Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!
Okay, so maybe we didn’t see any tigers or bears during the Safari Park Half Marathon, but we did run 13.1 miles to see some lions, and it was pretty epic.
Deanna and I signed up for this run a few months ago, but Lauren wasn’t able to join us because of funding (hell, these races get expensive!!). Needless to say I was VERY excited when her mom called me on Saturday morning to say she wanted to send Lauren to the race as a surprise. Since I was already in San Diego, I called (and woke up) Deanna to tell her the good news so she could scoop her on her way down, along with her friend JuliAnn.
We had an AWESOME dinner at Borrelli’s in Encinitas, recommended by my boyfriend (we’re both Encinitas natives). Seriously, we each got salad, ravioli, spaghetti, cheesy bread AND garlic bread – four orders for only $37 (we lucked out with the Early Bird Special).
Went to bed early for a 4:15am wake up call. Grabbed our bagels and Gatorade, woke up Race Mom (aka my boyfriend, our cheerleader and photographer for all our races), and headed out to Escondido.
This race was very organized – SUCH a nice feeling; disorganized races can be exhausting. There’s nothing worse than waking up at 4am only to wait in a parking line for 30 minutes and have to run to the start line. You always want to have enough time to eat something, make sure you have water, set your starting song on your iPod, go to the bathroom, stretch, and take pictures.
Lauren registered, we picked up our packets and did our usual pre-race activities (makeup, pictures, bathroom, bagels). Race Mom had to take a shuttle to Safari Park before they closed the roads, so unfortunately we didn’t get as many good pre-race pictures as we would have liked.
Pros of the Safari Park Half Marathon
- Super organized, easy parking and packet pickup.
- BEAUTIFUL course. We ran past vineyards, rolling hills and even an Ostrich Farm! Not too many hills, just a few.
- We got to take pictures with cows at mile 4 (needless to say, Deanna and I didn’t have the best finish time – note my sweet neon pink Zensah Compression Sleeves and Nathan handheld water bottle and belt that held my PowerBar Energy Blasts Gel-Filled Chews…yummm).
- We got to run through the park at mile 7 and mile 12, which was a nice change of pace to go from asphalt to dirt.
- Plenty of water stations, which also had Gatorade. I’ve made it a practice to both fill up my water bottle AND drink Gatorade at every station. As much as I don’t like that sticky aftertaste, it really helps me feel better during the runs.
- The weather was perfect – I know how hot Escondido can get, so it was great that it was slightly overcast.
- Each mile had cute motivational signs, and once we got into the actual park there were a lot of them. Great for encouragement!
- YOU END UP IN SAFARI PARK AND GET TO SEE ALL THE ANIMALS FOR FREE. This was why we signed up.
Cons of the Safari Park Half Marathon
- There was one BRUTAL hill that I don’t think anyone expected. Seriously. Lauren ran the whole thing because she’s a beast, but Deanna, JuliAnn and I ran about half of it and fast walked the other half.
- We had a few wounded soldiers…Deanna and Lauren both messed their knees up during the run and had to get ice at the aid station when we finished.
Overall this race was awesome. We would all definitely do it again – hill and all! Post-race, we wrapped up some wobbly knees:
Saw some wild animals:
And ate the biggest omelettes we’ve ever had: