
Post-race: I didn’t experience any of the delays getting out of the parking lot that others have complained about. I didn’t check any gear and my husband and daughter were at the finish line. They parked in a lot that took maybe 10 minutes to get of? We made it back in time for free breakfast at the hotel! Score!
I PRd in this race, shaving a whopping 17 minutes off Surf City and 2 minutes off my Disneyland Half time! I credit this to the downhill course and cooperative weather. Also, I was just feeling good. When I finished Surf City, I thought to myself, “Ugh. Why do I sign up for these things?” I didn’t feel that way at all after the OC Half! I loved the course and the journey it took me on! This race will always have a special place in my heart I think and I would love to run it again.