1:33.22 is one of my slowest half marathons since I started competitively running. It really wasn’t what I planned to run at America’s Finest City Half Marathon, but that happened.
A couple of details about America’s Finest City Half Marathon bothered me:
- There was barely any electrolyte drink on the course. Not every water stop had it, and with the weather, they should have. Essentially I ran the race on a few cups of water and maybe a sip or two of Nuun. With the weather and really the distance in general, there should have been more.
- It cost between $10-20 to drop off a bag. America’s Finest City Half Marathon was already $141 to sign up. I paid another $20 to drop off my bag. It’s a point-to-point course, so there really wasn’t a way to stash your stuff.
For a $140 race, the least they could do would be to have appropriate fueling stations.
Anyway, I arrived in San Diego the night before and stayed with my brother and spouse.
America’s Finest City Half Marathon starts early. The race itself starts at 6:15 am, but the last bus leaves at 5:15 am. I got on a base that left around 5:10 and got to the race around 5:50. I went to the bathroom, reluctantly paid the $20 to drop off my bag, and at 6:15, we were off.
My ultimate goal was to run under 1:30, but as you can see, that didn’t happen. I started around the 1:30 pace group but was never in the group. The first mile felt like everyone was passing me. The first four miles are basically downhill with a couple of rolling hills. For me, it was probably too much downhill, and it felt like it took a toll on my feet and body. I hit the first mile of America’s Finest City Half Marathon around 6:52. I was already sweating, so I knew I was in trouble.
The second mile leveled off, and I ran a 6:50. It was at this point I knew I was working too hard for what I wanted to do. Running a 1:30 half means running a 6:52 pace for the entire 13.1 miles. It was the second mile of America’s Finest City Half Marathon, and I already felt tired and flat.
Miles 3-4 of America’s Finest City Half Marathon go down a steep downhill. To be honest, I don’t like steep downhills. I don’t really even like gradual downhills. I ran a 6:36 and 6:25 for each mile. Made up and “easy” time, I thought. While running a 6:25 mile, the 1:30 pacer for America’s Finest City Half Marathon pulled away. LOL, what? They were slightly ahead anyway, but for the 1:30 (6:52 per mile) pacer to pull away, they were going much faster than 6:25 mile. I find it funny of all of the miles I was dropped at; that was the one.
The next few miles of America’s Finest City Half Marathon are flat. I was happy with that because the downhill never felt good to me. I also never felt comfortable during the race. At each water stop, I asked who had Nuun, and over half of the time, they just said it was water only. I was surprised at such a large and expensive race for the lack of electrolyte drink. Plus, it was the hottest day San Diego has had all year. They should have electrolytes at every station. Ultimately the lack of electrolytes affected me towards the later miles.
I began extremely hot around mile 5. There is no shade on the course, and with the 80-degree temperature and 87% humidity, you could feel the heat! I just kept plugging along. I began running with a couple of males who stayed with me for most of the race. They never talked but were in the same general around.
My pace began to creep to the high 6:50s for miles 6,7,8 of America’s Finest City Half Marathon. They were fairly uneventful, but with the out and back, we can see the leaders. It was fun to see people in front, and it gave me some motivation. Later I realized Nell Rojas was running (she won).
The miles went by the Sheraton and gave a great view of San Diego. It was nice to be running and looking at the San Diego Harbor.
We headed back by the Sheraton Hotel and towards Balboa park. The next couple of miles of America’s Finest City Half Marathon were just focused on getting to the next mile. My body was toast, and I wasn’t feeling great. They warned us you might get stopped for the trolley around mile 10. Luckily, we didn’t.
As I headed around the corner, I knew that miles 11-12 of America’s Finest City Half Marathon were the toughest miles. You were climbing up. Everyone warned me about these hills. In fact, when I said I was doing the race, that’s all people talked about. Anyway, while 11-12 were extremely challenging, I don’t think they were “the worst hills ever,” but I think with the heat and it being the end of the course, I was not a fan.
Finally, we reached the top of the hill and entered Balboa Park. I was done. I was done with America’s Finest City Half Marathon 5 miles ago. I hit 13 miles and realized the end was still some time away. Finally, at 13.4 miles, I crossed the finish line at 1:33.22. All I could think was, “yikes.”
America’s Finest City Half Marathon Thoughts:
This wasn’t a great race for me, and for that, I am disappointed. In fact, 1:33.22 is one of my slowest half marathons since competitively running. But it is what it is. Many factors played a role from the start, including overall not feeling great, the heat and humidity, and the lack of electrolyte drinks. I probably would have run with a bottle if I had known about the lack of actual Nuun at the aid stations.
Anyway, it stinks with the lack of races that you have don’t go well. I know I’m in better shape than 1:33.22, and hopefully, the next race shows that.
You can see more race recaps here.
Questions for you:
Have you run America’s Finest City Half Marathon?
Have you raced a half marathon recently?