Monterey Bay Half 2019 recap

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great.

This weekend I got to run the Monterey Bay half marathon. It was my first time running the event and I had an absolute blast!

I was registered to run the race in 2018 but it did not happen. Long story short, the weekend of the race, I was actually registered to run a different race in San Francisco. On Thursday of that weekend I got an email that the race in SF was cancelled due to the Camp Fire in Paradise (nearly 175 miles between the fire and SF but the air quality was so bad the air was thick and grey even that far away). My husband and I were so stir crazy being stuck indoors that we drove to Monterey (3 hours from where we live) and registered at the expo. Unfortunately the air quality turned so poor that same day that four hours after we registered, the race was cancelled. The race company was amazing and gave free deferral entries to anyone interested for 2019, which is how we ended up running it this year.

I had the great privilege to take over the Inspiring Women Runners Instagram for race weekend!

Saturday, November 9th

I asked my husband if we could splurge and drive part way to Monterey Friday night after work, and we were lucky to find an inexpensive hotel which allowed us to do that. 3 hours down on Saturday and 3 hours home on Sunday was going to be too much for me because I didn’t take any time off work for the event. I know my limits and that would have done me in.

Since we were part way to our destination, I invited some friends who live in the area we stayed at to do a shakeout run with me. It was so fun!

After our run I took a quick shower at the hotel and my husband and I stopped for my obligatory pre-race donut at Bun Apétit Donuts. I had the ube one and I loved it so much I might marry it.

Then we were off for a ride to Monterey.

Once we got to Monterey, we went straight to the expo. I got in and out pretty quickly from the expo because even though I’m not doing great at it, I have been trying to be diligent about no spend November (or in my case, just spend less for the love of your bank account, November). We did find the otter though, who I love.

After we picked up our stuff, we got some sandwiches and stopped in at the local Fleet Feet! I love my local Fleet Feet so it is fun to visit other ones.

Then it was time to go to the hotel for jumping on the bed boomerangs and eating spaghetti on the couch.

At the hotel I laid everything out, we ordered some salads, pasta and pizza (the pizza was for after the race because we wouldn’t have time to get food after we finished running because we had to check out of our hotel!). I got my flat runner ready and turned in really early because my alarm was set for 3:40 am. 😴

Sunday, November 10th

Because running a half marathon is not hard enough, my half was four weeks before my upcoming marathon which meant I had to run a total of 18 miles that day. I got to the race early, ran 4.25 miles with some friends, ran the race and then ran the rest of my miles after the race. That meant my run started well before 6:00 am. Talk about DARK AND EARLY!

The race started at 6:50 with the elite runners and went in waves based off your projected finish time. I was in a later wave but not the last one, but since I spent some time running before the race and ended up in the worlds longest bathroom line, I just hopped into the last corral and started with them. Took some pressure off me trying to start the race without a quick restroom break.

The views were amazing. You went through some neighborhoods of Monterey, then Cannery Row, then Pacific Grove and back. In Cannery Row while I was running with my friends, because it is an out and back, we saw the elites coming back. It was so awesome! Those runners are amazing.

The highlight of the race for me though was the tunnel we run through where there’s a DJ blasting beats with some awesome colored up lights in the tunnel and someone in a T-Rex costume giving high fives!

I mean, this is like everything I live for. Dance parties, DJs and Dinos.

The views were stunning along the way, and I saw a live piano player, some other DJs, two bag pipe players and a drumming group. Great on course entertainment! By the way – shout out to races that print your name on your bib. I love hearing people cheer my name while I run!

I felt like I was fading at some points of the course. I wasn’t taking in enough fuel and had to keep reminding myself to take more in. It was hard because I would look at my Garmin and see a certain number of miles and wonder why I was fading, but forgetting I had already run 4.2 before the race. I saved my pre-race run and restarted it when the race began so it wasn’t showing full morning mileage.

Eventually we neared the finish and though it was a beautiful race, I was ready to be done. I was tired. It was a long morning. So I gladly finished the race, rounded out my miles by running circles in the gear check parking lot, and called it a day.

I bid adieu to my friend Kerri who had run all day with me, and headed to the hotel to check out and shower.

Afterwards Mr. FtoF and I headed back to Cannery Row for some lunch and some treats. We split a hot fudge sundae which proved to be too big for even two of us to split. Back in my pre-healthier days I could have easily eaten this whole thing by myself. Glad I have changed my diet.

After some fun and goofing around, we knew it was time to head home since I had to work the next day. But we didn’t leave without a photo on the beach.

This half marathon is definitely my new favorite half. I loved the course, the entertainment, and as someone who plans everything obsessively, I greatly appreciated how well thought out every logistic for this race was.

I will definitely be back again for the Monterey Half soon! Have you ever run this race? What’s your favorite race you have ever run?

Cheers runners!

Vanessa

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