Race Recap: Inaugural Pasadena Half Marathon

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve had a race, lol, it’s really only been a month, haha.

Let’s get the following out of the way and then get on to my recap.  I am an ambassador for Conqur Endurance Group, which puts on the Santa Monica 5k/10k, Pasadena Half Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon (still want to register? use code JENNYLA2017 to save a few dollars).  I did receive a free entry into the race as part of my ambassadorship, however all opinions on the race are my own.

I signed up for the Pasadena Half knowing that we would be in Hawaii the weekend before for HURT, but I wasn’t positive on our travel plans so I signed up for the race day packet pick-up to allow myself some options in case we didn’t get back home until the day before the race.

That being said, I did not attend the expo so I can’t really comment on it.

With my training for SD100 starting and the first of my many training races coming up, SOB 50k on Feb 4, I felt like I needed to get in a double longish run weekend.  So we kicked off the weekend with a double loop run at Lake Miramar while trying to avoid the rain.  We didn’t end up getting on the road until after 3pm so we didn’t have time to go to the Expo which closed at 5p, which was fine.

We had a quick dinner at CPK, which was right near our hotel.  We were going to just drive up on Sunday morning, but with the rain we decided it was best to stay over to avoid the stress of having of driving to Pasadena at 3am.

After some yummy pizza & pasta, I got a quick Flat Jenny photo and got my gear ready for the next morning.  The forecast called for 100% chance of rain so I added in my rain jacket.

Our hotel was 2 miles from the Rose Bowl so we left at 5:30am, which was 1.5 hours prior to the start of the race.  I guess I underestimated the time it would take and since we didn’t know the route to the start line, we didn’t realize that the 210 would converge on to the main road to race parking.

I’m not the most patient of people normally and knowing I didn’t have my packet, etc. was really stressing me out.  I think there could have been a little bit more of a police or volunteer presence to direct traffic and I’m sure that next year this issue will be fixed.

Although I will note, there will always be traffic going to the start of a race, it’s just how it is. This isn’t the first race I’ve been to with traffic, it’s just that there wasn’t anyone directing traffic at a major intersection and I think that’s what made it most frustrating.

Moving on, once I jumped out of the car and ran over to the start line area, it was just after 6:30a.  I quickly got my bib and I still had some gear on so I hurried over to gear check to check my extra long sleeve and my track pants.  They had it organized by bib number which was nice.  After the gear check disaster at CIM this was so nice.

I thought I was going to be late to the start but I was fine, about 6:50a when it was all said and done.  I ran into a few of my friends as I was heading to the corrals.  We chatted for a few minutes and then made our way to our respective pacers.  There weren’t corrals per say just pacers holding the pace sticks.

By this point Sean was making his way over to me, he wasn’t running the race but was going to run a few miles while I was running so he could get some photos for me and cheer me on.

Me, Richard, Laurie, Michael & Ivie

He got a few photos of me and some of my fellow Pro Compression ambassadors.  By this point the announcer was telling us that we were probably going to start about 10ish minutes late.  You could tell by the number of cars still coming into the parking lot that it was going to take a bit more time.  I think we finally started around 7:30a, give or take.

Our traditional pre-race selfie :).

And then we were off, I knew almost immediately that I probably shouldn’t have run quite so fast the day before, I was having an issue with my shin/calf muscles feeling super tight right above my ankle bones.

I slogged it out for the first 2 miles up the bigger hills and then just after the Tournament of Roses building, I pulled over to do a quick standing pigeon pose to try and stretch this area out.  That’s when Sean caught up with me and asked me if I was ok.  I didn’t realize he was going to be there so it was a nice surprise :).

I read on social media that a lot of people thought this was a tough and hilly course.  For some reason, after the hill on mile 2, I didn’t think it was that bad.  Again, compared to CIM which seemed like hill after hill after hill, this was a breeze, it felt mostly flat, but with a lot of out and backs. (It might be all the hill training I’m doing that’s making this seem easy too lol).

I just moved along, one step at a time, not really caring too much about my time, just wanting to get to the finish line.  I’m so spoiled getting to run in beautiful places, in San Diego and on beautiful trails around country that running in cities doesn’t really excite me much anymore.

I don’t think the course was bad necessarily, it just wasn’t super exciting with 2 exceptions.  The bridge on mile 9/10 was gorgeous!  That was my absolute favorite part of the whole course.  It didn’t hurt that there was a nice little downhill right after that.

I did however need to make a little pit stop around this point so I popped into one of the many port-a-potties they had near aid stations. I was so wet and so cold by this point I could barely move my fingers.

And then there was just a 5k left to go.  We made our way towards the Rose Bowl stadium and around the golf course and this is where Sean caught up with me again :).

3 miles, 2 miles and then just 1 to go. As we got closer, I could see spectators on the side cheering us into the stadium.  I saw Sean’s pink hat near the entrance and made my way over to the left side so he could get my photo.  And then we were heading down inside the stadium!

I’ve run in stadiums before, Angels stadium during the Disneyland Half, the Bravos spring training field during the Walt Disney World marathon but this was the first time I’ve finished on a field.  It was pretty exciting!

As I was making my way to the finish line, they called my name so up went my arms to cheer myself into the finish!

I got my medal, a quick selfie and then looked around for Sean.  He took a few more photos before we got chastised for not being in the right spots lol.

I headed over to get some bottled water and a space blanket, I was soooo cold! There was a photo opp in the middle of the field but I was so cold, I couldn’t wait in line.  I headed out, grabbed a few snacks: a muscle milk bar, pretzels, gold fish, cheez its and an apple.

By this point all I wanted to do was get warm, but I needed to get my race shirt.  They had Leslie Jordan shirts, which I know run a little big, so I grabbed a small, they had lots of shirts.

I got a bottle of organic muscle milk and then saw a photo op outside the stadium with a much shorter line so I took off my cozy space blanket because I had to look cute for my photo lol.

Overall, I enjoyed the race, with the exception of some minor stress over getting to the start line, I had a great time.  Even with the cold & rain.

Pros: Amazing Medal
Getting to finish on the Rose Bowl field
Race Day Packet pick-up option
Free Photos
Lots of port-a-potties at the start and on course
Awesome volunteers that stood out in the rain to support us

Cons: Parking
Rain & Cold (obviously this isn’t something the race could control)
So many out and backs on the course

Would I run this course again?  I will say it’s a long way to drive for a half marathon, but if it fit into my schedule, I wouldn’t mind trying it again, on a nice sunny normal SoCal winter day.

 

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