The starting line for 13.1 LA was only a couple miles from home, so I just walked down to the start before the race. I was worried about it being too cold, since it was in the high 40s and I was wearing shorts, but I walked fast and it wasn't too bad. (The adorable little Cold Hands/Warm Heart "cuffins" on the Lululemon jacket J got me for Christmas helped!) While I was walking, the police were clearing homeless people from the Venice boardwalk where many of them sleep, so the race course would be clear. The interactions I observed were very kind, and I was glad to see the officers treating the people who live on the boardwalk respectfully. Well done, LAPD! (Or ... Santa Monica PD? I'm not actually sure which they were ...)
I got to the start line about 25 minutes before the race was set to start, and found a spot at the back of the 2:00 corral/front of the 2:20 corral. Since I was using this as a training run, I wanted to keep a 9:30-9:40 pace. As it turned out, the start was delayed by 15 minutes, so I was colder standing around waiting than I had been walking to the start.
Finally, we were off. The first couple miles were a bit slow as I made my way through the crowd and warmed up, but then I settled into a 9:30ish pace, and ran it fairly steadily throughout. I felt strong and fresh through most of the race. By the last couple miles I was feeling a bit tired, but I guess that's to be expected, right?
In general, 13.1 LA was a decent race. It wasn't too big or too small, the route was beautiful--right along the ocean most of the way--and there were plenty of aid stations. A couple downsides were the delay at the start, a lack of crowd support (most of the race was pretty quiet, though there were a couple entertainment groups toward the end, including a Taiko drums group,which is my most-favorite racing music ever--I'd happily run a course with Taiko drums throughout), and no food at the finish (aside from stuff you could buy from food trucks.) I would do it again, just because it was so convenient (they even had shuttles from the finish line that took me within blocks of home), though I wouldn't pay $100 for it again (but that was just because I registered so late.)
Why can't this be the soundtrack to every race?
Oh--and the medal was pretty nice, too!
Not a bad start to 2012. It's going to be a good year!