Rose Bowl Half Marathon 2021

Yesterday, I ran my 65th Half Marathon!  The Rose Bowl Half Marathon which used to be called the Pasadena Half.  I haven’t run this one since the very first year back in 2017.

We drove up on Saturday to the Rose Bowl to pick-up our packets.  We were visiting Sean’s mom who was visiting Newport Beach and while there were 5 spots around LA to pick up our packets, we determined that going to Pasadena was the best traffic wise between San Diego & Newport Beach.

It was super simple, park in lot D, walk over to the tents, they assigned us a bib number & gave us a bag for gear & a coupon for Big 5 and we were on our way.  You could pick up race shirts on Sunday before or after the race.  We ultimately didn’t pick ours up because neither of us expected to ever wear it.

Sunday morning, we got up around 4:30am & were out the door by 4:50a.  The race recommended getting to the Rose Bowl by 6am and Newport Beach is about 60 miles from Pasadena so it was going to take about an hour to get there.

Last time we ran the race, it took forever to get parked, this time while there was traffic when we got close to the stadium it wasn’t anything near as bad as that first year.  They had it organized so that if you came from one direction, you parked in one lot & if you came from the other direction you parked in another lot.  This made things much much easier.

It was a little chilly when we got there – if you can call low 60s chilly but after the previous 5 days of 90+ it felt cool.  We hit up the bathrooms, there were a both on-site normal bathrooms and port-a-potties.  The normal bathrooms had lines but the portos were pretty empty, I don’t think I ever saw a line at them.

We then got into the corrals, since they just assigned bibs it was one of those races where you were on the honor system as far as where you started.  They said that they were going to have 2 waves, but I don’t know if they actually did.

I tried to start in Corral 3 but they were like move up, move up and I ended up starting around the middle of Corral 2. I was behind the 2hour pace group, which is where I ended up finishing.  I did notice as I was running that the pace groups seemed really close together.  I saw 2:10 & 2:15 within sight of each other multiple times and then the 2:30 group wasn’t that far away either – the 2:30 pacer ended up finishing in 2:22 so I think it might have been a little off.

Anyways the course seemed about the same as it did before to me.  It’s somewhat hilly, not horrible but there are a few hills.  It was gray the whole race and incredibly humid.  My SeaWheeze crop was so soaked that I wrung it out 2-3 times while running.

I felt pretty good through mile 6ish.  I started the race with my stomach growling so I think I needed more fuel.  I ate one spring energy gel between miles 6-7 but I probably could have used at least 1 more.  I’ll test that out at my next half in a few weeks.

I was running pretty good considering I haven’t run a half since July & that one didn’t go great.  I really tried to stay in a comfortable pace and with the exception of mile 12 where I felt incredibly tired and walked a few extra times, I felt decent the rest of the race.

In fact the last mile was my second fastest mile of the whole race.  Then we got to finish inside the Rose Bowl on the field, which is exciting.

I got my medal, a heat sheet, a bottle of water – they used a company called Liquid Death & honestly if I hadn’t heard someone say it’s water, I thought it was beer, so that was a little weird.  They also do random snacks at the end, Clif bar is a LAM sponsor and so it would have been nice to get a clif bar at the finish but other than than that it was fine.

I stretched for a few minutes then headed outside to see Sean who had finished a bit before me.  All in all it was a pretty quick & easy and then we were on our way back to Newport Beach.

Differences from last time? I think just that the parking (at least from the side we came from) was so much better.  Outside of that it seemed about the same although thankfully no rain.


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