Safari Park Half is La Jolla Half's evil sister. If you skipped LJ or yearned for (in the past few days) Torrey Pine's steep hill, then definitely sign up for Safari Half. Back to back half marathons with similar climbs - it can be done! Safari has the 500 ft. climb (La Jolla is 450 ft) midway between miles 6-7 and a bit more elevated slope between the 11-12th mile. To add to the hills, the climb and plunges are on sand and gravel. Good Lawd! Right??? Another huge difference is the scenery... LJ is coastal so there's a nice breeze here and there. Safari? Fa-get 'bout it! Safari is hot and dry!
The race starts at Escondido's Westfield North County Mall parking lot and ends inside the Safari Park. Scenes include vineyards, horse farms (ode o' manure n all) and golf resorts. You'll also run through some of the Safari Park's "behind-the-scenes" areas - like the back of the high fences. You may see animals along the run (camel - I saw a camel) and cows, but participants will also get to stay to explore the park after the race is over! This is a major plus... not only do you get a nice shiny medal (sorry for the folks who didn't get one coz they ran out)... you also get to tour the zoo early in the AM right after the race. Free tram ride = nappy time for lil' ol' me.
Support stations galore at every other mile - this includes porta-potties (just not every other mile). This race was oober organized from start to finish. After the race, you are greeted with mini donuts and water bottles. Then, you are showered with fruit & snack stations (bananas, oranges, grapes, energy drinks, more donuts). You're even given a big bag to haul your stash of goodies.
Waaaay after the race, after you've had your fill of watching the wild animals roam their cages, shuttle service for the spectators and runners were readily available.
Excellent race overall! Swag gets two thumbs up! Worth every penny spent for the $30 spectator fee as well as the $15 pancake breakfast. Awesome blinged out medal, too. Most proceeds benefit the cheetahs in 2014, too. =)
TIP: Try to get to Escondido mall early to avoid traffic. There were a lot of parking spaces available, but getting to the mall from the freeway exit was a nightmare. After that... it's smooth sailing baby!
TIP 2: Wear layers. AM starts out cool, but after mile 2... it's all running in dry heat. Wear your trail shoes.
Very well organized race from beginning to end!
Loved how the parking is directly adjacent to the actual race and expo.
Expo got too crowded... they should consider having some of the vendors outdoors or have a bigger tent. It was hard to maneuver through folks and strollers without bumping into them.
Loved how there's a semi-heated area and seating/stretching area for runners - "thank you for pampering us".
There are an ample number of restrooms for all, so only had a short wait right before the race.
Great scenery (gorgeous coastal view) and lots of support from volunteers and spectators.
Gu & water stations were abundant.
SUPER loved the Sambazon & Coconut Water freebies - definitely two of my top addictions.
I wish the medal was nicer.
Volunteers were super nice. They "ask" you to move along away from the finishers' area instead of yelling at you. =)
GOOD TO KNOW SHTUFF:
1) Although the parking area is huge and can accommodate most of the runners/guests... you can still get stuck in traffic especially after the race. Almost missed my football!
2) Very cold in the AM; And, when the sun came up... it got super warm! So wear layers!
Amazingly exhilarating! I didn't do any hard core preparation for this race except run 7 miles at the most. I was still recovering from surgery, but I decided to give it a go! Upon signing up for this race, my friends have advised me to train with them. I just smiled and thought, "Hey, I could run 20 miles... I can do this!" But really... this race, described as brutal by many, is nothing like running! My friends told me to watch Youtube videos, but I didn't want to psych myself out - until the night before. My jaw dropped. My heart pounded! The question of what I got myself into kept circling in my head!
The morning of the event, I woke up to the sound of rain. Oh how I love the rain - except that morning! Rain makes everything muddier, more slippery & more dangerous! Of course, it's not Sparta without they heavy rain, cold winds, 40 degree weather, and uneven terrain! At this point, I kept telling myself that it's not too late to quit. However, I also knew I would regret not doing it! So, I end up hopping on that Suburban and driving through the Valley traffic. It took us over an hour to get to Malibu. Then, we had to take another trek on the bus, which took us deeper into the canyons/hills.
I was in Diva mode (scared to get wet or be out in freezing cold, don't want mud on me, in utter disbelief that I'm not wearing an ounce of makeup in public - that kinda mode). It wasn't until we were picking up our race packets when I finally shook off the diva in me. As one of the reviewers said, "Shiz gets real in a Spartan race!" Walking towards the bus were finishers - some decided to stay covered in mud, shivering from the cold, lips bluish and face as white as a ghost, but they all displayed a proud look as their medals hung in front of their chests. I keep saying to myself, "Snap out of it lil' girl, just keep moving forward and think Hunger Games!"
So after we checked in, we started to trek to the start line. We had to jump a 4.5 foot fence to get to the start line. Say what!?! I was cool with that obstacle until a guy right in front of me climbed the fence, lost his grip, and face planted to the ground. Way to break my confidence buddy! Thanks - a - lot!
I will not describe each obstacle coz, frankly, I do not want to remember some of them. I was told the obstacles change every year except for a few exceptions. These exceptions include: 1) The 10+ feet walls & other different types of wall climb with/without ropes involved. 2 )The muddy swamps - this hurdle will cause your entire body to feel pins and needles as soon as you get out of the water. Stay in the water too long and you'll feel the water get cooler. 3) The uphill crawl through interminable sharp rocks/pebbles and barbed wire- immediately placed after the muddy swamp. Pay very close attention to the barbed wires. They are close to two feet above ground, but because your palms and forearms and knees get too scraped and sore during the crawl (happens around halfway up), you may get the tendency to change your position. Before you know it, there goes a bloody clump of hair or a piece of skin from your back on the barbed wire.
Many of the obstacles require a lot of climbing. A few on the ground obstacles include the uphill bunny hop (ankles are tied together) and there's the 40 lb. bag uphill hike through uneven grounds, through trees. I did skip the 100 feet rope climb because I could not get traction on the rope (yes, 30 burpees). Burpees are definitely harder to do on mud! The terrain also has a tons of uphills. Did I mention that? A lot of folks clog up the trails due to leg cramps. Downhills can cause you to slip if you're not careful. So pay attention to every step you make during this race. Make sure you wear trail runners. Hang on to your shoes coz you can lose them in the mud or in the water and you'll have to do the race in socks or barefooted.
One great thing I learned about humanity from participating in this race? Chivalry is not dead. There are a lot of guys out there who are willing to stop and help you out or even offer to carry you. They can't do the obstacle for you, but they can sure make it a lot easier to do. LADIES, please take note... many of the guys who participate in this race are super fit and strikingly handsome. Like blindingly gorgeous! Some guys you'll meet will spit out a pick up line or two, but it's all in fun.
Again, this race is nothing like running a marathon! It can be highly addicting. If you want a different kind of fitness challenge... try a Spartan race. And come prepared, some folks wore knee and elbow pads and used gloves with grips. I know it's sexy to bear skin while doing this race, but be smart. The more skin you expose, the more you are susceptible to get sick or scraped up = infection. Many folks wore long sleeves and long pants - no cotton anything! Don't say I didn't warn you. See you in 2014!
Once again, Josh and his staff did a magnificent job organizing this event. It's on my top fave halves so far.
I have not gone to the Expo, but the ease of maneuvering through the bib pick-up and resolving any race issues was flawless (according to my friends).
Post race is the best part of this race, IMO. You are showered with food (fruits, fruit in a cup, cold water, coconut water, bananas, pineapple, pretzels, bagels, granola bars). Along the boardwalk, there are food trucks and vendors available.
Medal is very useful... like last year, it had the bottle opener portion. ;) The tech shirt is also top quality material. Ventura Marathon is definitely one race to put on your bucket list!Wow! This race didn't seem like an inaugural one to me. Josh did a fabulous job with organizing the… En savoir plus
Loved that there's a band playing evey mile. Love the energy and music. That made running this half marathon fly by - with style. Very well organized event from beginning to end.
I do have some suggestions on how to improve: 1) Please get more porta potties. (Obviously the event planners are aware of how many people were running this race so next time... let's be more prepared so we don't have to spend close to an hour waiting to pee. 2) Don't change the scenic route that once was - don't mind the hills 3) Please make sure the water/energy gel stations are on both sides so people are not cutting each other off.
First time running on a trail so I opted to do a 6K (approx. 4 miles). The first two miles was a work your butt climb up the mountain type hill (almost died on the second mile coz I don't normally run uphill for two miles straight); the third mile was a "wish you had trail running shoes" going down type of hill - yes you can go very fast and end up rollling down the hill if you're not careful; and, the last mile was just flat - so t'was a great time to run for your dear life so you can make up time for the slow pokes who wouldn't let you pass along the way.
Trail was beautiful with lots of scenic views of a mini lake, trees and hillside. Also, lots of horse poop along the way. You will definitely not feel you are running since your mind is so busy making sure you don't step on the horse poopies (did I already mention that), or fall off the cliff and tumble into sharp sticks sticking out of dry bushes, or... stepping on a rattle snake. Next time I sign up for this race, I will opt for the 22K for a better challenge.
Great spot to go hiking, too! Bring lots of water esp during summer months.
Life is, indeed, better in color!
I've been meaning to write a review about the Color Run. This race (I don't even know if it's consider a race) is so freaking fun. It's a great way to get a group of folks together and act like a kid again. You know that feeling when you used to blow bubbles and you just can't get enough of catching them? Well, the color dust sprinkling is similar to that feeling... at least with me and my friends. I think people will inhale enough color dust from this event and actually get high - or act high. By the third color mark, you see people rolling all over the pavements to get more color on their body/clothes. Kids were making snow(colorpowder) angels on the ground... it's crayzee! We almost didn't make it to the finish line coz we were too busy taking pictures. Anywhoo... glad we did make it to the finish line coz there were more to look forward to at the end of the rainbow. That's right... more bags of color dust, Color Run giveaways/prizes from fanny packs to tees/sweatshirts and even blow up beachballs. Imagine that. Yes, the fun just doesn't end... looking forward to more color fun as they head to SD in the Fall. Woohoo!
A tip about this color run thing - make sure you bring a blanket or towel to drape over your cars seats coz the color can rub or dust off. It took me three showers to rub the color stain off me. I haven't even attempted to wash the clothes I used for this event.
One of my favorite races - wish they had a full so they can offer a medal on top of the great things that accompany this race.
2014 race includes:
1) Awesome swag - no other race can compare (except Disney).
2) Great post-race food (rice krispies, pretzels, bananas, marshmallows and a good amount of melted chocolate goodness).
3) The energy from the runners - was it the chocolate anticipation?
4) Ample parking and organized traffic.
5) HILLS! Definitely not a fun run... but a good training for upcoming hilly races like La Jolla or Safari Half.
The expo can improve with better & more vendors.I participated in the inaugural 15K Hot Chocolate race. This race was one of the best races I've ran… En savoir plus
Amazing post race food. Humongous muffins, cookies, bananas, tangerines, water, honest teas... it's like food heaven for those finishing a half! All the foods offered are the full size, individually packaged kind... not the one poured in small cups or the mini bite sized "I can eat 100 of these" type portions. So 5 stars to the post race food.
Finisher's necklace was lovely in a girly kinda way...I'd rather have a medal, though. T-shirt swag was designed pretty... but I wish they gave tanks instead - I wish more races gave out tanks.
As for the course... well, I didn't really enjoy it much. They advertised running by the water, but the water area was not pretty to me. It was a long stretch of boring blackish/brown water (meh) and brown dirt/sand. I distracted myself by sketching how this area of the city would be better with more plants and trees.
Anywhoo... I DISliked running on cement. The hard pounding gave me injuries that I will never forget. Ouch! I would run this race again if I can get the same awesome discount as I did this year! That way I can use the money I saved to buy soles that would support running on cement. =)
It was awesome to see moms and their little mermaids in tutus run the shorter race. I may just need to borrow one of my nieces for next year. =P
Race # 2 of 3 to get that Triple Crown medal.
I think I have a love-hate relationship with La Jolla Half. Loved the scenery, but hate the TP/LJ hills.
This was the race that put so much anxiety on me - from the moment I shared with fella runners that I am opting to do the Triple Crown. And on 04/27/14, I found out why.
Here are the things I knew about LJ Half, but should have taken/done more seriously:
1) Don't just train running on hills... train running the actual Torrey Pines hill.
2) If you haven't already, figure out how to haul your own hydration/electrolyte support. No GU (or similar energy gels) are given during the race and cups are only half full of water and hydration fluids.
3) Dress in layers - with the SD April weather - AMs can start really chilly, but by the time you get up that first hill, you would want to take off everything coz it can get super hot/sunny.
4) Don't exhaust all your energy on the first really BIG hill, save some for the mini-hill on mile 12-12.5.
5) It's a hill... get over it. Whether you choose to sprint it, run it, or walk it... you really have no choice but get over it. So do so without psyching yourself out so much.
6) Be prepared to be in pain after the race. This race is definitely a BEAST! Most of my running friends complained of feeling fluish after the race... you know nausea, vomiting, stomach churning... all that exhaustion and anxiety can get to you like a virus. Make sure you hydrate well and get some food in your tummy right after running if you can stomach it.
7) Biofreeze, Motrin, my roller, and my running shoes (for tapering) - these were my savior. I'm on day 2 after the race and my soreness is 75% gone. The day after the race, I had a swagger... the kind where I had to crawl up and down the stairs.
Surprisingly, my right foot & ankle injury from the Hollywood Half (two weeks ago) decided to let me run this race pain-free. I didn't lose a toe nail. I survived this race to run an even hillier race next week - the Safari Half. I heard running is supposed to help one keep his/her sanity... but I'm pretty sure I lost it.
I will most likely run this race in 2015 - my best friend made me promise to do the Triple Crown thing with her again. But then again, she asked me right after she finished running this race.. so we'll see how good her memory will be a year from now. =P
This is my first time running this half. Like many others, I was hesitant to sign up due to the unfavorable reviews, but my run besties loved this race since they ran the inaugural event. This is a very flat course except for a couple of mini-hills. If you've read other reviews, the Admins have changed the course quite a bit.
To start, we stayed at the hotel within a few steps to the start line. We were 15 minutes early and the corrals were already super crowded. Like Mike C. stated in his review below, it was unbelievable to see everyone crowd the faster corrals and you kinda wonder if these folks can really run as fast as they claim. But who am I to judge...I think folks just wanted to get started and avoid waiting in line since this race was pretty packed. I didn't mind squeezing through the crowd and keeping warm coz it was windy (and cold) early in the morning. =P
I skipped the expo since I had to work on Friday. I was told it was small and when my friends got there, they only had about 10 minutes before they closed things up.
PROS: I loved running through Hollywood Blvd. and seeing all the old buildings and cool facades - this was oober cool! The support stations (water and electrolytes) to the cheerful volunteers were abundant. Many people were dressed up so it was great distraction - I didn't feel the first 10 miles of my run until my ankle started hurting.
CONS: Need better mile markers - as in higher up in the ground waving in the air. Some of them I missed and it sucks to think I've done so and so number of miles just to realize I was wrong! I did run with 2:10 pacer to see if I can improve my time and got my PR!
TIP: For 2014, if you completed the New Year's Race Half in LA with the Hollywood Half, you get a third medal. So another heavy medal to add to my 2014 collection. =) Happy Runner = me!
As a first time AFC runner, I have never been excited to run a race especially considering America's Finest City is the last and final race to get the Triple Crown medal.
However, when the morning of the race approached, I had mixed feelings about the race. Physically, I am healthy (as in no major running injuries). Though, I did have a bit of a headache possibly from being slightly dehydrated. From what veteran AFC runners have divulged to me, this race WILL get super-hot and humid in a blink of an eye. I feel you can never really prepare enough for hot and humid, so I didn't have any time goals. I planned to just play it safe... hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and finish the race. I thought about borrowing a friend's hydration pack, but I detested having anything strapped on me while running. I did bring a water bottle in case I needed to hydrate in between water/energy stations.
The course offered spectacular views from the top of Cabrillo National Monument. From there, it was downhill to Point Loma towards Harbor Island Drive. This long stretch was the most challenging part of the race for me since the sun beamed in my face the entire time. I had to step aside and wait in line to use a public restroom to wash the sweat off my burning eyes. After only several steps, I also stopped by the EMT truck to ask for a towel to wipe off the sweat that continued to drip on to my eyes. Harbor offered an extensive stretch of the race to San Diego Bay en route to downtown. I did not like running behind the parking lot of Rent-A-Car. It was unexciting and, again, no water/aid station.
Since race officials were aware of the hot and humid temperature, I felt they should have provided extra aids/stations. A HUGE THANK YOU to the cooling station/sprinklers in mile 10; but, maybe add more of them in the preceding miles... for 2015.
By the time I completed the 6th Avenue incline, my thighs started to twitch. I prayed to get to the finish line without tripping or hitting a wall like a few runners I witnessed along the way. When I started to see the crowd, I got teary eyed (or maybe more sweat dripped into my eyes and I started tearing?). AFC was the hardest race I've ever completed. Picturesque Balboa Park definitely offered a great distraction for me at the end. Overall, the AFC was difficult (mainly due to weather)... but not all races can be easy. I'm thankful I completed the half without much harm.
Post-race: I wished there were cold water available. The bottled water given out was lukewarm. Also, a food/fruit station was not offered. I think more thoughtful planning regarding adequate hydration/refueling was needed especially after the race.
In 2015, we will meet again, AFC. Next time, I'm bringing three friends to join me in the journey of this Triple Crown madness.
Zombies beware... this girl can run trails! Yes... I climbed over the boulders (at the time, they felt like mountains) and ran through the woods!
She Runs was the smallest local race I've ran... so far! I wasn't planning on running this race because of that fact and I loathe trail running. But, I happen to be "given" the challenge when a friend couldn't run it due to a dreaded runner's injury (I forgot which one she had). I've been told before that if you're used to running on pavement, running on trails can be more difficult because the surface absorbs more of your energy. In other words, you're using energy to compress the ground and you get less of it back as "bounce"; therefore, you have to put more in to go at your normal pace. Well, I found out during this race that the difficulty applied to my running life.
Lesson learned from my 13.1 trail run:
1) It is more mentally and physically demanding.
2) Due to the trail's uneven surface, I had to use more stabilizing muscles that I don't use much on the road. And... once my muscles got tired, my form went to crap. No wonder my entire body is hurtin'.
3) It felt like I burned twice the calories from this race than any other race.
4) The reward is definitely worth the work = more food consumption and dranks to numb the sore muscles. Ha.
Your swag includes a cool shirt & a nice "pink" medal. At the end, you are greeted with healthy goodies (bananas, grapes, oranges) & yummy goodies (cakes, muffins, cakes and cakes) and liquid replenishers (water and gatorade - what no beer!? ). I normally crave healthy snacks after a long run, but I exhausted all calories during this race. Therefore... I am guilty of devouring all yummy goodies available - but after the healthy goodies. I will probably think twice about doing this run again (like ever). Trail runs are fun in a way that they are very scenic... but the beating my calves, ankles, & toes took makes it not worthwhile.
Overall, I think She Runs did an awesome job coordinating this race. The race starts at 8 am so be prepared to run in dry heat. Parking was not a problem... you get directed to a trail type dirt parking area. Just give yourself enough time to use the porta potty coz they only had three at the finish line. That is all. Happy Running.
Bestest Race Ever (that I've experienced)!
I was one of the luckies who Ran SF Nike style. My friends and I joined Team B.Strong in the journey to trek the SF hills in 2014. I saw why most of the running population try to get in to Nike Women's Marathon. I repeat - Run Nike SF = Bestestes race ever!
Race course: I was told the course changed this year by previous participants from 2012/2013. Longer and higher climbs, but you can't feel the burn coz you're too distracted - except Mile 10 - that was bum killer. Magnificent views throughout the course, however!
Weather: Cool and misty (no fog this year & never heat). By the time I finished the race, I was drenched - mist and sweat... sexy kinda right? ;P
Pre-race: Nike did a spectacular job organizing the bib pick-up considering this was a huge race. Of course, expect to wait in line for everything, but truly... wait times didn't last over 15 minutes. My team and I came later at night an hour before they closed. Booths included Nike shop displays, temporary tattooing, Paul Mitchell hair styling, Neutrogena make-over-ing, as well as a couple of charities fundraising.
Swag: $25 giftcard, tank, miscellaneous coupons and goodies.
Race Day: Tip: It is wise have a hotel close to the start line. Oober crowded. There are gatekeepers all over so you can't climb the fences to get in to the corrals. As with many crowded races, corals get backed up so you may be slow to start, but once you start cutting through everyone... you can take off like Superwoman - cape and all. Course support whether it's for fuel, hydration or for a quick high five is nothing short of excellent. Close to the finish line they provide a Neutrogena face wipe. I think it's cool how they have jumbotrons showing you run or flashing your name while you run.
Post-race: Again, more changes. Most obvious one being the firefighters NOT waiting for you right at the finish line. Instead, there are students who provide you with a water bottle filled with H-two-O. You also get a swag bag full of sample goodies (cookies, powerbars, nuts). Then you walk towards a line of more students. There, they check off your bib that they've provided you with "the necklace". Then... they direct you towards the point/area of no return. This is like a black hole type grass area where you lose all phone signals. TIP: Make sure you let your friends/team know where to meet or you'll be walking the park like crazy looking for each other. There is a lost and found booth... maybe meet around there?
The Photo Op: Aaah... hot firefighters found! This is probably the longest I've waited in line throughout the entire experience. Women get creative when taking a picture with a "hot" firefighter. Some photo ops include these muscular knights lifting a woman (picture husband lifting wife across the threshold) and some firefighters were asked to kneel as if they're proposing with the Tiff.
After all that excitement, everyone is asked to walk many more steps to the shuttle bus that will take you to the start line area. It felt like eternity to get to the shuttle. Tip: Make sure you grab some goodies on the way back to the hotel. Coz you will be starving.
Will definitely do this race again... and again... and again!
You had me (sign up) at wine tasting!
You know you're a runner when... you sign up for a Special Edition race for February the following year... and it's only summer (2014). Then you stalk the registration site with your running friends so when midnight strikes, you're one of the few thousands to have purchased a bib. That's exactly what happened when I signed up for Divas Half, Temecula. I lost sleep and a couple of hundred dollars to ensure I got that golden ticket to run this race.
SWAGS: Run Like a Diva promised swags to include tutus, feather boas, a tiara, a free race picture, a race shirt, complimentary wine glass and wine tasting, and a to die for medal/bling. And.... they delivered. I think it's a pretty good way to get even non-runners to sign up for this event any day! I mean... c'mon! Even men signed up for this race.
I actually liked this race... even though I felt a bit off. I forgot my salt tabs so I was hitting the restrooms (4) on the first half of the half. I kept thinking to myself how this race could have been my PR; But at the same time an inner voice in me is telling me to slow down and save my leg for another race in a couple of weeks. So, I was hitting them restrooms fast and running slower.
The HILLS: I used to hate running hills... actually I still do. My arse and calves have not been this sore in quite a while. So, I get it now... California Flat is no such thing. That was a cruel joke. Even the run to the finish line was a killer. Thanking that girl who pushed me to race her to the top - as I whispered to you jokingly, "You WILL not win."
Post Race Food: Again, another tasteless joke. I was walking in circles trying to find the post-race food. They provided us with a banana, dried fruits (that could probably feed a bird) and a small bag of pretzels. At this point, I wanted to give back the tutu and tiara for some protein bar. They did have burgers and salads outside where the expo was, but something that heavy is not what I tend to eat after a long run.
The WINE tasting: So, after swallowing the banana whole, I headed for my free 2 oz. wine tasting in my own personal Diva wine glass. Word. This running diva is happy.
Final thought: Divas is a great race to do for first timers, but I don't think it's worth over $165 to do this race again... even if you try to bribe me with light up tutus and pixie dust.