Friday, April 27, 2012

Race Recap: Hollywood Half Marathon

It's been almost a month since I ran the Hollywood Half Marathon; hopefully I can remember the details!

I signed up for this inaugural race sometime last summer and had pretty much forgotten about it until March, when my friend Ashley reminded our group of runners about the fun outfits we had ordered to wear during the race. My first foray into the world of running skirts would be a short, red, sparkly one from Team Sparkle, complete with rainbow striped leg-warmers.

To be honest, I was a little hesitant to wear this skirt. Not only had I never worn a running skirt before, but this one was short! I had to wear it very low down on my hips so that it would be longer than the shorts underneath. However, after running 13.1 miles, I can honestly say that it was one of the most comfortable running outfits ever. It did not budge at all during the race, it did not chafe, or brush annoyingly on my thighs. In fact, I barely noticed that I was wearing it while I was running. Plus, it looked great in photos!

pre-race with Laura

The race was Saturday, so A and I drove down Friday and headed right for the expo at Universal City. We waited in line for about 30 minutes  just to get in to the Hilton for parking, and another 20 minutes for a parking spot. After the 6 hour drive, this was not fun, but we kept ourselves entertained. 

The expo itself was pretty crowded, which was likely due to it being 4 pm the day before the race. We picked up my race shirt, bib, and were out of the expo within 15 minutes. We found our hotel in Burbank pretty easily, and then basically crashed. We found a pizza place that would deliver to our hotel room (it was amazing, but I can't remember what it was called) and had lights out by 9.

A was nice enough to wake up super early with me and drive me the few miles to Universal City for the 6 am race start (best race supporter ever!) She dropped me off about 5:30, and as I watched her drive away, I realized I had left my water bottle and GU in the car! Oops.  Luckily, when I met up with Laura, she gave me her non-running water bottle, and I actually carried it through the entire race. This turned out to be a very smart idea, as the aid stations ran out of cups by the time I hit mile 7!

It was still dark when we started running, but already warm. I was comfortable in my tank top and short sparkly skirt. The first 1/4 mile of the race was within Universal City, and it was fun to run past all the shops and restaurants.  Around mile 1, we hit some lovely downhills, and I think I just flew down them. Running downhill is pretty much my favorite thing ever, and I always have a goofy smile on my face.  I was with Laura for the first mile or so, but lost her somewhere on the downhills. 

All of a sudden I heard a familiar voice, and looked up to see Sammie speeding down towards me. She was running with another friend, pacing her to a PR, which she did successfully. I ran with Sammie and Shannon until about mile 6, as we cruised down Hollywood Boulevard chatting and people-watching. The course was an out-and back, so it was fun to see the front-runners flying back towards us as we headed out.

After the turn-around, I picked up the pace a bit as I was feeling pretty good.  Miles 6-9 were at a sub-9 pace. It was getting really hot by this point though, and I was missing my GUs. Just after mile 10, there was an aid station handing out some brand of gel, and I have never been so happy to see an aid station before!

The last two miles of the race were back up-hill. I liked the downhill portion much better. There were a lot of folks walking. I just tried to keep a steady pace but definitely slowed way down here.

Then, the finish! Conveniently located next to a Starbucks, for my post-race iced coffee!

Post-race with Sammie, showing off our bling!

We had a bit of a walk back to the main part of Universal City from the finish line, but I think it did my legs good. A came and picked me up, and we went for an amazingly delicious brunch at Paty's in Toluca Lake.  Then, we headed out to Riverside to spend the rest of the weekend with some friends who live out there.

Overall, the weekend was a blast, and A and I even enjoyed most of our 12+ hour drive between the Bay Area and LA. The race was fun, and I liked being part of its first running. That being said, I don't think I'd make the drive South to run it again. However, if you are local, it's a very fun race.