Hollywood Half 5K (or Not Starting Off My 2014 5Ks In The Best Way)

My first 5K of the year was this past Saturday. I had been looking forward to this for a while, but it ended up not being so great.

It started out on Thursday when I went to go pick up my bib number. I didn’t get my number for last year’s race because my friend Kate was doing the 5K as well and got both of our packets for us. So I didn’t know quite what to expect at the expo. Well, it was crazy! It took me about an hour to find parking, and once I got inside, there were so many vendor booths. I’m used to just going to a place where you pick up your number and that’s pretty much all that’s there. But this place had a ton of people inside and so many things for sale. I tried to get my number and shirt quickly and head out (I had parked at a meter and didn’t pay for a lot of time). Of course, as soon as I got back in my car, I had to get a selfie with my race number.

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On Friday night, I tried to go to bed early and I set multiple alarms to make sure I would get up in time.

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Fortunately, I woke up about 2 minutes before the first alarm, so that was pretty awesome. I hate waking up to the jarring sound of an alarm clock! I had a little bit of chocolate milk before leaving (I found that that’s easy enough on my stomach and I need to have a little something so I could take my painkillers) and I headed out the door.

Getting to the recommended parking lot wasn’t so great. They actually ended up blocking off the street right before you could turn into the lot. But I followed some other cars, made a couple of legally questionable u-turns, and was finally able to make it into the parking lot (I have no idea why they told us to park there if you couldn’t legally drive into the lot).

I got to the start line at about 5am. The race was set to start at 6 and it was very clear on the website that nobody was allowed to start after 6:15 so I wanted to make sure I was there nice and early.

I hung out around the start line for a bit.

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And then I saw a friend of mine (who is also a blogger) who was going to be a course angel for the 1/2 marathon.

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As a course angel, she raced to mile 9 and they stayed there and cheered on all the runners as they passed her. Then, after the last runner went by, she continued running her race.

After chatting with my friend for a minute, I realized that it was 5:40 and I should head back to my corral. I somehow moved up a couple of corrals compared to last year, but since I figured there might be runners behind me, I made sure I was on the very side (so I would be out of the way).

6am came, and nothing seemed to happen. For the next 20 minutes, my corral never moved forward. We had no idea if the race had even started. All that standing around was starting to hurt me, but I tried not to focus on that.

Finally, we started to move up. At 6:30am, we still hadn’t started yet.

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That was my best attempt of getting a picture of my watch (saying 6:29) and showing how far away we still were from the start line. We finally started around 6:35am and as soon as we got going, I realized that the course had been changed.

Last year the course was out and back (although the start and finish line were not in the same place). According to the website a few days before the race, that’s exactly what the race was supposed to be this year.

But as soon as we started, we turned a corner and walked down a side street (it was a slight downhill incline so we had to do the uphill to go back to Hollywood Blvd.). We ended up doing a couple of those side streets and all of them had at least a little elevation.

I was definitely not happy about this. Right when I started, my right hip (the one that has already had one surgery on it) started to hurt. The elevation changes did not help at all. But I pushed through. It was not a pretty race for me at all. I did enjoy some of the cool costumes, though. This one was the absolute best.

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I crossed the finish line in 1:03.36. That’s about 6 minutes slower than what I was doing toward the end of last year. While I was happy that I finished, I was pretty pissed that I was over the 1 hour mark again.

But I was very happy to get my medal and loved that it was a new color this year.

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After the race, I took the subway back to the start line (so I could get my car) and starting chatting with a few of the other racers. A bunch of people were unhappy about the side streets and their elevation changes. And people thought the race seemed long this year.

I went home and looked to see if the new course had been put on the website, and it had through Map My Run.

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This is almost what we did (except it’s missing 1 of the side streets we had to walk up and back on ). Even with it missing the street, it’s still longer than a 5K. With that missing street added on, I bet it was closer to 3.3 miles. That would help to explain my longer time.

While it wasn’t my best race, I still did it. I’m not doing as many 5Ks this year, so I’m being pretty selective about which races I sign up for. Right now, I’m unsure if I’ll do this one again next year. I’ll probably end up signing up for it because it is a fun event and people there are pretty nice.

My next 5K is a charity walk for the March of Dimes. And today happens to be the 5 year anniversary of Heather and Mike Spohr’s daughter, Maddie, passing away. I’m walking in memory of Maddie for this 5K and I’m hoping to raise some money for this event. If any of you could donate anything, I know that it would go a long way. And if you are in the LA area and want to join us, please feel free to join the team. All that information is on this link.

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