Friday, September 10, 2010

lululemon Vasona Lake Run 1/2 - Review

Having finished the Disneyland 1/2 earlier that day, I arrived at SFO and headed to the the lululemon - Santana Row for packet pickup for the lululemon Vasona Lake Run 1/2.  In this case, it was a tech T pickup for the event.
lululemon - Santana Row
When I got there, I was surprised to find pasta and cupcakes for race participants stopping by that day.

I also was surprised by the tech T we received for the event.  One of the ladies at the store mentioned that because of the silver oxide materials on their shirts, the screening process for their shirts wouldn't work out very well.  So, essentially, we got a "blank" tech T just like the ones on their racks at the store.
Our "event" tech T.  I had a choice between Teal color or Gray color.  I went with Teal.
Race Morning.
I didn't sleep very well.  I was anxious and nervous.

I noticed my left IT band had a niggle.  It was tighter than my right IT band.  I am hoping it will hold up today.

On the way to the event, I got lost.  Fortunately, when I got closer, I saw the lululemon van and bunch of vehicles trailing it.  So, I just followed everyone else into the parking lot.
The lululemon van in the parking lot.
I picked up my bib and proceeded to the women's restroom.

Unfortunately, for everyone in line at the women's restroom, only 1 stall had any toilet paper causing a delay for everyone in line.  The race eventually started leaving those of us behind.

I eventually made my way down to The Start area.  To calm myself, I shot the following pic:
After I took the pic, I then realized that we're blind as bats, running into the direct sunlight.

I put one foot in front of the other and tried to calm myself down from being lost this morning and for being left behind at the restroom.  I told myself to try and enjoy the view.
Vasona Lake
I so wished the markings were better for this event.

Should I go straight?  Or, should I turn right?
Everything went fine until I came upon a fork in the road.

It made more sense to go straight, so I went straight.

Fortunately for me, 3 ladies not far behind me screamed at me, "It's this way!!!" pointing to the direction I had not taken.  I had to turn around and follow after them.

Should I go left?  Or, should i go right?
I came upon another split in the road.  I went left this time.  And, ended up in a parking lot not far from where the road split.

I was thinking that perhaps I was supposed to run thru the parking lot and continue on on a path on the other side of the lot.

Wisely, I went back to the split in the road and hoped another runner would come by.  Perhaps, he would know more than me.  As it turns out, the next runner to come back was a woman.  She didn't know any more than me.  We then went right after I told her I ended up in a parking lot going left.

Should I turn left?  Or, go straight?
I also came upon another split in the road.  There was a pink ribbon on the floor if I made a right turn; the course markings were pink ribbons. But, going straight had no markings of any kind.  I was confused and looked back and forth.

A nice lady who wasn't part of the race told me to just continue straight, which I did.

Mental Chatter.
At this point, I had rampant mental chatter, which I almost never do as most of my events are road events, and they go smoothly.  The endless chatter of the following:
  1. Getting lost on the way to the event.
  2. No toilet paper and stuck in a restroom line.
  3. Event started without me.
  4. Getting almost lost on the splits in the road.

I tried to focus on the course.  I know that everything goes smoothly or rolling a bit until mid-Mile 7.  At mid-Mile 7, there would be a 900+ feet change in elevation.

At mid-Mile 7, we got into the uphill wooded single track section.
Wooded-area single track.  Pic taken when coming back downhill.  Going out was uphill.

Eventually, we made it past the wooded single track area.  We then made a left turn onto a trail.  Then, we made a right turn.  It kept going up, up, up and up, which was no fun.

Along the way, I saw the following warning sign:
Warnings, included rattlesnakes and mountain lions.

The trail was incredibly busy with dog walkers, hikers, runners and joggers, so I wasn't spooked by the warnings on the sign.

We continued with the uphill slog fest.  I told myself that there must be a nice view when we get to the stop.  I was partially correct.  There was a nice view, and you didn't need to be at the top.
Lexington Reservoir
Finally, we reached the top.

We then continued downhill on the other side.  I had been planning to run downhill but it was way too steep to do so safely.  Also, the trail wasn't soft.  The surface of the trail was shallow and underneath it was hard and rocky.

I made it downhill and stopped by the aid station.  I drank a few cups of Clif fluids, tossed a cup of water or 2 over my head and back up the hill I went.

On the way back, the mental chatter volume went up.  At this point, I was less than 4 miles away from The Finish.
  1. Will I make it on time?
  2. Or, will I DNF on the course?  (I had never DNF'd before.)
Course cutoff:  3.5 hours.

We went downhill and thru the wooded single track section.

It felt like an eternity before I got back onto the regular bike path.
A nice shaded stretch on the way back.

At this point, I thought it would be smooth sailing.  But, then I then heard a train whistle.  I recall I crossed some train tracks going out but had assumed it was not being used.  I was wrong.  When I got closer to the train tracks on the way back, I was greeted by the following:
I was stopped by a train crossing.
I kept going and finally, I saw the following sign:
This sign didn't come soon enough.
But, of course, there is always 1 last hill before crossing The Finish.  And, in true fashion, there was 1 last hill before The Finish this time.
Finally!!!  Me crossing The Finish.
Gun:  3:12:46
Garmin:  3:09:13

I completed 2 - 1/2 marathons on back to back days.  I moved from 3 planets to 4 planets in the Half Fanatics, a membership club for those who love half marathons.

My left IT band held together.  My legs were woggable.  They definitely showed fatigued when pushed.

For this event, I can't believe the # of obstacles on this one, and I wanted to like this event very much.  It was an inaugural event.

  1. lululemon tech T.
  2. Value:  I paid $55 for the 1/2.  The price tag on the tech T:  $64.
  3. Awesome volunteers.
  4. Surprised by a finisher's bling.  All I thought I was getting was a tech T.
The Bling.
  1. Course markings could be better.
  2. 900+ feet elevation change.

Perhaps, if they offered a lululemon tech T again next year, I would do it again and would know which way to go, or not to go.


  1. $55 is a bargain compared to the Disney half... :-) Congrats on the two back to back half-maries.