Race Recap: San Diego Holiday Half 2016

Thank you all for following along with my Race recap blitz!  I am going to make a conscious effort to do my recaps on a more consistent basis next year but we’ll see how it goes ;).

This was my second time running the Holiday Half. We ran it last year and I managed to eek out my fastest half of the year.  It’s a fun, fast, relatively flat half that takes place mostly on the bike path next to Hwy 56.

We didn’t have very many races in December so we decided to add this one in as our last race of the year.  When we signed up we didn’t realize that Sean’s company holiday party was going to be the night before but it was all good.

Packet pick-up is at Road Runner Sports the day before the race.  We picked up our packets which included our bibs, a long sleeve tech hoodie and a nice gear bag.  They also gave us gloves and a space blanket to keep warm at the start, similar to what they do at Revel.

I was still fighting my cough, but I needed to have a goal so I decided that I would push for faster than last year’s 2:02.  Unfortunately at the party, I had a horrible coughing fit that almost made me lose my dinner and that didn’t bode well for a great race.

Fortunately I did my Flat Jenny photo before we left for the party so my gear was all set.

After some ginger ale and a good night’s sleep, I felt relatively decent in the morning.  We slept in just a bit so it was probably 5:50a when we finally got out from beneath the warm covers.  We managed to get ready and out the the door by 6:20a and get to the start area by 6:50ish.  The race started at 7:30a.

I was coughing like a lunatic the whole time in the car and then after we arrived.  It was pretty chilly out too.   After what seemed like an eternity in line at the port-a-potties, we finally made our way to the gear check.

I didn’t realize Sean had on about 15 layers lol, he just kept taking clothes off and putting them in his bag.  Eventually he was down to his race gear and ready to go.

We ran into Jenn who I started with. We got a quick “glowy” pre-race photo while in our corral.

I felt like this year they were a bit disorganized.  The race started a few minutes late, the announcer didn’t know that the wheelchair athletes started first and then finally started the first corral about 5 minutes late.  I was in the 2nd corral.

I was so ready to just get started.  I enjoy the first part of the race, it’s on the road and the one and only major climb is in the first few miles before you get to the bike path.

This year the bike path didn’t seem quite as crowded as last year so that was nice.  I was trying to breath, but my nose was seriously dripping from the start.  I normally try not to blow snot rockets lol during races if I can help it but I apologize to everyone around me during this race. I had no choice, even my buff wasn’t able to help. 🙁

I was doing ok the first 6ish miles before I started coughing.  I had to start taking some walk breaks and the coughing was bad.  Such a deep cough that literally shook my core.  Forget crunches, have a cough like mine and you’ll have strong abs in no time.

I remember heading up this hill, and the 2:10 pace group passed me, @runchelrun, one of the pacers, who is friends with Kristina my pacer from Cuyamaca was like Hi Jenny!  I’m friends with Kristina!  as I was struggling up the hill lol.

I knew my goal was a bit out of reach at this point, but I was going to do my best to finish in a decent time.  I’ve run a lot of races, but not very many with a cough.  It makes it hard to breath & after already coughing for a week I didn’t want this to go on too much longer so I made the decision to take it a bit easier.  Of course I say that but it’s not a hard decision when you are practically hacking up a lung every few feet.

My least favorite part of this course is in the last 2 miles.  There is this awful out and back that has a very sharp turn-around around mile 11.5-12.  But then you get a nice straight-away before finishing in the parking lot near the Torrey Pines State Beach.

I think I finished around 2:12? I got my medal and saw Sean off to the side, he attempted to take a few photos as I tried not to cough too much, lol.

I finally finished, said Hi officially to Michelle and then got some snacks.  They had bottles of water, lara bars and bananas.  They had bags, but had run out.  We heard a volunteer telling someone that they should have run faster and they could have had a bag, uh say what?

There were booths from Aloe Gloe and Naked.  We got bottles of each, Naked gave out huge bottles of cold pressed apple juice that was so yummy.

After getting some snacks, we made our way to the gear check, which was a lot more disorganized than last year.  They just had bags tossed onto the ground, fortunately they were somewhat in order, but it was pretty chaotic.

We finally found our bags and then Jenn came up.  She had PR’d by 5 minutes!! which was so exciting! I was so happy for her.  We took a few photos and then I headed to get changed.

Even though it was freezing outside, I had sweated a lot and I needed to change before taking the shuttle back to the start line.  We were going to my all time favorite restaurant, Flower Child, for brunch.  They opened a location up in Del Mar and since we were near by we wanted to check it out.

I got changed, we took a few photos over by the ocean and then headed to the bus.  It’s always a plus when they have the fancy buses for the shuttles vs. school buses.

I felt kind of bad for everyone on the bus as I was coughing into my shirt, the whole way back but we eventually got back to our car and on our way to Flower Child!

If you are looking for a holiday race in SD, this isn’t a bad one, it’s relatively flat and fast, it’s normally nice weather, even if it’s on the colder side.  The medal is nice and they have a decent tech shirt, I did like this year’s shirt better than last years.

It’s not a race where you are going to have a lot of spectators or bands, music, etc.  There are aid stations every few miles, but since we are on the bike path it’s not really easy for spectators to get around.

That being said, it’s a nice half marathon in San Diego.  I enjoy it because it’s close and it ends at the beach.  Will we run it again next year? We’ll have to wait & see how our schedule pans out.