On Valentine’s Day this year, I ran the San Dieguito Half, “A Sweetheart of a Run,” all by myself! This is one of the older half marathons out here, and I had actually never ran it. Quite honestly, I’d never heard much about it. Curiosity got the best of me…..just like all the hills on the course!
It’s more of an old pros type of race, most people who know about it and run it have been doing so for years. It’s a smaller race, so a nice change of pace after participating in some of the more crowded races during the year.
The expo was small, and probably the fastest I have ever been in and out of one of those in all my 23 Half Marathons. Might have also had something to do with the fact that I had my 2 crazy toddler boys with me. Nothing kills a shopping experience faster than wondering where the hell your kids are!
The expo was held at the Roadrunner Sports in San Diego, and honestly didn’t have much going on. I was okay with just grabbing my bib and free tech shirt and getting out of Dodge. Shirt was cute — these look great hanging in your closet all year-long not being worn!
Race morning started early as parking for the course was held at (what I still call) the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Then you were shuttled over to the start in the Solana Beach area. The bummer about this is that typically when you shuttle for a race, you park at the finish and are shuttled to the start. This way you end up finishing where your car is. Not the case here! You park at the fairgrounds, then shuttle to the start, then have to shuttle back to your car after. Thankfully, the fact that it is a smaller race made that an easy transition with no real long wait for the shuttle back.
The course is beautiful and scenic, but HOLY HILLS! I am really glad that I did an 11-mile training run with a friend of mine over parts of the course prior to race day, because I knew what to expect. This course ranks up in my top two toughest courses, right under the grueling La Jolla Half.
It was a challenge — but I was able to pull off a 1:42 finish (2 minutes slower than my PR) on a much tougher course. I worked through part of the course with a nice guy I had met on the shuttle over; we were close in pace and ran side by side for probably a good 5 miles towards the end.
They have a huge chili cook off after this race and an amazing beer garden. Chili didn’t sound good to me after 13.1 miles but I definitely got down on a beer after those hills!
I had some of the cutest running-themed conversation hearts too. The Conversation hearts and the “Live, Love, Run” bracelet were two of the items that came to me in a cute Valentines Day-themed box from Gone For A Run.
If you haven’t heard of them you should check them out. Super cute gifts for the runner(s) in your life.
(Medal not included – Hustle sold separately).
The medal was pretty cute with the heart and Valentines Day spin to it, I gotta admit!