This was a very mixed event. There were moments where it felt as organized as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles: Mini-Marathon but there were also mix ups that reminded me of the Devil’s Gate Dam 5k Fiasco. So when I talk about a highlight = 😎 and for Devil’s Gate Moment = 👿
Getting to the start was simple and organized. 😎 Since we did the two person relay, I would take one bus to the start while Meghann would hop on another to halfway point. As we met up with Santa’s Little Helpers, David and Carlos, I noticed both had bibs while Meghann and I were told at the LA race packet pick up that only the finisher would get a bib. 👿 So now I looked like a random person on the race course. 👿 This conversation also brought up how the hell I would know where to give Meghann the timing chip (in lieu of a baton…) or even if I would get to line up at the start. Yeah my brain really needs this confusion at 6am on a cold morning.
Carlos and I got on the shuttle and headed to the start… well it looked like the start. There were runners hanging around a street and a line of port-a-potties were there. It was a random neighborhood right next to the freeway and the locals seemed taken back by the sudden mass of runners blocking them into their homes. The only staff I could spot were way up front next to the start and their speakers weren’t loud enough to hear in our spot in the last corral. Carlos and I just looked at each other and took off when we saw the crowd move forward… and promptly stopped… it was a wave start… awesome if we knew about it. 👿
As we walked to the front of the crowd I finally saw the giant Santa that gave the race its name. The bastard looked fat and happy guarding the giant mound of toy offerings we had given him. He looked satisfied… for now…
Our wave was unleashed without a problem and I took to the sidewalk to pass the walkers. With this being Meghann’s first race longer than a 5k and a strict 3 hour limit, I wanted to give her a good cushion. I made a sub-hour finish my target and fell into a 8-9min pace for most of the race.
I looked around the course and the start was quite nice. What’s not to like about being surrounded by strawberry fields? But, that quickly gave way to industrial parks. Thankfully, the course was flat and wide, which was perfect for passing people at the start. I have to say it was pretty nondescript until we hit the first cheer station at a local elementary.
Those kids were out there screaming and cheering for everyone that ran by. 😎 Even the houses leading up to the station had people standing outside and cheering us on. Tip for the ladies: It is amazing what a few cheers will do for a man’s stamina.
Running through the neighborhoods was definitely when the course began to grow on me. There were enough turns to keep me from spacing out and none of those deflating turn around segments. 😎 I hate having to run a mile then take the same route back for another.
Thanks to the well placed mile markers I was cruising until I hit a hill… well it was a freeway crossing but after 6 miles that looked like a mountain. I decided to walk that thing and save my energy for the sprint towards the finish.
And here is where another 👿 point comes in. At the transition point, they were calling out to the 2nd leg runners to get ready but since I didn’t have a bib they couldn’t let Meghann know. She just knew I was aiming for a sub hour time and got in the chute around then. I ran towards the point but no one told me where to go and I quickly ran by the small tent set up. Thankfully Meghann yelled out at me and I was able to stop without any one running into me. I gave her the timing chip/baton and she was off.
I clocked in at 58mins! As I training for this race I constantly failed to meet my sub hour target. (In hindsight I pushed myself too far, see the Post Race Comments at the end of the post)
Since the transition was just before the mile marker, I did not have any food or water waiting for me. I had to walk over and reach from the back of the tables to grab some. 👿 The lack of staff also meant that there wasn’t anyone giving out medals or information on how the 1st leg runners get their medals. 👿
At least the transition point was a nice park in the middle of downtown Oxnard. My body felt great as I started stretching and doing my cool down. All I could think of was getting to the finish so we can get our medals and head to the nearest bar!
Instead of taking the race provided shuttle to the finish we got a ride from a friend…. but we parked around the 9 mile marker and had to walk the rest of the way. While walking through the beach neighborhoods I knew Meghann had the better leg of the race. There was a nice breeze coming through and the sun was finally out. After starting the race at a cool 48, it had reached mid 70s by the time I met up with Meghann.
After begging a volunteer to give me a medal, we met up with the rest of the teams and settled on which bar to celebrate in.
The second picture is of me with a coworker’s son. She was excited to see me but he was less than thrilled to take another picture. The kid is in training for the LA Marathon and this was his first half marathon. I thought he would’ve been a little more excited after that accomplishment. Safe to say I will be jumping in the air (knees permitting) when I finish my first half.
Post Race Comments
I never believed in Santa and I think this race was his revenge… my left knee did not like all the post race walking we did. By the evening I could not even bend it without significant pain. Thankfully I had this before and knew the treatment was the standard Rest Ice Compression Elevate. Still, it has been well over two weeks and my knee still complains about anything beyond a mile. DAMN YOU SANTA! DAMN YOU TO HELL!
Previous Posts about Race
Where I’m Going – Training for this race