Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Great Race of Agoura Hills (Pacific Half Marathon) Recap

The Great Race of Agoura Hills was my first half marathon and I signed up for it in preparation for the OC Marathon. I wanted to work out all my nutrition needs and get over the prerace jitters in a practice race. 

My husband and I drove over to Agoura Hills the day before the race to pick up my race packet and goodies. There was a group discount at the Sheraton which wasn't too far from the race start so we thought we'd make a mini trip out of it. 

Agoura Hills and the surrounding areas are so charming. I love the wide open spaces, the lack of hustle and bustle and the general friendliness of the community. Sometimes it's nice to get away from the chaos of LA. 

One of the many signs advertising the event in the city
I picked up my race packet right when the expo opened and we met a friend who lives out there who we hadn't seen in a while for lunch. Chatting and relaxing the day beforehand helped calm my nerves because this was my first race of this distance and to be honest, I was pretty nervous!

Race bag schwag!
I made a point of heading to bed early because I knew I'd spend much of the night tossing and turning, but atleast I'd be horizontal. I woke up around 3:30am to have a bagel with honey and to have time to digest it and then went back to sleep for a little bit.

I boarded the shuttle from the hotel to the race start about an hour before it began and chatted with some very nice ladies who were also running their first half marathon. It was dark for a while but the sun came up over Paramount Ranch, the movie set for many western films. Before I knew it we were casually lining up and then the gun went off! The weather was a cool 50 degrees at the start with some light mist but I prefer the cold over the heat any day! The Pacific Half course, which is a road course, is quite challenging with lots of long, gradual uphills. I was so happy that I made hill repeats a part of my training! There weren't alot of spectators along the course, but there were plenty of cheerful volunteers at the water stations. There was no shortage of water, electrolyte drink or energy gels. There were also lots of porta potties all along the course with no lines. The course takes you through all sorts of roads winding through the Santa Monica mountains, Malibou Lake, Old Agoura and by some of the prettiest homes you've ever seen. 

Totally geeky double-thumbs up

I ran better than I thought possible even though my nerves were a wreck at the start. I finished the race and was pretty tired but so ecstatic that I did it! My husband was so proud of me and I was so happy to see him at the finish line. The finish area at Chumash Park was bustling with excitement. There were so many breakfast foods to choose from but all the lines were too long for me so I grabbed an FRS drink and a banana before heading out to the car. 

I finished the race in 2:06:31 and had a smile on my face for the rest of the weekend! This is definitely a pretty course with all of the history of the area and backdrop of the Santa Monica mountains. It's challenging but with a little preparation, I think it's a great race with a small town feel.

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