Mermaid Half Marathon San Diego Race Recap
SPOILER ALERT: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY, AND I'LL PR IF I WANT TO.
The past two years we have worked on my birthday (I know, cry me a river) so this year although we were working again, I wanted to try to squeeze in something I LOVE...running!
I was so delighted to find out there was a half marathon on Saturday, February 9, in San Diego and once I did all the routing and realized I could make it happen and still be at our first event (of two) by 10:30 a.m. I locked it in.
This was going to be my first all-female race so here is a little more information about the Mermaid Series...
MERMAID SERIES MISSION STATEMENT: Mermaid Series is building a welcoming community that inspires women from all backgrounds to uncover and realize their true potential.
Mermaid Series strives to serve as a catalyst for change in women's lives as they set and discover new goals for themselves in fitness and in life. By providing training, support, motivation and eco-friendly events we are committed to the pursuit of our participants healthy lifestyle.
Our events aim to provide an opportunity for positive change while making each woman regardless of their ability to feel welcome.
RACES PROVIDED: The Mermaid Series holds events in San Diego, Arizona, East Bay and San Francisco (so mostly, Callifornia) from half marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks, duathlons, triathlons and even mini races for the kids.
PACKET PICK UP AND SWAG:
-Picking up my BIB has never been easier. Runners could stop by to get their BIB, safety pins, shirt and 15% off any Sports Authority purchase on Thursday at the Carmel Mountain Sports Authority location. If you couldn't make it on Thursday, there was another pick up on Friday at Mission Bay Hilton Spa and Resort.
And my favorite: the Mermaid Series provides race day packet pick up!
With us traveling and working a lot, sometimes I find these really great races nearby or within driving distance but I can't sign up because I can't make it to the packet pick up due to work (cough* cough* Rock 'N' Roll Series cough*).
-I made it to the Carmel Mountain Sports Authority and was greeted by the most cheerful group of people (who says Southern Californians aren't nice). I got my BIB # for the half marathon (which contained my lucky #6--good sign), safety pins and the race provided tee. This has to be the BEST race shirt I have ever received and by far the most comfortable. Another perk was that you weren't married to the size you entered at registration. The staff were helpful and let me change my shirt size from a medium to a small. Success.
The race took place at beautiful Mission Bay as the half marathon kicked off around 7:20 a.m. from Tecolote Shores North, wrapping around Fiesta Island twice before heading south, turning around, heading north, turning back around and racing to the finish.
My ONLY complaint for this race...and maybe it should be worded as "wish" instead of "complaint" ...is I wish they would close the course for this event. Towards the end of the half marathon (as runners are heading north) you start to share the small running path with recreational runners (not part of the race), walkers, stroller moms and dads, dog walkers, etc. You are constantly weaving or yelling "On your left!" or "On your right!" towards the end of the race.
Also, there appears to have been some confusion in regards to the course markings and course map as I heard a few half marathoners ended up running 15 miles versus 13.1 (assuming they went around Fiesta Island three times versus two). I think they did a great job of explaining this over the microphone before the race, but maybe a more detailed course map would be more helpful to us all.
I think some runners were also confused or misguided as the 10K and half marathoners shared the course, so maybe another wish would be to color-code and dumb down the course markings as much as possible (although I thought they were pretty clear and the volunteers were amazing!)
Here's where it gets all mushy gushy.
I would like to thank the Mermaid Series and specifically Head Coach/Founder of Team Mermaid Heidi Boynton for making my birthday so special.
As you can see from the picture above, I sported a super schmancy "Happy Birthday" crown from Wal-Mart (I think I got a five-pack for a $1) for the race. While waiting at the starting line, Heidi Boynton spotted my "Happy Birthday" headgear, asked me for my name and proceeded to have the entire crowd sing "Happy Birthday" to me.
Although embarrassed and beat red, this MADE my DAY (and I think it made my Mom's day to as she caught it all on video). I wanted to find Heidi after the race and personally thank her, but I had to run through the finish line straight to our van parked about a mile away and hightail it back to our hotel, shower and get to our first activation.
A big thanks to my mom as well for waking up at the crack of dawn "for fun" while on vacation to see us and to all the volunteers and fellow runners for yelling "Happy Birthday." I have never felt so welcome and so "at home." I really felt like I was just hanging out with some of my favorite San Diego gals sharing a passion and love for our favorite sport.
Alright, so enough blabbing...how did I do?
I took a trip to PR City, baby. It's my birthday and I'll PR if I want to....kind of.
My watch registered the course a hair short at 12.82 despite following all directions, looping Fiesta Island twice and turning around outside all cones. I don't know whether my watch didn't pick up the turnarounds because they were on the same path, if I hugged the lanes too tightly or if the course was really just a little short. Either way, I'm still happy and will still count it as a PR.
Here's the breakdown:
MILE 1: 7:18 Apparently I'll never learn my lesson.
MILE 2: 7:52
MILE 3: 7:58
MILE 4: 7:57
MILE 5: 7:58 I spent my first few miles clinging to the gal in front of me to make sure I was going the right way.
MILE 6: 8:09 How long did you really think you could hold on to the 7's, lets snap back to reality shall we?
MILE 7: 8:21
MILE 8: 8:29
MILE 9: 8:33 This is more like it.
MILE 10: 8:49
MILE 11: 8:35
MILE 12: 8:58 Seriously, you cannot stop unless you want your staff to abandon you due to your stench. MUST GET BACK TO HOTEL TO SHOWER.
.82: 7:08 pace Bring on the hot water!
Watch time: 1:46:10
Chip time: 1:46:09 PR
Just another reason why I love this race...
After each runner crosses the finish line they are handed a bottle of water with their finisher's charm attached. I LOVE THIS IDEA. I would much rather have a charm for every race and create a sweet necklace to wear daily and remind me of my accomplishments versus a huge honkin' medal that collects dust in the basement.
And since we travel full-time for our jobs, our suitcase space is precious and I really appreciated receiving this precious charm (more than you know) versus a hefty medal that will inevitably top my suitcase over the required weight limit.
Once again...THANK YOU, Mermaid Series for putting on such a spectacular race and for making my birthday so special. I just might have to move to San Diego to make this a yearly tradition. :)
Why I would recommend this race:
-Location: Who doesn't love sunny San Diego? Plus, the Mission Bay course is gorgeous!
-The PRICE IS RIGHT: if you register early enough the entry fee for the half marathon is $50, worst case scenario $60 (still cheaper than a lot of half marathons out there).
-The atmosphere: this is just a fun-loving race, surrounded by amazing women all sharing their love for running.
-Swag: the race provided t-shirts are super comfy and the finisher's charms are a unique touch!
-Fun for everyone: If you have a large group of girl friends or family, there's fun for everyone with the 5K, 10K, mini kids run and half marathon options.
-Timing: My race results were e-mailed to me directly after the race. Nice touch.
-Costume Contest: How did I forget to mention the costume contest? One lucky mermaid clad lady at each Mermaid Series event will be crowned a winner and receive a free race entry and $100 Mermaid apparel gift certificate.
This gal must have won, right?
Find your next Mermaid Series race at: http://www.mermaidseries.com