I enjoyed it, though not in the traditional sense. While I was reminded how many issues you can run into during a 26.2mile run (so not pleasant), I also realized I am actually quite risk averse when it comes to running. I can't help but obey what my body tells me to do and I don't like the thought of ending up injured - no PR is worth being sidelined for in my world. So, given the circumstances, slow and steady was the name of the game and I successfully finished way off my target, clocking out of the race with a 4:09:05 time. But you know what? I was still smiling.
|Before the race (post-coffee)|
|After, with a really strange grin on my face|
We were shuttled to the start, in Ojai, from Ventura - the eventual finish by the beach. The 6am race start meant a 330am wake-up call. We stayed in the Marriott, which was close enough, but had we booked at the Crowne Plaza, I would have been walking distance from the shuttle stop. The ride took about 20 minutes and I'm glad I took the 4:45 ride...left me with just enough time to do everything, bag drop, visit important places and all.
This was a small race...but very well organized. Not much standing in line for anything.
Random story: I had a really interesting conversation with a Japanese man on the shuttle - a really wise and impressive guy. He has run races on all 7 continents, totaling about 250 races. His favorite? Himalaya 100miles. He showed up for Ojai, having had no sleep and after running the Diablo trail marathon in NorCal the day before (a hard, hard race I am told). His goal? 1000 races, and one in every country of the world. He was like an encyclopedia of race reviews. So awesome. But he kept saying how he believes in slow food and slow running because he wants to run for as long as he is alive. Clearly, I agree.
|First half of the course...ish|
Most of the course is run on bike paths and the quality of the road is pretty decent. There is also a trail option (unofficial option, but it ran right next to the path for about half of the race) if that's your kind of thing. My joints were thankful.
In general, it's a great race that lets you get into your zone, once you find it, and there are no disturbances to shake you out of that. But you better find that zone to finish.
|Gels provided on course|
Aid stations - about every 2.5 miles or so. I ran with a handheld bottle, which was necessary. Gels and electrolytes were provided at 3 stations, or at least that's all I saw. Of course, having your own gels will help avoid many potential problems, unless you've used and know what's provided.
Forget Disneyland. This is the happiest place on Earth! Ok, not really. I was happy to be done, but also had a nice stroll going into the finish, so I had to end my meditation session. The finish area was pretty well organized and it was easy to find people. As for food...the usual suspects made an appearance: bagels, bananas, orange wedges, mini CLIF bars (yay!). There was also a sports massage tent, but I had made a reservation at the Massage Place and my legs were eager to get there asap.
|Recycled steel medals. Pretty cool|