|Official logo from their site|
Packet pickup was quick and easy. There is no expo before race (at least not at the location where I picked up my stuff), so I was in and out and ready to do some Christmas shopping. Two days before the race, I woke up with a cold! I prayed that it stayed a head cold and wouldn’t move down into my lungs and thankfully it did just that! Race morning I dragged myself out of bed, not feeling very optimistic about my ability to put in a decent time. I took some Dayquil, Sudafed, vitamins and stuffed my running shorts pocket with Kleenex.
At the start, I dropped off my cool toy at the toy drive and ran into my friend Nick. I was super excited to see him at a race. We hung out chit-chatting for awhile, before I moved back to the 2:20 pace section. I had a feeling Nick was going to totally destroy my PR and he did! He ran a 2:03! How awesome is that?!?
|Nick and I at the start|
The start definitely wasn’t as packed as last year, but I think the corral sections were bigger. Just down the street from the start was a cheer crowd and a Santa on a horse! My level of excitement grew (this may have been neighborhood #1)!
Around mile three I glanced at my watch to see where we were at and was surprised to see we’d already knocked out a 5k. I felt like my legs were just eating the miles! I had mixed a peppermint GU in my little water bottle and was so glad I did. It was extremely soothing on my sore throat. I’ll have to remember that when I’m racing with a cold again in the future.
This race has a neighborhood competition, where the runners vote afterwards for the best neighborhood. Neighborhood #2 was very enthusiastic, but I didn’t get all the Halloween décor? Neighborhood #3 blew them all away, with a huge turn out, a Santa and Mrs. Claus giving high fives to runners and balloon arches stretched over the street. Neighborhood #4 was a very excited group with banners and neighborhood #5 was elementary school kids giving out leis. Yes, I got leid around mile 12.
|The message on my lei! How cute is that?!? Thanks Charles!|
The first half of the race I was able to keep the 2:10 pacer in my sights, but lost him somewhere around the half way point. I was just grateful to not be seeing the 2:20 pacer!
I interval ran most of the race and I noticed another lady intervaling that I kept passing and being passed by. Unfortunately, she was a spitter and I kept having to dodge it (no fun!). I’ve never seen someone spit so much! I did chat with her and she was very friendly, but I didn’t have the heart to say anything about the spit.
|The only real hill on the course is an overpass|
Around mile 10, I passed a girl dressed as a gingerbread man. I saw her at the start of the race when she blew by me, so I was excited to catch up with her so that I could snap a pic and honestly, I didn’t want to be beat by a gingerbread man! She was very cute! I hope she won the costume contest or at least placed in it. I don’t think there were as many full costumes as last year, but it may have just been my pace group.
|The race ends along the beach|
I kept telling myself I’d run it in starting at mile 10, but each time my interval came to an end, I’d take my quick walk break. I had a similar experience at the end. I kept telling myself I’d sprint it in, but wasn’t able to dig in and sprint till I was coming around the corner to the finish. I passed a guy in my final sprint and he gave me a look and started sprinting too. I must have had more in the tank than him, because he stuck with me for a second and then I pulled away.
|Finish line sprint!|
I finished feeling ecstatic about my time and totally beat! 2:12:09! My second best half marathon time so far. My best time being 2:08:31, last year at this same race! It really is a PR course.
|Tired but happy!|
Afterwards, I congratulated Nick and went in desperate search for water. I grabbed some cookies and mini-cinnamon rolls and then walked the small expo and farmer’s market. I was feeling some discomfort from my knee, so I didn’t hang around too long.
This really is a great event. The neighborhoods, volunteers, costumes and toy drive make it one of my favorite races. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a Christmas themed race.