I have run the La Jolla Half Marathon a few times, I think this might have been my 4th time? Last time in 2019 the day after Revel Mt Charleston marathon, that was fun.
You can read my recap from my first time running here.
I think we got an email back in early October saying that the race was happening. Normally La Jolla Half is in April but since we didn’t have any in person races here in San Diego (area) until July, they were able to move to December.
Sean & I signed up for both La Jolla & Holiday Half (which is next weekend), they are giving a special challenge medal for running both races, but we just wanted to run some races.
We got an email a few days before the race that had race details. They mentioned that packet pick-up was on Friday between 9am – 7pm but they forgot to say where it was in the email but fortunately I found that info on the website.
Because we knew that traffic & parking can get a bit crazy near the packet pick-up at La Jolla Cove (where the finish line would be) we went first thing after Sean got up.
There was a short line when we got there just before 9am. The volunteers got us our bibs (they just handed out whatever number they had), we showed our IDs and that was it. Then we got a bag for gear, the volunteer wrote our number on the bag and then we got our race shirts.
The race shirt is a nice design, but they use the Leslie Jordan shirts and I always forget and get my normal women’s medium and they are huge! I personally am not a fan of this particular brand of shirt.
It was a little rainy on Friday so I was really hoping that the weather would improve for Saturday, but last week was a weird weather week so we were just going to take it as it came & hope that there was no rain!
Since this race is pretty close to home, we didn’t do anything special. Just had burritos for dinner and then I picked out some clothes, I didn’t know what I wanted to wear yet.
We got up around 5am and left the house around 5:40~ a touch later than I would have liked, but it all worked out because there weren’t a lot of people at the start, we didn’t have any traffic getting off the freeway or getting into the fairgrounds parking. This is not normally the case in April, but there were a lot less runners than normal.
We got out of our nice, warm car & there was a beautiful sunrise. It was chilly at only 45 degrees.
We walked over to the start area, used the port-a-potties and then got our bags for gear check. So they gave us the cloth bags at packet pick up, but this race is so weird unique in that they make you put the cloth bag inside a colored plastic bag that you write your number on.
We weren’t ready to give our bags yet but we got the bags so we would be ready when we took off our warm clothes.
The race started at 6:45a – at 6:30a we took off our jackets and pants and handed in our bags. Then walked over to the start line.
I don’t recall seeing any waves at the race this year. I seem to recall they had waves in the past but like I said before there were a lot less runners than in the past (there was just over 1200 runners this year vs 3,700 in 2019.).
I wished Sean good luck – we got a quick photo and then we got into the corrals. He was near the front and I saw a few friends so I went over by them.
They had a lady who sang the National Anthem but they didn’t have a great sound system so it was very hard to hear her initially. Finally people realized that she was singing and stopped talking.
A minute or two after that they started the race. I don’t recall a lot of conversation this year like they normally do, but that might be because we couldn’t really hear the announcer.
In any case, we started the race, as we made the turn to go out of the fairgrounds, it got even colder! but then as we made our way up the first hill. I ran with my girlfriends the first few miles until I needed to get some water at the second water station.
Before the race, they sent an email saying that the volunteers would not be handing us water/gatorade but would have it on a table that we could pick up. Some stations were like that, others some of the volunteers handed out cups. One thing I noticed is that they did not have any gels on course this year. I can’t remember if they have in the past, but there was gatorade & water.
After that first water stop (I think around mile 3) I walked up the hill for a short bit. I caught back up with one of my friends and then passed her. A few minutes later I saw my other friends at a port-a-pottie. I just kept moving, waiting to take the downhill over to Torrey Pines. The sun was shining and this is such a pretty section of the course.
We headed down and it did not disappoint, it was gorgeous. And cold!!
I knew I was going to power hike up the Torrey Pines Hill, this hill is a little too long and I know that it takes a lot of energy out of me to even attempt to run it (at this point) – maybe next year will be better ;).
Pretty much everyone around me was also hiking. I put my headphones in and listened to some Peloton outdoor run classes.
When we finally got up past the lodge and by the golf course I started running again and continued on.
I’ve developed a run to the aid stations type mentality – then I walk through the aid station to drink. It seems to be working pretty well for me and with all the hills in this course (almost 1,000ft of climb) it gives me a tiny little break.
I passed the 2:20 pacers who I think were a little ahead of pace at mile 8ish, I felt decent outside some tight hips but it was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to the nice downhill around mile 10/11.
The downhill wasn’t quite as fast as I would have liked because my legs were definitely feeling all those hills. By the time I got to the beach section, I was dragging my feet and needed a few extra walk breaks.
The first part of mile 12 is a big hill and I was pretty tired by this time so I ended up run/walking up this part of the hill, then once I got to the top I was ready to get this finished.
The last section of the course, you turn down towards La Jolla Cove and the road turns to cobblestones and it smells like dead fish (so gross).
I ran down this part pretty carefully so not to fall on the cobblestones and then I was almost there!
As I ran into the finish the announcer called my name! and I was done!
I was pretty happy with the result, 2:11 and change. My second fastest time on this course.
I got my medal, got a finish line pic & then headed to find Sean.
They had little bags of food for us, with bananas & Clif Bars. They also had bottled water & chocolate milk. Sean said there was a vegan drink but they had run out by the time I got there.
We chatted with some of our friends after the race, then got some photos by the water. It was such a beautiful day!
After that, we went to get changed so we could take the bus back to the start area.
I forgot my mask so I was really happy they had disposable masks for us as we boarded the bus. The bus was cool – it was a fancy double-decker.
This is always a tough race for me, it’s definitely a lot more hills then I normally run, but I did feel like all of my strength training helped me power up the majority of the hills.
One last thing, I almost forgot to mention, I don’t know what happened but I didn’t see one photographer out on the course this year except at the finish line. Normally there are a few on the Torrey Pines climb but not this year. They did mention on the website that they didn’t guarantee to get photos of all participants, which I don’t recall seeing before so I’m guessing they had an issue with getting photographers? Or because there were a lot less runners than normal they didn’t hire them?
In any case it’s a good race and we’ll be back!