Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014 Hollywood Half Marathon - Race Report

The Hollywood Half Marathon weekend started with the expo on Friday morning.  The Hollywood Half Marathon Expo was held at the Palladium and as a part of the Team Superhero ambassador team I signed up to work at the bib pick-up at the expo from 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM.  We were asked to show up at 8:30 AM to ensure we got our volunteer shirts and instructions and had everything set up and ready to go before the expo opened up to the public.  This was my first event working with and running as a part of Team Superhero so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The Hollywood Half Marathon Expo at the Palladium

Some of the Team Superhero ladies

This was also my first time to truly work at an expo and let me tell ya, it really is WORK!  I was on my feet the entire time and I'm surprised that I didn't lose my voice after all the talking that I did.  But I loved every single minute of it!  My Team Superhero teammates were so much fun to work with and they kept me laughing the entire time.  I absolutely loved getting to meet and talk to people who loved to run as much as I did and hearing everyone's stories from first time half marathoners to long time running veterans.  I even got to meet someone who follows my Rungry Runner Facebook page all the way from Brazil!  She was in the U.S. to run the Hollywood Half Marathon and the San Francisco Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon, both on the same weekend and on back-to-back days.  She's a rockstar!

This is Caroline Barros Viebrantz from Brazil.

By the time I finished my shift and left the expo it was almost 3:30 PM.  I was exhausted (and starving)!  As soon as I got to my aunt's house I stuffed my face full of food and propped my feet up.  I could already feel the fatigue on my legs and feet from standing for 7 hours.  I continued to snack and rest my legs as best I could for the rest of the day.  My sister and future brother-in-law came over for a late dinner at around 8:00 PM and even though I knew it wasn't a good idea, I stayed up to spend time with them and catch-up.  Family first always!  By the time I got to bed it was around 11:30 PM and I knew a PR on race day wasn't gonna happen so I readjusted my expectations to just run a "happy" race.  

As usual I got a minimal amount of sleep that night and before I knew it my alarm was going off at 3:00 AM.  Now all runners have their routine on race morning that we follow religiously from what we eat to how we dress.  I always have a banana and bagel with peanut butter on race morning but when I got downstairs that morning for breakfast I found that my banana had been consumed the night before.  I was so mad!  Granted, I am not a morning person to begin with but not having my banana really threw me off.  I left the house completely frazzled, ended up forgetting my inhaler (EEK!) and got lost trying to find the gas station which was less than a mile away. OY! Not a great way to start race day.

Somehow I got it together, found my way to one of the open downtown L.A. parking lots and walked over to the start line where I quickly found the Team Superhero crew.  And lo and behold one of my amazing Team Superhero teammates, Terri, had a bunch of bananas with her that she was handing out.  OMG I was so happy!  That really made my day.  As we waited for the race to start we all stood around chatting, laughing and taking pictures.  What was so amazing is that this was the first time that I met the majority of my Team Superhero teammates but I already felt like I knew them all.  It was an instant family!

Cheesing at the start line

My amazing Team Superhero family

At about 10 minutes before the race started at 6:00 AM, we all wished each other good luck and headed to our respective corrals.  Before I knew it, the race had started and we were all crossing the start line.  Like most races, the start was a bit congested and it forced me to run at a nice easy pace for the first 3 miles.  At around mile 3.5 miles it got a little less congested and I was able to speed up a little bit however I opted to keep it nice and easy since my legs were obviously fatigued.  The course had several switchbacks where we got to see the faster runners pass us and it was cool to see people I knew as they ran by.  Honestly, I was having tons of fun!  I was talking to my fellow runners, giving high-fives and stopping to take pictures with runner friends along the way.  I was having so much fun that I completely miscalculated how far I had to run in to the finish line and I turned the last corner to realize that I only had several feet left to run in order to finish.  Oops!  I just laughed at myself and kicked it in for those last several feet.  I did it! Hollywood Half Marathon DONE!


Once I crossed that finish line and made my way through the food and water stations in the finisher's chute I immediately ran into some runners that I knew and we chatted about the race.  I had every intention to stay for the finish line festivities but suddenly my lack of sleep from the night before hit me and I ended up heading home.

Overall, I had such a fun race.  I ran happy the entire time, didn't have any aches or pain and my tummy behaved itself.  I loved being able to see everyone and the course really is made for a fast race.  I had so much fun that I already registered for the 2015 race.  Believe you me, I plan on coming back and I'll be gunning for a PR next time.

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