Last weekend I ran the San Diego Holiday Half as my 26th half marathon — it was actually my first time ever running this course, although it was the 4th annual race for this event. I signed up on a whim a few weeks beforehand, after some local friends talked about what a great course it was. Once I pulled up the course description to read, it was a done deal. They had me at “net elevation drop” that’s like talkin’ dirty to a runner right there!
The race was “Sold Out” and the expo was one day only Saturday at Road Runner Sports in San Diego. They were actually selling extra bibs that night by 7pm though, from people who hadn’t shown up to check in and run. The expo had some good vendors with freebies set up and they gave out one of my favorite tech race shirts ever at this race. It’s a dark gray/blue with a hood and thumb holes — love, love, love it! I got a women’s Small — it is a tad big but a perfect comfy fit, so I’d say they were true to size (if not, ran a tad on the bigger side).
I put my “Flat Runner” on IG the night before and as always, tagged my favorite must-have racing essentials which you can see here. I got a big response about my tank top (and tried to reply to you all in messages and comments), but I actually found this beauty on Amazon Prime, and I LOVE it! It was comfy and festive.
Two days before my race 66 Audio had sent me their new BTS PRO head phones! If you’ve been following me long, you know I trained all Spring/Summer in their BTS Sport wireless headphones, which I love. I was excited to try out their newer model and will be doing a review on these soon. Spoiler alert — they were fabulous!
Race morning was a tad cold (for Southern Californians) — somewhere in the mid-high 30’s. Thankfully, we were all warmed by our attractive, mismatched mittens and tin foil snuggies (or heat shields) they gave out at the expo. I don’t know how these things work so well, but they are magical. Supposedly, they reflect your own body heat right back to you, but I didn’t have a shred of body heat to reflect, yet it was still radiating heat for me, so go figure — I’m just gonna stick with “magical.”
This is a point-to-point course (not an out and back) so shuttle services were offered, which was great. I ended up staying at the Hotel Karlan, just perfect because the race starts basically in their front yard. Walked right from the room to the start line and afterwards was able to catch the shuttle at the finish line right back to the hotel.
The course has a 711-foot net elevation drop along the rolling downhill Hwy. 56 bike path. Keyword; ROLLING hills. Miles 10-13 are not your downhill miles, FYI. The course starts in Rancho Penasquitos and travels along Carmel Mountain Rd, finishing at the beautiful Torrey Pines State Beach. It was a good fast course but from most runners I talked to, many started out fast — myself included (I know, that doesn’t sound like me at all), and then we got to the last 4 miles like “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? No.”
I had a great race, it was not a PR, but not every race will be, and I was not terribly far off. I was still proud of a solid effort and it was a great way to end this race season.
I got to see friends old and new and meet up with lots of IG-ers too which was awesome, although I wish I had gotten pictures with more of you!
Gary came down to hang out last-minute and jumped in to run this race, knocking out his 2nd ever half marathon! He’s also a fellow healthcare professional, and he’s got some fun GoPro cycling adventures you can follow on his IG here.
I finally got to meet Alissa! We only live 15 minutes or so apart, but had yet to meet until this race. She is just as fast as she is beautiful, and she absolutely crushed this course with a new PR! You can follow her inspirational running IG journey here.
I would say probably the only real complaint about this race that I could see people would have might be the bag check pick-up. And that opinion is made up solely by the number of cuss words I heard in that area. I thankfully lucked out and was able to find my bag in five minutes or less, but it was like straight garage sale status up in there. They brought the bags off the truck and tried to line them according to people’s bib numbers but as people rummaged through them they just tossed them back anywhere and everywhere. I was glad to find mine quick and dip out of that mess.
The Snow globe medal for this race was a perfect holiday race medal — I never get tired of adding these to my collection.
Ended the race day with brunch, which is typically a race day tradition.
And because I passed by the beach on the way home, a quick stop there too. I only live an hour away from it, but every time I see this view, I realize I don’t see it often enough!
I will do this race again next year because it was fun, well-put together, and I always love repeating courses the following year to see if I’ve improved. Who else ran this last weekend? I always love hearing what everyone else thought.