I ran the Camarillo Half Marathon this Sunday and have a fast race recap with photos for ya. LMK if you ran it too – my watch results were a little off and I’m curious if other runners had that experience. And I did a quick 30 second video recap on Instagram @RunEatRepeat and TikTok @RunEatRepeat – follow me there for more.
What I Wore to the Half Marathon
The night before the race I laid out my ‘Flat Runner’ to be sure I had everything I wanted to wear and/or take to the half marathon. I highly recommend you do this whether it’s your first half marathon or you’ve run 1 billion. I ended up going with another pair of shoes after realizing these had too many miles on them. Time for new running shoes! I’ll link to all my favorite running gear below.
My Flat Runner Half Marathon Gear:
I went with something new for PRE-RACE nutrition but I have had this combo before long runs, so I knew this works for my body. I usually do banana with almond butter or oatmeal.
My alarm went off at 4am and I got ready fast since everything was laid out. The race was in Camarillo, CA which is north of Los Angeles and about an hour’s drive away (that’s an hour at 5am on a Sunday morning – not LA traffic).
Camarillo Half Marathon Race Recap
I’ve run the full marathon at Camarillo before (I think 2 times) but nothing looked familiar – so I was super confused at first. I thought I might’ve had this race confused with another one?? But it turns out they completely changed the course AND the Start / Finish line location. The Start and Finish line are now in a new park which is nicer than the previous location.
The race course used to be on the streets around the area. It was completely FLAT and a lil boring because it wasn’t developed so we ran on asphalt alongside farm land and empty lots for a majority of the time. But it was so FLAT so I didn’t mind.
Well, their website still says the course is flat – but somebody lied to us several times, but it’s nothing of the sort (said as New York on Celebrity Big Brother, which I didn’t watch but someone shared this clip and it’s everything).
The new course is all on the bike path – 2 loops for the half marathon and 4 loops for the full marathon. The Mile Marker signs were hard to read sometimes because you couldn’t tell which way they were supposed to be facing. And the path has a few hills and underpasses (that cross under major streets – but you end up having to run down and UP each one a few times with a multi loop course).
Bring Your Own Bottle
They had it on the website but I forgot that this race is now cup-less = they don’t have cups at the aid stations so you have to bring your own water bottle. They were selling small flexible cups for two dollars at bib pick-up but I didn’t think I needed it. I considered running without anything and just not drinking for the entire race. In training runs I can run 10 miles without water or electrolytes so I thought I could try and extend that for 3 more miles.
Luckily… I realized it was HOT and dry and I should take something just in case. (I’m so happy I didn’t run without anything to for hydration – I needed it.)
So, I decided to take the water bottle I filled with Nuun to drink before the race – and make it work.
Unfortunately, it didn’t fit very well into my running belt and was just tall enough to mess with my arm swing. I could do the go ol’ ‘Nips, Hips and Chips’ proper form arm swing because my arm would hit the bottle so I had to hold it out a bit. But if it’s an awkward arm swing OR feeling so thirsty I’d drink gutter water – I’m very happy I ran with it.
Half Marathon Start Line
The race was super small and started on time. Parking was easy. There were public restrooms near the Start/Finish. I didn’t see any porta potties but I never saw the lines for the park restrooms get really long. There was a Full Marathon, Half, 10K and 5K – with staggered start times so that probably helped to avoid crowding.
Along the course the aid stations had big dispensers – 1 with Gatorade and 4 with water. There was no other fuel like gels, chews or fruit handed out on the course (for the Full Marathon you’d have to bring fuel – I’m not sure if that was noted on their site).
Since it was so hot and I was feeling depleted I decided to stop at an aid station on my 2nd loop of the course (I think around mile 6, but it was hard to tell). I had to ask which one was water vs. electrolytes and how to work the dispenser. I think a lot of people had stopped before that point so he probably gave the run down a lot during the first loop.
It’s not complicated, but the dispensers worked by stepping on pedal on the floor… directly under the nozzle. So, if your bottle isn’t perfectly under the spout –> it’s perfectly placed to dump gatorade on your foot. Which is what happened to me both times I stopped to get hydration. I didn’t want my water bottle to touch the spout (hello germs!) and it was hard to see exactly where to place it. Plus, I was in a tiny bit of a hurry as I WAS RUNNING A HALF MARATHON.
I mostly thought it was funny, but if I was trying to PR or qualify for the Boston Marathon – I would’ve been a lil annoyed.
I didn’t take any photos during the race and didn’t see any race photographers so these are all just Before and After (there wasn’t anything to see as it was on a typical bike path).
Camarillo Half Marathon Race and Finish
I didn’t look at my watch during the race (not even one time – I know it’s hard for some people to imagine, but that just means you don’t know how to avoid your problems as much as I do). When I run a marathon or half without a goal (similar to using it as a training long run)… I usually let myself warm up for the first 3 miles and check in with how I feel.
If I feel good –> I push myself and try to run at tempo pace for a while until I decide if I can speed up for the last few miles.
If I feel okay –> I give myself another 3 miles to get in the zone and see if I can pick it up at the halfway point. That would mean negative splits and I’d be proud of that.
If I feel not good –> I focus on effort level and form. If possible I run at an effort that’s a lil faster than my easy pace. I also focus on maintaining good running form because that gets sloppy when I’m fading.
If I feel bad –> I pray and just focus on finishing.
After 3 miles I felt like I was slower than I should be for a half, but I didn’t feel good enough to pick up the pace. Since it was a small race on a loop – I didn’t want to pass anyone in front of me because I didn’t feel strong enough to actually create any distance between us.
My heart rate and effort level felt a lot higher than they should be given the pace I estimated I was running. <– That’s why I didn’t check my watch. I knew I was dragging based on how I felt. And I knew I couldn’t run faster at that point so reading my pace would just make me feel bad. So – instead of looking at my watch and getting discouraged… I just didn’t. It’s a lil trick I learned after I broke my foot and started to run again.
I spotted a runner guy in front of me who I thought looked experienced and tried to stay with him. I lost him when I stopped for electrolytes, but kept him in my sight for most of the race.
Camarillo Half Marathon Finish Time:
This course was short, but you never run exactly 13.1 miles during a half marathon. Most of the time you run longer because it’s hard to run perfect tangents. It’s not common, but I’ve run a few races where the distance is less than what it’s supposed to be. So, at first I didn’t think anything about it – but after I drank some water and sat down my brain started working again and I was surprised it was that short (I had it at 12.67 miles with a time of 1:54:56).
And as I was writing this post I went to check the race results and they don’t have my finish time?? It looks like a lot of the half marathon results are missing so hopefully it’s just an error that they’re working to fix. I reached out to the race organizer to ask about it and will update this as I find out more. (If you ran the Camarillo Full, Half Marathon, 10K or 5K and your race results are wrong or missing – let me know. I’m curious what caused the error – the bibs, timing mat, website, other??)
Overall: It was hot and not flat, but I’m happy I did it. I was dragging my feet to post this race recap hoping that the results list would be updated so I didn’t have to mention it as I know it’s been really hard for small local races to stay afloat after covid (a lot of race organizations closed all together so I want to support the ones that are still around). So, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that it was a random glitch and will be fixed soon.
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