Fitness, Race Recaps

America’s Finest City Half Marathon Race Recap

I want to start this race recap by giving a HUGE shout out to everyone who helped make America’s Finest City possible. This was the most organized race I’ve ever ran and really appreciate all the handwork and effort that must have gone into planning.

Everything from the expo to having a water station every mile was flawless!

THANK YOU!

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Having a little fun at the expo!

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All the race essentials: Nuun, fuel, bib & race shirt!

There were a lot of elements to this race since it was a point to point course starting at Cabrillo National Monument and ending at Balboa Park. Due to heat concerns the race was scheduled to begin at 6:30 am which resulted in a VERY early wake up call. My mom and I both get stressed easily so we made a point to arrive at Balboa Park at 4:30 am to catch one of the early shuttles. OUCH!

There were VERY strict rules that you had to take the shuttles to the start and if you missed the shuttles…welp you weren’t running the race. Thankfully we were there early enough so there were no issues catching a shuttle and were able to relax on the 30 minute bus ride to the start line. Real talk, traffic getting into Balboa Park was awful as we shuttled off and I highly doubt some people made it to the shuttles in time. If you ever do this race save yourself a heart attack and just get there early- shuttles started at 4:00 am.

The starting area at Cabrillo National Monument was absolutely stunning. You have the most incredible view of downtown San Diego and it was shockingly very calming to just stare out at the water watching the sky turn from pitch black to dawn.

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Very early morning views of downtown San Diego.

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Triple Crown 2016 crew!

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So proud of Bryce for running his 3rd half marathon!

At 6:15 am Bryce, my mom and I started moving towards the start line. After the gun went off things turned into a mess.  The course bottle-necked early on, which caused eager racers to cut across preserved lands in a panic. Racers had very strict rules not to venture off the designated course out of respect for the national park. At one point, one racer even freak out screaming profanities at the trespassing racers. Basically, it was a hot mess. 

My mom, Bryce and I couldn’t help but laugh at the whole situation. Come on…your race time is not as important as respecting protected lands. Breaking course rules can result in us not being allowed to run in these incredible places! So calm the F down people!

After that initial hiccup we were off! The week before America’s Finest City my mom was experiencing sharp knee pain and wan’t sure she would even be able to run. But considering she’d come so far and this was the last race in the Triple Crown she decided to run and I decided I would run with her just in case something happened. I mean..how awful if her knee blew out at like mile 2! Bryce on the other hand was feeling great leading into this race and sped ahead of us at his own pace.

The course starts off downhill across the national park then through the Point Loma neighborhoods where people were out cheering in front of their houses handing out shots of tequila and Bacardi. EW! I loved this stretch looking at all the beautiful homes and crazy signs people were holding. My mom and I were feeling great and keeping a very steady 9:30/ mile pace making a point not go too fast and burn out on that downhill stretch. 

The race then levels out as you run along the San Diego bay and Harbor Island. This part was kind of obnoxious. I could just tell that the race designers added this part to tack on some extra mileage. There was no shade, just a nice little out and back for miles 6-8…good times. Thankfully, since we started so early it wasn’t too hot on this stretch. We got lucky.

The final part of the race goes past Waterfront Park and the Star of India. Finally, at mile 10 it turns up into the heart of downtown San Diego where the dreaded hill begins. This part of the race had misters, tons of water and even tiny hamburgers…WHO ON EARTH WANTS A BURGER WHILE RUNNING A HALF MARATHON? But they really did offer everything you possibly needed for that final push up the hill into Balboa Park. Thanks again AFC!

AFC is known for the awful hill at the end back up into Balboa Park. Miles 11-12.5 are pretty much all uphill. At this point we caught up with Bryce who had burned out from his fast start. I checked in with my mom who said her knee felt fine and Bryce who said he wanted to stay at his own pace, so I took off to power up the hill. Call me crazy but I love running hills. I primarily train by trail running so I am very comfortable on hills and like to just sprint up them instead of going slow and steady. 

The last half mile was all flat through beautiful Balboa Park and there was tons of people on the sidelines cheering you on! 

I ended up finishing in 2:06:26 which is my slowest half marathon to date but honestly I enjoyed this race so much because I wasn’t racing for time and simply ran for fun and to take in the beautiful views of San Diego. My mom finished in 2:09:37 and Bryce in 2:10:19 WOO HOO!

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Go Mom!

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Bryce was easy to spot on the course with those green shorts!

We celebrated being TRIPLE CROWN FINISHERS by snapping some pictures and chugging water. But since there wasn’t a beer garden (WTF AFC?! My only complaint) we soon left to go back to my house to meet up with my dad and spend the rest of the day eating breakfast burritos, drinking bloody mary’s and laying by the pool.

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I’m so proud of all of us for completing something as challenging as the Triple Crown. It’s been exhausting having a half marathon every couple of months but it has really kept me focused and in check. I highly recommend any San Diegan’s who are looking for a challenge to do the Triple Crown in 2017. It starts in January with the Carlsbad Half Marathon so you can start the new year off right!

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Feeling like Michael Phelps over here!

Your Turn,

Have you ever done a half marathon just for fun?

Have you ever stopped and had a shot or something crazy that people were handing out on the sidelines? I’m always so tempted to!

Have you ever done the San Diego Triple Crown?

 

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17 Comments

  • Reply Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie August 23, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Awesome job to all three of you!! That definitely sounds tough having a half marathon every few months but you all rocked it! Loved reading this recap πŸ™‚
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Strawberry Lemon RosΓ© SangriaMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker August 23, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Thank you!!! It hasn’t been easy but has really kept me focused…now i’m low key freaking out with 0 races planned.

  • Reply Susan Becker August 23, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Great recap, Di. It really was a fantastic race. I’m so proud of us! Thank you again for hanging back with me to make sure I was doing ok. Love how we just chatted during the whole race πŸ™‚ Now onto the next adventure….

    • Reply Diana Becker August 23, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Aww you are very welcome! Chatting was way more run than running hard! I say San Dieguito next…it’s sponsored by Stone, Ballast Point and Coronado Brewery on Feb 14th!

  • Reply Shaniece August 23, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Great job to you all!
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    • Reply Diana Becker August 23, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Thank you so much <3

  • Reply Amanda @ Exploring Life & Things August 23, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Great job! This sounds like such a fun race! But no beer tent at the end?! I’d be bummed too:) I’ve never done a shot or had a beer during a long race or even the candy during the Hot Chocolate Race either.. Haha none of it sounds tempting to me! My dad and I did do a race recently that’s kind of like a Mud Run/Tough Mudder and we definitely had a beer during it when we got towards the end.. we did that one totally just for fun!

    • Reply Diana Becker August 25, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Thank you!! I can’t ever eat the chocolate during the hot chocolate run either..but I do stash it in my pockets for later haha!

  • Reply Kellen McAvoy August 23, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Great job Diana! I am so proud of you, Bryce, and your mom! To think you’ve run 3 halfs and 1 full this year (plus all the halfs during your training runs πŸ˜‰ ). What an accomplishment! I hated the burgers at AFC too btw haha
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    • Reply Diana Becker August 25, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Thank you so so much πŸ™‚ I’m so excited for you to do the Triple Crown next year!

  • Reply grace @ the smokin' chemist August 24, 2016 at 8:08 am

    what an excellent play by play of the race, i feel like i was there! congratulations, what a huge accomplishment, keep on going ☺

    • Reply Diana Becker August 25, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Thank so very much!

  • Reply Liv @ Healthy Liv August 24, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    I love the Triple Crown idea! It’d keep me motivated for sure. All of the races I’ve done have been in downtown Raleigh or Chapel Hill, NC, so lots of highway/street views but I bet this race had BEAUTIFUL views!
    Liv @ Healthy Liv recently posted…Simple Vegetarian Fajita BowlsMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker August 25, 2016 at 10:17 am

      The views were STUNNING! I’ve heard the do Triple Crown series all over the country– def look into it or any race series! It’s so get to keep you focused and motivated πŸ™‚

  • Reply Irene August 25, 2016 at 11:40 am

    THis is so inspiring! I love the post:)

    irenethayer.com

    • Reply Diana Becker August 25, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks Irene πŸ™‚

  • Reply Emily August 26, 2016 at 8:13 am

    That is SO cool that you and your mom and Bryce did it together; congratulations on a Triple Crown finish! It looks like there were some really awesome beautiful views on the run. And I think you got an amazing time! πŸ™‚
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