This past weekend (which was a 3-day weekend thanks to the blackout!) I ran the Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon in Camp Pendleton. Tara lured me to this race several months ago by telling me the registration fee was only $45. Wow, are you kidding me? Most half marathons these days cost about $90 ... which is a lot of money if you're someone who likes to race constantly throughout the year. (Like me!)
2nd Race for Team Sony
As usual I didn't look at the course very carefully but saw that it was going to be hilly, but felt confident that my weekly hill repeat runs would leave me well prepared.
Heartbreak Ridge Course Elevation
This race didn't have an expo and our bibs were mailed to us. Score! Its often a minor inconvenience to have to go somewhere to pick up your bib. At this point in my running career I am so loaded up with running gear that there isn't much I am ever interested in or need at the expos either. Camp Pendelton is about 4 5 minutes north of where I live too so I'm SO glad I didn't have to drive up there to pick up a bib.
Checking in on Foursquare - "Traffic Jam From Hell" haha
The race started at 8:00 am which means I would normally leave my house at 7:00 am to slide up to the start at 7:45 am .. but due to the security checkpoint at the entrance of the base they suggested allowing an extra 30 minutes to clear security. Hmm, so I should leave at 6:30am? I consulted with a few friends and found that they were planning on arriving at the base between 5:30 and 6:30 am. What?!? Ugh.. okay, so I guess I should leave the house at 6:00 am. If you know me, you know my pet peeve is getting to a race super early and milling around.
When I got to the checkpoint there wasn't much of a delay and I cruised right through security. I had no idea Camp Pendelton was so huge! I drove east for about 10 minutes before hitting a long line of cars waiting to park. I sat in this line for about 30 minutes. So glad I came early! I ended up parking and walking over to meet Tara and Ben right at 7:45am. Sheesh.
Security Line at the Entrance
There were race volunteers marking the calves of ever runner much like in a triathlon. Your left calf was either Military (M) or Civilian (C), and your right calf was your age (um 23 for me *cough*) or Clydesdale (C). I didn't enjoy having my age marked on my calf, but found it interesting to be able to look around and see everyone else's age and whether or not they were in the military. From looking around it seemed like 75% of the runners there were in the military .. and were men! It was like the opposite of a Nike Women's race.
It was moving to be on the Marine Corps base on 9/11 surrounded by so many members of the military. When the national anthem started you could see the whole crowd shift as suddenly every military member stood to attention with their arms straight down and fists clenched. Looking around brought on a wave of emotions. After the national anthem the first wave started (military), then the second (men), and finally it was time for us (women - woot woot!).
A fellow GOTR coach Lisa came to meet us right before the start and we all started together around 8:15. The course was an out and back on a dirt path. There were some rolling hills from the start, a decent sized hill around mile 3, and then we started to descend a pretty long (loose dirt) hill around mile 4. Uh oh, if we are running down down down to the turnaround point, that means we have to run all the way up this! Ack!
Girls on the Run Coaches
I had bought new shoes about a month ago and have been trying to keep them clean. Um, no shot in this race. When you have 1500 people running through loose dirt, you are basically running through a dirt cloud. Not only did my shoes get dirty (ewe!), but I was covered in a fine layer of dust from head to toe. I even had dust in my eyelashes! :(
Dirt Lashes - Yuck!
Along the course I had fun looking at the ages of people in front of me (on their calves) and alternating between "yay, I just passed a guy in his 20s!" to "wow, did I just get passed by a 74 year old man?!" It was pretty entertaining.
Eyes on my Target - Passed!
Another fun part of the course (being an out and back) is that I got to pass people I know! I first saw my dailymile friend Ted (really close to the front of the pack, turns out he got 3rd place in his AG!), then I saw Ben, and then I saw Tara & Lisa in their tutus. (Screaming and high-fiving ensued of course.)
Tara & Lisa Catching Air
I had run a really hilly half marathon earlier in the year (San Dieguito - race recap here) and had finished that race right around 2 hours. This became my goal for this race, but I missed it by a few minutes and ended up coming in at 2:03.
Finish time: 2:03:42
Age Group: 23/71
Whew! We Did It!
Caution: Wearing a Tutu Causes Jumping
There were several things I liked about the race (low registration fee, race bib mailed to you, ample parking, no lines at the porta-potties, plenty of water stops, decent finish expo, D-tag timing), but there were some other aspects that would most likely prevent me from running the race again (the race was far and you had to get there so early, the course was super hilly, and the loose dirt was miserable to run on).
Latest Bib for My Collection
We also didn't receive finisher's medals for the race which was pretty unusual for a half marathon. Sure, I have a ton of medals and don't need another, but this race was by far the hardest half marathon I've ever done, and I would have loved something to commemorate that. I'm glad I ran the race though and it was fun running it with friends. And hey, how can you not have fun in a Glam Runner tutu? :)