May 7, 2012

OC Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday I completed the OC Half Marathon. I was excited to do this race, as it would be the third and final race in the Beach Cities Challenge (doing the Long Beach, Surf City and OC Half Marathons consecutively earns an additional medal) and I had heard how great the race is.  I was also nervous about it, since I'd been having foot pain, and even wrote about downgrading my goals for the race from finally making my sub 2:30 to just finishing it and enjoying it. In preparation for the race, I made a special Beastie Boys playlist for my iPod, as rapper MCA had just died 2 days before.  I used to be a huge Beastie Boys fan in high school and college, and was deeply saddened by the news.  Their music got me through the first of the race with a big smile on my face.

I drove up to Costa Mesa on Saturday afternoon with one of my girlfriends.  We hit the expo, which was well organized but kind of crowded.  We got our bibs, t-shirts and packets and were on our way.

After checking into the hotel, we had an early dinner at Panera, hit the hotel's hot tub, and light's out by 9:00.  After all, we had a 4:00 wake-up call for the race!

Of course, 4:00 came too soon.  But we had a shuttle to catch that left the hotel at 5:05, and we needed to be down in the lobby before that.  Most runners had to park at the finish line (at the OC Fair) and get shuttled to the start line (at Fashion Island) for the point-to-point race.  Of course, this led to lots of traffic on the freeway. Because we were staying at one of the sponsored hotels (the Hilton Costa Mesa), we had a shuttle take us straight to the start line.  This was good, except that our driver got lost!  It was a bit frustrating to be circling around in the dark as the minutes to race start counted down...but eventually he found the start area and we got off.  We hit the port-o-potty line immediately, which was good as the line moved soooo slowly.  We then met up with my friend Mihael, got in our corral, and were on our way!

Overall, I thought the course was pretty, but definitely not what I was expecting.  I was under the impression that the run would be coastal, like Long Beach and Surf City were; however, that was not the case.  There were not too many ocean views.  We ran by the Newport Harbor, saw some amazing homes and yachts, and ran by the Upper Newport Bay  Estuary Reserve.  It seemed the majority of the run was through local neighborhoods.  The weather was great; overcast the entire time, without a hint of the sun.  It did get a bit warm for a bit, but overall a cool breeze made it perfect running weather.

The halfway point: 6.6 miles
I can't imagine how much it costs to live here!

Although there was plenty of course support (and the aid stations didn't run out of water or cups, as far as I knew----bravo!) I was disappointed that there was no entertainment.  I love it when there is a little course entertainment, whether it's a band or a local cheerleading squad.  However, the local residents were great!  Many neighborhoods were out in full force.  Lots of kids, still wearing pajamas, lined the streets giving runners high-fives (I tried to high-five every single one!).  Some kids had hoses to run through; I ran to one group of girls with squirt bottles and asked them to squirt water in my hands (I had had a Gu incident where my Gu exploded on me, and my hands were sticky.)   Handmade signs were great to read.  I really appreciated the great support in those neighborhoods!

As for my running, the first 10 miles were great. I hadn't run in 2 weeks, due to injury and wanting to rest my feet, so it felt amazing to actually lace up my running shoes and run. I took walking breaks when I needed them. At mile 10, however, the pain in my left foot suddenly came back. It a sharp, shooting pain, just like 2 weeks ago, although it seemed to ebb and flow.  I spent the last 3 miles walking more than I wanted to, as I didn't want to risk further injury.  I was excited to finally cross the finish line, where I heard the announcer call out my name (that was cool!)  I finished in about 2:36, no PR for me, but certainly not my worst half marathon time. I was very pleased, especially considering how much I had to walk during the last 5k.

After I got my medal for the race and refreshments (like the other races in the series, they gave each runner a bag containing snacks, like a banana, cookies, etc, which I love!) I wandered over and got my HUGE and HEAVY Beach Cities Challenge medal. This medal combines elements from all three races (the Queen Mary for Long Beach, the surfboard for Surf City, and the wave for OC).  I then found my friends; Mihael drove us back to the hotel so we didn't have to deal with the shuttle again.  Getting out of the Fair parking lot took a while, but that was to be expected.

Rocking my new purple Team Sparkle skirt
Ready to add to my medal rack!
 All in all, I enjoyed the race, although of the three races in the Beach Cities Challenge this was my least favorite (Surf City ranked first with me, and Long Beach was second). It was well-organized, well supported, and a pretty course.  I'm glad I completed the challenge. Now, I need to figure out what's wrong with my foot, as I have Rock 'n' Roll San Diego in a month, and I'm in 70.3 training as well!


  1. Great job on the 1/2! Love those medals!!!! Sure hope you can figure out your foot issues. Such a bummer that it started hurting!

  2. Fantastic job on the half! I applaud you for being a smart runner!

  3. I'm jealous of the beach cities bling! I loved the first half of OC (although the 2nd half sucked)a nd will come back and run it some year. Of the three halfs I think OC and surf city are tied as my favorite, and LB isn't far behind. I might have to go after the three in a year next year. :)

  4. Congratulations on another half! I just found your blog by searching for Surf City recaps... I just signed up for the full for 2013 and am SO excited... and nervous! Looking forward to connecting!

    - Megan

    1. Good luck! It's a gorgeous race course, so that should be amazing! Most of it is coastal. Are you doing Long Beach and OC as well?


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