Monday, April 25, 2016

La Jolla Half Marathon Recap

In January, I started my journey of the San Diego Triple Crown Half Marathon series with the Carlsbad Half Marathon.  La Jolla was the second race of the series-- I have heard mixed things about the course, but the common factor in everyone's opinion seemed to be how beautiful the course is, so I was excited to run this race.

I went to the expo Friday-- it opened at noon and I got there early.  My goal was to get in and out so that I could beat the Friday afternoon traffic.  I arrived a little early and waited with all the other early birds.  At noon, the doors opened and they directed us where to go for our bibs, then our shirts.  I looked around a bit, but the area was cramped and there weren't any booths that I just had to see. (And if I'm being honest, I'm saving up for the runDisney expo I'm going to in a few weeks)  

Expo fun!
In reading all the final race information, I was concerned about traffic race morning.  The drive is typically about 45 minutes for me, but they suggest adding an extra hour to that for the traffic, so I left my house at 5:00am.  I didn't encounter traffic and arrived at the starting area around 5:40am, so I had plenty of time for a power nap in my car.  

The race started on time, but I was a little disappointed that there was no sound system for the people who were not in the front waves.  I enjoy hearing the national anthem at the start of a race and I honestly don't know if was even played for this race.  I was in the middle of the pack and we couldn't hear the announcer until we were almost at the start line.  

Once the race started, I knew early one this wasn't going to be my day.  I can't pinpoint what was wrong, but I never found my grove.  And I struggled.  A lot.  About two miles in, I made the decision to turn off my watch and run "naked" the rest of the race.  If you've ever run in Del Mar and the La Jolla areas, you know the coastal views are breathtaking-- this made up for everything.

Enjoying the views!
This race is known for it's hills and it did not disappoint.  I honestly felt as though I was running uphill most of the race.  Event the "flat" portions seemed to be on slanted residential streets where it's hard to find a flat ground to run.  The journey through the Torrey Pines National Preserve was beautiful, even if I struggled up most of the hill.  And just when you think you're done, there's a hill at mile 12!  I loved the downhill finish and I think this might be the first time running a half that I was super excited to be done running.

Check out that elevation chart!
A couple positives for this race besides the views were having Race Guards (I always feel better when I see them on a race course) on the course and the volunteers-- the group at the mile 10 water station were especially motivating.  I am also grateful for the post race shuttles back to the parking area.

This may be a "one and done" race for me.  It's a beautiful course in areas that I run frequently, but the mental race was a tough one.  I'll see how I feel about it next year. 

2 done, 1 to go!
What races have been a "one and done" for you?

Until next time, happy running!

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