Guest Review by Tea Time (Madison):
(see all of Tea Time's guest posts HERE)
I think this is my first official race review ever. I might have done a couple before but they were either commentary pieces or were very short reviews. So here is my first attempt.
So I started my weekend on Saturday with breakfast at Mimi's Cafe before heading out to Santa Monica to pick up my bib at the REI Santa Monica store. Check out this huge breakfast! That muffin is the best muffin ever!
Here I am driving pass the Santa Monica Pier on my way to check out the parking situation for race morning.
Here is the REI store front and inside where I picked up my bib. There was no expo for this race since it was pretty small. I was pretty much in-and-out in 15 minutes and this included looking around the store a bit. I found nothing good to buy. I also walked around the area a bit as there were some shops nearby. I went into Leonidas - a belgian chocolate store and purchased a gift for my sister who is letting me crash at her place and also a couple of pieces of chocolates which I didn't get a good look at which is why there are no photos :(
Then I headed to my sister's place to hang out. She was heading out to a potluck that evening with her friends and invited me along. I helped her cook and prepare some of the food.
I spent a couple of hours at the potluck with my sister. Check out all the food there. I tried hard not to eat too much since I was running tomorrow. But those balls below are Porto's mashed potato balls stuffed with meat. They were pretty good and everyone loved them. That tequila below which I had none of ;) was pomegranate infused and was yummy as I was told. :)
So I woke up on race moring at 4:30am, got ready and packed and headed out the door. I got to Santa Monica - parking lot 5 at around 5am and took a little nap and use the porta potty before the the lines started. Since we were parking at a beach lot there were also beach restroom a few feet from where we were parked which was nice since I ended up changing into my sweats after the race in those beach restrooms. At around 6:30am I got out of the car to use the restroom once more, then I stretched a bit and went for a jog on the boardwalk. At 7:05am, I got out of my sweats and headed to the startline which was right there in front of lot 5, I love it when everything is just there.
Unfortunately I didn't get too many race day photos. I am pretty sad about that since I ran into Danica who I won my race entry from and she was out on the course in her pink tutu cheering everyone on. I saw her on the course as well as at the finish line. She and her friend Billy were riding around the course on their bikes with boombox going.
The course itself was really flat. The volunteers were great as always and the fluid stations were well stocked. People actually lined themselves up in the correct corrals all by themselves. I didn't have to dodge too many people who were in the wrong corral so I was happy. The race started a couple minutes late but that was only because the police department was doing a final "all-clear" check of the roads. Then we were off.
The good part about the course was that it was flat, the bad part was that it was boring. Running an out-and-back route on Venice Blvd really sucked. I was mostly just trying to concentrate on running a good race as there was really not much else to look at it. The entertainment on the course were few and I really didn't see them as they were tucked in obscure places along the course. I think by the end, I just wanted to cross the finish line and be done with it. Having said all that, it is a great race and course to PR since it has a small field and flat course.
And here is the medal, it is pretty heavy duty and the oval center with the "13.1" on it spins inside the outer ring. I managed to PR at 1:48:16 which is an overall 8:15 min/mile. I was out to PR so I ran this race pretty serious, at least for me. It felt great to finally come in under 1:50 which I've been wanting to do for 2 years now. Now, if only I can keep up this pace for 26.2 miles, I'd be golden! :D