Thursday, December 13, 2018

Riverside Lexus LaceUp Half Marathon Race Recap

The other day (Sunday, December 2nd to be exact) was the fourth and final race in the Lexus LaceUp Running Series for 2018 - the Riverside Reindeer Run! I didn't want my recap to get lost in the shuffle of the #12DaysOfCarleesChristmas posts, so I guess you can just consider this a little #TBT. {PS In case you haven't skimmed the recaps from the previous races, make sure to grab a cup of hot cocoa, pull up a chair and get your read on - they're worth your time! (Orange County Lexus LaceUp Half MarathonVentura Marathon and Palos Verdes Lexus LaceUp Half Marathon).}

As I'm sure you concluded from the name of the race, this was Christmas themed. And, if you don't know, I love all things Christmas! I mean, I may or may not have put up our Christmas tree 2.5 weeks before Thanksgiving...


Although this race series hasn't been my favorite (again, you'll have to go back and read my recaps from the past races to see why), the hubby and I were determined to see it through to the end - free race entries didn't hurt either ;)

I have to give a HUGE THANKS to Brooks for supplying some of the amazing accessories!
#FlatCarlee included: red and white striped PRO Compression socks, red Handful sports bra, green Sparkle Athletic skirt, baseball tee
I made (grabbed a blank one from Dick's Sporting Goods, then the hubby mocked up a "Dachshund Through The Snow" graphic and
my friend printed it out on her Cricut so I could iron it onto the tee), elite Road ID, Brooks headband with reindeer antlers, jingle bell
bracelets from Brooks
, Christmas light necklace from Brooks (the bulbs actually light up!)red and green QALO silicone wedding bands,
Ugly Christmas Sweater Knockaround sunglasses (from last year), red Momentum Jewelry wraps, my Garmin Forerunner 935, and
Brooks Levitate 2 (Ugly Christmas Sweater pattern).

The race was on Sunday, which meant we got all of our ducks elves in a row on Saturday for the early morning wake up call come Sunday morning. Thankfully this wasn't our first rodeo and we have our pre-race routines down pat.

We wanted to leave by 4:30 to get us to the park by 6am, which
meant I needed to be up around 3am so I could get my giveaway
for the day posted, get ready, get breakfast ready for the hubby and
pup, wake the hubby and take the pup for a walk before leaving.

One of the things I appreciate about this race series is the fact that it offers race day packet pick-up. Although the events are located in Southern California, SoCal is a rather large geographical area and therefore I wouldn't say all the races are "local" {it took us 4 hours to get to Ventura the afternoon before that race}. Not having to drive to an Expo on the day before the race is a HUGE plus for me. In fact, there are some races I would love to do, but it isn't worth it for me to drive there and back on the day before the race to grab my bib and then again on the day of the race to run, nor is it worth it to pay for a hotel to stay in the night before. {#RealTalk} The Lexus LaceUp Running Series even includes race day pick-up as a "free" perk if you register early enough (the cut off for this race was November 6th, about 3.5 weeks before the event) - and even if you missed the cut-off the extra cost will only cost you $5, which I feel is totally reasonable.

We arrived before the lines started forming

After we grabbed our bibs, we scurried back to the car to try and stay warm pre-race. (Yep, I absolutely own the fact that my blood thinned after moving from the frozen tundra that is Michigan to sunny and warm SoCal.)

Car selfies are a must (or at least they help to pass the time)

With the race set to start at 7am, we decided we'd wait until about 6:40am before getting out of the toasty sleigh car and make our way to the starting line. (PS This race offered many parking options with available shuttles, but a little elf told me if we got there early enough we may be able to sneak into a parking lot at the Fairmont Park... and sneak we did ;)) We lucked out with a parking spot less than a 10 minute walk to the start/finish and didn't require the riding of a shuttle.

The majority of the race was in the shade, so even the sun
didn't help to warm us up much throughout the morning.

Obviously the hubby and I needed to snap a quick picture together at the start. It actually turned out to be the only picture we got together (other than the free race pictures we were provided {one of my favorite race perks!}) - #FAIL!

But at least we made it a cute one, right?!

One of the official photographers saw us taking start line
photos and snapped a couple on his camera too.

Not overly crowded - there were only 478 finishers of the half marathon.

Before we knew it we were on our journey of running through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly-twirly gum drops, and then walking through the Lincoln Tunnel - oh wait, that wasn't the course description at all... We'd be running through Riverside neighborhoods and on the Santa Ana River Trail, but it's sort of the same thing, right?!


As always, if the hubby is willing to run with me, I am willing to run his pace - so we decided to tackle the race with no set plan. The hubby's knee had been bothering him lately (which is why he has opted out of the ultra in January), so we figured we'd take it as easy as we needed without agitating his body. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy pushing the pace, but it's also great to dial it back, soak up the sights and enjoy the journey. Not to mention, it gave me time to snap pictures of the funny race signs throughout the course and make a couple character stops along the route. #Priorities

Although the Palos Verdes race is touted as the scenic one of the series, the hubby and I actually really enjoyed this course (but maybe it was because we didn't go in with high expectations). The neighborhoods we ran through were cute (the hubby even pointed out a few homes for sale and mentioned we could check them out... but then we'd have to live in Riverside ;)), the river trail reminded us of Oceanside, and the little lake (or maybe it was a pond) was purrrrrty too!

The course definitely wasn't as hilly as the Palos Verdes race we had run a few weeks earlier, but it had some decent rollers throughout (I think we gained about 350 feet of elevation as compared to the over 900 feet at Palos Verdes).

If you read my Ventura Marathon recap, you may remember there were a few places along the course where runners were crossing paths and it was a bit chaotic. There were a couple spots like that in this race as well, but thankfully when the hubby and I went through there wasn't too much oncoming traffic to worry about.


The hubby and I both mentioned that we thought this was our second favorite course of the series (behind the Ventura Marathon {first place} but before the Palos Verdes Half {third place} and the Orange County Half {fourth place}).


I know these races aren't totally "local" for us, but I still love seeing friends I know on the course. Looking for familiar faces also gives you something to do on the out and back portions where you are going in opposition to other runners.

Robert found me before we started

And we saw Pam and Richard crushing the course!

Then we had to stop and chat for a few minutes with Linzie and Megan!

I know some people are interested in the nitty gritty details, so I thought I'd mention that the hubby and I fueled with PROBAR BOLT Chews (duh ;)). We split a package, which has two servings in it, around Mile 6.5 and it worked perfectly. Although the hubby prefers the Berry Blast flavor (and the added caffeine), I grabbed my favorite - Pink Lemonade!

I would say I use this to fuel 95% of my long runs and races (unless I'm fueling with donuts and Fireball)

The scenic course was supposed to be sprinkled with a flurry of holiday cheer including carolers at the finish line, Santa Claus appearances and the “Santa Lane”– a section of the course filled with holiday music, decorations and entertainment. There were carolers at one part of the race (which was awesome), but when we were coming back they had already packed up and were on their way out. I also didn't see Santa or hear any holiday music along the way (because you better believe I would have stopped for photos!)... But I guess the humorous signs made up for it? 

Even without the holiday decorations they mentioned, the hubby and I still had a blast.

And the jingle bells I wore on my wrists didn't seem to annoy too many people ;)

Am I the only one who thought the two balls in the background either looked like a butt or boobs?!

This was the only type of "holiday decorations" I saw on the course...
And they probably could have been skipped...

Throw your hands up if you're running your FIFTEENTH half marathon! Yup, the hubby is a ROCKSTAR!

Eventually it was time to make our way across the finish line. Even with the pit stops to stretch (hubby), use the potty (hubby again), chat with friends (me), stop for photo ops (me again), we still finished with a quite respectable 2:12:40.

CRAZY! A finish line photo that doesn't have been stopping my Garmin ;)

And then it happened.... SANTA! He came to celebrate me completing my 50th half marathon (and the hubby's 15th)! Apparently the elves had everything under control and he was able to take the morning off to come cheer me in.

And, let me tell you, he did not smell like beef and cheese!

Okay, so this one wasn't the real Santa, but he was a decent stand-in ;)

After a quick pic with the big man himself, the hubby nudged me and reminded me we had food to track down. You see, one of the perks from this race series is a food truck breakfast... And we had been skunked at the other races when the trucks had run out of the food we could eat (we're vegetarians) and were craving. (I'm not sure if they weren't adequately prepared or if the runners who finished the shorter races before us bought extra portions and therefore they ran out, but all we knew was we didn't want to be 'stuck' with smoothies again - especially since it was still chilly out!)


Despite the fact that the food truck we were eyeballing had run out of tortillas for the breakfast burritos, they still offered us "bowls". (Apparently they also had run out of hash browns for the burritos/bowls because we found curly fries instead.)

My deconstructed breakfast burrito may not look amazing, but it was pretty tasty!

As always, the hubby cashed in on my beer ticket and grabbed two beers (maybe that's why he agrees to run with me ;)).

I've never heard him complain about me not liking beer and having to drink mine for me ;)

On the way to the car we saw Linzie and Megan so we snapped a quick photo and wished each other a Merry Christmas (since the hubby and I are done with races for the 2018 year and probably won't be seeing them until after the New Year).

Oh yeah, and because we had run all four of the Lexus LaceUp races, we got some extra bling! I donate my medals, so I am normally not one to ogle the race medals, but I did think the fact that it spun in two directions was pretty cool!

The very center part spins vertically and the middle portion spins horizontally

I'll be honest, I loved last year's Reindeer medal, so this one was just so-so.

Thankfully the traffic for the drive home didn't look too crazy yet (85 minutes for the 70ish miles), so we hoped in the car, pumped the Christmas tunes and hit the road. It took the hubby all of about 10 minutes to fall asleep (which was 9 minutes longer than I assumed he'd last), but what can you expect when you get up before the butt crack of dawn?!

He says the car just rocks him to sleep... at least that's the excuse he gives and it's not my lame conversation ;)

And I can't wrap up this post without giving a MAJOR THANKS to the Lexus LaceUp crew for letting me be a part of the team this year. It was great to be able to check out all of the events during the 2018 season (as I've mentioned, the hubby and I both received comped entries to all of the races this year, but you know that doesn't effect my recap in any way)!

Are you running in any holiday themed races?


Christine Parizo said...

It still looks like a lot of fun! And I hear you - Houston is a gigantic area, and battling traffic to get a bib on a Friday is no fun. And I LOL'ed at living in Riverside :)

dd said...

Thanks for the fun race recap since I'm hip-injured, just enjoying the pics this year. Shooting for next year though!

Jackey Deschamps said...

Great recap. I love your brooks Christmas shoes!!!!