Hollywood Half Marathon

Posted by Nicole

This weekend has flown by too quickly! It makes me sad that Lauren is leaving tonight, but I’d say we could both use some normalcy after this busy/fun weekend.

Time to talk about the HOLLYWOOD HALF MARATHON! It seems like forever ago that we first signed up to run this race, so we were extremely excited that it was finally time.

On Friday night, Lauren arrived at LAX and drove to meet me at USC.

I quickly packed up my stuff because we booked a room at a hostel in Hollywood. We wanted to be closer to the half marathon on Saturday morning and figured that $75  for a room, parking spot, and access to a kitchen was a good enough deal. On the way to the hostel, we stopped by Target for some necessities- a toothbrush, granola bars, carrots, chapstick, duct tape, permanent markers, and a random clearance treat…

(These were sooo good- they tasted like a Crunch bar mixed with caramel. Totally not a candy or dessert ;) I wasn’t breaking Lent!)

We eventually arrived at the Orange Drive Hostel, located right by Hollywood Blvd. We checked in, laid our our race supplies, decorated our shirts, and brushed our teeth.

By the time we made it to bed, it was midnight. We had planned to be sleeping by 10:30… but we were way too busy laughing, talking, doing Kermit impressions, and being weirdos. We crawled into bed and that’s when things got BAD.

I have been kind of sick since Tuesday, and holyyyyy molyyyy my cough came back with a vengeance as I tried to fall asleep. I ended up coughing through the night and finally fell asleep around 1:15 AM. If you know anything about me, you know that I mentally go crazy when I think through things. The logic of being sick, falling asleep at 1, waking up at 4, and running a half marathon at 6 was extremely frightening. I told myself that I probably wouldn’t meet my sub 2-hours goal, but it was going to be okay. My new goal was simply to finish the race. Clogged lungs + 3 hours of sleep = not the best race results, and that’s alright.

The alarm went off at 4 AM and we quickly put on lots of makeup (we sure needed it), donned our matching race outfits, packed up, and made breakfast in the hostel’s kitchen.

We each had a packet of oatmeal, half a banana, and scoop of peanut butter.

We scarfed down our food in about 2 minutes and quickly left the hostel. We walked/ran about half a mile to the Hollywood/Highland Metro station to ride the bus to Universal City. The Metro station was located on part of the race course, so we got to pre-run a little bit ;)

While waiting for the Metro, I chugged a Red Bull like a true college student, and Lauren sipped on some Dr. Pepper Ten. (We love our caffeine.)

I had a long sleeve to keep me warm in the wee hours of the morning, and Lauren took a more comfortable approach. She used a robe as her “throwaway layer.”

Ridiculous? Yeah. Cozy? OH YEAH.

We got to the starting point at 5:20, used the bathroom, ate granola bars at 5:45 (Clif’s oatmeal walnut for me, Odwalla berries-gomega for Lauren), and got in between the 8:00 and 9:00 pace corrals. Then we realized- we forgot safety pins for our race bibs!!! The race coordinators/volunteers had no pins, but luckily two fellow racers gave us some of their extra pins. We were very lucky!

Soon enough, it was time to GO! The race started at 6, and our corral took off at about 6:15. The first part of the course ran through the restaurants next to Universal Studios. The first mile was probably the most fun- with all the lights, the excitement, and cheering spectators.

As for the course elevation……………

The first three and a half miles were mostly downhill and Lauren and I took full advantage!

Then it was back to flat land…

It was all fun and games (not really- more like sweat and pain) up until mile 5. Lauren used the bathroom while I kept running. When she caught up with me, I was nottttt lookin’ too hot. I felt like my throat was closing, my cough attacks were coming back, and I may have shed a few tears. At mile 6, we walked for about a minute and then picked up the pace. Lauren did a great job of encouraging me, and it was great to have someone tell stories to keep my mind off the pain.

And it was nice to have a personal photographer ;)

The course was 7.5 miles out and then it looped back. I was feeling good during miles 6-8.5 and kept reminding myself that I was more than halfway done. At mile 8, we each ate one Clif Strawberry Shot Blok to give us a little extra oomph. At mile 9, I really needed some water. (Again, coughing and running do not pair well together!) Much to my disappointment, the volunteers were OUT OF CUPS at MILE 9. Ridiculous.

They compensated a bit when mile 9.75 had a Clif Shot Gel station

Lauren and I both slurped down Clif Chocolate Shot Energy Gel and wow, that stuff was delicious. I have never tried Gu, and I doubt I will now that I know the magic that is Clif Chocolate Gel. 110 calories, 25 mg of caffeine, AND it tastes like fudge? I’m down.

At mile 10, I had the epiphany that there was only 5K left. I picked up the energy, but then remembered that the wonderful 3.5 downhill miles from the beginning of the race were now the 3.5 uphill miles of death in front of me. Also at this point, my right knee really started to hurt and it was getting really windy.

Lauren urged me to keep running up the final hills, but I just couldn’t. We did the sign strategy (“run to that sign, then we can walk”) a few times, I said some mean things and yelled at her (sorry again, sis!), and FINALLY we made it to mile 13. The last bit of the run was a decline and we happily ran to cross the finish line!!!

With our beautiful medals!!!

Here are the splits, according to my Garmin:

(Online results say the chip time was 2:02:28)

Yep… fast in the beginning, mellow pace in the middle, and slowwww in the end. I blame the hill! The course was nice, but man, that final hill sure made me angry. Almost half the people around us were walking parts of miles 10-13; it was brutal.

Post-race, we got some water/bars/juice and headed to the bus line. The party buses took  the participants up to the post-race area.

The post-race event wasn’t actually anything. Apparently there was a provided breakfast for the finishers, but we couldn’t find it and everything was just really unorganized. We got coffee, took some (more) pictures, and stretched.

Oh, about our shirts… we used silver Sharpie on some Nike Dri-Fit tanks:


Get it? Cause it was a half marathon? :)

Overall it was a great, GREAT race and I am so happy to have completed my first half marathon.

PROS: beautiful weather, ~9 water stations, ~5 bathroom stations, good mile markers, Clif energy gels, great spectators and volunteers, post-race food was good (bananas/bagels/bars), awesome race energy, beautiful finisher medals, and I GOT TO RUN WITH MY BEST FRIEND!

CONS: no cups at mile 9, the course was kind of boring because it was out-and-back, the terrible hill at the end, wind, armpit chaffing, the post-race “party” (or lack thereof), and I felt like my lungs were broken for 75% of the race.

Since the race, Lauren and I have done lots of fun stuff throughout LA. More on that later…

Hope you enjoyed your weekend!

– Nicole

Comments (8)

  1. Tara

    Aw man I’m sorry you were sick! That makes races seem 10 x longer, but you still did amazing! I’ve actually never tried gu before but my sister uses them for hockey – not really sure why – and she loves that flavor! It sounds like you guys had fun!
    Tara recently posted..Happy Easter!My Profile

  2. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola

    Omigosh, I can’t believe that you were able to run that when you were feeling so sick!! I think I would have given up if I were you! How great that you had each other though, it sounds like that made all the difference! And I would have never thought about staying in a hostel in the US but it looks like a good experience! Can’t wait to hear what else you girls were up to!
    Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola recently posted..Change of PlansMy Profile

    1. Sugar Coated Sisters (Post author)

      yeah the 80 price tag, last minute reservation, and excellent location made me realize that hostels are a much-forgotten but totally viable option! the basement (where the kitchen was located) was a leeeetle creepy at 4am though!

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  4. Kristine @ Running On Hungry

    Congrats! ! Hope you re-fueled with plenty of beer and carbs and goodies all day long!
    Kristine @ Running On Hungry recently posted..A lovely weekend.My Profile

  5. sdrunner

    Sorry about the cough, and heck yeah the hill at the end was tough. Although a hill at the beginning might make you tired for the rest of the race, maybe races should have NO hills?! My cousin and I saw the sign for the free breakfast but didn’t see it when we arrived so we just left. I did see a line of people, but I heard that there was a celebrity and they were lining up for autographs? Anyways, congrats on completing your first half, it’s always the hardest!
    sdrunner recently posted..Hollywood Half Marathon Race ReportMy Profile

    1. Sugar Coated Sisters (Post author)

      The hill at the beginning was fun to run quickly down, but I sure felt it in my knees after the race. I think it’s okay if races have hills, just not as extreme as the ones at the Hollywood Half! I wish the breakfast at the end would have been better organized, but that’s okay, I really just wanted/needed some coffee! Glad you enjoyed the race!
      – Nicole

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