Last Thursday I made a very last minute decision to run the Hollywood Half Marathon up in…errr…spoiler alert…Hollywood.
I haven’t run a half marathon since last November and you can easily count my weekly mileage on your fingers and maybe a few toes, so I knew it was not going to be easy, but for what can only be defined as totally insane and personal reasons I decided to do it anyway.
The Race Itself:
Expo - it was small, efficient and the most awesome part – YOU CAN TRANSFER BIBS (thanks to Pam for helping a girl out…)!!! Parking was okay (I found street parking pretty easily), but most importantly, as I was waiting to cross the street back to my car I was literally standing next to Hugh Laurie who was dining 2 feet from me at a street cafe. Hello Dr. House….
Race Day Pre-Race - I’m a genius and set my alarm for 4pm instead of am, so I was pretty frazzled getting to the race. I parked at my uncle’s office and walked to the start line (I parked halfway between the start and finish which are about 6 or so blocks apart).
I couldn’t find the port-a-potties so I begged and offered to pay for anything at a 24 hour diner to use the bathroom and get ready (yes I was literally changing into my running clothes and ditched my old sweats I slept in on the side of the road). I ate a pack of margarita Clif Shots for breakfast and ran to the starting line.
This was also about the time I regretted eating dinner around 8pm, drinking sangria and beer and having fallen asleep around 1am. I am clearly the queen of good choices and sound judgement…and no I wouldn’t have changed anything because it was fun.
Race Time - The race itself was well run and organized. It started pretty close to on time and started in the dark and headed east so you got to see the sun rise. You saw some of the Hollywood scenery and had a few minutes running towards the iconic Hollywood sign as well.
The course is a mostly flat out and back but has these little “offshoots” down side streets which makes for a LOT of turnarounds. I kind of wished they had run us up to Los Feliz and ran the straight away there to get some miles in. It might have had a bit more incline, but it would have made for a much prettier view and way less side street turnarounds being needed.
With 10,000 people on a turnaround laden course, things got pretty congested. This was further compounded by the fact that somewhere around mile 10, the half marathoners met up with the 10k walkers and it was packed. It was the worst game of run-Frogger ever.
Post-Race - It looked like there was a lot of entertainment and food after the race, but I was literally grabbing my grub and hitting the road to get to Strawberry’s soccer game before it started. As bananas, crackers and water bottles were being tossed my way I asked for a bag and a volunteer shoved this in my face.
I saw bands playing and people looked to be having a good time and the finish line. I, on the other hand, was squeezing my cheeks, huffing and puffing while I beelined for the bathroom informing my mother that this was not a “I’m going to crap my pants false alarm, it’s the real deal.”
Moms are awesome because she just laughed and listened.
I knew this was not going to be easy…and it totally wasn’t! I intentionally didn’t wear a watch and made it my unofficial goal to just stay ahead of the 1:45 pace group. Around mile 6 I started chatting with a man who I had been running next to for a while. Apparently he had trained about as much as I had(n’t) and was going with the “don’t die” approach to his race as well.
We started talking about local races, work, running, life, etc. and before we knew it we had hit mile 10 and gotten pretty far ahead of the 1:45 pace group (who had been on my tail the whole first half). Things got pretty rough at mile 12, but somehow we powered through and finished. I barely looked at the clock as we peeled down the finishers’ chute and guessed a 1:42-1:43 finish…so I was pretty pleased to see my official results rolling in at 1:41:49.
Turns out good company makes for a pretty mean negative split. Go team.
More than anything this was just that reminder I needed that I am capable of doing bigger and better things with my legs, and with a little effort and training I could actually be a lot better than I give myself credit for.
In other news, 3 bathroom trips and 1 Starbucks detour later I pulled up to the soccer game just in time to see Strawberry score a goal. #familywins
Have you ever impromptu raced?
Has your GI system ever hated you right after a race? What was your best remedy?