Marathon #6 – Camarillo Marathon Race Report

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? YESbathrooms will be provided for you at every odd numbered mile marker starting with mile one and yes at the race day expo area.”

and this

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.

xoxo

in Uncategorized

59 Responses to Marathon #6 – Camarillo Marathon Race Report

  1. Tara says:

    hmmmmm….LB isn’t like this right??? hahaha man I die everytime at the water stop pic…that is sick, sick, sick! I am glad you survived and lived to see another marathoning day! ♥Maniac #2033

    ps…I actually don’t even know if that’s my official number.

  2. Billy says:

    Both hilarious and utterly unbelievable how poorly this race was run.

    For shame Camarillo…for shame.

  3. ilovesteaks says:

    Each marathon has its own personality (unless it’s owned by RnR) and it sounds like this one was a doozy! It actually sounds a lot like the PV Marathon, but only if the race crew never showed up and part of the aid station was missing. Glad you and everyone else got through the race unscathed! I guess there’s a good reason why I always carry my own handheld.

  4. Nicole says:

    always always look forward to reading your race reports. you amaze me with every finish and i CANT wait to see you NEXT Week.

    Be checking your mail… your package should arrive thursday!! Happy almost birthday love bug!!!!

    Fab job on marathon #6!!!! Malibu???? <3

  5. J says:

    Oh my GOODNESS! What a crazy race! Cannot believe all that stuff happened! And the smell of bell peppers! Weird! Ok so I may be using too many ! in my commenting.

    Congrats on marathon #6! You did great and ran well and I am glad you got your nutrition down!

  6. kristen says:

    I can’t believe so many things about this marathon. You are a trooper my friend. Way to suck it up. Seriously.

  7. I did a review of my half experience and didn’t find that much to bash about. But then again, I ONLY did the half, so water/potty issues and lack of medical aid didn’t really catch my attention (though they should). I’m sure if I did the full, I’d have another opinion.

    Sorry to hear about all the snags… I was initially helping with the t-shirt effort when they came 1/2 hr late, but as a non-volunteer athlete, I had to go. The race organizer pretty much did this entire thing on his own. A handful of volunteers/friends/his own daughter were running registration, so I guess I didn’t come in with high expectations. Yeah, I don’t know what happened to the bands or aid drink (I don’t drink those, anyway), but def share your concern about water. Stations needed to be better spaced out and MANNED.

    The best part was the flat course… first race that truly delivered on its “flat course” promise. I hate when people say the course is flat when there’s like 3 painful hills — that’s NOT flat, people!

    Again, I thought they did an okay job for a one-man effort. Yes, I ran an extra .18 mi, but at least race pics came out quick and results posted live almost immediately.

    The weather was as good as it could have been… until I woke up this morning to run in low 50′s in Pasadena. Lovely!

  8. Man alive. That’s amazing that you finished that race with a smile! I would have been hunting down that race director. I’m not going to lie, I got pretty misty reading your beautiful words about your Mom. It must have been your guardian angel getting you through! Good work, and yes, hilarious race recap!

  9. Keri says:

    Wow, congrats on the race, but that stinks that it was such a bad experience. Especially since so much was promised! It is one thing if the race never made those claims but if people are expecting all those things it is unfair!

  10. Layla says:

    Good lord, Danica, what a race! That water stop photo is the best thing EVER, even though it’s scary and sad. If nothing else, next year’s race can’t be any worse, right?…

    Congratulations on meeting your goal, and I love that you ran those four miles for your mom.

  11. Jason says:

    That water station photo makes it look like the Jonestown Marathon. Harsh… but, wow. Congrats on your goal met and much goodness for your dedication miles. I’ve got a list of folks to think about during the Long Beach event.

  12. Erin says:

    Oh my god. I can’t believe the city of Camarillo (or wherever) let this guy put on a marathon without medical personnel or volunteers! The first half marathon I ran was almost canceled because the race organizers couldn’t prove to the city they had enough volunteers.

    I admit I’ve seen a water station just like that…at a 5K! Didn’t this guy learn from the 2007 Chicago Marathon where people died due to lack of water?

    You’re right, he’s going to get slammed. But I think he should. I can’t believe he took people’s money and put them in jeopardy like that.

  13. HOly crap, danica, this is the funniest race recap I’ve ever read! I mean seriously…no friggin CUPS or TOILETS OR MEDICAL. It’s freaking insane. Wowzers. Good work on finishing! I’d say anyone who finished that damn thing deserves much more than a medal and tshirt.

  14. chacha says:

    I wonder if I saw you hop over the ditch from the porta potties… I remember blue shorts and black shirt jumping back over as I ran by. I also noticed there were none on the course. The tan ones over the ditch didn’t look right so makes sense they were for the farm workers! That didn’t occur to me, I thought the race folks just messed up the location or something.

    Honestly, I am really happy I only ran the half and had my own hydration/nutrition. I felt for the people running the full. I knew it couldn’t have been fun.

    But you still persevered! Hopefully next year they (a) have more porta-potties, (b) have energy drink, (c) work out the train situation.

    I was lucky not to get stuck, but a mile ahead of me, the train did cross and I’m sure ppl were waiting for a bit.

  15. Naomi says:

    this pretty much sounds almost exactly like the marin marathon – my first one – except we also had cars zipping by us on city streets. congratulations on another amazing accomplishment!

  16. Jaime Runs says:

    This sounds like a disaster. Good for you for finishing. I would have given up and asked for my money back.

  17. Nina says:

    OMG I LOVE YOU

  18. Rachel says:

    I’m training for a half right now and I can’t imagine if that had been my first half experience after all the hype. Sad day.

  19. Spike says:

    Wow, that is terrible. I’ve run a few small marathons, but they were at least honest about what would be there and had cups and volunteers at every water station.

  20. Mark says:

    You must think I’m stalking you because I ran Surf City, San Francisco and Camarillo this year too! Congrats on hitting your time! As for Camarillo, here’s what went wrong: the bib pick-up line was super long, they didn’t give twisty-ties with the non-disposable timing chip, there were only about 10 port-a-potties at the starting area. Oh, and did I mention that a freakin’ TRAIN runs right through the middle of the course, causing many runners to literally stop in their tracks. The lack of water stations, porta-potties and medical support is very irresponsible, if not unconscionable. Finally, other runners and I all agree that the course was 13.29 miles long, not 13.1. That .19 difference may not seem like a lot, but it cost me a PR! On the bright side, the race photographer is giving away six FREE 4x6s!

  21. Lisa says:

    Wow. I have said this before, but I am SO glad that this wasn’t my fall marathon and BQ attempt. LB may be crowded with narrow beach paths, but I know there will be porta potties and cups!

    I told my husband (not a runner) about your experience. His response was that he felt like the race was “stealing” from the runners. I thought it was a bit harsh, but aren’t entry fees supposed to go for things like cups and porta potties?

  22. Carlos Pineda says:

    wow wow wow…what a crazy race. this race report had me crackin up tho…lol! Nice work keeping positive and having fun with it.

  23. Mae says:

    Great report!!! Horrendous race, however. Fortunately, nothing bad happened to anyone out there. I really also feel for the volunteers. I hope that they are willing to volunteer for another event.

  24. suz says:

    Wow. I ran a 5k on Saturday that had no mile markers at all. It was bad enough for 3.1, I can’t imagine erratic mile markers in a marathon! Our water stop had 16-oz water bottles, which I thought was ridiculous until I saw those JUGS! Hahaha!

  25. Sarah says:

    Craziness! You rock, girl! I ran a half a few weeks ago and the course had water stations and volunteers, but no portapotties and the streets weren’t closed (country roads with cars zipping by) and I thought that was bad! Glad you survived and congrats on #6!

  26. joerunfordom says:

    Danica – First of all, Happy Birthday! Hope you have an incredible day.

    Congrats on another marathon and what a fantastic race report. Your writing is simply tremendous.

    Thanks for all you do and have a great day! Best from TX, J

  27. Maria says:

    This sounds like an awful experience. The picture of the water stations make it look like you were running in the middle of nowhere. At least you finished strong and saw light of the whole situation.

  28. Melanie says:

    Girl, you are a rock star! Way to get through this crazy race and at a great time! I have planned a 5K and am currently planning year 2 of it, and it’s interesting sometimes working with other people to see the things they don’t think of… I’m wondering if maybe some of the race planners weren’t actually runners? Way to get it done!

  29. Morgan says:

    Holy disorganization batman! Girl you are a trooper! Way to get your goal time despite what sounds like the most ill planned and executed race course in history. And no, that picture will never get old. Friggin priceless. Congrats on #6!!!

  30. Runner says:

    Crazy, crazy race.

    One tiny grammar thing (since you brought it up)… you might want to look up when to use “then” and when to use “than.” I’ve noticed it a lot in your writing. At first I thought it was just an honest mistake/typo, but after the 100th misuse, I figured I should let you know.

  31. RadRunnerGirl says:

    Sorry about the race, but it made you that much stronger! Boo-Ya.

    Back like a million posts. Satchel (shoulder bag) you need it, they rock, I carry alot of crap, but when I wear my satchel I feel so free. It rocks, like a lil’ vacation from bag holding.
    OH! and the jacket, go to the store, I just bought one from there (not that one) but another foe one.. see here:
    http://radrunnergirl.blogspot.com/2010/08/run-sun-fun.html

  32. aron says:

    sheesh what a mess of a race! i love that you would able to have such a great attitude about it and just have fun. you still did fantastic!!! number 6 DONE!

  33. SFRunner says:

    Wow! Congrats on your finish, Danica, despite all of the obstacles. Your race report was hysterical; I just don’t understand how anyone could put on a marathon with that little course support. Aren’t race directors usually runners, too? I think you displayed an incredible degree of mental toughness-just think how quickly you’ll run the next race that has spectators, real water stops, and restrooms!

  34. What a sad looking water station!!!

    Congratulations on your marathon. Seems unacceptable to me to not have any medical help along the way. And for there to be cars backing up near the finish line!!! I hope you shared your complaints with the race director.

    For my half marathon on Sept 19, there were people dropping like flies (I guess it was kinda warm, got up into the mid 70s during the race, despite starting at 8am). The emergency golf-carts and ambulances with sirens coming up on the road behind me while running kept startling me and it was kind of freaking me out how many people were in the back of the ambulance with saline drips!

  35. Rioruns says:

    Oh. My. Goodness.

    Congratulations on a strong performance, despite the interesting logistics! (Especially on the nutrition – yay!)

  36. Shocking. They are so lucky that no one was hurt or overcome with dehydration – they could have been sued within an inch of their lives, and rightfully so.

    Congrats for finishing – can you imagine if this was your first marathon, or if you weren’t as well prepared. If it had been me, I would have perished on the course.

  37. I think you should use that picture of the water stop whenever you need to indicate a big fat FAIL in a post.

    It could be like the Keyboard Cat of your blog…play her off, worst aid station ever!

  38. Aj says:

    First off HAPPY BIRTHDAY and major congrats on meeting your goal.

    Second, HOLY MOLY girl! Sounds like your mom was the whole race’s guardian angel with no one getting injured or hurt on a poorly staffed course like that. I can’t even imagine!

    At Fontana, which is only a half, the volunteers started pouring water as the first runners approached (so you can imagine the traffic jam) and then ran out of water…on a HOT day. I thought that was bad…!

  39. Mark says:

    Check out this article in the Ventura County Star newspaper:

    http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/oct/05/nxxfcmarathon06/

  40. Melissa says:

    I think the walking Diva was at the Omaha marathon a few weekends ago! Stinks that race was so bad.

  41. Tom says:

    Danica: great race but if you think that is the worst go look at the web sites results!! you have a new age.

  42. Lucy says:

    I was there for all the splendid horror as well. Haha. So glad that you got the picture of the water station (not that it isn’t emblazoned in my head) because explaining it in words does not do it justice! Congrats on a well executed race!

  43. Felice says:

    That is nuts! What a crazy race. Congrats on finishing!

  44. April B. says:

    Seriously, sounds like a bit of a frustrating day but I love that you made the best of it and came out with a good time. Plus, I literally laughed several times while reading this.
    I can only imagine how much you miss your mom. Hugs to you!!!

  45. Sounds like the worst race ever. Glad you pulled through and finished with a good time!

  46. Madiantin says:

    What an AMAZING RR!! Holy cow you pulled it out during a difficult marathon. I’m astonished at the blatent lies told. Bless your heart for calming down and saying thanks to the volunteers and cop – you probably made their day. Congrats on getting your nutrition down and damn right you’re one crazy little tough girl who can do it all by yourself! What an inspiration.

  47. Michaela says:

    Dear god, that race sounds like a nightmare! Congratulations for finishing and meeting your goals in what sounds like a train wreck of a situation!

  48. Vera says:

    OMG – congratulations on making it through this. Race organizers take note! The pic of the ‘water station’ is priceless.

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