I may have had an uneventful Halloween this year, but I guess you could say I got my dose of costumes, adorable dogs, and
candy post-race snacks the weekend before the holiday, at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Halloween Half Marathon.
Since the race course was marked in and around DTLA, walking to the start line was a breeze. Even though it was dark out, the streets were already sectioned off and police were at their posts, so I felt safe walking over to the Staples Center.
Once I got to the start line around 6:45am, I quickly checked in my drawstring bag that was given to me at the expo, and found my corral. The parking lot across from LA Live was a convenient location to place gear check!
Along with trying to keep my muscles warm, I tried to walk myself (in my mind) through the course. I knew where I would be going up until Mile 5, but had no idea where I would be running between Mile 5 and the finish! Just somewhere in downtown was all I knew…
The race was slated to begin at 7am, with the half and 5k runners running together. Since we were in corrals, we were released every 30 seconds or so to stagger the amount of people on the course. Once I did hit the start line though, I was looking forward to seeing what costumes, live bands, and sights I would come across!
Mile 2 was when I started to feel a lag in energy. We were beginning to approach the University Park area and I started to feel somewhat tired. We ended up making a loop around the LA Coliseum, and it was such a sight to see a horde of people both in front of and behind me. I was shocked (and slightly embarrassed) by the fact that some of the people way in front of me were in heavy, full costume and were still running at 8:00 min/mi or less. Seriously though, how does that work?!
I guess the coliseum loop did the trick because I felt pumped around Mile 4 as we made our way back to the start line/downtown. There were bands (mostly playing rock), high school drill teams, and the occasional spectators with posters every couple yards, so that helped keep the morale of the running pack up.
But once we entered downtown again, my energy began to sag around Mile 6. It’s funny how since the course at this point was positioned adjacent to the finish line, I could see the elite athletes rolling on through as I was just getting to the half-way point. I suppose it should have been motivating, but it was more like, “How is that humanely possible?!” in a joking way of course 😉
After a making our way over a mini paved hill, I started to hear echoes of EDM coming from a tunnel. Now the music was starting to get good! At the end of the tunnel, I learned that the sweet selection was courtesy of a DJ dressed in a full gorilla costume.
What I remember of Miles 8 and 9 were winding, flat roads through the Toy/Art Districts and Little Tokyo, up until we reached the hill. We were basically set-up to run up a massive slope onto the Sixth Street Viaduct which at first seemed conniving, but then I understood why it was included as part of the course when I turned around at Mile 10. The most incredible view of DTLA was in front of me as I made my way back down the slope. I tried not to pound my knees too much, but it was difficult to not want to speed up with the sounds of Duck Sauce’s “Barbara Streisand” pounding in my ears, thanks to another EDM DJ 😀
I have come to dread Mile 11 based on my experiences from past halfs, but the mile didn’t mentally attack me as much as I thought it would in this race. I tried to keep my mind distracted by the various cheer squads and (growing number of) spectators, who finally managed to make it outside on a Sunday morning. I pictured myself soaking up the energy as I made it back through the tunnel at Mile 12. I let the music push me through as I focused on the last mile. I felt that surge of energy I needed for that moment just in time, and I let that guide me to the finish.
After passing the finish line, grabbing a water bottle and medal, and taking a legit post-race photo (not the mid-run kind where you look like a zombie!), I glanced down at my Garmin to see I had run a little over 2 hours, but did not PR. I wasn’t too bummed though, because I’ve been glad with how consistent my pace has been since summer.
Also, I feel like this half marathon wasn’t worth the PR 😛 . I thought the race organization and course were fine, and I like how it was accessible for me to get to by foot, but I’m still not sure I would do this race again, unfortunately. The recovery zone was blocked off to runners, and once you left you couldn’t re-enter. This meant limited freebies collection, but I did get two bottles of chocolate milk, a Powerbar, and Alaskan Airline snacks.
I thought it was odd that the Noosa yogurt tent was place right outside the recovery zone, but I had to pass on their samples since they contained gelatin. Seeing as I didn’t get any yogurt samples, I wondered if I could get another Powerbar or two, so I walked along the perimeter of the gated-off recovery area.
I literally asked one of the Powerbar reps if I could have a bar, and she looked at me like I had said the most horrid thing about her. They said they couldn’t pass samples over the fence otherwise “Competitor would revoke their sponsorship”, and while that is understandable, it was disappointing.
Post-race celebrations this time around weren’t nearly as fun as when my gal pals and I went out to eat at Saturn Cafe after my SJR Half in June, or when I stuffed my face with Biscoff for the next two months after my first trail race. Not only did I not have my “crew” to collect freebies and eat out with me, but I also had the pestering “I should be studying” thoughts swimming around in my head, since I had two exams (on the same day!) that I had to take later in the week.
I still took the time to enter and check out what booths and tents were up though.
I mean, how can one leave a race without even trying to celebrate 😉 ?
I skipped past the merch tent (I didn’t even have any cash or cards on me, so…), and lined up at the first booth that I saw had a prize wheel.
I didn’t get anything from them, but I did get two pairs of earbuds from Yellow Pages! Now that’s a freebies that would come in handy 😀
I eyed enviously at the fortunate “GEICO-sponsored” athlete who got a free massage. I wasn’t in need for one anyways, but having the option would be nice!
I went further down the road and saw the ASPCA Bark Park.
After taking some time to admire the adorable puppies that were being shown off, I scooped some complimentary shortbread biscuits…
…and snacked on those while I contemplated over if I should stay for the headliner concert or not…
In the end, I passed on the concert and ended up walking back home. I forced myself to study and get a late lunch later on in the day, but I ended up taking a 20 minute power nap before I got to any of those tasks. I may not have felt as sore post-race as I did in previous half marathons, but I certainly could not ignore my body’s cues to get some sleep—even if for a short while!
Have you run in an RNR race before?© Copyright 2014 P, All rights Reserved. Written For: Will Study for Food