Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Race Review: OC Half Marathon 2012

Well besides my sub-par performance, I really liked this race.  Once again I love sun, palm trees and the ocean so I was pretty sold the minute we landed in OC.  We immediately went to the OC Fair Grounds for the expo on Sat. morning.  This part was not great!  The traffic was bad because there were a bunch of other events going on (swap meets, kids runs etc...) so after multiple turns and 40 min of just sitting in traffic we finally got there.  You had to pay $5 for parking and then walk way across the parking lot to the expo.  The expo itself was small and crowded, nothing special.  I really like tech shirt (very cute) but was disappointed that it wasn't v-neck as described when registering.  Nothing worth noting in the swag bag.  We signed up for Long Beach and got out of there.  The rest of the day was spent checking into the hotel, hanging out on the beach and eating and drinking our way through Newport Beach.
The race started at 6:15am (marathon at 5:30am) which I think would have been really inconvenient had we not been staying at the host hotel and able to just walk right out the front door and into the start corral.  Everyone else had to go park at the finish-line and then shuttle to the start which meant most people had to get up at 3 or 4am.  The marathon started late - due to people still shuttling in but the half started right on time.

The course was very scenic and perfect temperature, overcast and 60's (that's why they start so early, to beat the heat).  It was humid though!  All along the ocean, beautiful views of the Bay and ridiculous houses.  There were not a lot of spectators but the ones out there were great!  The two complaints I would have is the flat advertisement is not true.  There are two big hills and some additional rollers which I was not prepared for.  Also, there were quite a few spots where the course went onto bike trails that were very narrow and there were tons of people so you just kind of got stuck when those turns came around - not that I minded having to slow down:)  The support was good with water stations every 2 miles or so and then at 10.5 there was a huge Cliff Bar station.  Running through that was one of my favorite parts since the Lulu Team was out cheering with some great signage and I got a huge shout out for my outfit (head to toe Lulu of course - I am sorry I am addicted)! 

The last 3.5 miles you turn away from the ocean and head towards the fair grounds so those were the least scenic part and of course worst part mentally.  The finish line was good though and I thought the post race food was decent.  The only other issue was getting a shuttle back Fashion Island.  They claimed there were going to be shuttles back to the start line but we waited for 40-50 min before some other bus line took pity on the group and had one of their charter buses come over and shuttle us back.  There was a shuttle directly to our hotel but it was $25 a person...come on!!! Besides that I would definitely recommend staying at the Marriott at Fashion Island because it was very convenient for morning of.  All in all a pretty cool race that I would consider doing again but probably wouldn't be my first choice.  However, the medal may change my mind:
In love with this one!

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