Monday, December 03, 2007

City of Angels Half Marathon Spectator Report

I had a bit of a disappointing Sunday morning, but ultimately it turned out OK. Yesterday was the City of Angels Half Marathon. This is the race that many of my friends were doing, but I broke ranks and am doing the Rose Bowl Half next weekend instead. I really do enjoy going out to watch races and the starting line was literally 2 miles from my home so of course I was there.

I had big plans for the race. I took some High School Musical 2 posters (which have an odd tri-connection) and added some words to them. My plan was to drive the course in the morning and hang a poster every 4 miles so that my friends could get that little extra boost along the course. The signs were extra large and they couldn't be hung just anywhere; I needed to find tall fences or walls to display them, so I knew it would be a challenge to find good locations. I got up extra early and drove out to around the mile 9-10 area. The problem is that the course map I had didn't have specific streets listed, and I couldn't find the course. I got there too early and workers were just starting to put out cones. When I did see cones, I couldn't tell if they were for the actual race course, or if they were just blocking traffic to prevent cars from turning on to the course. In some short sections where I DID know the course ran through, there were no good places to hang the signs.

After about a half hour of driving around lost and confused, I figured I'd just head back towards Griffith Park. The first 6 miles of the race were in the park, and I know the area well. I parked my car just outside the park, took my bike out of the trunk and started riding towards the course. Unfortunately, it was very cold and I forgot my gloves at home. And my helmet. It was a very strange feeling riding without a helmet, and I didn't like it at all.

I found a large metal sign around mile 3 advertising the special holiday lights display in the park. It was the perfect place for one of my signs, so I strapped it on. Looked great. Until the park ranger drove by and told me I couldn't cover up any park signs. I tried to explain to him that I was just trying to support the racers and that the sign would be gone in 2 hours, but he wasn't hearing any of that. I had to take it down. Instead of the signs being a surprise along the course, I just had to show them at the starting line.

I met up with Tri Team Tammy who was on her AWESOME 95-lb steel bike to watch the race. Right before the race started we rode about 2/10 of a mile down the course where I quickly hung up a sign. I hung up the wrong up. The sign said "What Time Is It?" "Time to pick up the pace!" Which would have looked great at Mile 10 but was pretty stupid after 2 minutes of running. Once the racers passed us we were able to cut over to Mile 4 where I did get to hang up one sign for them to see.

Tammy and I did some shopping along the road. There were TONS of abandoned sweatshirts from people stripping down after warming up a bit once they started running. I got a nice black hooded sweatshirt which I'll wear and abandon at my race next weekend.

Last year I rode my bike to the finish line to meet up with everybody, but I was just feeling so frustrated about the signs and I didn't like not having my helmet so after a final cheering stop (with Rene) around Mile 6, I just went home and back to bed.

Some of my tri-buds completed their very first half-marathons yesterday. Others had PRs. Overall, I guess you could say it was a pretty good day. As for my race next Saturday? Forty percent chance of rain.


Blogger Cliff Tam said...

At least (most) it is 60% sunny :)

10:36 AM  
Anonymous badler said...

We should have met-up: I was on bike & cheering (& cowbelling) from about mile 7 until the finish line.

I, too, thought that I could easily ride the course before the race. But, alas, odd street closures, strange cones, and mis/un-informed police officers made it difficult to find and follow the course, esp. the downtown parts.
--leah’s brian

3:02 PM  
Blogger Paulie said...

The Rose Bowl Half Mary will be my first running event. Let's hope it doesn't rain!

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea - I'm TOTALLY going shopping at the Rose Bowl Half!

8:17 AM  

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