Monday, September 10, 2018

Orange County Lexus LaceUp Half Marathon Race Recap

Saturday was race NUMBER ONE of the 2018 Lexus LaceUp Running Series. The series kicked off in Orange County {Irvine, CA to be specific} and I couldn't wait to take on the half marathon distance with the hubby by my side!

This is actually the first year I've participated in any of the Lexus LaceUp events, but I had been looking forward to running them for quite a while. Since I was asked to be an ambassador for the series I was given two registrations to each of the events - which means the hubby and I will be running each of the four events. With that said, you know I've always gotta #KeepItReal, so despite not having to pay the registration fees, you better believe I'll be giving you my honest feedback.


When signing up for races, there are a ton of details to consider - the race distance, the course, the training required, the bling, etc - but an additional tidbit of info I normally look at (especially if the race is "too close" to justify spending the night in a hotel but "too far" to want to drive there and back twice {once for the expo and once for the race}) is if the event offers race day bib pick-up. Let's just say I was STOKED this race not only offered day of pick-up, but if you registered at least a month ahead of time (August 9th was the cut off for this event) it was FREE! (And if you missed the free deadline it was still only $5, which is totally acceptable in my opinion when it'd save me from sitting in 3-4 hours of traffic on a Saturday.)


So seeing as we would need to get to the race a few minutes early, that meant it was early to bed and much earlier to rise.

The plan was to wake up the hubby by 4:15 so he could get ready
and we could walk the dog before leaving, so I got up about 45
minutes before that so I could get ready to go. 

Thankfully I had laid out a #FlatCarlee the night before and knew I wasn't forgetting a crucial piece of gear I would need.

My #FlatCarlee included: a collaboration sock from Sparkle Athletic + PRO Compression, black Brooks FastForward Crossback sports bra,
unicorn and rainbow Sparkle Athletic skirt, a tank top I grabbed from TJ Maxx or Marshall's a while back, elite Road ID, Be Awesome
trucker from Sparkle Athletic, black and pink QALO silicone wedding bands, black and pink Momentum Jewelry wraps,
my Garmin Forerunner 935, and Brooks Ghost 11.

Lucky for us, there's no traffic on the roads at zero dark thirty, so getting to Mike Ward Community Park was a breeze! We pulled into the lot and found parking by 5:40am (although spots were already pretty limited so I'm glad we arrived when we did) and made our way to the tents. Since the half marathon didn't kick off for another 50 minutes or so the lines were short. After grabbing our bibs, beer garden bracelets and participant goodies, we went back to the car so we could drop the gear we didn't need, pin on our bibs, tape the hubby's knee and sit for a few extra minutes before heading to the start.

On the way to the start we ran into a few friends (but either due to the lack of lighting or my sleepy disposition I forgot to take pictures with everyone - OOPS!). I love running "local" races and seeing people we know out on the course.

Although I prefer early starts (for cooler temps), pictures never seem to turn out great pre-race.

The weather was better than I expected (I had seen a high in the 90s when I was looking earlier in the week, so when it was still in the 60s at the start I was pleasantly pleased... even though the nasty humidity can TAKE A HIKE!).

Eh... this summer has been pretty disgusting... hoping fall weather arrive soon!

Eventually it was time to get the party started! Seeing as this was a smaller race (there were 600 finishers in the half marathon distance), the corrals were "self seeded". Normally this can be a chaotic, but at least the pacers somewhat helped because folks could look to them and line up based on their signs. (Although, I'll be honest, the starting line was a bit of a cluster because it was simply on an extra wide sidewalk so there wasn't a ton of room to really get situated.)

We couldn't get a picture of both of us smiling or both of us being goofy... so we were left with this being the best option ;)

We were towards the front of the second "wave" to start

They did release us in "waves" (they had volunteers split the crowd with rope to make sure not everyone started at once), which was beneficial, but both the hubby and I commented afterward that it felt super crowded because the beginning of the course was very narrow. It sort of reminded me of a high school cross county meet because we were meandering through a park with flag ropes showing us the boundaries, going from sidewalk to grass and back to sidewalk, and not having much room to spread out. (#BloggerFail - I didn't take a picture for safety purposes so you'll just have to trust me.)

And, well, since I'm being honest, I might as well get the "bad" out of the way upfront, right?! Let's just say the course is less than beautiful... You are running on a bike trail along a dried out riverbed. At least it didn't appear to be where homeless encampments pop up (like along the one in Oceanside and Anaheim), but the views were less than stellar.

There were constant "rolling hills" because you were going under the streets

I'd assume they keep the course on the bike trail for as much as possible because they don't have to close as many roads (which means a lower cost for permits, police/ sheriff presence at intersections, etc). The path isn't closed, so there were folks out for a morning stroll and bikers cruising by, but thankfully it was mostly just runners (and volunteers) out there.

More bike trail running

The hubby has been having an issue with his knee lately (I can only "gently remind him" so many times to make sure he is stretching and foam rolling before I become the nagging wife and quit nudging him to do it all together - which means he is learning the hard way that PREHAB is much easier than rehab), so we had to take the race a little slower than we would have liked (with a few extra stretching stops and walk breaks than normal), but it's all good!

While the hubby is stretching, I am selfie-ing ;) 

There were a couple places on the course that are out and back, which means you get to see your fellow runners coming at you. I know not everyone loves those parts (the hubby is one of those people who hates it... he thinks it's a bit of a mind "f" because you are rerunning somewhere you've already been simply to get in more distance), but I love it! I enjoy cheering on fellow runners and I think looking for friends in the crowd helps give me something else to focus on.


Yay for FREE RACE PICTURES! It may be one of my favorite race perk!

Eventually it was time to cross the finish line (which was actually also the starting line we had crossed about 2 hours and 8 minutes previously). My sweet friend Andrea, who just completed the UTMB like a week before, was announcing and gave me and the hubby a HUGE shout out (she even told everyone about my #Carlees34 project and suggested folks follow along on social media!). I love when my friends are announcing the races I run - it always makes me smile!

Can you tell by Ryan's face he was DONE?! And he was less than excited about my happy predisposition?!

This lady is a ROCKSTAR (with a capital R!)!

Although the race left something to be desired, the post-race perks were AWESOME! Along with your medal and participant tee, you also get a free beer and post-race meal from one of the food trucks. (I will mention that online it said there would be 5 different food trucks {yes, I did check them and their menus out beforehand to decide what I wanted ;)} but there were only 2 {and a random tent} so the lines were pretty insane, but, hey, free food is free food, right?!)

While I was waiting in line for a smoothie (I was bummed because I was craving the pitaya bowl but it wasn't one of the options they had for runners), the hubby went to the "random tent" and got a overflowing plate of fruit and sweets.

Food and beer are the way to my hubby's heart so the race made up for the early morning with the delicious spread!

FYI: Honey and bee pollen are NOT vegan so I would recommend the "v" be removed from Option 1.

And seeing as I am not a beer drinker (I have never tasted pee, but I think if I did it would taste like beer... ), the hubby ended up scoring big and cashing in on both of our beer tickets. #WinnerWinnerChickenDinnerBeerBreakfast He was pretty pumped that they had "decent" beer at the post-race party. While we were in the beer "garden", someone gave us an extra food ticket so on the way out we went by the "random tent" and got more fruit and sweets.

I smashed the fruit AND donut! The cinnamon roll was totally for the hubby!

All in all I would say this was an average race. I think the post-race perks made up for the lack of beauty on the course (and I guess you probably aren't normally signing up for a race in Irvine for the stunning scenery ;)). I am excited to run the remaining races in the series to see how they stack up against this one.

Not sure which looks better... the medal or the food...

After our tummies were fully fed, it was time to hit the road (I knew the longer we stayed the worse traffic would get). On the way back to the car we snapped a couple quick pictures, but otherwise we mostly just beelined it to the parking lot.

Sometimes I wish races would think about the lighting of the pictures before they place "backdrops"



Yup... Stuck in traffic and the hubby is snoring away ;)

If you wanna run any of the other events, make sure to use code "CARLEE10", which will save you 10% on any of the races. The hubby and I will be running the full in Ventura and the half in Palos Verdes and Riverside. Hope to see you!

What is the best post-race food you've had? 

1 comment:

wvmello said...

It wasn't at the actual race (I cant eat right after races, even the smell makes me want to hurl), but after the OCMD half (Ocean City, MD) we changed and went back down to the boardwalk for Thrashers Boardwalk fries (with vinegar and salt of course!)and Kohr Brothers frozen custard! Plus it was the last weekend of doggos being allowed on the boardwalk during the day before the busy season started so we got to see ALL OF THE DOGS