Monday, October 29, 2012

Rock 'n Roll L.A. Half Marathon in Review

Thanks a ton for all of your advice on my last post about whether or not to race.  I decided NOT to race and here are the reasons:
  • I was not in rested racing shape on Sunday.  I did a 9 miler just days before and a hilly trail run on Friday.  
  • It was hot.  Deena Kastor and some other running legends at the expo specifically told us to be conservative and they reminded us that this is not PR weather.  
  • My heart wasn't in it.  I wasn't totally excited to be running this race.  Santa Barbara is less than 2 weeks away.  That is my race. 
  • I was being smart (for once).  I am tapering.  It would be silly to run 13.1 miles faster than MP less than 2 weeks before the marathon.
That was my logic.  I already knew I wouldn't be racing when I packed up and left San Diego on Saturday without my Garmin.  Hearing Deena Kastor say we needed to be conservative and not hope for a PR just solidified my decision.  I paid attention to my heart rate throughout the race and made sure not to overexert myself.  I finished in 1:45 which was just a few seconds slower than marathon pace.  My legs felt heavy and tired, so it was great practice for how I will feel in the second half of the marathon in 12 days.  This race made me grateful for taper! 

And since I am a terrible blogger and didn't get any photos at the race, here is the one and only post-race photo.  

Now, on to the race review.

The Expo:

The expo was pretty standard.  

There was a station where you could decorate your own shortbread cookies, which I found to be a delicious little touch.  

I walked around and tasted all sorts of disgusting libations created for endurance athletes.  There are so many strange drinks on the market to help "speed up recovery" and "enhance performance."  Most of them are just plain gross.  I tasted a drink with chia seeds that felt like slime in my mouth.  Later, I ingested a vitamin drink that smelled like dirt.  Blech.  I'll stick to water and Nuun, thank you very much.

The swag was also pretty standard.  I was excited to get a free Women's Running Magazine with Dorothy on the cover!  It is so exciting to see "one of us" on the cover of a magazine.  They devoted 3 whole pages of the magazine to her!  Go, Dorothy!  

The swag.

Dorothy, you're famous!

The best part of the expo, by far, was 'The Panel of Legends' including Deena Kastor (my fave), Frank Shorter, and Jim Ryun.  I only wish Frank let Deena do a little more talking.  He would constantly say "Deena will tell ya..." and follow it up with what he believed Deena would advise us to do.  I wanted to scream "then let Deena tell us!"  Oh, men.  Him and Jim loved talking about themselves and made sure to let us know their long list of accolades, while Deena was modest and gave us advice for race day.  

The Race:


This was my first ever Rock 'n Roll event.  I've never run one before because I think the price is outrageous and I've learned that only ~2% of the proceeds go to the headlining cause (correct me if I'm wrong).  Luckily, Brooks sponsored me for this event so there was no skin off my behind.  I will admit, this race was extremely organized.  Corrals were easy to find and were well marked, the race started on time, there were plenty of aid stations and more than enough port-a-potties.  At the finish line, there were tons of volunteers and plenty of Jamba Juice smoothies to go around.

I loved the smattering of bands and DJs along the course!  It was nice to have a sudden burst of music every so often.  Since I don't run with music, it gave me a little boost.  

My absolute favorite part of the race was that I was able to see Deena not once, but twice!  There are a few out-and-backs which allowed for us runners in the 2nd corral to see those in the 1st corral coming in the opposite direction.  That was pretty sweet, although I hate out-and-backs. 


The course was probably the least scenic I've ever run.  The views of LA's downtown pale in comparison to Chicago, NYC or San Francisco.  At one point you run over a massive bridge and turn around to see the skyline, which was probably the best part of the run -- and still not that great.  I usually register for races based on the beauty of the course, so this is definitely not a race I would pay for.  I thought the race was well organized and they did a great job of making it fun; however, I found the course uninspiring and rather boring.  

The price ranges from $95-$150 depending on when you register.  I find that far too expensive considering the unexciting course.  I would probably pay that much to run a destination race; but I would never pay that much to run through the streets of L.A.  

It was a hot race day!  Obviously, this is a con that can not be controlled, but either way it was rough.  Usually at half marathons, I take a sip of water around mile 10 and call it a day.  This time around, I was sipping water at mile one!  I proceeded to take water at almost every stop; at one point, stopping completely to consume an entire cup.  I took in Gatorade as well.  Luckily, it was only a half because I don't know how I would have fared had it been 26.2 miles.

Overall, I thought this was an OK race.  It gets a B- in my book.  The organization and course support made up for the boring course.  They did a great job of making every runner feel special and cared for.  I am grateful to the amazing volunteers who were incredibly helpful and always sporting a smile. 

Thank you, Brooks, for the entry to this race.  It was a great training run for Santa Barbara in 12 days!  

And before we go, most importantly, a photo of my post-race meal from Native Foods! 

The Rockin' Moroccan includes quinoa, broccoli, sweet potatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, red onions, toasted almonds and Native Foods Chik'n.  It was to die for!


  1. Congrats on your finish! Glad you decided to save it all for that goal race. I met frank at the rnr Chicago and man he's a talker! I'm not surprised that he kept cutting off sweet little deena! Glad you had a good time!

  2. I didn't get to respond to your first post, but you did exactly what I would have suggested - just run for fun! :) Sounds like a great race. So glad you had a fabulous time!

  3. Happy you decided to focus on your goal race. Look out Santa Barbara!! :D

  4. Sounds like you made a good call not to race. I'll be following in your footsteps and will skip racing my pre-marathon half, too... I'm such a follower :) But it seems like the smartest way to go when you have your A-race so close. That Rockin' Moraccan dish looks so yummy!

  5. great review and props to u for being the smart runner, look long term and make sure that ur big goal race is what counts and make the calls to ensure that. it can be tough to be the 'smart' runner and most people learn the hard way, so good job! :)

  6. Congrats! Way to race smart and save it for SBIM! Still a great time! Wahoo!

  7. You are incredible and way to go on being a smart runner...teach me your ways! You are going to rock Santa Barbara!

  8. I just found your blog and love it! I am a San Diego runner/triathlete that is dabbling in vegan/vegetarianism. I think you did the right thing not to "race" this race. Save your performance for your goal race!

    Looking forward to keeping up with your adventures.

  9. You're so smart to take it easy! That is the hardest thing for me to do, even when I know I should. I like the RNR races because they are very predictable. You know exactly what you are going to get (what type of shirt, that they will cater to the half marathon instead of the full if they have both), but they are freaking expensive and crowded. Good luck in Santa Barbara!!!

  10. I thought I saw you on the course but now looking at the post race was not you...I did like this race...only paid $65 for it so it was pretty good for that price! Hope all goes well in beautiful Santa Barbara!!! love that town!

  11. I love Native Foods. What a good choice for post race feed. Good luck again on Santa Barbara!

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