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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Orange County Half Marathon Race Review

This is my first race review as the Restless Runner! Last night Ellen and I drove to Newport Beach for the OC Half Marathon. The race started at 6:15 AM, so we decided to spend the night in Orange County with Melissa and Gisele. It was also a fun excuse to explore Newport! We both were avid Laguna Beach, The OC and The Hills viewers, so being Orange County always feels a little surreal. After checking into our hotel, Ellen and I drove down to Balboa Island for dinner.

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We ate at The Village Inn. It was nothing spectacular, but we were looking for a relaxed pub feel. Because we had not specifically trained for this half and we were on a mini-vacation in Newport Beach, we decided to fuel up with french fries, beer and famous OC frozen bananas. Probably not the best pre-race meal, but it worked out for us 🙂

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Although I had not specifically trained for this race, I was hoping to PR. I had run a 1:36 at Surf City in February, and was really hoping to run in the 1:35 range. That would mean a 7:15 pace. I didn’t want to be a slave to my watch, but I knew I was capable of holding a 7:15, as scary as it sounded. Ellen was hoping to break 1:45 and Melissa wanted to run her first sub 2 hour half marathon. Gisele was already off running the marathon that started at 5:30 AM.

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I spent the first few miles analyzing how I was feeling, worried because my legs felt a little heavy. I was a little nervous that running a 1:35 was too ambitious. I had run a 1:36 in the peak of marathon training, and my mileage had not been as high since the marathon. I freaked myself out a little, but took Lululemon Run Club leader Kathy and Gisele’s advice and just ran what felt right. When I reached mile ten still smiling, I knew I could push a little harder, so I focused on passing one runner at a time. I was running hard but loving every minute of it. I crossed finish line in 1:33:17 having worked hard but not being completely depleted. Time is never as important to me as enjoying the experience, and I enjoyed the entire race experience.  Ellen crossed the finish line in an incredible 1:43, Melissa completely surpassed her goal with a 1:55 and Gisele finished the marathon in a 3:08, her third marathon in three weeks. It was a great day for all of us!

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Being a Restless Runner, I drove back to LA, ate lunch, went grocery shopping with Brent and was off to pick up students for Girls on the Run practice. We ran two miles on the beach in Playa! My reward for running the half and leading practice was dinner at The Tripel, my favorite restaurant in LA.

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Thinking of running the OC Half Marathon next year? Here are some things to consider…

PROs:

  • T-shirts fit well and are super cute!
  • Post-Race Massage Envy’s massage center was AMAZING
  • People say the course is boring, but personally I loved the Pacific Ocean views, yachts and expensive homes
  • Enough hills to make the course interesting, but nothing crazy
  • OC Half is a Beach Cities Challenge course. Ellen and I will be earning our medal at Long Beach in the fall!

CONs:

  • Traffic around town after the race due to road closures. Make a post-race plan!
  • Expo freebies were lacking
  • Didn’t feel like there was enough water available after the race