Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon Race Review

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The Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon is a fun family running event. They have a half, 10K, 5K and the most adorable 1/2 mile race for kids. Ellen, Jackie, Gisele and I ran the half decked out in USA gear. This morning Brent decided to sign up for the 10K, and my friend and co-worker Krystal ran her first official 5K.

The half marathon was hot and hilly. Don’t sign up for this race expecting to PR. It’s not crazy hilly, but the hills are rolling throughout. I felt pretty good for the first 10 miles, but my stomach bothered me for the last three. Not sure if it was the sun or something I ate but I definitely wasn’t feeling great at the end. I finished in 1:34 and was pleasantly surprised to have won my age group. I was the 5th female to cross the finish line which feels kinda cool because I made the website leaderboard. Woo hoo! Gisele finished in 1:36 (she ran a 3:05 at Mountains 2 Beach Marathon yesterday, so this was a shake out your legs kinda run for her), Ellen finished strong with 1:47 which is AMAZING considering she wasn’t feeling great and Jackie ran a 1:51, finishing with a huge smile on her face. Brent had a great race too! He averaged a 7:30 pace for the 10K which is incredible considering he just got back from a trip London where he did very little running. He also beat his time from the El Segundo 10K from a few weeks ago.

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I felt happy and positive throughout the race, but my legs did feel a little heavier than they usually do when I’m racing. I’m thinking it was probably because I didn’t do any tapering. I did a hard track workout this week and broke my rule of not running the day before a race. I couldn’t NOT go to Lululemon Run Club! (Fun fact: We saw Hilary Duff after Run Club yesterday) Because the course was hilly I didn’t have a goal time. I just went out to have fun and didn’t really look at my watch. I ended up averaging a 7:05 pace. Gisele might have me converted to being a watch free runner one of these days. It really is more fun and less stressful that way.

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The Lululemon Run Club Paparazzi

I am SO proud of Krystal who finished her first 5K today. She started running in March, and she’s worked her way up to running three miles after school on a regular basis. Doesn’t she look so happy! She’s totally converted. I’m sure you’ll see her here on future posts running 10Ks and halfs. As I type she is texting me about wanting to run the next race. Oh racing endorphins!

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Instead of brunching in LA, we decided to drive down  to Laguna Beach (any other MTV Laguna Beach fans out there?) We ate at The Deck overlooking the water. It was so beautiful. Spending time in Laguna Beach really feels like you are on vacation.

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Thinking of running this race?

Pros:

  • Great community/relaxed feel
  • Scenic Course
  • Cute t-shirts (they’re not tech, but sometimes you just want a nice cotton tee)
  • Easy parking at the start
  • Easy shuttle back to the start after the finish
  • You can register on race day
  • Inexpensive compared to many other halfs

Cons:

  • The 1/2, 10K and 5K all started at the same time which was nice, but the bathroom line was crazy long. We started 4 minutes late and had to weave past everyone who started towards the back
  • Not a fast course
  • Limited freebies, although that seems to be the norm now
  • Did I mention lack of bathrooms?
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Crystal Cove Trail Run

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Krystal, one of my coworkers, always says I look like I’m gliding when I’m running. Yesterday I was not gliding. Friday’s 7:13 average pace was easy compared to the 9:41 I ran Saturday morning. The difference? I hit the trails.

I’ve met a lot of great runners over the past few months at races. Kurt, an avid trail and road runner, planned an 11 miler at Crystal Cove in Laguna. I’m glad I went in with no expectations because I might have not signed up for the challenge had I known what was coming. We climbed nearly 2000 feet over the course of the run. By comparison the Palos Verdes half, a race I always think of when of my hilliest runs, had just over 500 feet of elevation gain. The downhills were tough too, with terrain requiring full attention. I only fell once!

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I feel like I’ve been introduced to a whole new world. Yes, I have trails before, but nothing like this. I was mountain climbing! I now know why trail runners have such a snooty attitude. Running trails really hard! Running on trails must make you stronger for the road. It’s also a great mental challenge. At an easy pace I can run forever. I haven’t had that “I really need to walk” experience in a while. It’s was fun to push myself  past my comfort zone and have a run where I reached my threshold and had to stop. I’m going to try to do a few intense trail runs every month, and I’m hoping my run club buddies will join me. I feel like it will make me stronger and it’s a great way to see the beautiful state of California.

Thinking of going on a trail run? Don’t make my rookie mistakes. Carry water, salt tablets, electrolytes and definitely carry your phone. Also, if you are a numbers person, have fun challenging yourself to climb higher. Your splits are going to be significantly slower, but it’s fun to look at your elevation. Are you in? Let’s hit the trails!