On Saturday, after having had a wonderful evening the night before, we woke up and went to get brunch:
This place is super cute, and we were so good about ordering the perfect amount of food.
^Best of both worlds is the far dish, with both French toast and pancakes with a whole lot of fresh fruit! And the lower one has two mini omelettes (we went with the seafood one and Sicilian caprese). Honestly, those rosemary potatoes were my favorite thing from the dish!.
We did a tiny bit of walking around after brunch, before heading out:
Afterwards, it was time to go to the expo, which was at Zuma Beach:
When you’re there, the place looks amazing. The ocean, the mountains… it’s all quite scenic. The expo itself was rather small, but there isn’t much to complain about.
Picked up some essentials (peanut butter, bagels, coconut water… and I needed bananas, but they only had super green ones at TJ’s, so I passed on them. Life gets hard sometimes, but we just gotta roll with the punches, numsayin‘):
Did some more grubbing on highly carbtastic things. Burrito with rice… it came with chicken and avocado, too. Hold the cheese and beans, thanks.
And then I had to set up my things so it’s all ready to go for the morning:
Morning came early. 4:15am early (which is actually not too bad). Luckily, there was shuttle service from the hotel to the start line!
Once we got there, I hung out a bit and waited until the last moment to do bag check (meaning I put on sunblock and gave them my sweater in the bag… brrr it was chilly, but not as cold as marathons past).
The race was pretty small!
Not a huge and congested start area, but it was cool that they had pacers for this relatively small race!
I started off in the back. There were no corrals, and I was going to be taking it easy anyways.
Ran with Tammy for much of the beginning, which is farmland and completely flat:
Then we got out of the farm area and headed toward the Pacific Coast Highway:
I don’t know what it is, but something about the crashing waves and vastness of the ocean calms me and gives me peace. Plus, it’s something nice to look at:
And don’t forget to look around. You might miss the beauty of nature:
Well, that’s at least what you can think while you’re running.
So they said this course is pretty flat until the last few miles, but I had a feeling it’d be all rollers (considering that we are on the PCH… it’s not going to be super flat. I’ve run Big Sur Marathon, and it was definitely not as hilly, but not pancake-flat).
There were three big hills at the end <— haha, I know… kind of messed up, huh? I took a couple of walk breaks here and there. I didn’t have much hope for PR-ing, since the hills at the end would kind of screw that up. I just took pictures, talked to some people. and enjoyed the gift of running.
Oh, and it was kind of warm near the end, so I definitely didn’t push too hard.
Here I am at the finish!
And Joe got to snap some pictures of me in the finish chute:
I was so happy to see him at the finish line and it gave me that little turbo boost at the end!
Did I PR? Heck-to-the-no. But I enjoyed every minute of it. This marathon seriously FLEW by and was probably one of the easiest marathons I’ve run… which is only because I really kept an eye on my Garmin to make sure I never went below a certain speed (if I saw anything around 8:12 or 8:10, I backed off and tried to settle into a nice 8:20-ish groove).
And it’s certainly not that bad to have the beach right there:
Didn’t go in though. Met up with Joe (actually, we had a tough time finding each other afterwards!), and headed out.
Instead of shirts, they gave beach towels:
Kind of cool, I guess. I have enough race T’s, so this is a good change up!
And we ate at the Habit afterwards (even though I had zero appetite):
^Can you guess which is mine? Yeah. My burger is wrapped in what rabbits like to eat, haha.
What do I think of this marathon?
Volunteers/Course support: There were some stations with not enough volunteers, and some stations with too many (such as two people, and then twenty people). Since I wasn’t taking this race too seriously, it didn’t matter. I didn’t mind going up to the station and getting my own electrolyte drink and such. I’m sure if people were racing it seriously, they would have thought otherwise. In any case, races are not possible without volunteers, so if you are a racer, you should try to volunteer once in a while. Races like this can always use more help! They offered different kinds of gels throughout the course, all except for GU. I brought two with me, and had them around miles 6, 11.5, 16, and 21.
Course: BEAUTIFUL! But be sure to train on hills. They aren’t crazy steep, but they are looooooong (and when you encounter three long hills after mile 19, they kind of take forevers). It would be good for your quads to get used to the downhills after conquering the hills, too.
Expo/swag: Small and humble expo, and modest swag. Again, the towel is a nice change, and the medal is big and heavy. They don’t give goodie bags at the expo, and you have to bring your own bag for the bag check, but I think that’s a great idea (at least from an environmental standpoint).
Would I run it again? Yes! Everyone was so friendly, it was not a packed race, and the course was nice. It’s a great fall marathon (but obviously way more fun if you’re not racing it super seriously. I had a blast!).
I’ll get to the nitty gritty of splits and crap some other time… maybe. 😛
What do you like to eat right after a big race?
Where is the furthest place you traveled for a race?