Saturday, September 8, 2012

Camp Pendleton Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon 2012

Camp Pendleton Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon was amazing. It was my first time running this half. The race started at about 0840 in the morning. Military personal were in the 1st wave and civilians were in the 3rd wave. I have no idea what was the 2nd wave. It didn't matter, it was already hot.  My running pal, Ann ran this race with me and she drove. We arrived at the Las Pulgas (area 43) at 0630 to register for the race. The temperature was 69 and had little humidity.  Registration could have been done online, but we choose to register the same day.  It was very easy and extremely well organized event. The volunteers were some civilians but mostly Marines. As we waited for the race to begin, two Marines asked Ann what kind of watch she was wearing.  Ann wears a Garmin that is many years old. She has been running marathons & halves for over 10 years!  We joked later saying these guys probably thought the watch was a laptop! There were plenty of porta potties, very cool wash stations, and bleaches for runners and families to sit in.  The Marine Corps thought of everything! 
The race is time chipped. I did wear my snazzy Timex watch and hit it as I crossed over the timing pad start to finish. At about 0840ish when the civilians started their race.  I would guess the temperature was about 78 degrees.  There was no wind.  The course was paved for about 3/4 of a mile, then turned into dirt/gravel road taking you though base around the barracks.  The race started with a couple of small hills then at the 2 mile marker, we began to climb up a hill.  According to Ann's Garmin this hill went up for almost a full mile. This was Heartbreak Ridge and I did walk for about half of this hill. I tried to trudge up it off and on, but mostly I walked. I found this picture from another blog site showing the climb up Heartbreak Ridge. Yes it's hard!
The camera guy took my picture coming back up the other side. Can't wait to see me walking again! At the top there was a water/g-raid station! Yippee! These stations were about every one to two miles and strategically place the stations were you would need it the most. Love that! Thank you Marines!  Coming down Heartbreak Ridge was hard! It was shorter than the other side, but steep.  The hills continued to run up and down through the miles.  The turn around was roughly the 6.5 mile area. The Marines cheered you on at every station. Heading back towards Heartbreak Ridge, was crazy HOT!  During miles 7, 8, and 9 there was no wind and no shade.  It gave me time to think about how extremely hot I was :)
Oddly the run back seemed easier. Maybe because I was having some symptoms of heat exhaustion!  I alternated water and g-raid at each aid station. Sometimes I dumped water over my head to cool off. Going back up Heartbreak Ridge was shorter distance up.  I had to walk again but not as long.  Once you get up & over Heartbreak Ridge, it was all down hill and faster.  If I had to guess, I would say the temperature was in the high 80's. The last 3 mile were easy.  I round the final 1/4 mile and found myself all alone heading into the last corral.  Awkward! All eyes on me and my sweaty, dirty self! The crowd cheered as I came through.  As I pasted over the finish timer, I was handed a yellow plastic strip and moved onto another group of Marines asking me for the strip at the bottom of my bib.  They had to help me because my fingers were all swollen and I had no dexterity. 
I pass some Marines on my way back.  I have been training over a year to run half marathons and soon a full marathon.  These guys just wake up, go out, and do it!  Marines are hard core!
After race offered more g-raid, water, bananas, & oranges. No frills here. They did have vendors set up for beer, dip-n-dots, and others you could purchase drink and food.  
My Timex read I finished the race in 2:29:31, but the time chip race results read:
Place Overall:  836 out of roughly 1166
Gun Time: 2:30:01
Chip Time: 2:30:01
Place in Age Division: 21 out of 37.

It's weird to see the Gun Time the same as my Chip Time. I was in the back of the wave 3.  My running pal, Ann, didn't even get posted. She was in the same age group as me. Guess there were are a few kinks to work out.  I would run this race again if the start time was going to be earlier in the morning. The race was so well organized & friendly volunteers. Thank you very much for allowing me to participate :)

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