Pre-race packet pick up was at Roadrunner Sports. Packet pick up was easy enough and the long sleeve tech shirt they gave out was nice. Roadrunner offers an extra 10% off on packet pick up days so I took advantage and picked up a new pair of custom insoles to wear for the Holiday Half.
Instructions for parking at the start line were posted on the website but when my husband and I arrived at the designated parking lot we realized it was about a half mile to a mile away from the start. We decided to drive closer to the Albertson’s shopping center and look for street parking instead. We didn’t want to walk a mile back to our car after running 13.1 miles. We were lucky and found street parking across from the Albertson’s.
The corals were clearly marked and they started the race on time with waves taking off every five minutes or so. The first couple miles of the course was uphill but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting them to be. The San Diego Holiday Half was my 15th half marathon and since it was touted as a “mostly downhill” course I was expecting a PR. I probably shouldn’t have gotten so ahead of myself. I loved the rolling hills from miles two through nine but the last four miles were tough. Running on the flat part of the course and having to propel yourself forward is harder to do after you’ve been jamming down the hills for several miles before that. My legs were tired and I missed my PR by less than a minute. Plenty of water stations and I appreciated the mile markers. They even handed out gels about a few hundred yards before a water station and I appreciated that. It helps to have some water to wash down the gel with.
Post-race it was easy to turn in your timing chip, collect your medal and grab some hydration. Walking to the shuttle pick up you had to walk past the runners coming into the finish so it was nice to cheer them on as we walked by. Shuttles were easy to get onto. Not too long of a wait.
Overall, it was a nice inaugural event put on by the race directors and volunteers. I’ve decided that I will be back for 2014 since this race and I have some unfinished business. I want to come back and get that PR.