Monday, April 9, 2012

RACE REPORT: Inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon

When I originally registered for this race, I did it because my husband is a BIG movie buff.  We thought it would be great to go as a family.  Well, since then - he got promoted and his new schedule prohibited him from going.

So, I took my sons with me and he stayed home with the doggies.

We arrived on Friday, April 6th at the Universal Hilton.  Oh yes, must be in Los Angeles - the traffic was horrible.  Getting IN the hotel, was a pain.  And since I live in Vegas, it still amazes me we have to pay for parking (Vegas doesn't charge for parking in any of our hotels).

We finally get parked and arrive at the Expo. Picked up packet.  Which included a reusable bag and a nice technical shirt.

It was bustling.  They had a Photo Backdrop, complete with Red Carpet. 

We didn't stay long (we were hungry).  Headed off to find something to eat at City Walk (Universal).  It also gave me a chance to get the lay of the Start and maybe the Finish Line.

While eating, I received some texts from other racer friends - so I went back to the Expo to find runner friends.  No such luck.  But, I did run into the Race Director, Kenny.  What a great guy.  We met at last year's Vegas Half and have communicated quite a bit since then.  He genuinely cares about the racer experience and will not spare any expense to make it happen. 

Finally making it to our hotel.  We stayed at a Kitchenette-type of hotel in Burbank.  Only 15 minutes away.  Perfect.

Then, it was time to get ready for race day.  Alarm was going off at 2:30am to ensure I could get into the Parking Garage by 4am.  There were some conflicting reports of when the roads would be closed, so I would rather be early vs late.

Went to bed at 8am.  Some ask how do I get to sleep so early?  Well, I plan ahead.  When I know I need to get up early, I get up early the day before and I also take a supplement, Melatonin to help me dose off.  You can find Melatonin in your vitamin aisle.

Woke up at Stupid O'Clock (aka 2am).  Ate my Pinole Waffle and a Chocolate Chip Clif Bar.  Drank another sports drink & coconut water.  Finished all my beverages by 3:15.  We left the hotel and arrived at the Universal Parking Garage by 4:00am.  PLENTY of time.

We walked up and down the City Walk.  All of it was blocked off. This was our Starting area.  Looked great.

Sitting and waiting...

Then the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniac photo time came:

It was rather nippy, but not overly cold.  Gun time was 6am.

The Start of race happened right on time.  Gotta love that.  First was the Wheelchair athletes, then the Elites.  Then the rest of the world.  Race crowd was limited to 7,500 racers.  Very manageable.

As noted above, we started down City Walk and quickly ran out of the Universal Studios area.  We were immediately on a decline.  At one point, I turned around to see what we were running down and realized that is the same hill we will be running back UP, at the finish.  Oh dear.

Here is the Elevation Chart - according to my Garmin - (see the Mountain at the end.  Good grief)

I didn't get into my pace until 1+ miles but from the time I started I started saying my mantra's,
"you can do this!"  
"you got this!"  
"easy, peasy" 
and, etc. 

My first mile split was at 9.  Just where I wanted it to be.  Still dark out, but I was carrying my sunglasses (to be used very soon).

At the 2 mile Aid Station, I consumed my first homemade energy pack and took a quick swig of water. 

Big fueling test was ON. 

By this time, my brain is typically wanting to shut down.  I spend my first 3-5 miles fighting myself (in my head) but it wasn't happening this time!  I never started previous race with mantra's, like I did this time.

When I crossed the 10K mat, I threw up my hands. I had beat my 10K PR by 1:32 That was a highlight of my race. 

During those miles I took 2 of the Hammer Electrolyte capsules.  At Mile 6 I consumed another homemade energy packet.  I needed to load in the earlier miles to keep me going, when I typically fade (around Mile 9).

Heading down Hollywood Blvd, I felt great.  Absolutely great.  No fatigue, no struggles, I was very relaxed.  Turn around went great and I am still feeling good.  Not gasping for air, either.

I was right along side of the 1:50 pacer and at times, slightly ahead.  I was pretty darned happy.

Around Mile 8 or so, I heard someone say "you are FAB-O!"  I turned and saw fellow Vegas runner, Jacqueline Widdis coming up on the other side.  That made my day.  A little father, I heard another runner say "Charlene - you are FAB-O!" I didn't recognize her, but I am so appreciative of the encouragement.

Heading into Mile 8, 9 and 10, I took my last electroltye capsules and decided to suck on a Clif Shot Blok.  (that was another test) - and took a few more swigs of water.

(BTW, the race had bottled water provided.  No worries about Fire Hydrant water at this race)

Came up on Mile 10.5+, turned a corner and there it was.  The beginning of the Dragon.  That Mountain.  What I now call, Mt. Hollywood.  I was so on pace for a sub1:50 - now, the Dragon was taking it away from me.  Heavy sigh.

For 2 miles that Dragon was impossible to slay.  My legs were shaking.  I had to walk a few times, but I just kept doing the best I could.  These legs didn't have the strength to pull me up that hill.  I have tackled mighty hills, at the beginning or mid race, but never at the end.

Looking at my Garmin - I knew I would sub2 - that was a relief.

Finally - the summit of Mt. Hollywood.  A collective "ahhhhhhhhh" was heard from all runners.  We were now at 12.5 and .6 until the Finish.

As with the LA Marathon - my boys were holding Ladybug signs, so I could see them in the crowd.  This time, I was determined to grab one of those signs and take it across the Finish Line with me.

I spotted the Ladybug signs and made a sharp move to the right and as I was running, spectators were high-fiving me along the way.  I grabbed the sign from my oldest son and made it across the finish line.

Here is one of the photos of the Finish Line Red Carpet (only in Hollywood, folks!)

Crossing the Finish Line at 1:56:32 - I knew I had lost at least 6 minutes on that 2 mile hill/mountain - but I sub2'd my race and I was pleased.  Not over joyed, but pleased.   And I PR'd on my 10k time.

Most importantly, I felt GREAT the entire race. Even on that hill.  My energy level was at it's peak, I can't remember the last time I felt this good during a Half. 

Energy Plan worked.  (I will be posting the recipe, etc by the end of this week)

Finisher Medal (it's my all-time favorite!)


My traditional Finisher Medal/Ladybug photo:

Here are some more photos of racer friends -

Marathon Mitch - a great friend.  I will be seeing him again in about a month - as he crosses the Finish Line at his 100th FULL Marathon in Pasadena, CA

Emil Cheng - met him a few weeks ago at my first trail run at Bootleg.  Super nice guy!

Jacqueline Widdis - the last time I saw her was at ET.  She is the runner who screamed out at me "you're FAB-O!" on the course

Daniel Widdis (married to Jacqueline) - and Virtual FAB-O Runner!

After the race, we made our way to Universal Studios/City Walk for some food and relax. 

Coming into this race, I knew there would be some kinks to work out.  After all, it was an Inaugural Event.  Overall, it's a good event and I believe the Race Director will do whatever it takes to make sure that he improves the event for next year. 

I am already registered for next year.  Looking forward to another Hollywood trip. 


(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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1 comment:

  1. Congrats on a great race! We were staying in a hotel on Hollywood Blvd and had no idea there was a race going on until we heard lots of commotion and looked outside! It was a fun surprise! I thought the medals were really cool looking.


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