The anticipation of running an unknown course always brings race day excitement. The Inaugural San Diego Beach & Bay Half Marathon exceeded all of my expectations. The picturesque views of Mission Beach and Fiesta Bay were absolutely breathtaking.
A 3 a.m. early wake up to travel down to San Diego from Long Beach kicked things off. I carpooled with Desiree to Tecolote Shores Park where we located quick parking access that was close to the bib pickup. The race day bib pick up was flawless and easy to navigate. The crisp cool morning air quickly turned warm and humid as the sun rose. This added some challenges in the final miles of the race.
Prior to the race, the usual long lines for the porta potties was expected. Needing to go, I took over the men’s restroom at Tecolote Park and made it to my starting wave in time. This occurred all in thanks to the help of Salvie for being the “lookout.” The men’s restroom take over continued long after I left. There were quite a lot of ladies that abandoned the women’s line and followed my lead.
An energetic starting line got me mentally ready for the miles. Honey Stinger Gels, Suja Juice, and Ultima Electrolyte Drink on the course assisted in keeping me hydrated and my energy levels up. Race Guards were ready from the start to the finish all along the course supporting runners in need of first aid. Though it was the race spectators at mile 9 with frozen oranges and vaseline to help ease the chafing of my arm that was my real lifesaver.
Running is 90% mental and the rest is physical. Well, the second half of the race was a mental challenge with scorching heat. I had to focus on pushing myself to keep going. Looking at my garmin, I knew this race would not be a PR so I allowed myself to drop the pace and enjoy the scenery.
The final mile was a constant worry about crashing into a rollerblader. A young teen keeping his mom company on her morning run just happened to be along the race course. The kid crashed at least three times while ahead to me. Fear of being injured by his lack of balance was in the forefront of my mind. Holding my breath, I made for a dramatic dash around him during the last spill I saw near the finish line.
A beach party theme with awesome live music by the Calphonics, cool photo opportunities, and running related vendors made for a fun race finish festival. Pictures with the shark guy was a runner must. An awesome bag of goodies filled with snacks and gel to help aid the post race soreness made this runner smile. Pre and post race food trucks were available with good eats. I enjoyed a carne asada burrito on our way back to Long Beach.
The San Diego Beach & Bay Half Marathon was a great experience. I loved the fact that it was a Saturday race. This is half marathon that I look forward to adding to my yearly race schedule.