I signed up for this race at the LAM back in March which is pretty crazy! I decided to do the Doubleheader Challenge which was a 10k and then a half as I needed to get in 20 miles that day for both a taper for Star Wars half as well as prep for the LAM. Originally the time was supposed to be 4 for the 10k and 6 for the half so I had planned on taking the train down to the expo, over to the race and then back home. In October, the race times were moved to 6 for the 10k and 8 for the half. Since races downtown seem to start late, I decided to get a hotel so I could head back to the hotel and not be on the train so late or have to pay a lot to park. It worked out that Ralph works 2 blocks away so he was game to have a less than 5 min commute to work.
Since I had Star Wars coming up, I decided to do a Disneyland day to get my walking in instead of running 6 miles the day before and then just rest and relax. The morning of the race,I packed up all of the Christmas stuff, put up my laundry and started getting my things ready to craft for future costumes and relaxed and rolled (I probably should have taken it a bit easier but oh-well: hindsight). We headed down to the hotel at 2 (check in was 3 so I was worried if we went earlier, we would have nowhere to go!) and I got prepped and walked around the hotel. We stayed at the Biltmore which is a very famous hotel in Downtown. The Oscars were started there (in the room where the Expo was!) and so ornately done.
We went to the room to get ready and relax before grabbing Starbucks (I needed caffeine!) and walking to the race start. We were able to use the real restrooms, check our bags, eat a snack and head to the start with ample time.
People were very bundled up but I knew it would be pretty warm as it was only 60 when we started. I brought my arm sleeves just incase.
We started the race about 10 min late, which was annoying as that would mean I would have less time in between races. With the no corrals for the 10k, it was a cluster at the start with all different speeds so I just walked until it opened up which was after about 30 seconds. For this race, I knew it would be hilly but I also knew it went over part of the LAM course so I wanted some practice. Since I had a half after, my goal was to go by feel and make sure my heart rate wasn't too high. I figured I would settle in around an 11 min mile pace and see how I go. I also had the plan to take the hills easy. I would stick to my intervals but also make sure to exert the same power going up the hills, so if it became hard and/or breathing got labored, I would just walk.
The race basically followed the start of the LA Turkey Trot, up and around the middle of Grand Park and then around to the 2nd street tunnel. The tunnel is where I got insanely hot-I stopped to take off my arm sleeves and felt better right away. We continued down 2nd street to an out and back and then headed towards Sunset where the 10k and 5k split and the 10k course was very uncrowded. Right before the split they were handing out CANS OF REDBULL. Just no-haha. This part was pretty flat. As we headed to Sunset we crossed the freeway (who knows what those people were thinking!) and on Sunset to an out and back that was VERY dark. At one point,I couldn't tell if the people in front of me were moving or not so I slowed down to be safe. Thank goodness for my blinking hat! It slighty glowed so I could see where I was going! We headed over towards Chavez Ravine and had the largest hill of the 10k which as soon as I started, I walked it. It was a steep incline and I didn't want to waste my energy. We continued on and do a nice downhill before heading back up hill and towards the finish. Once we crossed the freeway again, there was our final water stop and I used the porto as I was worried about the time I would have between the races. I had a skirt and flip belt entanglement as it was pretty dark but I got out in less than 2 min. With about a mile to go, we headed back through the 2nd street tunnel and around the middle of the park to the finish line!
Mile splits: 11:00/11:16/10:55/11:27/10:57/11:39
Running finishing time: 6.29 miles in 1:09:58
Official time: 1:11: 35 (difference was my crazy bathroom break!)
I had about 30 min to regroup. I grabbed all of the food I could, went and got my bag and sat and stretched on the ground. I had water, some protein drink(actually the same one I hated at the Christmas run but this time it was super cold and actually good!), a bag of BBQ chips, and a banana. I met up with Mallory and we chatted in the Porto line. I was cutting it close but I had a feeling this would start late and they did. I got in my corral at 7:58 and felt surprisingly refreshed from my break. However after the National Anthem, we waited. With no info but with a violin quartet playing. Yes you read the correctly, a quartet. Eventually they said it was delayed-ugh i just wanted to be done. There were 4 corrals and I was in the second one and started about 8:20.
As predicted, the start was crowded but cleared out quickly. I wanted to go fast but knew what was coming so I held back. We headed up a slight hill back through the 2nd st Tunnel and towards Dodger stadium. I knew the big hill from the 10k was coming so I held back and then walked it. We went up and down until we hit the entrance to Dodger stadium and were supposed TO RUN! Like what? At that point, I knew a PR would not be possible and decided to do whatever it would take to feel okay when I finished. That monster of a hill was insane. I've never in my life seen every person walk up a hill in a race until this one. I knew we would be in for it. (It was about 250 foot gain in the span of a few minutes).
We went around the stadium and got Gatorade and there was a table with boxes so I investigated: boxes of Clif shots just chilling there. I grabbed 2 to make sure I had enough fuel and kept on. We went towards Elysian Park and had a steady climb for a few miles and our reward-gorgeous views of the city and beyond. I stuck to my rule of not exerting too much energy because I knew more hills were coming.
At mile 5, we hit a downhill and it was amazing! At this point I was close to the 2:30 pacer and heard him say we would hit another hill at Mile 6 and 8. I really just wanted the race to be over, as I was just tired (see, I should have taken it easy that morning!). He was right because after our awesome downhill, we did a down and back on a hill to climb back up. I was starting to feel blah-I know since it was about 9 o'clock that I was hungry so I had the applesauce I packed but knew that wouldn't be enough. The lack of Gatorade on the course was just embarrassing especially with the hills and sadly I didn't pack any salt packets. I was feeling like I did at the NYCM when I realized I was just tired and hungry. After eating I felt better but I never felt great.
One thing I didn't like about this race was there were no spectators and not a lot of music (I think we passed 2 DJs on the course) and people were just silent. I kept having to turn up my music louder to keep me engaged.
We did a slight downhill and then climb back into Dodger stadium (ahh the hills) and then ran down into the field. On the way to the field, there was another Clif station stop (just boxes out again) and Gatorade. Oh and then it started randomly raining! LIKE WHAT?!!?!? Running on the field was great. It was cool to be down there and I can know say I have run on both the Dodger stadium and Angel stadium fields! Afterwards, I knew there were more hills. As we exited, we ran over the first half mile of the LAM course. Even though it wasn't crowded now I knew it would be crowded on race day!
We turned down a few streets and then it was a sprint to the finish. The last two miles I was not feeling well-my calves were trashed and I was hungry and most likely electrolyte deficient. However I finished strong on tired legs would be good marathon prep so that's what I did!
Mile splits: 11:10/11:12/12:33/12:50/11:06/11:34/12:10/12:45/12:06/12:11/12:18/11:55/11:27/:36
Running finishing time: 13.08 miles in 2:34:18
Official time: 2:36:18 (difference was a bathroom break that I don't remember where I took it! haha)
Once I finished, I felt awful. I stopped for food and water and found a box to store it all in (seriously, races need to give out bags at the end!) and waited for Ralph. With the crazy course and late start, he got there at 11 and we walked back while I ate and drank. I slowly got better but did not want a full meal. Thank goodness Ralph came to meet me as some of the streets we had to walk were really sketchy and I would not have felt safe walking back by myself. Even though the Expo was at our hotel, they offered no shuttles to and from the race which I definitely think was a mistake. We stopped at 7-11 and I got some ginger ale and we headed to the hotel where I showered and ate all my snacks (chips, popcorn, protein drinks, water) while watching the Kardashians and 30 for 30. I think I finally fell asleep around 1am. I slept awful-I was so sore (even after Tyenol) and I think my body was just over it. I HATE feeling that sore and this maybe the most sore I've ever been after a race which sucks. In the morning, we went to get a breakfast buffet and Ralph walked to work and I went back to the room to relax, shower again, and pack again. I walked to Ralph's work to drop my stuff off in the car and then took the train to work. It took me 45 min to go 3 miles-ugh stupid train schedule. I took aleve and felt much better but was still incredible sore-blah!
Overall, I'm glad I did the race and got some real hills on my legs-the LAM will seem like a joke compared to this.
I also realized I'm not a night racer (wine and dine excluded because that's an event with a party after). The course was very boring-no spectators which doesn't surprise me and not a lot of music. The time change really messed it up because I basically didn't have dinner which didn't work with my body well.
They had a course map but didn't really publish an elevation map which would have been helpful.
This race didn't go through Downtown LA much (more around Dodger Stadium and Elysian Park) and there were many places it was dark. There were LAPD everywhere and not to mention homeless people sleeping in the second street tunnel (no joke! I felt bad running by them as I finished).
The lack of Gatorade on the course was definitely rough. I think part of the reason I felt so bad was the lack of salt which is not good for runners.
I hate how negative this review sounds but I like to keep it real so people know what to expect (and so I remember my thoughts if I ever want to sign up again). I would not recommend this race as a whole to anyone. The half marathon was hilly and a bit too disorganized for my taste. The lack of Gatorade and fuel just sitting in boxes was not my cup of tea. The 10k would be good if you need a hilly training run and it's early enough that you can get down there and get back home in a reasonable time.
I am glad I ran this as I did earn 3 medals to start off the year and three tops (short sleeve, zip up and hoodie) that are all really comfortable. It was so much easier to relax in the morning instead of getting up in the morning to do 20 miles.
The soreness from the race has been unreal. I had to skip my tues run in exchange for a recovery yoga session that worked wonders. My weight workout suffered as did my run on Thursday. I even had to cut my speed workouts from 8x800 to 8x400 and was so sore.
Have you ever done a New Years Race?