Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Half Marathon 2012

What birthday is complete without some kind of race, right? Well, that was my thinking when I registered for the Holiday Half Marathon...not to mention the race venue was at the Los Angeles County Fairplex...which is conveniently two blocks from my house! So a race that is so local I can throw a rock and hit the gate plus the fact that was my birthday, seemed like a no-brainer.
I arrived to a venue blanketed in fog, and the sights of many runners with candy cane stripped socks and reindeer antlers...cute for them. I decided to just show my Half Fanatic pride with my blue tech tee. I took my place in the start corral with the 2:10 pace group...not sure why I felt so ambitious that day, birthday high perhaps?
So the gun goes off and the start line awning starts spewing snow...or snoap (snow/soap). I thought that was cute touch...just don't eat it. We headed out into the Fairplex and ran all over the vacant fairgrounds. I was hoping I would run into a fried Twinkie or chocolate covered bacon stand but to no avail. We continued onto the AAA Auto Club Drag Strip where we got to run on the actual rally strip. So, I guess I didn't have to wait until Walt Disney World Marathon weekend to experience this :)

We headed out of the Fairplex and headed to the Frank Bonelli Regional Park, home of the Puddingstone Lake and Raging Waters. This is where race got especially beautiful. Nothing but wonderful trees, the sun reflecting off of the lake, and the birds. One sight that caught my attention was the dew hanging on the ends of the pine needles on some of the trees. If we were in denial about it, guess what kids Winter is on her way. We ran around the park until we came upon the Puddingstone Dam. This is historically a local trail for bikers and runners alike, but to see so many runners pounding the pavement was just such an inspiring sight.

We continued through the park to the sights of more trees and great scenery. Fast forward to mile 10 when the hills really started to show up and try to stop the show. I guess that is to be expected when you race in a canyon. So couldn't complain to much. Although, on this race I embraced the hills. I looked forward to them. You have to conquer hills and other obstacles. This builds strength in not only your body but your mind. Always remember, a race of ANY distance is just as much a mental race as it is physical. So, I drug myself over this hill and down into another beautiful valley to the sights and smells of wonderful fresh pine. I guess Holiday Half Marathon was an appropriate title for this race.

We made our way out of the park, past Brackett Airfield (which is a local small airport) and back into Fairplex for the final stretch. I made my mad mans dash to the finish line and crossed with a time of 2:23. Not to bad for a birthday run. And the high kick I did as I crossed the line added a little fun for the spectators. I think there are some small logistical items that can be reviewed and improved on in the future i.e., wave start would of been nice, a larger start corral for comfort, and more tables and stations at the finishers chute. Outside of that, a pretty successful race. And the bling isn't too bad either :)

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