Race Recap: Long Beach Marathon/Half Marathon

Can you believe we’re halfway through October? We talked a lot this past weekend about how time flies when you’re having fun, and we celebrated six months on the West Coast by running the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon (G) and Half Marathon (C) on Sunday. We had a blast!

We were originally both planning to run the full, but a new job and a minor, but irritating lower back injury threw off C’s training and ultimately led her to run the half, instead. It was the best decision, and still ensures we are both on track to get the awesome, Beach Cities Challenge medal after the Surf City Marathon next February!

It’s amazing how many great races are within driving distance for us; something we’re incredibly happy about! We made the 90-minute drive up to Long Beach early on Saturday afternoon and went straight to the race expo at the Long Beach Convention Center. There were a lot of great vendors there, and we took the opportunity to stock up on GU Energy Gels and pick up various area race flyers. We love a good race expo!

The race included a few “firsts” for us, including signing up for the official pre-race, carb-load dinner on Saturday evening at Buono’s Authentic Pizzeria. Wow! The variety and quality of salad, pizza, pasta, and bread was definitely worth it; it made dinner plans easy (something you never want to have to worry about the night before a race), and it was only a few blocks from our hotel. Full disclosure: We were back in our hotel room by 5:45 p.m., and decided to rent Hangover III – it was funny, but as with so many movie sequels and trilogies, not anywhere close to as funny as the original Hangover. Ah, well. We gave it a shot, and after 2 hours in the dark we were ready to get some sleep!

The other “first” was not starting a race together. Early last week, we received an email saying the start times had changed. The marathon would start at 6 a.m., and the half at 7:30 a.m. So we both got up at 4:15, dressed for the race, ate a bagel and walked the mile to the start line. While we felt weird about starting separately, C loved getting to see G start AND finish the marathon! And it also helped her focus on running a strong half so she would definitely be finished and in position to see G cross the finish line.

What can we say other than the course was beautiful, and the weather was great. The first 10.5 miles wound around Long Beach’s waterfront area, including several beachfront miles, before doubling back to head back into downtown for the last 2.5 miles of the half. The marathon course split off around mile 11 and made its way through residential areas and looped around Cal State Long Beach campus before heading back into downtown for the finish.

We both had really good races (C shaved 8 minuted off her finish time from just 7 weeks ago at America’s Finest Cities 1/2; G ran his second-best marathon time and finished his 4th marathon in a year!). After we stretched for a bit, we hobbled the mile back to our hotel to shower and drive home.

The race was really well organized with plenty of water, Powerade, energy gels, etc., and the volunteers were fantastic! We’re definitely planning to make the most of the gorgeous SoCal training weather throughout the fall and winter with the hopes of even better times in Huntington Beach next February.

We each took several photos during the weekend, so please enjoy the slideshow below!

If you ran Long Beach, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Have a great week,

GnC

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