Expo: I went to the expo Saturday morning around 10AM. I was able to get free parking in the beach lots next to the event and only walked about a quarter of a mile to the expo tent. It was packed inside there. There were lots of giveaways, but nothing too great. A lot of protein type bars, which I just didn’t have much of an appetite for. The bib was nice and had my name on it. The long sleeved tech shirt has a nice design, and it’ll be something I’ll wear many times. The goodie bag was empty, but was a nice resuabe tote bag that I can use for groceries and future races.
Race day parking: I parked in the Newland Center lot, which was a strip mall with plenty of parking spaces, on Beach Bl north of Adams. Had no problem parking, but stood in line for the shuttles for about 45 minutes before we were picked up.
Start line: Because I used the shuttle, I got there with about 10 minutes to spare. I made a beeline for the gear check tent and had no problem checking in my gear (in my goodie bag). Then, I walked to the start, which the race had already started. I got in the wave just before the wave I was actually assigned. There wasn’t anyone checking to make sure runners were in the right corral. However, I couldn’t figure out how to enter the corral I was assigned, so I was able to get into the one before that. The weather was great! About 55 to start and the sun was starting to come out. There just wasn’t much energy at the start line.
Course: It was pretty flat with some larger hills once you got to the wetlands/neighborhood about mile 4-5. The rest of the race was completed along PCH. We went all the way up PCH and then all the way down. It just never seemed to end. It was a nice view of the ocean, but it was also very smoggy and I got a lot of sun because the last half of the race was directly into the sun. There were thousands of runners (about 20K) and the course was crowded but there wasn’t too many times where I was having to go around other runners or getting caught behind someone super slow.
Water/Vitalyte/Cliff Shot Blocks: Water and Vitalyte seemed to be passed out at each station, which was about every mile. The tables were well marked and you didn’t have to wait for water, as there there hundreds of volunteers out on the course. I couldn’t believe there was no gel or anything else but one little shot block passed out somewhere near the middle of the race. This area was very disappointing and I’m glad that I finally took a gu around mile 9. I was glad I brought my fuel belt with chapstick and gu packets.
Course Entertainment: There were about half a dozen surf bands along the way, and I loved the music. I was glad I didn’t wear an ipod so that I could just take in all of the things going on around me. There were lots of spectators at the turns and many had signs, which I appreciated.
Finish Line: The last 3 miles were very hard, and you were going directly into the sun on a course that never seemed to end. It was in the 70s by the time I finished and boy was I feeling the heat (that I hadn’t experienced in the last several months). I was very tired, but happy once I crossed the finish line. I didn’t like the fact that it was nearly 11AM by the time I was getting my gear (which seemed to take forever…there were lots of volunteers on hand but they were slow to find your bag). The medals were nice. They were surfboards made out of a wood type material. Nothing fancy. There were water bottles, space blankets given out, and grocery bags filled with post race eats. Good stuff, too…rice cakes, frozen strawberries, fig newtons, pineapple cups, cliff bars, and I can’t remember what else. I was really happy with this area, although it sure was packed after the food zone and I didn’t even go into the beer garden area or see what else was being offerred.
Would I run this race again: I’m not sure. It’s far from where I live, you have to drive down there two days in a row, the shuttles took forever pre-race, there was next to no energy on the course, it was hot, the race didn’t start until 0745, the gear retrieval took a long time, the course was flat, pretty boring, and seemed like it was never ending.