OC Half Marathon Race Report

Posted on May 03, 2015 under Race | No Comment

oc-marathon-logoThe OC Half Marathon reminds me a lot of the races I’ve ran here in San Diego. The course takes you around Newport Beach, which is almost as nice as the beaches in San Diego. The weather and flat course almost guarantees that you’ll run fast. I’m not exactly sure how many years this race has been going on, but from the website as well as number of participants, volunteers and spectators, it’s fair to say it’s not their inaugural. I’ve actually heard of this race before, I ran the Long Beach Half Marathon a few years ago, which is part of a 3-race series (again, similar to a series for 3 San Diego races..) I haven’t ran a half marathon since the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon in early November of last year. Since that race, I’ve done a few 5K’s and a 10-mile race. Because of that break, I dedicated the last 3 weeks or so dedicated to running, that meant waking up early to run before work. Because of that, I was able to run a pretty fast half. Results: 1:35:26, 7:17 min/mile, AG: 20/394, men: 144/3,603, overall: 170/9,069. It was a pretty tough race, but I am very happy with my performance.

OC half marathon course

When I found out about this race, I looked up the course to see how far it was from San Diego (little over an hour). Since my parent’s place was a little bit closer to the race, I decided to visit them a few days before, drive to the race the morning of and then drive back home to San Diego. I was pretty tired after the race, so driving another hour and a half (with traffic) was almost as hard as the race! Because the race was a point to point course, I needed to figure out how I was going to get to the start (either park at the start and take a shuttle back from the finish line or park at the finish line and take a shuttle to the start). Since parking was free to park at the start, I went with that option. According to the race email, I would have had to take the 4:45am shuttle to the start if I parked at the finish line? No thanks! I was on time to get to the start until I started running into closed streets for the race (my fault for not preparing for them before). Once I finally parked, I only had 30 minutes to use the restroom, put my shoes on, get my bag to gear check and into my corral. I did all that with about a minute to spare (I hate being rushed!)

OC half marathon splits

As I mentioned, the race is a point to point course. Everything was marked properly, no way of getting lost here with the signs, cones, volunteers, spectators and just volume of runners at any point in the race. I was happy to find that there were many pace groups to choose from. Even though I had been running very slow in my training runs, I was still optimistic I would be able to run a 7-7:30 min/mile pace for the race. I was going to start with the 1:40 pacer and if I felt good after 7-8 miles, I would take off on my own. But at the last second, I changed my mind and chose to run with the 1:35 pacer instead. I just assumed that I would try to run with that group for as long as possible and if I fell back, then so be it. Also, the first few miles of the race were downhill, so I knew I would be able to use less energy during that time. I was able to run with the pace group for the first 6 miles and then went ahead of the group on one of the downhills. That stretch was hard to run alone since I wasn’t sure what pace I was running at. But it must have been slower than the 1:35 pace group because they eventually caught up with me. I tried staying with the group, but began to fade back. Ironically, I still finished at 1:35, but I did start a little bit later than the group and had to catch up to them within the first mile of the race. If that’s the case, they probably ran under 1:35. Either way, it was nice to not have to worry about my pace the first half of the race and just stick with the group. My last few miles were definitely slower than the first half of the race, but I was able to run a strong last mile with a very fast finishing sprint (I think I was afraid of someone passing me at the end, but I doubt there was anyone trying to at that point..)

Overall, I thought the race was very well organized. The course was alright, thought there’d be more beach views though (it was definitely more neighborhood running). Everything felt very cramped though (the port a johns and gear check were right by the starting line). One major perk from this race was the complimentary massage. A lot of races have started offering this, but they really went all out for the runners. There was a pretty long line of people waiting to get massages and I was about to skip it when I decided to ask how long the wait was. They said it would be less than 5 minutes, because they had over 85 masseuse working at once! And the massage was pretty thorough too, felt like 15-20 minutes. My calves felt like they were going to cramp up right after the race, but once I got the massage I felt a whole lot better.


I’ll probably take a short break from running, possible get back to going to the gym. But it won’t be long since I will be doing a destination race in Seattle next month. The week before that I will be running at my college as an alumni (ran that race 2 years now). And then the month after, I’m most likely going to go to Chicago to run another half marathon. That one might be tough since summers in Chicago are probably a little different than San Diego. Looking forward to all of these upcoming races though!


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