A Tale of Two Halfs, Part 2: Hollywood

If you read Part 1, you know that just 2 weeks following the Oakland Half Marathon, Hubby and I hopped on a plane bound for Los Angeles to run the Hollywood Half Marathon on April 7th.  Originally, I made the plan to run Hollywood with a handful of my favorite TNT buddies but Hubby was quite intrigued and since I found a great coupon for registration, he decided to sign up too.

First off, I hate flying.  Hate it.  I am so thankful the trip from Oakland to LA was just about 2 hours or so.  It’s not just the whole I-am-thousands-of-feet-off-the-ground-and-could-potentially-plummet-to-my-death-at-any-moment train of thought, it’s also the recycled air, the germs, the strangers who won’t share the damn arm rest, the inability to stretch my legs, plus sitting in the MIDDLE seat instead of an aisle seat as I prefer (since hubby is so tall and really needs the aisle seat).

2 hours, no problem, we landed safely (shoo!) and picked up our rental car which was a black Fiat 500.  If you know anything about this car, you know it is the size of a postage stamp.  Hubby and I took one look at it, looked at each other and asked, “Uh, where’s the rest of the car?”  Nevertheless, after barely squashing our luggage into the “trunk”, we climbed in and decided to visit our old stomping ground, the Los Feliz area of Hollywood, and stopped at one our favorite restaurants from back in the day, Birds, for some good ol’ carb loading, Beer Style.

My Life Story in One Picture

And I realized that I was in Los Angeles, wearing an Oakland shirt while drinking a Humboldt beer!  I was born & raised in Oakland, went to Humboldt State University my first 2 years of college, then transferred to University of Southern California- such a funny moment!

The next day we headed over to Universal City to pick up our packets and bibs for the race.

At this point, I was hot, I was cranky, there were SO MANY PEOPLE all over the place, it was hard to weave in and out of them all and it wasn’t even race day yet! I took a deep breathe, used my elbows, and muscled my way through the expo to the very back of the hall to find our numbers…

We walked around but due to how packed it was, we avoided any free samples as we just wanted out!  I didn’t miss getting a picture with Marilyn, though…

Wax versions of dead people- anyone else think that's just a *little* weird?

The race started at 6am so hubby and I had a floor picnic of pasta and garlic bread in our hotel room and went to bed as early as possible to be ready to go the next morning.

Our alarm went off at 4:30 and that hurt.  We dressed and then walked a few blocks to our car where we had gotten AN EFFING PARKING TICKET!  Argh, you, LA, just ARGH YOU!!!  When we checked into our hotel room, we discovered that our hotel was right on the race course so come race day, all the roads would be closed to traffic.  Knowing LA very well, we parked elsewhere and it was no problem save for that stupid ticket.  $63.  That’s like one whole race entry.  ARGH.

Parked, walked through city walk, and followed the signs to the start…

… where I luckily caught up with my good friend, fellow blogger and sparkle butt twinsie Kate!

When your butt sparkles, you run faster.

We waited for a bit, the race started, and we were off…

As you can see in the above picture, I brought my Nathan hand held water bottle for the race as opposed to the Amphipod water belt that I normally wear.  After my experience at Oakland, I thought I would let my tummy have some freedom instead of being strapped down just in case the same GI issues occurred.  The hand held water bottle barely fit my camera, just barely, making it very difficult to take it in and out for pictures.

The race started through Universal City Walk and that was really, really neat!  Universal City Walk is a dedicated to the movies, so there was Godzilla and King Kong and all these other movie monster recreations and super huge neon signs towering above until you hit the streets of LA which aren’t nearly as entertaining to look at!

Within the first mile, I was messing around with my iPod which kept falling off my shirt, so I lost Kate on a nice downhill- her red butt shaking on down the street.  Started messing around with my camera in an attempt to take some pictures, and then lost Hubby who was wearing the shirt from the race along with thousands of others, so he just blended on in with all the other white boys.  And he had my Gu.  Frick.

I kept trying to run while putting the camera back into the pouch of the hand held bottle, got incredibly frustrated and at mile 4 decided to put the camera in the safest place in the world, my jog bra.  By mile 5, I felt a BZZZZT in my bra and it really hurt!  As I ran over to the side of the course to stop, the BZZZZZT wouldn’t stop- I pulled out the camera, forced it into the water bottle pouch and shook my head… my teeth felt really funny and my jaw was kind of sore.  Who completely electrocutes them self during a race?!?!?

Oh that would be me.

Not too many pictures after that, obviously!  I just took this race easily and happily!  It was a great race to people watch as there were a lot of costumes, ball gowned and tuxedo-ed runners even and tons of spectators cheering us on.

We ran all along Hollywood Boulevard and after the turnaround at mile 7, I noticed that the runners on the other side of the course were running while carrying gallon jugs of water. “LA just can’t get any weirder!”  I thought but then as I approached the water stop at mile 8, I realized why… there were no more cups at the water stops.  None.  So if you wanted any water, you had to stand there while a volunteer POURED the water into your open mouth.  In other words, all over your body.  (Thank goodness for wicking clothing.)

At mile 10, I saw a large sign, “Kill The Hill” and oh yeah, what a hill it was!  3 miles straight up Franklin Highland, more water poured all over me, one more pee stop, and at mile 12 I finally took the camera out again for a self-portrait:

"Inclines" are fun!

And then it was over!  Just like that!  For a 2:27 finish with one electrocution, 3 pee stops, several water baths, and one mother of a hill, that’s not too bad!

YAY Hubby!

YAY Kate!

I really had fun at this race mainly because I left my Garmin at home and just ran how I felt.  I didn’t have a time goal in mind, I told myself it was just a training run, and as a destination race for me, I just wanted to finish this 13.1 with a smile, and I did.  I was so happy!!!

This was a great race for an inaugural event and I would definitely consider doing it again if it coincided with visiting family in Southern CA.  The only thing I was irked by was that we had to pay to park for the expo and pay to park for race day- I think they should just up the price of registration to include the parking so it’s not an issue.  Running out of cups didn’t bother me at all, I thought it was pretty funny, and I always run with hydration so no problem there.  Good course, neat bib, great shirt, really awesome medal.

So that’s 2 half marathons, 2 weeks apart, one in No Cal, one in So Cal, one I finished angry and disappointed and one I finished happily and proud even though I took 10 minutes longer.  All this helps me to re-learn what I already know so well: EVERY RACE IS DIFFERENT!  Some go well and some do not, having expectations may keep you pushing on the one hand, but may also weigh you down on the other.

Running, to me, is fun.  Racing, to me, is REALLY fun.  I may hit a PR, I may not, but as long as I remember to have fun while doing it, I don’t think I’ll ever stop…


7 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Halfs, Part 2: Hollywood

  1. I learned my lesson this time; stayed in the middle of the course, and only clocked a 13.71 instead of a 14.03. So you learn a thing or two along way! It was a great course, and we had loads of fun the whole way; even the darn uphill coming back to the end.

    For those keeping track, that street is actually “Highland” not Franklin. It is the hill street connecting Hollywood Blvd to Universal Studios.

    • You know, a half mile OVER is still pretty crazy but I have done that- I also have the dire need to zig zag around people during a race. Now I know why *I* have been elbowed a few times- the straighter you go, the “shorter” your race, the faster your time!

      Here’s to the next one… 🙂

  2. You guys were awesome! And I thank you again for the water bottle, as it kept me from being one of those poor people trying to drink out of the water jug without letting their lips touch the mouth of the jug!

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