City to the Sea Half Marathon, San Luis Obispo

Posted by Lauren

I am back in the Bay Area after a super fun weekend in San Luis Obispo (aka town of my alma mater, Cal Poly).


After a day of hiking and biking in Montana de Oro, we checked into our hotel, showered, and walked downtown for dinner. We chose a vegetarian-friendly, fast casual restaurant called The Natural Cafe.


Carbo-loading in full swing! Kyle and I split an Old Town salad, a baked potato covered in steamed veggies, and the turkey burger!

We had terrific company – Chris invited his godmother, Marilyn, and she was lovely! She discussed an elimination diet study she’s trying out and it was fascinating. Random, but true: Marilyn and Susannah are going together to Antarctica (!!!!) as travel guides. Insanely cool.


After saying goodbye to Marilyn, we walked by Bubblegum Alley, a favorite destination among new SLO visitors. Have you heard of it? It was on an episode of The Girls Next Door a few years ago….

So artsy.


We went to Eureka for a drink (me: Tap It APA) and then Bull’s for a drink (me: PBR?) where I ran into my dorm pal Darren! He just bought a puppy, Peyton, and the pictures of her were adorable…. I left Kyle, Susannah, and Chris to get some sleep before my race. They continued on to Frog and Peach….

Race Day

The morning of the race, I still had to pick up my bib at the start line. I love when races have pickup the morning of – so much easier. I decided to wear a kid’s football jersey (circa: 2005) for the occasion. By the way: this was a training run, NOT a race. According to my 12-week plan, I had 12 miles to cover. No pace goal, just miles IN. Ok?


Susannah and I lined up in the overcrowded corrals for a prompt race start. Attn: Race Directors, please make the start line longer!


The City to the Sea course is point-to-point – you start in downtown San Luis Obispo and literally run to the ocean. The first few downhill miles (1-4) wind down SLO’s Higuera Street. At mile 5, we ran along rolling country roads.


The back roads were beautiful! Minus some roadkill, we passed by a large apple orchard at mile 7, humongous homes, and lots of horses. At mile 10, we caught our first glimpse of the ocean! The last three miles “rolled” along the Pacific Ocean through the town Pismo Beach.


This ‘free beer’ stand was NOT surprising at all ;)



As we got closer to the ocean, salty sea air filled my lungs. YOU GUYS: THIS WAS A GORGEOUS COURSE!! The whole time Susannah and I ran at a comfortable, conversational pace. I would occasionally look at my watch to see what mile we were at and noticed that we typically kept it around 8:03 min/miles.


We rounded the last bend…


Ran up to the crowds…


And finished in 1:48:50! (That includes my bathroom pit stop at mile 8, which wasn’t -um- the speediest ifyouknowwhati’msaying.)

I love that the two of us talked the ENTIRE time, kept a consistent pace, and managed to finish so strongly for a ‘casual’ training run. Go team “Last Name O”.


The finish line was at Dinosaur Caves Park, a large park overlooking the ocean. Many runners trickled in after us, I’m lucky I got in the breakfast line so fast! This race provided a breakfast burrito (!), bagels, bananas, oranges, and coffee to finishers – way above par food selection at the finish line! Thumbs up.


And that apple orchard we ran by at mile 7? That would be SLO Creek Farms‘ U-pick Apples! They set up a booth for everyone to sample one of their pesticide free, organic apples. Love it.


This was one of those finish areas you just don’t want to leave… sunny weather, pristine ocean views, friendly runners and their families, good food – BUT we had to get back and shower before the hotel check out!


Such a good running buddy! We both did The Relay but were in different vans. We briefly discussed forming a team next year – maybe even a one van team? Do we dare?

Post Race

By the time the two of us got off the bus that returned us to SLO, Kyle and Chris had also finished a morning mountain bike ride up Madonna Mountain. Most of us showered (guess who didn’t? It wasn’t me for once) and packed up before grabbing an al fresco lunch at Mondeo’s.


Their southwestern ranch salad is another one of my SLO food favorites. Zesty!


Before we left town, I tried to redeem one of the race perks – a free cinnamon roll from House of Bread. Although they were out of cinnamon rolls, they let me keep my coupon and gave us two generous portions of their pumpkin bread and raspberry swirl bread. Why have I never been to this place before!? Amazing!


I’ll try to connect my Garmin one of these days and update this page with my stats, but I am not sure where the cord is at the moment. Whoops. In the meantime, here is a photo of the race shirt (V-neck tech tee looove), the medal, and the mug each top 100 male/female finisher received.


Question: How was your weekend? Anybody else race or make an out-of-town trip? We’d love to hear about it!


Comments (3)

  1. Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers

    While there wasn’t an ounce of working out for me this weekend (what kind of silly fool packs workout clothes for GABF weekend? This kind.) Denver was GLORIOUS and I’m already itching to find another time for a visit.

    This course does, in fact, look gorgeous though.
    Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..This is How a Heart BreaksMy Profile

    1. Sugar Coated Sisters (Post author)

      Had there been an ounce of working out during GABF I would have questioned your GABF sincerity. I love Denver too! Running there would be awful though 20,000 leagues above the sea.

  2. theresa @ aspoonfulofsunshine

    I love the Natural Cafe! They have one in Santa Barbara and although the food is not AMAZING, I find myself there all the time! I’m so glad your Half went well, the course looks beautiful and I am already researching it for next year :)
    theresa @ aspoonfulofsunshine recently posted..Marvelous Monday: Weekend EatsMy Profile


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