I ran a small half marathon in Irvine this morning and want to tell you about it… so here’s a quick recap. Have you done a race lately? Tell me about it.
It’s called the Super Bowl 5K and Half Crazy Half Marathon. I signed up for this race over the Surf City Half Marathon because it’s a much smaller race and you can pick-up your number on race day morning. This means it’s A LOT faster and easier in general (read as: no traffic, no trek to get the packet the day before, no extra early wake-up to find parking and get to the start). This was my first time doing this particular race, but have done a few other half marathons in Irvine so I know the area and figured it would be easy breezy.
Packet Pick-Up and Pre-Race: This is a very small race so there was plenty of parking when I got there. The half marathon started at 7am and the 5K started at 8am – so the 5K runners weren’t there yet. It looked like there were a lot more 5K runners than half marathon runners at this race so that might not be the case for them.
Packet pick-up was super quick and easy race morning. I got my number and shirt and was able to go back to my car to put the race tee away. Then, hit up the restrooms before heading to the start line. The race started on time.
What I ate before the race: Coffee, Nuun electrolytes, banana and almond butter. I think I was dehydrated and should’ve carried Nuun with me for this race because it was pretty hot and dry (we’re having a surprise heat wave right now).
The Course: The race course is an out and back loop two times on a paved pedestrian path. I thought I knew what the course and elevation would be like because I’m familiar with the area, but I was WRONG.
I ran part of this path one time and walked Diego on it another time. I don’t remember it being uphill or hilly, but maybe that’s because I only did part of it?
It was uphill most of the way out and we had to run that loop two times it felt extra hard. It wasn’t super steep, but because it was continuous it killed my quads. I felt like my legs hit a physical wall before the turn around point of the second loop.
This wasn’t a closed course (path was open to the public) so there were walkers, runners and cyclists – but it wasn’t super crowded. I only mention it because the course doesn’t have mile markers or signs outside of the turn around points. It’s a pretty clear out and back so I wasn’t worried about getting lost, but I like to at least see a few other people in the race so I know I’m on the right course. It got pretty spread out after the 1st loop so I ended up losing the runner in front of me towards the end. That also made it hard to really push myself when my legs were slowing down – it didn’t feel like a race.
This is a good time to note – that wouldn’t been a ‘Pro’ of doing the bigger Surf City Half Marathon – that definitely feels like a race! So, it’s easier to stay in the zone of running faster versus a small race where it can look and feel like a training run without spectators or lots of other runners.
The only real speed bump was… after the path we ran back to where we started (now the finish line). I didn’t see any other runners in front of me so I wasn’t sure I was going the right way. I finally saw two ladies walking the 5K. As I ran past I asked them if this was the way to the finish line. One of the ladies said, “I think so… we’ll follow you.” And I said, “Don’t follow me – I might be wrong!”
Luckily, it was the right way to the finish line. Done and done.
Restrooms/Aid Stations: The school restrooms were open at the start. There are restrooms in the park, but they were not open to the public the last time I came here so I’m not sure if those were available to runners.
There were three aid stations on the course (that runners pass by twice so six aid stations) that had water. At the start line I think they announced that there was candy at one of the aid stations but I didn’t see it.
Race Medal and Tee: The race shirts are long sleeve Super Bowl themed with referee print. A lot of the 5K runners were wearing them. The medal… (I actually had to go get the medal because I barely looked at it… that says a lot about me as a person) – okay, the medal is super cute and also super bowl themed. It looks like a little football field and says “Set Your Goals” in the end zones.
My Half Marathon Results: My finish time was 1:57:34 – 8:43 minute per mile pace.
My watch showed a final distance of 13.49 miles (a half marathon is 13.1 miles). All courses are more than the exact distance of the race unless you run perfect tangents, but that seems like A LOT considering it’s a small race so I didn’t run around people and didn’t go off course to get water or go to the restroom.
My first thought on my race performance is – it was harder than it should’ve been. I felt a little out of shape and my quads died around mile 8. I’m going to find my Post Race Review Worksheet so I can identify the specifics that may have contributed to that. (I’ll post that worksheet when I find it because it’s a really good tool for after a race.)
‘This shouldn’t be this hard…’ started to go through my head around mile 8. <– That’s not helpful in the middle of a race. Yes, it’s something to think about in a teachable moment, but it doesn’t make you run better to start doubting yourself when you’re running a race. I do need to think about what I’ve been doing, my diet and rest/recover to figure out why I didn’t feel 100%. But in the moment I needed a pep talk to push through, stay positive and work harder. I need to practice positive self talk more so it’s auto-magic when I need it.
Overall: It was nice to run a small half marathon after my last race was a Run Disney event. The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is the complete opposite in every way (expensive, packet pick-up before race day in another location, tons of people, have to get there super early, etc…). I felt a lil fomo not running the Surf City Marathon (that was last weekend), but I’m really glad I did this race instead.
The 5K had a ‘fun run’ vibe to it and a lot of the participants were wearing the referee style race tee, some of them were wearing fuzzy football hats too! Many of them were doing the run/walk method or walking the 5K. And there were a lot of kids running too.
If you’re thinking about running a 5K or half marathon – GO FOR IT.
And finally, the most important update of the day… a check-in from Diego.
While I was running he was sleeping, per usual. Actually, that reminds me – I saw a few people running with their dogs at this race (one person for the half and a few for the 5K). Dogs are allowed to run with you for this race! I think that’s fun, but my golden prefers to do marathon cuddle sessions over marathon training sessions.
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