Saturday, April 7, 2012

I conquered the killer hill of the Hollywood Half Marathon...

What a way to kick off the Easter weekend, by running the inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon and conquering its killer hill at the end.

Jason before the Hollywood Half Marathon at Universal Studios Hollywood
Before Hollywood Half Marathon
Yes, it was an extra early start this morning for a 6am start at Universal Studios Hollywood. We allowed extra time for parking after complaints about race packet pick-up the Expo yesterday (fortunately I'd opted to have mine mailed to me for the same cost of parking at Universal Studios days earlier), but luckily our arrival was mostly pain free.

Having fun before the race (I always feel sorry for all the ladies 
who have to queue for even longer for the loos)
Jason and Woody Woodpecker
I have to say that even though this was the first year of the Hollywood Half Marathon I didn't think it was very well organized. Information about getting to the start, parking and road closures was complicated and unclear, plus the day before the website wasn't functioning properly.
Hollywood Half Marathon
Signage at the event was bad to nonexistent and this morning you had to put yourself into the corral suitable to your pace and expected finish time (I know for a fact this did not happen), but it all felt very disorganized.

Down the hill for the sprint to the Finish Line
When we actually did get under way, several people tripped over the material on the floor covering the chip timing equipment (most other races have used metal plates to help avoid this).
Hollywood Half Marathon
Not that much of a surprise given the route, but the race course was especially hard. You started off running downhill so your legs didn't really get a chance to warm up and I was being cautious to avoid too many heel strikes and any early injury. Sadly a downhill start also meant a ferocious never-ending uphill struggle for the last two miles - what were they thinking?

Charlie caught me on camera for the last sprint
Running Hollywood Half Marathon
The course was tough, but it was also a bit uninspiring. It's always amazing to run along empty streets which are usually bustling with traffic, but with a 6am start there were hardly any spectators along the course to provide encouragement. 

I also had a hard time seeing any of the mile markers along the 13.1 mile course too.
Racing for finish line
Later at 8am there was also a 5k and 10k race planned, but they had their staging area along Hollywood Boulevard near Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the El Capitan Theatre, much more infamous Hollywood landmarks than those in the neighbourhoods we ran through. 

Sorry to moan so much, but it was just a bit disappointing, no cheerleaders to lift your spirits and not many of those homemade signs from friends and family with words of encouragement.

With medal after finishing the race
Hollywood Half Marathon Finish
Fortunately for me, many of my fellow T2: Team to End AIDS runners that had trained with me for the L.A. Marathon were in attendance for this fun run. Seeing those familiar faces and recognisable red shirts along the course really raised my spirits and gave me a much needed boost.

One last photo at Universal Studios before heading back to the car 
(and home to pup)
Universal Studios after race
I finished around 1:42:30, not my best time ever for a half marathon, but a great result considering that demon hill at the end before the finish.

So that's my fifth half marathon in the bag. next on the agenda is the San Francisco Marathon at the end of July. I'd better start practicing my hill running now...


Lauren said...

Don't you kinda love THE HILL now ;) I just randomly found your blog and feel pretty similar about the experience. Have fun in SF!

Jason in Hollywood said...

Hey Lauren, I like that the hill is over ;)

Thanks for the good luck wishes for SF!

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