So I had a feeling from the numerous race emails leading up to the race that it was going to be quite a doozy out there. There were bands promised every mile and some drink called ‘Gleukous’ that was suppose to be there too. The thing that REALLY bothered me, and I know I’m being a hypocrite when I say this because a lot of my posts have errors, but the website and emails were FILLED with weird grammatical errors.
I do the mass emails for work now and I try SO hard to not have any errors, especially not random question marks? or too many of these!!!!! Though in my emails I do realize I overuse the !. Also, I know marketing and getting people excited about the race is one thing, but I feel like there were a few in the emails and website for Camarillo that are blatant lies. You know two days before the race if you are going to have a ton of bands out there. You know how things are shaping up, and it’s better to warn the participants and let them know, then to continue down the path of lying, because the runners will come back and get you. There’s still one guy who on almost every post that I do about our t-shirt, he talks about how he STILL doesn’t have last years t-shirt and how we sent him a woman’s medium with a hole. Every time. So with all these things in my mind going into the race, I knew it was going to be a small race. It was the first year they were doing it! I ran the first year of Malibu last year as well, and I have come to realize that race was an anomaly with how well it was put together.
I work for a company that does the same exact thing and can only imagine the letters this poor guy is getting. I know how CRAZY it is and how much random stuff you have to think about. All the bases were just not covered.
Let’s start off with the packet pick up. There was no expo as it was in a Sports Authority Store. I picked up my packet and had to wait about 25 minutes in the shirt line, which arrived thirty minutes late. I saw they were a brand that I’m not a huge fan of as the woman’s runs REALLY small so I asked for a mens small. They couldn’t find them, but made sure to tell me that they were there because they paid for them, which I thought was a little weird to say. After waiting for a t-shirt at the front of the t-shirt line for about fifteen minutes, I was told I could get mine the next day. I should have known better, but I also knew that I would probably never wear the shirt and decided to leave and hope that the next morning I would get it.
See previous report for the night before post and I also took my first Imodium the night before. When you take Imodium it, basically, for lack of better words, dries you out. Therefore you have to drink a lot of water and I have been working with salt pills to help make up for the electrolytes I’m losing. Drinking a lot of water makes you have to go to the bathroom. You get the idea. But I’m okay with that it’s better than the other things that used to happen. So I’m drinking a ton of water to stay hydrated and feeling good. I also saw this from the website:
“Will there be port-o-potties along the course? YES…bathrooms will be provided for you at every odd numbered mile marker starting with mile one and yes at the race day expo area.”
“Aid station locations? Gleukos is the official sports drink of this race. We will have Gleukos at every mile mark starting at mile 4. Water at every mile mark, look for the canopy and cheering volunteers at each station.”
I may have missed the canopies and cheering volunteers at each station… when the stations looked like this
But we’ll get into that little fun fact in a bit.
I pulled up race morning and there was ample parking. I ate part of my pop tart and actually wasn’t nervous. I just felt like I had the attitude of whatever happens out there happens. I arrived at 6:30 am and started walking over to the ‘starting area’ around 6:35 am, and immediately got in the line for the portapotties since I knew it was smart to empty the bladder before the race and I knew how much water I would be drinking on course. The line was fairly long and right around 6:50 a guy on the microphone called all the full marathoners to the start…when the line was still about 40 deep. I luckily was in the front of the line when the announcement happened, quick went to the bathroom and walked over to the start line, which was a chalk line on the ground and a timing mat. I had just stepped over the small banister of flags and heard the airhorn go off. WHAT. Well I was not ready for that. I started jogging with the rest of the pack and tried to put in my headphones and put my sunglasses on and tried to get situated while running.
We were off in the “beautiful” fields of Camarillo. I started off a little fast and reminded myself I was much further up in the pack then where I wanted to be and to let people pass me and slow down to run my own race. I knew there was water starting at mile 3. I realized I forgot to take my salt pill before the race so I knew I would have to take it at mile 3. Mile one wasn’t marked. Mile 3 came and I took my salt tab. There were volunteers struggling to deal with pouring all the water in the cups, but little did I know I would miss those cups later. Pretty boring miles around the farmland of Camarillo, but the weather was AWESOME. Miles 8-10 were a weird loop through some small industrial area. Right during the early miles I saw one of my favorites, THE WALKING DIVA YOLANDA! I saw her and lit up! I knew we would finally get the chance to get a picture together! I see her at so many races and just LOVE her!!!
So back to around mile 3, I realized that I had yet to see a portapottie along the race course. And spectators. And any type of drink besides water. And any type of medical help. Meh. I continued on and realized that by mile 8 there were still none of the above. I was drinking at every water stop that was positioned in no rhyme or reason throughout the course, which meant it was time to hit up the non-existent portapotties. I waited. I waited, finally mile 12 came and there was a portapottie for the farmers across a small dirt ditch. I debated going in it the entire time I was running up to it, but it looked like it was glowing and I really needed to go. I almost wanted to just hold off thinking that there had to be some for the race soon. Finally, right before I was to veer off course, I saw a guy go into it so I knew it was open and thought that it was the best place to go, even though I pretty much had an idea of how gross it would be. I jumped across the ditch and dirty it was but I was still happy to see it. Then jumping back over the ditch, we went up a very small hill. During this time the halfers had come on course and I saw Skinnyrunner. She was at mile 4 and I was at mile 12. She said hello and then passed me. I reminded myself to keep my own pace and let these halfers just fly by.
Shortly after they joined, the halfers went their own route and the fulls were ALL ALONE. Literally. From miles 13 on, there were no mile markers besides the official markers on the ground which look like the green marks below:
(picture taken during the LA Marathon Course tour)
Sometimes they weren’t there, and I’m SO happy I ran with Claude the Garmin or I would have had NO idea where I was.
There was nothing out on course. At all. No cars. No spectators. No medical. No cups. No mile markers. No portapotties for the remainder of the race until you got to the finish. Those had no toilet paper left by the way.
So I meandered my way along the glorious fields of the race seeing heads of lettuce, a dead pigeon, and smelling bell peppers. I ate at all the right miles (6, 10, 14, 18 and 22) I took my salt tabs with my jug of water. Literally. All the water stops looked like this one.
That picture may never get old.
I talked with a guy for miles 16-20 about life and ironmanning (he’d done three) and his severed hand injury and the rest of the race. It was a great chat and we both pulled each other along. Thanks guy! I’m glad I met you! I told him my goal of coming in right around 4:25 and he told me that I looked solid and had a lot more energy than him. Which was true. I’m a freak when I run and I just love talking. We were both laughing at the cups and so many things that seemed to be missing from the race. From this jug table I took a jug and walked with it for a while and did the birdy thing. Hopefully I don’t have mono next weekend from all the people drinking out of that. I yelled out, “Anyone want some water?!” but no one laughed. We were both getting a little cuckoo and it was a welcomed distraction. There were huge jugs just on the side of the road as some other people seemed to walk with them for a little bit as well.
Right when we got to mile 20 I took off and he stayed behind and after mile 20, probably around mile 20.3 (no rhyme or reason where any of the stations were placed) there was a water station with cups and a police officer. I stopped and asked them a few questions in frustration.
“So did they just forget about medical plans?” as I had yet to see anyone roving the course in an ambulance, firetruck, or even a CAR.
“Did they forget to drop the portapotties last night?” as at this time I had to go to the bathroom yet again because I was a good girl and drank from the jugs throughout the race to make sure I was staying hydrated.
“Did they forget the cups too for the last 6 water stations?”
“Did they forget to put out the mile markers too?”
I have never seen a cop or volunteers look so sad. I felt really bad and in my delirious state I realized I was being a little brutal. Just like how people attack our race, I was getting snippy. So then I went on and said I’m sorry I know you guys are doing your best and I’m REALLY happy you are all here, so thank you for doing that. It means a lot. They cheered up and I realized I’m sure they were getting that all day. I am truly glad for the 4 spectators that traveled to three different parts of the race with their signs for Joleen and I’m also really thankful for the volunteers who were out there. I was pretty bummed as there were NO fireman or ambulances though. C’mon! :)
So miles 20-22 were hurting my little under trained legs but I knew I was getting closer and the overwhelming smell of bell peppers was making me want to throw up. I continued on and finished with a good walk run. Toward the end of mile 22 for some reason I got really overwhelmed thinking of my mom. I know it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month and though it’s an awesome month for a cause that means so much to me, sometimes it’s a little tough to get through because it reminds me so much of her. Tomorrow will also be four and a half years exactly since she joined the heavens as my guardian angel. After a few tears slid down my cheeks, thank goodness for sunglasses, and I caught my breath and stopped myself from hyperventilating, I realized it was the perfect time to dedicate the last four miles to her for the four years she fought for her life. I shot off like a rocket and thought about her those last four miles and how much pain I was in, isn’t as much pain as she endured. I really wanted to finish in 4:25.
With three miles to go we passed the finish line to do an out and back in an industrial airport area. The course was poorly marked and there were STILL no mile markers. FINALLY Claude beeped mile 25 and I knew I would have to push it to get in at 4:25. I saw the people behind me and smiled at them and gave them a thumbs up! It was a long, long out and back especially when you see where you have to go and know you just have to run the same thing to get to the finish.
So here may be the best part of the entire report. You finish back where you started. In the parking lot where you parked pre-race… Where PEOPLE ARE LEAVING IN THEIR CARS. Two cars were BACKING UP IN FRONT OF ME AS I FINISHED. I HAD TO STOP AND WAIT FOR THEM. Oh and I forgot to mention the last little .2-.4 miles? They are in a loose packed sand. As I was running to the finish, it was just the icing on the cake. I couldn’t believe how many things had gone wrong but I still finished with a smile on my face.
There were bell peppers, the most boring course in the world, no cups, not one portapottie on the race course, no promised bands, and I still did it. Best part is… I FINALLY HAVE MY NUTRITION DOWN and I know I’m one little crazy tough girl who can do it all by myself!
Post race I got my medal and there was a pancake breakfast, but I didn’t really want to eat anything like that. I was so excited to see a portapotty though! I grabbed a water saw my friend Dom and Eli who won the half and took off for the drive home.
So, I think the biggest problem was that there was absolutely no one on the course to offer medical support. I think I noticed that because of my job. I don’t know what I would have done if I would have gone down and I really was worried about that the entire race. I hoped I didn’t have a problem but if someone went down I don’t know what would have happened and that really scares me. Cups, bell peppers, no bands, a boring course, no portapotties, no energy drink, those are all things that can be redeemed but without a medical plan, that is a huge problem. I don’t even want to think about anything happening to anyone and the lack of medical support there was out there.
All that being said. Get your act together and give it another shot. It has potential and with the training I put into it and still getting a decent time and feeling awesome today, I know it could be a fast course. It was VERY flat.
I was offered a volunteer t-shirt in leui of my race t-shirt, not cool but life goes on. I know how crazy it is to put on a race and how much work goes into it, and I know this guy is going to get eaten alive for his race, but I must admit, I may just have the best and most hilarious race recap… EVER.