Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Rock 'N' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon Race Recap

Sunday was the Rock 'N' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon. I have run this race a couple times in the past and since friends were chatting about doing it again I registered. (PS Thanks to being a part of the #RockNBlog team I was comped an entry but you know I will still #KeepItReal when it comes to my thoughts, feelings and recap, #ForBetterOrForWorse.)

This race is Halloween themed (due to it being the weekend before the holiday) and if you know me, you know I can’t pass up on a reason to run in a costume... Running should be fun and doing it in a costume helps to remind me of that! (If you’re new to my corner of the InterWebs {WELCOME! THANKS FOR VISITING!} you may not know this, but I’ve run in everything from a Rosie the Riveter costume to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign - complete with battery powered lights.) 

Seeing as I love a great running costume, I started brainstorming ideas weeks ago. I had so many possibilities - everything from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to a donut, Snow White to a piñata. Not only did I want something fun, but I knew I needed to get it done before we went to Hawaii because I would have very little time afterward to make it happen. 


One day a few weeks back, when taking our recyclables down to the dumpster area I saw a large futon box that someone had brought down. I hadn't solidified my idea yet, but I knew if I needed a large amount of cardboard (say for a piñata, donut, etc) this would be perfect, so I drug it down to our garage and stored it while the creative wheels kept turning.


Since I had the cardboard I figured that I might as well use it. And because I would have run my goal marathon the week previous I knew this race would be ZERO about the time (and all about PARTY PACE), so why not go big?! I thought, "What if I made myself into a giant Ms. PacMan?!". I mean, she sort of runs around chasing things, right?! It'd be perfect!

I actually found a super useful tutorial on how to make a PacMan costume (praise the wonders of the Internet!) that I adjusted slightly to fit me. The construction itself took maybe an hour or two to get everything cut to the proper size and then hot glued and taped together. The "decorating" took another hour or two (originally I tried yellow paint but it would have required multiple layers and I didn't want the cardboard to get soggy, so I decided on yellow duct tape). I added the duct tape bow on my visor, the pipe cleaner eye lashes and lips to make her look more feminine. I've gotta say, I was pretty proud of the final outcome - especially having hand made it and only spending $12 (for the three rolls of tape).

My #FlatMsPacMan, I mean #FlatCarlee included: yellow PRO Compression socks, red Handful sports bra, golden kiwi rabbit shorts,
lululemon tech tee (that I received for completing a past Strava + lulu challenge), elite Road ID, Sparkle Athletic visor (with duct tape bow
hot glued on), red gloves (grabbed at the Dollar Store), black and red QALO silicone wedding bandsred and yellow Momentum Jewelry
, my Garmin Forerunner 935, and Brooks Ghost 11. And, of course, the Ms PacMan made from cardboard and duct tape.

Now, let me be honest, the Los Angeles Rock 'n' Roll event is probably one of my least favorite RnR races as a race itself. The course is boring (not many landmarks, especially since they removed running through the Coliseum) and hilly - but I do it for the people and the costume fun (and because it's free for me). With that said, I also decided I'd do it ONLY if I could grab my bib on race morning (I know, I know, I'm spoiled, but it wasn't worth me driving to and from LA on Saturday to grab my bib and then again on Sunday for the race or to pay to stay in a hotel). Because I was able to get that worked out, the game plan was to get up to the race a little early to ensure I could grab my goodies beforehand.

The race started at 6:15am and there was a #WeRunSocial Meet-Up a 5:45am, so that meant realistically I needed to be to the area around 5am so I could park, walk to the starting area, grab my bib, gear check the participant tee, etc. 

3:35am, in the car (in the garage) and I'm ready to hit the road!

Thankfully when you leave your house by 3:40am you don't have to deal with much traffic! I was able to get to the parking garage right around 5am (I used the SpotHero app and found a parking garage about a half mile from the Staples Center for $7 - I probably could've found free street parking but the few bucks was worth the convenience of not having to look). 

I thought I should take a couple "before" shots because I wasn't sure if the costume would hold up.

When I arrived at the solutions tent to grab my bib there was no line - PERFECT! One thing that I wanted to give Rock 'N' Roll MAJOR kudos on was that they recently switched to a paperless bib check-in system. In the past you were required to print out a page long waiver (either at home or at the Expo), sign it and bring it to bib pick-up - but they changed it and now have your bib numbers available online and no longer require the printed waiver. YAY FOR SAVING TREES! 


Once I took care of everything I went to the #WeRunSocial Meet-Up. I accidentally went to the wrong place (I didn't run this race last year, but in 2016 we met on a different side of Staples Center), but thankfully a quick text corrected my error.

After a few hello's, photos and fist bumps (I couldn't give out hugs when I was wearing the GIANT Ms PacMan), it was time to head to the corrals. Because we were a little late getting over to them we had to stand by an opening and let them empty a bit before we could squeeze in. Apparently there were some PacMan haters around because some friends heard folks bad-talking the "costume walkers" who were getting in their way and causing the crowding. HA, little did they know I ran a 3:23 marathon less than a week prior, but hey, I'm out there living my best life, I hope they are doing the same!

Source: @blingwhore's Instagram feed

I totally forgot to take a screenshot of the weather prior to us starting, but suffice it to say it was HUMID! The fog stuck around for a good portion of the morning (I'd say until we got to about Mile 7 or so) and it was pretty nasty out. I mentioned it on my IG stories a few days ago, but the fog has made it feel extra spooky and Halloween-esque lately. I guess it went with the theme, but my oh my, I would much prefer to kick this humidity to the curb! 

Pictures in the dark are hard... but at least we gave it a shot...

Besides the "character stop" around Mile 1 (with the backdrop and "angels" that probably should have been put later in the race so the sun was up and could get better pictures), there weren't really any other stops to make. We stopped to say "hi" or snap photos with friends we saw along the route, but other than that there wasn't much else to see. (It even seemed like there were fewer than normal bands and "entertainment" along the course.)

Source: Upper Left - Juan celebrated his 100TH half and we saw him along the course, Upper Right - Tam found me,
Bottom Left - @blingwhore's Instagram feed, Bottom Right - @blingwhore's Instagram feed

It sort of looks like Ms PacMan is eating the cones, right?! 

PS I had many folks confused at how I ran in the costume, so here's a video to give you a better idea. I held the cardboard in the "mouth" while I ran to keep it from bouncing or shifting too much. It was actually easier than I was expecting it to be.

I wish I had more to say about this race, but I don't... Don't get me wrong, I had a great time, but I always have a great time running with friends (for me, the course and surroundings tend to be secondary to the company I'm running with). There weren't a ton of costumes (although I do like the out-and-back portions so you can see the other runners), but maybe that's because folks are more likely to dress up for shorter distance races. There was a costume contest but I was already long gone by the time it started, so I missed out, but maybe had I stuck around Ms PacMan could've won.

Source: @blingwhore's Instagram feed

Ms PacMan DID IT!!

The past RnRLA bling has been less than stellar, but I like this one!

On the way back to my car we came across some awesome street art and had to snap a couple pictures. (A big thanks to THEE Pavement Runner for taking some pictures since the hubby decided to sleep in and skip the race this year ;))

Love the bright, colorful and banging street art all around LA! 

Oh my goodness, I can't finish this recap without posting about one of the highlights - Sour Punch Straws! One of the post-race treats they gave us (along with a bottle of water, an opened banana, a Costco granola bar and a bag of Cheez-Its) was a package of Sour Punch Straws! Do you remember these things?! SO GOOD! Let's just say, these candy straws take me back to childhood! And with the Halloween theme, getting some candy at the end was pretty fun!

The airplane in the sweatband for United (title sponsor) on the participant tee was pretty clever too!

Have you ever run in a costume before?

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