Finishing up my tour of travel a few weeks ago was a visit to Ventura Beach, CA for the Ventura Marathon or half marathon in my case :). I had been planning on running this event for a while, ever since my friend Rhea told me about it earlier this year. She, her husband, Kenny, and another mutual friend of ours where all planning on running so I eventually signed up for the 1/2 marathon, which would be my 20th lifetime half marathon!!
This was the 2nd year for this race and it was a pretty good one. It’s not a huge race, like some of the other beach marathons I’ve done.
I arrived on Friday evening, flying into Burbank after a work event in Nashville, TN, I wasn’t feeling well Friday afternoon, with a minor cold and probably a slight fever, and I didn’t realize that it was going to be an hour drive from the airport, but it was actually a pretty easy drive, on the 101 all the way there. I finally got to the hotel around 11:30pm, got checked in and crashed.
Rhea & Kenny went for a quick run on Saturday morning, while I slept in, and then we all met up for breakfast at the hotel before getting ready and heading over to the beach to pick up my packet, and one for a friend, which was super easy. They also had race day pick-up for an extra $20. Packet pickup was a breeze, super fast and I just needed my friend’s waiver and a copy of her driver’s license and I got her packet too.
Race swag included: a nice reusable logo’d tote bag, a nice women’s cut tech t-shirt, some KT tape samples and a bunch of advil samples, the cold & allergy one came in really handy for me that night :). I don’t have a photo, but the interesting thing was that they had reusable chips for the shoes. I’ve gotten so use to the D-tags or B-tags that I was a little surprised to see that in my packet.
We were there really early, so the little expo was just getting started, but they did have a nice booth with pieces specific to the marathon that were very reasonably priced. Too often you go to the expo, want to get a shirt or something, but they are super expensive, these pieces were priced in the $20 – 40 range mostly and were decent quality too.
After hanging out there & at the beach for a bit, we headed into town for a bit, for lunch. There was a car show in town that afternoon, which was really cool, we had a great time looking at a lot of old cars, in mint condition.
We hit up Vons for some race day treats and then a little coffee house & gelateria called Palermo. They made a good effort, but the gelato was not like in Italy, it was kinda gooey and had an interesting consistency. The best place outside of Italy for gelato, I’ve found, is actually in Vancouver, BC, called Bella Gelateria, it’s really really good!
Anyways, back to the weekend, we all took an afternoon nap and then headed back into town to carb up for the race, there was an awesome Italian restaurant, Sicily by Gino, with at least one native Sicilian that worked there :). I had a rigatoni alla bolognese with a huge spinach salad. A nice moonlight walk on the boardwalk by the beach and we called it a night.
Then it was time for bed, we had an early morning. Rhea was running the marathon while Kenny & I were doing the half. The marathon started at 6:20am, with the half following around 6:50am, I believe. We left around 5:45am, since we were only about a 1/2 mile from the start.
We headed towards the packet pick-up where there were a ton of porta potties, after my experience in San Fran, I was happy to see that they were close to the start line. I met up with my friend, a co-worker, whose packet I picked up the day before and then watched Rhea & Vanessa start the marathon before getting a few photos and getting ready to start the half.
The weather was really nice at the start, I felt comfortable in my tank and skirt – I feel cold a lot of the time before the sun gets up, but this time it was just right :).
There were just a few waves for the half, I think 3 total. I started in the 2nd wave because really, I wasn’t sure how this was going to go since I wasn’t feeling 100% the day before. The first few miles of the race were in the shade, it was pretty nice and relatively cool, always a plus. This is an out and back course, with several out and backs.
We started out by the pier, running thru some neighborhoods, then over by the Ventura Harbor and we spent a lot of time on Harbor Blvd. The harbor area was the best in my opinion but all in all it was a decent race, it wasn’t overly crowded and while there weren’t a lot of spectators there were some, like this couple that I think I saw about 10 times throughout the race – that was pretty cool :). We finished close to where we started by the pier, a little closer to the beach, where there was a fun, beach party with a decent amount of post race food and drink.
How did my race go? Well let’s see, the first 6 – 7 miles were fine, I ran all the way thru, then around mile 8 all the travel and not feeling well started to catch up to me, plus that’s when the sun really came out in full force with no shade. Around that time is when I started walking a little bit. In fact one of my friends caught up with me at that point, we ran together for about a half mile before I told her to go ahead. I mostly ran, but did a bit of walking as well, got passed by the marathon winner around mile 11 and then finished at 2:03:04, which considering the week I had and not feeling good, was really awesome!
After finishing the race, I g0t some post race goodies. I love it when races have good food afterwards, this was one of my biggest complaints with the SF Marathon. I’m not a huge fan of coconut water but I drank a full container, in addition to a bottle of water.
I went with one of my friends to cheer on other finishers and wait for our friend to finish the half and Rhea to finish the full marathon. By this point, it was getting hot!
After Rhea finished, I left my other friends to get her some food, with all the people, it wasn’t easy to see where the food was, both Rhea and my other friend didn’t see it. We took some photos and then headed down to the ocean to take some medal pics and a jumping photo. I totally got some air on this one ;).
This is the 2nd race I’ve done that has had free photos and that’s a great perk. I obviously wasn’t paying attention to the camera since I’m totally concentrating lol but I’m happy to have the photos to commemorate the race.
I’ve been lucky to run all over the country on my journey to 20 half marathons and this was one of the best, because I got to do it with friends :).