Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010: A Year in Races

My big New Year's running resolution, as you may remember, was to run a 15k. Looking back, it seems I had set my sights a little low. Because I hit that mark in March. So I had to change and review my goals. I created two branches of running goals.

The first was distance - with the 15k under my belt, I upped my goal to a half marathon, inspired mostly by H, who believed I could easily add 4 miles in 3 months.

The second branch had to do with frequency, a race a month. In 2010 I ran 14 races. And I learned a very valuable lesson - when you run a race every month, you're going to end up running some really awful races. You'll also get to learn about some really great races. I won't be repeating this goal next year, but it has definitely given me some insight into what races I'd like to work into my regular repertoire. (I already have my 2011 races mapped out.) I figured I'd share with you what I've learned in case you're looking for a Southern California race for 2011.

January - Resolution Run 5k: This one gets a big thumbs down. Maybe the most poorly organized of all the races I ran this year. I especially hated the finish line where it bottle necked and you came to a dead stop and then a shuffle. Luckily I wasn't running this one for time, because if I was, that would have bothered the heck out of me. AND there wasn't even a shirt!

February - Palm Springs Half Marathon/Relay/5k: This race gets a check. (Anyone else remember when your grades were minus, check, or plus? Things were easier then.) The course was nice and neighborhoody and flat. Long-sleeved shirt. I loved the idea of the relay if I had someone to run it with (who actually completed their part of the relay). The only downfall was no good expo/treats/goodie bag. I won't go out of my way to run this race again, but if you're ever in Palm Springs on Valentine's Day weekend I recommend it.

March - Spirit Run 15k: Every time I run a race in Newport Beach I swear it will be my last. This was no exception. It's just so repetitive to run circles around Fashion Island over and over and over again. Now that I've got a 15k under my belt, and am not running a race every month, I can legitimately avoid running here.

April - Carlsbad 5000: This race gets a HUGE plus in my book. I will definitely be doing this every year. First of all, the expo is great. Free stuff, great running supplies. Second, the course is nice and beachside. Third, the people running it are fun and great. Fourth, excellent beer garden. Better than most races because you get more than one beer and it's GOOD beer. I don't know that I ever would have taken part in this race without my "every month" goal, but I am so glad I discovered it.

May - Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon/10k/5k/1k: This is kind of a weird race. Especially because it's held the same day as the Orange County half marathon, which is arguably the largest race in the county. It's an out and back race, which isn't my favorite, and the course is kind of boring with nothing to look at but the people on the other side. I would recommend skipping this puppy too.

Del Mar Iron Girl: Honestly, I didn't even really want to run this race this year, but Thatmom really enjoyed herself last year. The problem with this race is poor organization. The course is fine, but really not designed to handle the number of people it brings in. And it gets worse every year. This year the expo ran out of everything before the race even started. Thatmom likes it because it's Mother's Day weekend. Although next year it's been moved to November, which means it might not have the same pull.

June - Villa Park 5k Progressive Marathon: I have to say, one of the reasons I like this race so much is because it's the only race I've placed in. It also suffers from poor organization in that there was WAY too much waiting before the race started and no expo whatsoever. I haven't added this one to my yearly calendar either, but this would be a great first time 5k for local residents.

July - Coronado Independence Day 15k/5k: What is it with poor organizations and races? I was really looking forward to this one since I love Coronado. But another out and back race without much room to run. And a surprising lack of post race festivities given the fact that it's one of the largest 4th celebrations in the county.

Coronado Sports Fiesta 10k: However, my moaning about the Independence Day race takes a back seat compared to this one. I did a lot of little races this year. Which is really great for training. And even pretty good for improving times. But you really have to be dedicated to run this race because it is freaking BORING. Since you run on base, you don't even get the lovely Coronado beach views. This is also a pass for next year.

August - America's Finest City Half Marathon: This race will always hold a special place in my heart as my first half marathon. And I think I'd like to run it every year, just to see how I improve. It's a tough race, especially the last 2 miles. But that makes it an even better achievement.

September - Disneyland 5k: Remember this one? The race with no pictures? This race also held high expectations that weren't met. What could be more fun than a race through Disneyland? Well, for starters a race through Disney that's not a PITA. A race where I don't have to come up a day early since you can't pick up your registration the day of. A race where they don't charge you a ridiculous amount to park. A race where they don't run out of medals. A race where there's some direction for people finishing the race so you can actually progress out of the park that you don't get a ticket to. Need I say more?

October - Walk on the Wild Side: This race gets to be less of a race every year, but I love it nonetheless. It seriously is great to walk through the park so early, and I love all the free stuff. It's the antithesis of a real race, but it's one of my favorite things to do in San Diego.

November - Race for the Cure 5k: I do this every year and don't see myself stopping any time soon. I love Balboa races. And it is such an amazing cause and an amazing group of runners. I used to cry every time I ran it. I don't anymore, but I still love it.

December - Jingle Bell 5k: You don't remember me writing about this one? That's because I just ran it yesterday. This is the first race I have ever run completely on my own. Normally Thatboy comes with me to cheer me on, but this weekend he was away on a surf trip to Mexico, so I headed out on my own.

Another Balboa Park race, this one attracts people of all ages. And it's a fun, seasonal race. I changed my running list to Christmas songs and tied some jingle bells to my shoes.

But I wasn't nearly as "in the spirit" as many of the other runners who went all out with their costumes.

I've never seen so many red hats!

And of course there were some celebrity appearances, like the fat man himself:

And is that Rudolph I see?

Of course, not everyone was dressed up for the season. Some people were decidedly.....well, let's just say they weren't wearing their holiday finest.

I didn't want to like this race. Mostly because there was NO information about it beforehand which I usually feel is a death knell for races. I knew nothing about the race, practically until I showed up. But it was a lot of fun. It was a different course through Balboa than I'm used to running, and I liked it. Less hills, and we got to run over the bridge twice! And I think I might have picked up a lifetime supply of Lara Bars following the race. I would definitely consider adding this to the 2011 race schedule. With some more festive attire, of course.

I have some new races to add in to my 2011 schedule, but you'll have to wait till next year to find out about them!


  1. What a great post and congrats for achieving your goal! My goals for this year with regards to running are to (a) not get seriously injured again, (b) run the Boston marathon, and (c) do 9 New York road runner races so I can run the NY marathon in 2012. Oy. Probably too many goals. Best to just REALLY focus on the first one.

  2. Good for you for getting out there so often this year! I just ran my first "Jingle Bell" run last weekend and yours looks like it was a lot warmer than mine! :) Keep up the good work!