Saturday, January 12, 2013

A belated celebration - New Year's Race LA Recap

I guess January 5th is close enough to New Year's Eve to legitimately classify for a New Year's party. And anyway, who really needs an excuse to party (i.e. run a half marathon at night)?

I had been pretty excited about this race, ever since they announced it. Starting and finishing in downtown LA, running around and inside Dodger stadium at night, this was a concept that definitely got my approval. 

I miss city-running...the life, lights, dodging people, outsmarting street lights... I guess it's part of my nostalgia for London, where my obsession with running all began at my first race, the London Marathon. But back to the New Year's Race. 
Downtown LA...the views were incredible
The Expo was small, but organized and relatively un-crowded. I spent some time at the San Francisco Marathon booth, trying to make sure no one walked by without considering to sign up. Expect the usual gear and gadgetry...and the ever-present Clif bar samples table.

The Swag gets a mention because I love the idea of a race hoodie. My race tech shirts are taking over my apartment, but a warm and comfy hoodie is always a welcome addition. 

The Start was a little delayed, which is not entirely surprising. It was an inaugural race and clearing the roads in downtown LA on a Saturday night does not sound like simple math. There were too many corrals to count (ok, I think 16) and I moved to 7 with a friend...meaning we left with a 20ish minute delay versus the original 9pm start time. Despite the corral system, the course was a little crowded for the first mile or so (but I did enjoy strategically navigating around people). 
Tip...get there early! Freeway exits and streets get jammed, as expected. I found street parking a few blocks from the start, but had I waited in line for the lots...well, I may still be there.

The Course was great - in my opinion. I've heard it called a "hilly rat maze" and pure hell. I had an amazing time. Fine, the endless miles around Dodger stadium got me a little dizzy, but there was a certain thrill in having no clue which way we would turn next. From what I hear, the route will be changed for next year. I'd do the race again with the same route. In fact, give me more hills, please. The total elevation gain was apparently ~1,200 feet...which is virtually flat ;-) 

The finish line was supposed to be an amazing party...except it was not. It was simply too cold for people to stick around, which is unfortunate. I collected my free drink and moved on, in style, to Hooters. Yes, Hooters. Don't ask.

I have to admit, I was determined to have an amazing time, which is probably why my review is all rosy. I put my legs on cruise control and wished I could just run all night. I may have been more refreshed at the end versus the start...I call it 2 hours and 2 minutes of pure therapy. Not to mention, having done 15 miles that morning (and 53 miles on Monday of the same week) meant I was adequately warmed up, I guess. All in all, the race ended an 85-mile week which I am pretty happy about.


(Photo credits:;

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