*hey there! Haven’t wrote in awhile because I’ve been super busy with school and work and whining about being injured for past couple months-but I think I’m better now!
Saturday April 7,2012 was the Inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon, 10K + 5K. Inaugural meaning its-the-first-one-so-everything-was-a-big-confusing-mess (to put it nicely). It was very fun though!
Our day began a little after 3am. We were supposed to leave around 4 and I had just enough time to chug a ton of coffee and have a rice cake with chocolate hazelnut butter. Totally not enough food but I was so sleepy I just grabbed the first thing I saw. My dad and brother were race supporters for the day; my mom was running the half marathon and I was signed up for the 5K. We got to Universal Studios way earlier than anyone ever should. It was a very short ride over there but we arrived early to avoid chaos, which there was an abundance of!
The half marathon started at 6am. My mom had put in the hard work during training and was more than ready for the race. She and I had signed up for the run because it seemed really fun, especially since it was to end at Universal Studios/Citywalk. The reality is that did not happen- the race had many mix-ups: course changes, a huge absence of necessary information, etc. Anyway, after paying $15 for parking (realllly!?!) we used the bathrooms at Universal Studios Citywalk (nice) and then did it again and again as runners tend to do before a race. We walked to the start of the race, shared a banana and waited in a long line for the porta-potties. We were lucky enough to witness a woman walk into an occupied porta-potty, scream and run away shrieking. Priceless reaction! It was still dark at this point- she must have thought it was a scary Universal Studios attraction (‘King Kong, is that you?!’). My mom went to the starting line and I went with my dad and brother to watch the runners run through Citywalk. It was a little weird how they only allowed a handful of runners to start at a time, but there simply wasn’t room for more since it’s a very narrow space. We saw some interesting runners- a guy with a watermelon on his head, Cat on the Hat, Batman, a group of Elvises, Sean Astin (of Lord of the Rings) and my mom as Hunger Games’ Katniss, Girl on Fire.
Once we cheered everyone on at the start, we made our way down the hill where my dad and brother were going to wait at the Finish Line. I had thought my race began at CityWalk as well and I think originally it was supposed to but instead it was 3 miles away- seems lame that the races would be so far away from each other. I had planned on getting a ride over or taking the bus but there was no bus service since Hollywood Blvd. was closed and traffic was already insane. It would have been VERY smart to have brought my bike but I forgot…It was 3 in the morning and I had worked the night before- I was a little out of it. I realized I had an hour til my race started at 8am, so I left my sweater and sweats with my brother and sprinted over to the start.
I was absolutely ravenous at this point, having been up for so long but all I had on me was a fruit strip. I was freezing cold and ran pretty fast to keep warm. In about 24 minutes, I had made it to Hollywood and Highland! I thought that was too early but retracted that thought when I saw the line for the bathroom. I exited with 10 minutes to spare and spent that time jogging the Walk of Fame to get into the rope-in race starting line. I love when streets are shut down to cars, and since it was right in front of the El Capitan Theater, it looked exactly like the final scene from The Muppet Movie!
I squeezed myself to the front of the pack because after all the crowded races I have under my belt, I know better than to stick in the back. Also, being 5feet I can easily make my way through a crowd, Tetris-style. I took a second to stretch, set my shuffle to cheery ‘Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard’, heard the National Anthem being sung and then it was time to go! I was more than warmed-up and excited to race, something I hadn’t done for year.
I took off and don’t remember much besides ‘oh man, this is gonna be over soon’!’ And ‘it’d be pretty lame, but can I just walk? I’m tired’. It was sunny out but it didn’t feel good; I’m grateful it was such a windy day because that wind was refreshing. The race wasn’t particularly pretty, just Hollywood touristy stuff, dudes in lab coats outside pot shops (‘I don’t believe that man’s ever been to medical school.’), and half-marathoners running towards us 5+10k’ers. I was preoccupied with trying to find my mom in the crowd and then it was the half-mile turnaround. At this point, I was running solo except for a few tall, older men I was trying to keep up with. A few blocks from the finish-line, I realized I was pushing my body way harder than it expected- my abs were killing me, I could feel the 5k I had already done in my legs and I was about to puke. I finished the race dry-heaving to the sound of the announcer congratulating me for finishing as one of the top 10 females. And now here’s one of the best race pictures I’ve ever seen of myself…
thanks to action sports images for the pic!
I managed not to puke! But as soon as I crossed the finish-line, I had to sit and collect myself. The cold air did not help my weak gag reflex. I got my medal, ate half a banana, grabbed a water bottle and jogged back to Universal Studios to meet my family. Turns out my mom and I crossed our respective finish lines at the same time. Major congrats to her!
I’m pretty happy with my time too. Since I haven’t run much since the beginning of the year, I attribute this to my daily sprint workouts- running the half-mile to catch the bus every morning! Relying on my feet, my bike and public transportation to get around definitely has its benefits.