I didn't even know if I would get to the start line. I hadn't done a stand-alone half marathon since AFC last August. Right after that race I started to train for my second half-Ironman, California Oceanside 70.3, and my coach basically forbade me from doing a half marathon in the meantime (to be fair, if I really wanted to do one, he would have made the training plan adjustments, but he didn't feel it was worth the potential risk of injury---and I agreed. Half marathons happen all the time; the half-Ironman was too important to me to take any risks). During the run portion at Oceanside I injured myself yet again---on top of my usual sciatic pain, caused by a herniated disc, and on-and-off plantar fasciitis, I suddenly developed some Achilles pain. It worsened in subsequent runs after that triathlon, and I ended up taking seven full weeks off running to try to heal. After that, I finally saw a podiatrist who diagnosed me with mild Achilles tendinopathy, prescribed me medicine and stretches, and told me I could run. I finally started running again during the first week of June, which really only gave me six weeks to not only train for a half marathon, but to build up from basically nothing (it's humbling how quickly running fitness can be lost, and seven full weeks of no running set me way back). Luckily I had been biking and swimming a lot, so while my running legs were gone I still had my cardiac fitness. I built up slowly, only getting in two long runs of any sort---one that was six miles and a ten-miler the week before the race.
I decided I was trained enough to complete the race, and didn't care about my finishing time. I knew I wouldn't come near a PR (I'd have to get 2:28 for a PR) and just hoped to come in under 3 hours. My average time for half marathons ranges between 2:30-2:40, but my last two half marathons, AFC and La Jolla, were at about 3 hours because I was in so much pain that I walked much of each. I truthfully didn't care about my time here---I only wanted to finish strong with a smile on my face, having fun.
Not only did I have to train for this race, I had to find a costume! That was the point of the Costume Run---to be in costume! I didn't really want to spend a lot of money on a costume, and tried to think of something low-cost. Additionally, I wanted something that would not only be easy to run in, but not too hot---after all, we'd be running in July in San Diego. I settled on Little Red Riding Hood. I borrowed a Riding Hood cape from a girlfriend, paired it with a black tank and black running shorts with a skirt over them, and found some adorable socks. With my hair in braided pigtails, that would have to do. It definitely wasn't the most creative costume out there, but at least I was dressed up.
Packet pickup was the day before at Road Runner Sports. There was no expo at all, just pick-up. I got there on the later side, and avoided all lines. They gave me a bib, timing chip and cap---no shirts for this race, but the hat was a welcome change.
The race started at Qualcomm Stadium at 6:30 in the morning. Because I didn't know how bad traffic would be (I was remembering the awful traffic getting off the freeway and into the stadium from the Bolt to the Q race a few years ago) I left my house at 5:10. I got there by 5:25, had no traffic, and was in my parking spot by 5:30. Oh well---I'd rather be early and waiting in my car listening to music than stuck in traffic worrying about missing the start of the race! I waited until 6:15, then got out of my car, met my friend Ingrid, who was doing the 10k, and waited for the start.
|Ingrid and I pre-race|
|start line ahead|
And we were off! From the start, I followed a Galloway plan of 90 seconds running/30 seconds walking. I was able to stick to this plan the entire way, except once in the last mile when I had to walk a bit more. The course started at Qualcomm Stadium, looped around for over a mile in the parking lot, then went out-and-back on Friars Road before coming back to circle the parking lot again. Kind of a boring course---mostly flat with very few mild rollers---except for the costumes. That was awesome! Because of the out-and-back aspect, we got to see so many costumes. There was also a 5k and 10k component to this race, and I'm assuming that most of the warmer costumes I saw were for runners doing the shorter distances---although I saw people doing the half marathon in costumes that I would have overheated in at mile one!
Although there were lots of the usual superheroes in this race, I was impressed by people's creativity. I wished I took more pictures along the course, but here's just a sampling of what people wore:
|a manly Marilyn Monroe|
|loved these cookie monsters!|
|the mighty Isis!|
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|
|Indiana Jones---loved the spiders!|
|these kids were the Scarecrow, Glinda, Dorothy and Tin Man!|
|In 'n' Out workers|
|not a costume, but this running group all wore these inspirational shirts|
|from Mario brothers|
|a FULL giraffe costume!|
|no words to describe this Sumo wrestler running in the heat!|
The only thing that was bad was that I chafed for the first time! It was the first time I've chafed since I started running in 1998! The only thing I can think of was that the humidity made my thighs more sticky. I wear these shorts all the time, and in fact had worn then the previous week during my 10-miler. I ended the race with blood between my thighs from the rubbing. Ouch! I've never used Body Glide while running, I only use it for my wetsuit, but I think next time it's this hot and humid outside I need to apply it to my thighs.
Also, my Garmin clocked the course at about 12.7 miles, not quite 13.1 At that point, when I was so hot and tired, I didn't care that it was short, but the reality is it should have been longer. My finishing time isn't quite accurate, as the course is wrong. But, I was on pace for a 2:43 finish, which, considering my lack of training and the heat is great for me. I was also in minimal pain. I love the Galloway run/walk method--it's really been helping me out.
They billed the medal as the "world's biggest half marathon medal". While I can't vouch if that's true or not, I can say with absolute certainty that it is huge. It dwarfs the biggest medals I have on my rack. Just take a look!
|that's my hand in the background. Look how big this thing is!|
|struggling to hold up the medal after the race|
After the race, I got my medal, some Gatorade, and a bottle of water pulled from an ice bucket. Ahhhh! Just what I needed! They also gave me four different kinds of treats (ie granola bars, biscuits, etc). I thought it was a well-organized race, although I did hear that there were no clear directions for the 5k so people may have ended up running longer, which is no good. I DID see a clear turn-around for the 10k folks.
This is the last year of this race, but apparently they are going to do something else instead. I'll bet there will be costumes involved---the people that put this race on, Super Hero events, always puts on costume-themed races, like the Hollywood Half Marathon and Awesome 80's Run. I hope to check out whatever new race they put on!