Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Holiday Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, December 28
San Diego, CA
Half Marathon #121
Weather - Chilly(ish) at start, pleasant

L had decided to join my parents in SoCal over Christmas. Due to the week off I normally take at New Years, I couldn't quite take the whole week, but then she mentioned her and Heather had been tossing around the idea of running the Holiday Half in San Diego. I was able to cash in a one way flight, so I went ahead and registered. Obviously, L would be running alone and Heather and I planned to run together. We picked festive holiday colors.

Heather and I stayed at a hotel close(r) to the finish area. My dad was planning on driving to the finish, picking us up and driving us to the start. In retrospect, we ended up doing a lot of driving, HOWEVER, according to the comments on the Facebook page, the shuttles were a CLUSTER, and the cause for the race starting late.

We had to be up somewhere around 4:30 (see what happens when you wait weeks to write a recap? You can't remember anything). The disaster in the morning was trying to put on the festive holiday socks L had gotten us. They fit ok over my foot but were SO INCREDIBLY TIGHT I could barely get them over my calves. My legs looked like sausages! I texted L to ask how her socks fit. Apparently, not well. She wore a spare pair of socks she had brought. I brought short socks JUST IN CASE.

We planned to meet at the finish area around 5:30. Then we decided to hit Sbux. Plus, it turned out to be a bit further than we planned. The good news was that we got a parking spot and that my dad and L were late anyway.

I think we got dropped off at the start line around 6:30, with the race scheduled to start at 7:30. We were able to get into the bathrooms with no wait. Begrudgingly, Albertsons "allowed" runners to hang out in the store. (After the race we found out we weren't supposed to be in there unless we were buying something). We decided to give ourselves 15 minutes for the bathroom. THE LINES WERE CHAOTIC. Totally should have taken a picture of it. Almost got in a fight with a girl that tried to get in front of us because "her line wasn't moving."

Headed toward the "corrals" in the back of Albertson's just as the race should have been starting. The DJ/announcer was very hard to understand but we kept waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. They finally started the race in waves. We started in the third wave next to this scary mostly naked "Santa"

I had been trying to convince Heather that "net downhill" and downhill courses are NOT the same thing. We had talked to a speedy friend of ours at the start that said "hill in the first mile or so, downhill until mile 8, then rollers." Ok.

So the hills in the beginning were no joke. I think the first BIG hill was just after mile 1. We walked up that. The hill actually came at a perfect place because the walking loosened me up. We came off the road onto a SKINNY bike path that paralleled the highway somewhere around the second or third mile. LITERALLY RIGHT OFF THE FREEWAY.

Yep. That was our view for about the first 8 miles. The sun went behind some clouds, cooling the temps and honestly, it was pretty perfect. The aid stations were nicely space. I only had one gel during the race and none of the electrolyte drink (which L said was gross).

Somewhere around mile 8 or 9 we moved into a neighborhood. Heather warned me that she might crash and burn. I was feeling pretty good and was perfectly ok if we were going to end up walking at some point. We figured (again, misreading the elevation profile), that we were going to end up walking some of the last mile as we were thinking it was going to be uphill.

Interestingly, we handled the last miles like #EliteAthletes, and we came into the finish at an unexpectedly "fast" finish time.

L found us right away, we got our finisher picture taken by the fake ocean backdrop and immediately headed out so we could get back to the hotel and shower before heading back up to Irvine.

Official Time - 2:12:29
Official Place - 1636/2748
Garmin Time - 2:12:31
Garmin Distance: 13.16 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:04 (???!!!)
Mile 1 - 10:25
Mile 2 - 10:52
Mile 3 - 10:27
Mile 4 - 9:44
Mile 5 - 10:14
Mile 6 - 9:32
Mile 7 - 10:10
Mile 8 - 9:46
Mile 9 - 9:40
Mile 10 - 10:21
Mile 11 - 9:46
Mile 12 - 10:13
Mile 13 - 9:53
Mile 13.16 - 8:54


  • The race is only in it's second year, but they have a few logistics to work out. The bag drop off at the start was so complicated. We didn't do a drop, but apparently instead of just dropping off a bag there were mobile lockers? It apparently was time consuming.
  • The shuttle at both the start and finish were super slow and sucky. Thankfully, we didn't have to use that.
  • No gels on the course.
  • RACE OF LIES!! I had no idea that a majority of the race was on a race NEXT TO THE FREEWAY. Thumbs down.
  • Something screwy with the timing. There was a separate chip (which I wore), and yet I was not in the results at all. It took 3(?) days before I even got a response back from the timing company. 
  • The course IS fast. L got a super sweet PR!
  • Nice long sleeve tee (no really, I wore it like three days in a row after the race because I forgot to pack other clothes).
  • Nice medal.
  • Decent race entry. But even with a discount, I paid over $90.
  • I had a really great time running with Heather. The most solid race we have ever run together. Do we have another marathon attempt in our future??


  1. Wow, super speedy time! And your race outfits are just perfect, as always. I need your running wardrobe.

    I know, we just don't have the spectacular scenery that you get to take for granted in Colorado. I just ran the New Year's race in LA and we went back and forth over and under freeways lol. It didn't even occur to me that there wouldn't be freeways...

    This sounds like one I may keep in the back of my mind for next year! Hopefully they iron out the wrinkles by then!

  2. Great race! I had to scroll down to some of your previous races because you have this race listed at #21, but I knew you'd done way over 100, guess you just forgot the "1". Great job and great report, always love reading them!

  3. Great job on the run, even though it was next to the highway so much.. bleh. You all had on some super cute outfits too.

  4. yes, another marathon!!! honestly, i like the idea of a holiday half but this one doesn't sound so great. and expensive!! but at least you got to see heather!


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