I’ve been meaning to post about my Santa Barbara half marathon experience so here it is!
The boyfriend and I arrived at the expo on Friday morning. The expo was smaller than ones I have been to, but that was good, since getting my bib and tee-shirt was a breeze. Thumbs up!
Afterward, the boyfriend and I checked into our hotel, the Ramada Limited, which was the host hotel for the half marathon.
The hotel was decent, the people at the front desk were nice, and there was a “deluxe” continental breakfast included. The one huge advantage was that this hotel was less than a mile from the start. (We shared a taxi with a bunch of other runners to the start.)
The boyfriend and I spent the rest of Friday exploring Santa Barbara and relaxing. We went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History which was SO awesome!
Aside from the stunning dioramas, we learned a lot about the history of Santa Barbara and the nearby Channel Islands. I made friends with a real owl named Max, who for some reason was wide awake and hooting away in the middle of the day. I loved him. We had linner on State Street at this cute cafe. I had corn chowder and a french dip sandwich which was TDF. I went to sleep early and happily.
Saturday – Race Day
After conducting the usual morning prerace rituals, the boyfriend and I made our way to the lobby where we took a cab with two other runners to the starting line. The porta potties were plentiful and the organizers were offering hot coffee and water at the start, which was great because it was super chilly that morning! There were three corrals, 8:00 minutes per mile and faster; 8:00-11:00 minute milers, and 11:00 minute milers and slower (ME! lol).
There was about a 20 minute delay, but then we started off. I chucked my sweater at the 2 mile mark . There were water/fluid stations every few miles and a cliff shot station at mile 6. The Pandora on my iPhone turned off at mile 5 and I had to slow down to get it started again. It wasn’t working so I switched to my iPod. This is definitely not a flat course but it’s beautiful; we ran through hilly residential neighborhoods, and a bike path that goes through a pretty forest-like area over bridges and whatnot. The spectators that were out were very encouraging and nice.
There was one horrendous hill at mile 10 that lasted for about half a mile. I walked up it. At that time, the first elite marathoner caught up with us; and glided up that hill like a gazelle as I was huffing and puffing. One day … maybe not. Once we got to the top, we were rewarded with beautiful views of the Pacific ocean and it was (mostly) downhill to the finish. Final time: 2:52.
The boyfriend and I celebrated my finish with some of this. Nom. Nom. Nom.
I loved this half. It was not too large and not too small, about 6200 participants total. Everyone was really friendly, from fellow runners to volunteers. I was a couple of minutes slower than my Disneyland half time, but since it was super hilly, I’ll take it as an improvement. Plus, I am completely injury-free this time around and recovered quickly. Wahoo!
What’s up next?
I’m walking the Tinker Bell half marathon with my parents in January. My Mom and I walked the inaugural one last year and now we’re making it a yearly event. My mom is itching to improve her time, so we’re training hard and I know she’ll accomplish her goal.
But my next goal is sub 2:30!!! I’m going to make it happen! My next race isn’t until the San Diego R&R in June, but if I’m ready before then, I’m going to add another race in there and go for it. Maybe run a few 10Ks to work on my speed. Wish me luck!
Have a great week!