As I wrote about yesterday, on Sunday, the race director of the Holly Jolly Half Marathon gave me the opportunity to run the event.
The event was a smaller race. There was a 5k, 10k and half marathon which totaled a little over 300 participants. The half marathon had about 65 total participants.
The course was a 2-loop course through mostly residential areas and bike paths. The loop course also had several loops in it…I guess you could call it a loopty loop course.
Packet Pick Up:
They provided packet pick up on Saturday, but I was busy and showed up at 7 promptly (the recommended time) to grab my bib and bag. There were several booths set up and I waited about 2 minutes to grab my goodies and go.
It was cold, rainy and I had a warm place to hang about 5 minutes away. I realized that only one lane of the roads nearby was shut down, not entire roads, so it was a pretty safe bet to head to the warmth until close to race time.
I literally showed up 10 minutes before the race started, got dropped off at the start/finish, did a quick half mile warm up and hopped to the front of the corral just as the race started, but not before I convinced two unsuspecting women to pose for my blog since I’m tired of Striding Mom pics.
There was a great starting and finish line set up. The race literally started exactly on time (I actually think a minute early) and we were off. I took off at the front and stayed up there so I didn’t notice any congestion for the first 6 miles.
Since the race was run in the slow lane of the roads meaning there was traffic that could be a problem, there were plenty of Camarillo’s finest officers providing smiles and safe crossings through intersections – and most importantly ensuring you never had to stop to wait and always felt safe.
Aid stations and mile markers were everywhere you needed them throughout the course. The one thing I wished was a little clearer was where to go. To be fair, the race director did say it was your responsibility to know the course, but when you’re tired, you don’t care and I got a little confused at points (this is not surprising).
If you’re looking for a good race for your friends and family to see you a BUNCH of times, this is it. My cheering squad followed me around the course passing me in the lane next to where I was running, then parking ahead and waiting for me to run by about 7 times.
The Finish & Loot:
The finish was fun…given it was cold and rainy, most people probably took off and it was pretty quiet. I had a hard time finding the food and water (though Naked Juice was right there with a Pineapple Coconut juice to drink right as I finished). It was off to the side and I was pretty cold and delirious when I finished.
I was also trying to explain to my children why I wasn’t actually being MEAN to them when I asked them to go to the finish line and wait, but that mommy was just being focused and tired. Oh and apologizing for yelling “crap” out loud while they were within ear shot around mile 8, so perhaps I wasn’t super focused on finding the food and it might have been a little easier to spot than I experienced 🙂
I got my medal and a massage from the most amazing therapist ever (I can’t find her card, but will update it here soon!) and dug deep into a giant stocking to claim my prize (a holly jolly gym bag).
The Next Day:
One of the coolest perks of this race was the fact that you get a free digital and print photo from the race photographer. Here’s mine below…I should get the unwatermarked one soon. And yes, I’m leaping in the air both feet off the ground.
This was an inaugural race, and for a first time event, things went pretty darn well. There were a few kinks (some congestion with the 5k walkers at the end, being directed to run further than the course dictated, etc.), but I foresee a growing future for the Holly Jolly Half.