Yes, another race recap. This won’t be as lengthy as my Big Sur Marathon recap and there aren’t any races coming up in the near future besides Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and 1/2 in June(MAMAROCKS for $10 off by the way- it’s still not too late) so this will be it for a bit.
Let’s talk about the race Sunday.
Pre-race meal was the same as it has been the past few races. No cheese chicken and veggie pizza. This one was my homemade pizza though. It’s nice to be able to eat at home before a race.
This was the fourth year of the annual Safari Park Half Marathon. They added a 10K run in this year also.
This was my third year running (I missed it last year). I had three big reasons I really wanted to run it again this year:
It is a small local race that the boys were really excited about.
STUFT Daddy works there so I had to represent.
The proceeds from this year’s race, presented by Health Net, will benefit cheetah care at the Safari Park as well as San Diego Zoo Global’s Wildlife Conservancy’s worldwide conservation efforts to help save cheetahs and other endangered species in the wild.
So yes, it was my third weekend racing in a row (after two full marathons in Boston and Big Sur), but the boys were really excited about this one. Especially because they got to ride a special shuttle to the park and because the top three overall finishers won stuffed animals. I was going after one of those, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.
The race started at 6:30 am and was a point to point course from the mall to the Safari Park. It was an early morning for all of us.
The boys and I drove to the mall parking lot and met up with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law who so graciously volunteered to go to the park with the boys while I ran. We parted ways quickly and they were off to the shuttles before the roads closed.
I was off to pick up my race number and such.
That’s one thing I really like about smaller races. It’s nice being able to just show up the day of and pick up your number. Things were pretty low key. Unfortunately I didn’t pick up a shirt because I didn’t have time to gear check it and I wasn’t going to run carrying it the whole time. I’m hoping STUFT Daddy can get me one somehow.
With this race, they have an option for racers to raise $500 to become a Wildlife Champion.
The money they raise goes to the conservation efforts to help the animals (this year it was the cheetahs) and they get special VIP treatment on race day along with a free entry for the race.
The start was pretty mellow also, but I got excited when I saw this guy.
I stood up by the 7:00 minute pace group. I thought maybe I’d be able to go fast, but wasn’t sure quite how my body would feel.
I bumped into my cute and speedy friend Meredith right before the race started.
The race started right on time. The course was pretty quiet the whole time.
From the mall the course ran through San Pasqual Valley past vineyards, golf courses and some orange groves. It was a nice flat course towards the park and then around mile 6 it went through the back of the park and there was a monster of a hill.
(Thank you Mikey for the picture.)
(Thank you Claire for this picture.)
Yeah, that hill was not fun, especially because it was on soft sand. Not only was I struggling to get up it, but my feet were slipping at the same time. It was a little rough.
After the hill the course ran back on the roads outside on the park until another big hill around mile 11 through a neighborhood. At least that one was on the street and once I got to the top it was all downhill through the park to the finish. The last mile ran through the park and by the elephants and a few other animals. The finish was by the cheetahs. How fitting.
A pretty cool place to finish a half marathon if you ask me.
Not only was my brother-in-law watching the boys, but he got a couple of cool pictures as I passed by also.
I’ve always got this weird side mouth thing when I’m tired. Ha ha.
My race was so so. I started out a little too fast. I managed to keep a steady pace though for a while. I had a vanilla GU around mile 9 after that big hill, but still lost steam about mile 10. I felt pretty good until then although I just couldn’t get my breathing down. I think it was probably because of this darn head cold I’ve got going on. The last three miles were a struggle.
I was the second place female for the majority of the race, but I got passed by two young blonde girls right around mile 10.5 or so. I tried to catch them because I really wanted to get a darn stuffed animal for the boys, but it just wasn’t happening.
But, I DID hear the boys yell “Mommy” and got to wave to them as I passed. THAT was awesome.
I was slower this time than I was when I ran this same race two years ago, but hey, I don’t mind. I ‘m just thankful I could pull off what I did after two other big races back to back.
Yep, 4th female and the top three got stuffed animals.
The first thing Judah asked me was if I won a special animal for him. I said “no”. He asked why I didn’t run faster. I told him I tried. And that I did. I really did, but darn it, it just didn’t happen.
I did get a pretty cool medal though.
Huge congrats to my friend Cara who ran her first ever 10K. Yay Cara!
I’m so proud of her. She rocks.
So does this guy who was at the finish to greet everyone.
He’s a meerkat, right?
The cheetahs were right there at the finish also.
There was lots of goodies at the end.
I made sure to stock up on a few things. Some fruit, some donut holes and a couple Core Power drinks.
I found my friend Meredith again at the end. She placed in her age group.
There was a pretty long walk after the finish to meet up with family, etc. We got some bags and a lot of cheers from these volunteers though.
I love, love, love races where I get to squeeze my boys at the end. And I love that they get so excited to go to one of “mommy’s races”.
I do not love this next picture, but thought you might get a kick out of it.
Ha ha. Lovely.
Here are my real heroes. I can’t thank them enough for getting up early and watching the boys for me.
I know, we owe them big time.
We walked around the park for a bit to kill some time before awards. (Each runner got a free pass into the park for the day.)
Yep, we walked right on by the awards table with the coveted animals.
Luckily the KIND bars were close by to distract us.
I’m super excited about these new ones by the way.
We made sure to check out the elephants while we were in the area.
Then a certain someone decided to come say hi really quick during his work day.
Family affair. Hey hey.
We also checked out the whole Roar and Snore thing. We’re adding that to the list of family fun things we want to do.
Yeah, you get to sleep here right by the elephants. How cool is that?
We finally parted ways and headed out.
We can never pass this rhino without taking a picture.
Shuttles were lined up ready to take racers back to the mall. It’s always nice when you don’t have to wait in line for a shuttle afterwards.
It was one heck of a fun shuttle ride with these two.
It drove along the course that we had just run.
Once we got back we had to take a little stroll through the mall to get back to the car. I discovered that there is now a Lorna Jane there.
That could be dangerous.
When we finally got home the sweetest thing happened.
The boys told me that it was okay I didn’t win a stuffed animal and they got me their special animals from their room and gave them to me.
So sweet. These are so much better anyway. And yes, I slept with them the past two nights it a row by request.
Love my boys.
Love this race.
Also love that I don’t have any more races this month. I’m so ready for some down time.
I’m hoping to be able to do this race every year though. I really like the whole local race feeling.
Have you entered the Pro Compression Giveaway yet? They should some some cheetah socks or some kind of animal print next. Ha ha.
Do you like smaller, local races or bigger destination races more? (It’s a toss up for me. SO many things to like about both.)