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.
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 section..it 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.