Mermaid Series Half Marathon San Diego Recap

Sunrise in San Diego
On February 8, I ran my first of two half marathons to celebrate my birthday. I made the trip back to San Diego to escape the brutal winter in the Midwest and to run this specific race for the second time. To me (and probably to many), America's Finest City is a runner's paradise and what Casey and I like to call the "Hawaii of the Mainland." You don't have to twist my arm (or his) to venture back.

Anyway back to the race...I loved how small it was last year, the beautiful course (I'm not from San Diego nor do I currently reside in SD so running around Mission Bay/Fiesta Island never gets old) and I just really appreciate how this organization empowers women and encourages them to just get out there and move.

The Mermaid Series is welcoming to women (and men) of all shapes and sizes and is more of a laid back, fun-loving, first timer(s) kind of race featuring a half marathon, 10K, 5K and Mini Mermaid run. It's perfect for the entire family or for a group of gals of all different paces/distances.

Bottom line: It's a "feel good" race and a refreshing reminder as to why I love to run and to encourage others to do so. It's a race full of smiles, encouragement and fun. The perfect kind of race. 

PARKING

Although there were some major course changes this year (for the better) parking was a cinch. It's an out and back course but the start was a little further away from the finish this year. Luckily, I had the best support system a gal could ask for so Casey saw me off at the start, went and grabbed coffee and then parked at the finish (yes, I know how lucky I am).


COURSE

Last year
, I mentioned that the only improvements I would suggest would be more signage (with three races, runners were confused as to which course/how many laps to follow), close the course (as the path was/is open to the public) and the laps around Fiesta Island had to go as many runners did too many or not enough. Plus, my watch had registered the course as short. This year, I noticed an increase in the registration price and I think the reason was because they addressed all the issues listed above. There was way more signage this year, so unless you're a complete moron you could easily figure out where you were going as each sign was labeled and color coded for the appropriate race/course.


Instead of multiple laps around Fiesta Island, the new and improved out and back course featured just one lap and part of the course was actually closed to traffic--it was great! Plus, the half marathon, 10K and 5K all had different start times. Perfect.

CHARM/RACE SHIRT

Because I live out of a suitcase, space is crucial. I love how the Mermaid Series provides a charm instead of a medal and every year they change their theme so you'll never end up with two of the same. This year, they even provided a chain with the charm so you finished with a bonified necklace. Stellar!


As always, I think their race tech tees are some of the most comfortable I've ever received (and I've ran a few races) except I had to giggle at little bit because the shirt/charm says "Run Beautiful" but girlfriend looks like she's struggling with that crazy form. I know, I'm a horrible person.



FINISH

I love how they provided a tent where you could instantly look up your race results. Even better, if you didn't want to stick around after the race they send you an e-mail maybe 10-15 minutes after your finish with your official time. Again, awesome.

When it comes to my results...

I had not run 13.1 miles or even 13 miles prior to this race since coming back from injury in November. Nine miles (on 2/2 nonetheless) was my furthest distance and I honestly was just doing this race to celebrate my birthday but most importantly to have fun. I had no expectations, only that I was hoping to finish without having any problems with my knee. As part of my 2014 goals, I didn't wear a watch. Towards the end of the race I was dragging ass and I really thought that I was going to be lucky if I came in under two hours. I crossed the finish line, collected a "Cutie" (tangerine), banana and water and started walking towards where I had seen Casey near the finish. As I was walking towards Case, I caught a glimpse of the clock. It read: 1:46:XX.


I did a quick double-take and was absolutely in SHOCK. I was running on feel, and I felt slow as molasses. I even stopped to walk around mile 10 to do some breathing exercises to get rid of a side stitch. I didn't carry water, so I stopped at every water station. I knew it wasn't my best performance and I didn't feel great. We had less than 5 hours of sleep so maybe I was seeing the wrong numbers on the clock? I blinked again. Sure enough, the clock read 1:46:XX.

I hugged and kissed Case and quickly exclaimed that I thought I may have matched my time from last year (on 2 healthy knees 2 weeks post RNRAZ) or barely squeaked out a PR. I also reiterated that I had no idea how that happened because I estimated that I was going to squeeze in under 2 hours, that I had stopped and there was a little hill/bridge added to the course this year as we ran towards the Pacific Beach condos (tiny hill but I wasn't expecting it as the race was completely pancake flat last year).
The clock must be wrong.

Cheering for some other amazing gals as they crossed the finish.
We should all CHEER for each other, not compare.
Apparently, running without a watch is a good thing. You really take in everything, and your time is more like a fun little surprise at the finish. After checking out the small post-race (which is fine by me) we went to the results station and sure enough I somehow managed to PR at 1:45:58 (4th in my age group/25th female overall out of 628).


We cheered for some of the other runners at the finish, took some pictures and then we were out of there to catch breakfast at one of our favorite DENVER hotspots, Snooze. The Sweet Potato Pancakes were calling my name (runners know, you clock the miles so you can overindulge later). I've blogged about Snooze before so I'll spare you this time, but we love that they have a location in our second favorite city and we always try to stop by albeit in 5280 or SD. Check 'em out if you get the chance, you won't be disappointed.


I couldn't have asked for a better race or a better day to kick off my birthday weekend. To learn more about the Mermaid Series or any of their upcoming races check out their official website

As always, thank you Casey. Thank you for waking up at 5 a.m. just after a few hours of sleep, for being my biggest supporter, my best friend, partner in crime and my rock. You're truly my better half and you make me the happiest and the luckiest lady on this planet. THANK YOU! 

HAVE YOU PARTICIPATED IN A RACE WITH THE MERMAID SERIES?

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