Monday, May 6, 2013

RACE REPORT: OC Half Marathon | Love the Course, Not the Organization

I had heard several good things about running the OC Half/Full and I needed it for my Beach Cities 2013 quest.  I always love running in CA. 

I will get the negatives out of the way and then talk about my race experience.

1) I paid $25 to have my bib sent to me. What arrived? My bib in an envelope that cost 49 cents to mail. And a note that I need to pick up my shirt and swag bag after the race. What did I pay $25 for? I was told over and over it was mailed on 4/21. When nothing arrived on 4/29 I called them and left them a VERY stern message that I had not received it. When it arrived, it was postmarked 4/29. I am told many others didn't even receive their bibs in time. They should mail the entire expo package with tracking. What a rip-off.

2) Gun time was at 6:15, I am told to arrive for the 5:30am bus. I arrive at 5am and I didn't get ON the bus until 6:15, due to the longer lines. I started 27 minutes after gun time. They should of had more buses. I was there in plenty of time. If I needed to arrive earlier to catch the 5:30am bus, they should of said what time to arrive. Never had any shuttle issues with any other races, ever. The solution is more buses, not asking the racers to arrive earlier.  I am told several of the buses went the wrong way to transport Full marathoners and they were late, also. When I left on the bus - there was hundreds, yes HUNDREDS still waiting in line to catch a bus.  I think about 1000 of us started late.  That's inexcusable. 

3) Race Course was out of this world - I loved every moment of it, except I was in the back of the pack and I had to weave around all the 4-5 wide walkers. My Garmin says I ran 13.42. lol - not their fault, but having signs on the course to tell the walkers to be only 2 wide- would be helpful.

4) Gear check - what a disaster! Waited in line for over an hour and still didn't have my gear until they pulled us from the line to another line. 22K races and 4-5 UPS trucks? I am not one to praise RnR, but RnR had close to 20 UPS trucks for the same amount of racers. Of course, I was wandering all over looking for the gear check line - not one sign, anywhere on the fairgrounds.

5) No signs to where to pick up our shirt and we didn't receive our swag bag. All of that could of been sent to me/us in a "if it fits it ships" USPS box for less than $6 and don't mail them out days before the race. Website said we were to RECEIVE it a week before - they had not even been sent out a week before.

6) Then, trying to get out of the parking lot was another mess. Took me close to 2 hours to get out. They should of opened the entrance gate to let traffic go out that way. One exit is not working for that many people trying to leave at the same time.  

When I spoke to a few runner friends, they say it is like this every year. I am shocked, really. A race of this size to have such poor organization. Even RnR is more organized than this and coming from me - that says a lot.

Okay - onto the good stuff about the race.

Angela and I left the hotel early.  Angela was holding her own. She was running on fumes. She had very little sleep since Friday, since she was the Race Chair at the local Komen 5k.  My plan was to run out and meet her at Mile 11. Well, that was my plan

As you can see by my notes, we started almost 30 minutes after the Start.  Thank goodness it was based on chip time, but A LOT of us were weaving through runners/walkers. 

Most of the course was a nice decline or even a downhill or two. I held a solid pace of 8-8:10.  I even PR'd on my 10k split.  My goal was to beat my Hollywood time of 1:57:58, which would make give me a PR for the last 14 months.

I enjoyed the course, A LOT. It wasn't overtly easy nor hard.  Weather was perfect for running (cool temps in the high 50's/60's).  

I felt solid and strong through it all. I went back to my old fueling stragedy (vs what I used in Hollywood, which served me well).

-Island Boost pre-race
-Electrolyte capsule at Mile 3 or 4
-Island Boost at Mile 7 or 8
-Electrolyte capsule at Mile 10 or 11

Comparing to how I felt to the Hollywood Half, I like my Hollywood fueling schedule better.  I didn't feel horrible during the OC Half - but I certainly felt better during the Hollywood Half and it was warmer temps.

The only time I was forced to slow down, was at Mile 10ish - A gust of ocean came rolling in and my lungs had a minor asthma attack. So...inhaler time. I certainly lost a few minutes there, but I didn't panic. 

Came into the Finish Line and received the medal.

Finished at 1:55:23

2:30 minutes faster than my Hollywood Half, a month before

It might of been cooler temps, but I was dripping with sweat.  To say I was soaked, was putting it mildly. 

At the finish, I asked for two bottles of water, as I seriously needed it.  I was told I only get one.  You can't be serious?   Deny a runner hydration - good planning, OC Marathon.  So, I walked a little farther and picked up another bottle of water. 

I knew I couldn't get back on the course beyond Mile 12, so I waited for Angela to show up. Angela finished with a stellar time! What a Trooper!  By the time, we finally got our bags from gear check, I just wanted to leave.  I was hungry, cold and wanted out of there.

These are the only two photos I have from the race day

Angela ( and I
Back at the hotel - picture with Ladybug's Ball
Saw a few Running Troopers and was told, this lack of organization is common - year after year.  Surprised, as I had never heard anything negative.  While I loved the course, I am not motivated to run this race in 2014.  Too many other options and I don't feel this was worth my money or time. 

My Silver lining in the OC Half

1. Best Half finish time in 14 months
2. I PR'd at my 10k (according to the official split times)
3. I was number 26/477 in my AG
4. Second race in my quest for Beach Cities Challenge
5. Beautiful & great course.
6. Got to see Steve Heisler, Violeta Lopez, Kirk Buckley, Rudy Novotny, Sheina Rodriguez Torres, Angela Wozniak and more :)
Onward to Fontana and grateful for the chance to run...always.

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-13
Run F.A.B. & Boston Strong,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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1 comment:

  1. Both 2010 and 2011 had parking and shuttle issues. Getting out of the lot after finishing was a bear. I found a slightly off site parking spot for 2011, making it a little easier although I did have a little bit of a hike to my car. 2010 was mass confusion for me in parking. I got so turned around, it took my 30 minutes just to find my car (part of this I think was due to the way they twisted you around with their directions). Loved the course both times (the re-worked it between my 2 years). I am having a hard time wanting to go back for another Beach Cities Challenge medal, since I already have the original one.


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