Somehow I seem to have lucked out with my recent marathons. My last one on October 25th was the 40th anniversary of the Marine Corps Marathon, and this one on November 8th happened to be the 20th anniversary of the Santa Clarita Marathon.
Santa Clarita is a small city with a population of about 150,000. A very nice town. Location is about a 20 minute drive from Burbank, California – where several of the major production studios and their head offices are located, such as Disney and Universal Studios.
Two years ago, on the same weekend, my husband and I both ran the Santa Barbara Half & Malibu Half back to back. Initially wanting to run these two races again this year, I learned that the Malibu half & full marathon was cancelled completely, while the Santa Barbara only has a half marathon and not a full. So wanting to run a marathon distance, this is how I discovered the Santa Clarita marathon.
It is a smaller-sized marathon but it was super organized. Tons of volunteers and abundant water stations. The marathon participants started with the half marathon runners. There was also a 5KM race, kids’ race and a mayor’s walk. I like the fact that this was made into a family-friendly event, where everyone could get involved.
The morning was beautiful, but the start was a bit on the chilly side. Thinking it was a typical warm California day, I got rid of my mitts and long sleeve early on in the race. Boy, my hands were numb from the cold.
There were pace groups for the half and the full. We ran the same route as the half up to 12.5 miles and then the course split into separate course. I always find that hard when the full marathoners and half marathoners split; mentally, it gets a little tough to pick up the pace and continue on at that point.
As such, the second half of the race got much quieter and lonelier. There were runners around but we were spaced apart. We ran along covered roads, loose gravel trails, paved paths, and roads again. By mile 10, the sun was out and I was already feeling the heat, which become more penetrating as the hours went by. With no shade along the whole marathon route, we definitely felt the oppressive Californian sun. On the positive side, I got a nice tan!! 😊 As a result of the heat as well, I lost a lot of salt running. To refuel, I gathered a handful of chips and pretzels at a water station closer to the end of the route.
At around the halfway point, I had to go to the bathroom so bad, but I held it till about mile 18. The first potty I wanted to go, a kid volunteer was using it, so I had to run to the next one before I could go. At that point, I really couldn’t hold it anymore. Such a terrible feeling during a marathon!
The volunteers were wonderful. There were teenagers, moms & kids, guys and girls. Little kids were super sweet shouting “water or powerade”. At one station a volunteer held a pink unicorn, and I touched it for good luck!
For this marathon, I do not remember much the last 3-4 miles. By this point, it was purely a one foot in front of another, keep on going mentality. I was pretty zoned out, but then suddenly I came across this pedestrian bridge and I spotted my husband below calling my name out loud. That’s when I realized I must be approaching the finishing line. See pic below – that’s me approaching mile 26.
Getting through the last .2 miles seemed to take so long to get there, but as I turned the corner, many strangers shouted “you did it!”
Yes, another one done, with another beautiful medal and beautiful race! Thank you to the organizers, the volunteers, and the officers for providing a wonderful running event! You guys were just great!!
The next morning, as I was stretching in the hotel’s gym, I came across this sign “what seems difficult today may someday feel like a warm-up“. Remember, more miles, more smiles! Keep on running!