What a great race!
My first ever Rock n’ Roll race also happens to be Erica’s first half marathon ever. Completing it was going to be a challenge for her: two months of training in record breaking LA heat. Could it be done?
After hearing that she and her coworkers (Blair and Belinda) were going to be participating in this half marathon, I couldn’t help but register for this one and join them. I decided this time to leave crazy-time obsessed Albert behind and only had one goal in mind: to get her across the finish line, no matter what time. A half marathon is serious business!
But enough of that, onto the actual race itself.
Seeing as how this is my first Rock n’ Roll race, this was a very organized and well thought out expo at the LA Convention Center. There was Brooks, Nike, Jamba Juice, MarathON bars, Gatorade, Garmin, and a bunch of other sports brands I can’t name right now. Jamba Juice was giving away coupons provided you spin their wheel, MarathON was giving away their energy bars, and of course, Rock n’ Roll was selling gear. I have a feeling other Rock n’ Roll events I do in the future are going to look similar, if not exactly like this.
Rock n’ Roll sets the Los Angeles race to be right during Halloween weekend, which means pumpkins! And costumes! And other wacky Halloween things.
All in all, there was so much swag that came from this expo that I only showed the ones with Rock n’ Roll in them.
The race began at 7:30am at LA Live, meaning the area between the Staples Center and LA Convention Center on Figueroa. I got up at 5am, dressed up in my normal gear, and drove over to LA. Erica, Blair, and Belinda would be taking the Metro from Downtown LA to the area.
One thing I realized when it comes to big events in LA that I should’ve realized a lot earlier was traffic. LA traffic is horrendous. As an LA native it was something I should’ve considered. I was sitting on the intersection between the 10 and the 110, just at the exit Rock n’ Roll recommended to get to the parking lot at around 6:30am. I thought, no big deal, I’m only about a mile away.
At 6:45, I moved 20 feet.
7:00, I can see the course from the freeway and people are lining up.
7:15, people have given up and walked on the shoulder to the exit. I’m getting antsy.
7:25, I give up, take the 110 north and park somewhere north of the Staples Center. There is absolutely no traffic and I dash out of the parking lot as soon as I can.
I then arrive at the starting line and the first corral is already out the door. There was no time for gear check in, entrance reviews, or anything like that. Erica and her coworkers were at Corral 10 (out of 20! This is a HUGE race) and were ready to go.
A couple minutes later and some shuffling and we were off!
The course itself was great. It starts at the Staples Center, heads towards USC, routes around the LA Memorial Coliseum, and turns around heading towards Little Tokyo before coming back to the Staples Center. It’s also a pretty flat course; the only hilly part was an incline up a bridge across the LA River.
I hear that Rock n’ Roll frequently enlists cheer squads and bands throughout the course, and they certainly did not disappoint every time we passed them. Because of all the turnaround points, the water and aid stations that were intended for opposing runners looked like they were for us but in fact were not.
As is typical for an LA race, a celebrity here and there will run. At the LA Marathon back in March, it was Chef Gordon Ramsay. This time, it was Will Ferrell!
Again, as a Halloween course, most people dressed up! There were multiple Elvis impersonators and several brides dressed up as if they were running from a wedding. I found Waldo about 5 times, as well as a smurf. Erica and Blair dressed up as pumpkins and Belinda as a bunny. This was what made the course so fun and exciting.
At mile 10, you get a great view of Downtown LA as well. It was also the time of the race when I realized just how unusually hot LA can be in late October.
When we were approaching the finish, we could hear that Gangnam Style decided to make an entrance at the finish line. Hearing this about a third of the mile away, Erica and I sprinted from then on for a strong finish, hopping and dancing like PSY all the way in the streets of LA.
We finished right when the song ended, and with a time of 2:54:26. Great job for a first half marathon! Here’s hoping for another half sometime in the future 🙂
All in all, this was a great race for first time runners. Rock n’ Roll knows how to hold an event, and hold it very well especially for first timers. I am excited to see their other races throughout the country next year and with my tour pass, I’ll definitely be running this one again in 2013.