The Health and Wellness Expo for the Carlsbad marathon was held two days–Friday and Saturday. We chose to go on Saturday and I have to admit it was a bit crowded for only getting there two hours after it opened that day. It was held in a large, big-top white tent in a mall parking lot (not sure if that was also why it was crowded in that area). We walked right in to get our bibs first thing, then around the corner into the heart of the expo. The t-shirts that come with race registration were not immediately next to the bibs; they were on the other side of the tent. So, having to weave through the sea of people felt like it took forever. However, we went back to the entrance and got some official Carlsbad marathon clothing and the checkout was super fast. That was nice. All in all, not too bad, but I’ve seen better organized race expos.
It helped that evening to have a pretty sunset:
The full marathoners started early! The half marathon started late (well, according to my previous experiences with other races) at 7:45am. The race began where the expo was (at the mall) and the half marathon ran along the coast. It was a beautiful race because we could see the Pacific Ocean the entire time. I think I might have been a bit distracted with the waves crashing on the beach down below the cliffs. There was a lot of course support, aid stations were every mile! That was really nice. The aid stations were also clad with screaming people and motivational signs. This was the best part of this race…I have never seen this much spectator support before. Carlsbad definitely does spectating right.
I even saw some funny signs along the course. I think my favorite was a cute little dog who had a sign around his neck that said, “You forgot me!” I think it meant the runners forgot to take him along on the run. He was really cute. Only one pet peeve about this race was that the website said it was a flat course. Now, I’ve ran flat courses, and this definitely was not a flat course. It was rollers the entire way. The rollers weren’t bad since I’ve been hill training for Ironman, but it was a little disconcerting when I found out about the rollers minutes before the race started. Oh well. I am happy that it was such a beautiful course, and I got a PR by over 8.5 minutes!
I would definitely do this again, and would recommend it to any one who wants to come race in beautiful weather in January.