Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hollywood Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday I ran the Inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon.
This was Half Marathon #9 for me.
It was my 2nd Inaugural Half Marathon, the first one was RnR Pasadena.
I have to say...Hollywood has a few things to learn from Pasadena.
It was not terrible but it was not GREAT.

First the Expo.
It was only open on Friday and it closed at 7 pm!  People work on Fridays, kids go to school on Fridays.. this is a major pain.  I was so glad that I had paid to have my race packet mailed to me.   I only heard bad things about the Expo; long lines to get bibs and that parking was a nightmare.  I wanted to go and check out the vendors but after reading all the comments on Facebook I decided to skip it and save the $ they were charging for parking.

Race Day.
I got up at 4:15 after sleeping maybe 2 hours.  Sinus infection is pretty bad.  I took a Claritin D, I should have taken 4.
We stayed at a hotel that was about 1 mile from the start so I just walk to get there.   I was expecting to see a bunch of others walking but I only saw 2 other runners and I just followed them.

We had to go up a long steep hill to get to the start.  The start was at Universal Studios.  One good thing is they had REAL bathrooms and the lines were short!

The corals were a MESS.  It was not clear what pace started where and people were confused.  The 1:40 pacer was behind the 2:00 one..or at least it looked like he was.  People holding Starbucks cups were in the 5:00 coral in the front near where I was standing.  It was a mess.  I decided not to go in the back.

They started on time at 6 am.  The mat got messed up before I crossed I am sure some runners tripped on it at some point.

We ran through Universal Studios City Walk, that was pretty cool. I started too fast but that was my plan to I did not try to slow down.  First 5 miles went by pretty fast.  My 5k split was 29:xx.  Started downhill, then up and down again to Hollywood Blvd (Hollywood Walk of Fame).  At mile 5 I saw these 2:

That made me happy.  I decided to toss my gloves and arm sleeves because the sun was up already and I could tell it would get hot.

Then the sun came up and was right in my face and it did get warm really fast.   At mile 6 they ran out of cups at the water stations...NOT GOOD.  What was good is that they used gallons of water not the fire hydrants.  But no cups is not OK.  I had a bottle so I just had them fill it up.  At the mile 9 station there were zero volunteers.  We had to stop and open cases of water gallons and poor the water in.  I was not looking for sports drink but I read they ran out of that as well.  I did pass the gels station and they had plenty but I did not take any.

The course was not 100% flat in that was mostly flat with some incline, what I call California Flat because there is no FLAT here.  At mile 8 I was really struggling with breathing, I was really plugged.   At mile 9 I saw Bill and the kids again and I decided to let go of my belt and keep my bottle and my bag of Honey Stinger.

I was on pace to get a huge PR until mile 10.
I knew the end would be tough.
I did not know it would this hard.
I was HELL.
3 miles of hell that felt like 15.
I cuss the whole time (in French).
The headwind decided to join the party.  STRONG headwind.
I hated every step of it.
And I walked.
And I lost my PR somewhere in that hill.
(Dear PR it is OK we have a date June 2nd, I WILL get you then)

It was really hard.
To face this in the end is difficult on the moral.  Well for me it was.
It kind of broke me and my spirit.
After walking I tried to run and my legs felt so heavy it was very hard.  I had a lot of cramps also in my calves.
At the top of the hill I could see the finish line and there was a short downhill section and I wanted to sprint so bad.  I kept saying out loud "Don't panic, Don't puke"
Well the sprinting part was just in my head because my legs were having no part of that plan.
My family barely missed me crossing so I got not picture of the finish :(

So the finish was not walking and not sprinting but I did not puke on the mat or anywhere else.  I went in dry heave mode for a few minutes and scared of couple of girls but that's it.
I had a lot of pain and cramps in my legs. 
I got this when I crossed the line:
I love this medal.
After the race they had these party bus to get the runners up the last hill back to Universal Studios.  I heard that some people did not get to use them but I did.  I waited 5 minutes and I got on.  It was fun, I had never been on one of those.

Walking back to the car through Universal City Walk.  I was hurting pretty bad.

Of all the 35 races I have done so far the hardest course was this one.  Before that the hardest were the Universal Studio Back lot 5K and the Holiday Half in Pomona.  This one beats those 2.  I think I should have pushed more in the first half of the course and also drink Nuun instead of water.

It would not be a REAL Southern California Race without my favorite runner to see on the course: Ed!    I think have seen him at all 9 of my half marathons!  He runs with his signs and he is the best!

Today I am really sore.  I don't remember being in that much pain after a race before. 
I have yet to put my shoes on to go for a recovery run and it is 4 pm.


Kathy said...

Oh my goodness, the final hill was a monster! Great job - and with a sinus infection on top of it. I'd probably be cursing in French too - I and I don't even speak French!

Tricia said...

Wow, an almost 400ft elevation gain in 2ish miles is downright mean. Especially at the end. Well done on getting through it!

They were feeling pretty apologetic on FB last night -- I wondered what happened. Definitely growing pains for the organization.

Jen said...

I am sooooo with you. I am super, super sore today - I wasn't this sore after my first full marathon! I've never felt like this from my quads and hammies down to my feet - It was one tough run.

i was cursing too!!

Cotter Crunch said...

it's always those last miles that are killer. Ugh, But way to hold strong! They better get 3x as many cups next time.

Lisa J said...

elevation profile was no joke--- at least you have a date scheduled to try again for your PR. AWESOME medal too :)

Kate said...

Congratulations!! You weren't kidding about the HILL at the end!! Very cool medal, and you look fantastic in the pictures. Clearly you pushed yourself hard, and you didn't get dehydrated or sick at the end. This sounds like progress to me!!

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

yay! No puking!!! Congrats on a good race!

Tricia said...

wow,crazy hill.


and ps youre looking AMAZING

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

That elevation chart is crazy! The uphill looks insane - great job finishing on that hill!

Jill said...

High Five, girl!! You did fantastic and I love that your stomach stayed intact the entire time. You are getting this thing figured out :).

Love the medal, too. And LOVE LOVE LOVE that adorable pink top - it is my favorite of yours!!

J. L. said...

That's an awesome medal! Congrats on finishing. Sorry it was tough. Tho for today, after reading your race recap and knowing your blog well enough to know your tummy issues, you are a rock star in my mind. Or maybe it's just that fancy medal :)

Elle said...

Beautiful medal and you certainly earned it. Wow! That is some uphill finish. Good for you for getting through it and staying on your feet.

You look great in your pictures, too! Glad that one is done, hey?

Elle said...

p.s. Did you spot any celebs?

middleagedrunner said...

That medal makes it all worth it! Awesome job- that course does NOT look flat at ALL! What a monster of a hill at the end...

Anonymous said...

The elevation profile is horrible!!! I would have skipped a race like that, proud you did it!! Nice medal :)

misszippy said...

Being sore like that means you worked it out there--congrats for that! And wow, running out of water that early on is bad. Glad you toughed it out and earned that awesome medal.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

FInishing going uphill is just cruel

Running out of cups!! THat should never happen and NO volunteers at one of the aid stations!! THat just sucks, I hope the RD corrects all of this for next year, not acceptable

COngrats on the race

Laura said...

Very scary about the water...I always try to ensure I have my own fuel just in case this happens.
Awesome job and holy hill!!

Neon Blonde Runner said...

Congrats on your 9th half marathon, you are incredible!!

What an accomplishment...

I cannot imagine running up such a ridiculous hill at the end of the course, that would have done me in as well....but you did the strong thing and stuck with it and completed a super tough course! Congrats!!

Carrie FamilyFitnessFood said...

Wow, that hill was brutal!!! Congratulations!!!!!! Great race. You'll get that PR.

macnic said...

Congrats on the 9th HM! That is amazing. June 2 better watch out!

Runner Maybe said...

oh that hill looks tough!!!

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Holy smokes....I don't know if I would have attempted this race with that 400 foot, super steep hill at the end. Way to get out there and give it a go. The elevation does not indicate a PR route.

The medal is quite awesome.

giraffy said...

Congrats, what a tough course, and it was HOT and windy Saturday!!!

I can't believe they ran out of water. Wait, yes I can. They ran out at the 10K I ran.... I'll be skipping anything put on by this company. ugh.

Darlene said...

What a tough course. I saw Ed too when I ran the Santa Clarita Half. You should run that one in Nov - it is flat.

RunningOnCoffee said...

Congrats on #9! Some folks from my running group ran the Hollywood Half. Even the really fast runners said the end was brutal. Did you spot any celebrities?

Jan said...

Great race, even if it wasn't a PR!

Carla said...

Oh my gosh. That hill and their running out of water/cups is a dangerous combination. You are one tough mama!

SupermomE12 said...

Great job!!!!!! You always have the BEST race pics too. Beautiful!!!

Terzah said...

I agree with Erin--you do have the best race pics, even in hard ones! How do you do that?

Well, one thing I can say...this race did NOT break your spirit. You're just that much more rarin' to go for June 2.

XLMIC said...

That ending is sooooo harsh. You are such a fighter, Caro. I am seriously impressed by your training and racing resolve. Good job.

brg said...

great job! that hill looks brutal. I LOVE the medal - very cool.

Colleen said...

Oh sweet girl... nothing worse than a race that doesn't have their stuff together AND hills at the end. Who plans that??? :( Great job finishing and you are right... you'll get that PR!

sdrunner said...

Those last two miles were really tough, but we survived! Congrats on the finish!

The Green Girl said...

Congratulations on conquering your hardest half course so far! ::high fives::