I have been so crazy busy lately and I have to say that this race was very last minute so it’s fitting that I would be really late in recapping my experience.
Sean & I decided to run the OC Marathon & Half Marathon at the very last minute, I believe I registered on Wednesday for the Sunday race. We were very lucky to find a room at one of the host hotels, the Marriott Newport Bayview, which meant that there would be a shuttle to the start and then back from the finish.
We got some things done here in San Diego before heading up to Newport Beach to go pick up our packets and get a little carb-loading in. It’s a quick drive up, under 2 hours, when you take the 173 which has a $14+ toll road trip.
We got to the expo, which was at the fair grounds, where you have to pay $7 to park. The expo was a decent size considering the size of the race. You walk into the expo, thru the official merchandise area to a separate section to pick up your packet. There were separate sections to pick up the bib for each of the 3 races and the same for the race shirt.
Since I registered so late, I had a pretty high number on my bib, but if you registered early enough you could have your bib personalized and even mailed to you if you paid a little extra fee (you picked up your shirt after the race).
Once we got our packets we headed inside, there were lots of vendors & some yummy treats. The finish line was at the same place as where the expo was taking place so they were setting up the finish line area when we were there.
We didn’t stay long, just enough to do a quick pass and get some snacks before heading over to Whole Foods for some snacks for the morning and then checking into the hotel. I found this awesome premade oatmeal which I decided would be a good thing to try for pre-race. It was yummy although a bit too big for me. I didn’t have any issues with nutrition during this race.
We had dinner at a super yummy Italian place called Mamma D’s and then headed back to watch some TV, get our gear out and then get some sleep. The shuttle to the start line for the marathon was at 4:15a which meant an early morning. I got my flat Jenny photo and then relaxed for a bit.
I wasn’t really sure how my race was going to go since I have been battling a pain in my upper hamstring since we drove back from SF last month. But really these days, running is just for fun, with the way my leg has been feeling I’m not going to push it and be in any more pain.
One of my “insta”friends, Adrian, @amaur88, posted that he was going to be pacing the 2 hour pace group so I figured, what the heck, I might as well start with them and see what happens. The worse that would happen is that I would fall back or I might surprise myself.
The morning of the race I got up around 3:15a, I didn’t sleep much at all that night, I got ready and then tried to wake Sean up, his alarm didn’t go off at all while I was getting ready, come to find out he didn’t set his to go off until 3:50! I was just a little surprised lol. I finally got him up and we finished getting ready before heading down to catch the shuttle.
When we got downstairs, everyone was complaining that the shuttle was only for 8 people, which I thought was odd since I spoke with someone about it and it seemed like they were going to have buses. Well come to find out I was right and they had really nice black buses with fancy leather seats.
We got down to the start area and then had only a short walk to the starting area. There were tons of port-a-potties and very short lines when we got there. I of course didn’t have to use them at that time and by the time I did the lines were huge. 🙂 Typical when there are so many more half marathoners vs marathoners.
Sean & I hung out for a little bit and then I watched him get started before dropping my bag off at the UPS Trucks. It was pretty warm at the start, I was just wearing a Lululemon Power Y tank and a pair of shorts and I was a little chilly but not too bad, but I knew I was going to have to wait a little while for Sean to finish the marathon so I wanted to have some warm clothes at the finish.
After hitting the port-a-potties, I headed to find the 2 hour pace group. They were in the 4th corral I believe. I’m not sure exactly how many corrals there were but there were 5 mins between corral starts.
We started out running out of the mall area (the race started at Fashion Island). I was with the pace group for probably 30 seconds before they took off and I was like yeah, that’s not going to happen. I decided that I needed to just run my own race. We got to an area where there was a downhill and I actually passed them and had some good times for the first 3 – 4 miles as we went thru a nice residential area and by the beach. The pace group caught up with me in this area and as we went up a hill around mile 4 I lost them. My hamstring wasn’t feeling too good going up the hill so I just decided to cruise the rest of the way. Thank you to Adrian for this awesome GoPro shot of us. Finally a photo where I look like I’m actually running, lol.
I did pretty good thru mile 5. I was running 9:30 and under during these miles, then I started to run/walk abit and my mile times jumped a bit, especially with a small hill in mile 8. After that we got to a section of the course that I really liked, it was on a sidewalk trail and went by the water. It was pretty cool, I enjoyed that section of the race a lot.
I brought my bottle filled half & half with Gatorade & Water and then started drinking water & walking thru the aid stations around mile 7. The volunteers where super nice and did a great job – there was definitely plenty of hydration.
Mile 12 was heading towards the fairgrounds, it seemed to be really really long, since we could hear the finishers. Finally you turn in and you can see the finish. But don’t get too excited because it is still a ways away. I feel like it was almost a half mile from the time I saw the finish until I did finish. That was a little disheartening and made it a bit of a challenge to decide when to kick it in.
I decided to just cruise in and finished in a respectable (for me) 2:11.
After I finished, I got my medal (this was half marathon #23 for me), a bottle of water, then made my way thru to get some post race snacks. And of course got a sweet post race photo :). I put on the race shirt after the race & I really like it. It fits great and is a nice color.
There was a lot of stuff going on after you get out of the finishers area. All this time the weather was really cloudy & the marine layer was still down. It wasn’t until after Sean finished that the sun finally came out.
All in all this was a good race, it wasn’t anything super special, but it was fun and considering I wasn’t expecting to run a race that soon after the 50k but it went better than I was expecting.
Pros: Great Race Shirt
Awesome Post Race Food
Cons: Parking fee to get into the Expo
No way to watch other runners finish the race
Post race shuttles were a little confusing. There wasn’t anyone to tell us where to go. We fortunately found ours quickly but a lot of people were in line at the wrong bus.