Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon Race Recap

Well, well, well. Here I am, FINALLY writing a race recap again (!!!).

i did it colbert gif

On Sunday, I finished my 11th half, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon! I haven’t run a half (or many races at all) since the Griffith Park Trail Half in March 2015 and as you know, I was getting antsy to run long again after a series of not-quite-injuries.

I went to sleep on Saturday night completely aware that my scheduled wake-up time could potentially leave me with not enough time to get to the starting line before the gun went off, but I couldn’t fathom getting up any earlier than 5:30AM on a Sunday. I set my alarm and crossed my fingers that I’d find parking right away and have plenty of time, because I gave myself basically no buffer. I was out the door by 5:45AM and to downtown LA by 6:10AM (and super impressed with myself). I navigated my way around the closed streets and found a free parking spot in a preeeetty sketchy place, but felt okay about it because there were other bib-wearing runners, waiting in their cars, applying sunscreen and drinking coffee, just like me. (I parked on Olive Street and walked about 1/2 mile, if you’re wondering for next year!) I waited for them to get out of their cars and then creepily walked right behind them to feel safer.

So, the race. Let me start by saying I’m really not, like, a “fun” person. I know that sounds lame and self-deprecating, but let me explain. Rock ‘n’ Roll races really put a focus on “fun”. There’s so much fanfare and people woohoo-ing and announcers singing and countdowns and I’m just not that person. I’d rather just run. I always forget this until I’m at the starting line of a race like this.

grumpy cat birthday gif

Damn people and their fun.

I get that some people love that, but I kind of started off mildly annoyed. I can’t help it.

i don't know what we're yelling about anchorman gif

Anywhoodles, the weather was overcast and cool and perfect. (It didn’t rain until I finished!) It started at the Staples Center and ran down to USC, through the gates of the Coliseum (BOOOOO) and back. The rest of the course was through downtown LA (I guess? Totally unfamiliar with the area) and finished back at the Staples Center.

bruins game

Bruins fam 4 life. Or at least while we live here.

When I started running I was feeling so…light. WEIRD because I ate a TON of penne vodka the night before and went to bed with an overly full belly. (So worth it.) All my training runs felt slow and heavy, I’d just plod along without much urgency, so I knew I should start slow and easy and pick it up later if I wanted. But I didn’t because I was feeling great.

I know, I knowwww, that’s not what you’re gonna want to do if you want to finish a half.

But I just went with it and sent up some silent prayers that I could hang on. Because raceday is magical. And that can happen, I tell myself.


After mile 2-ish I had this dull tightness that I’ve become accustomed to. It was bouncing around from my hamstring to my hip to my piriformis, but nothing bad. Eventually it went away.

The first 5 miles or so were really crowded, so I kept reminding myself to take a deep breath and not let the frustration get to me. I know I have to remain in control of my brain because if I start spiraling down mentally, it becomes a loooong, painful day.

These miles were painfully flat and I was afraid the entire course would be that way (because I of course didn’t check the elevation map before the race. Someone take away my runner’s card.). I prefer a little variation in my elevation because it can be easier on the muscles. Or at least I feel like it is.

science gif

I was simultaneously happy and regretful once the uphills started on the back half of the course. They were merciful on my muscles but I’m definitely not used to many hills and let’s just say my cardiovascular strength didn’t seem to be up to par. Still, I got into a groove and loved being out there running, listening to the bands set up every few miles (a great part about Rock ‘n’ Roll races, even though you only really hear each band for like 30 seconds) and checking out all the Halloween costumes. There were sections of the course with tons of zombies wandering around which I thought was hilarious.

The spectator signs were pretty good too. My fav: “If Trump can run, so can you!” LOLZ.

Around mile 11 the race started feeling “I need to be done now” tough.

I started practically sprinting the downhills because I wanted to get it over with and there was the MOST ANNOYING guy (who was actually in the race, not a random person) yelling his personal and political beliefs non-stop. Good for you, buddy, but I’d rather listen to my music. I had to get away from him. I finally did but was exhausted at this point, so I tried to distract myself by focusing on my surroundings and not how my body was feeling. AKA I tried to get all the zombies to smile at me. (SEE, I’m KIND OF fun! Right?)

positive vibes negative splits

Obsessed with this shirt from Sarah Marie Design Studios!

I came down the last hill and heard the crowd around the corner at the finish line and it really perked me up. They were so loud! I kicked up my speed a little early, andddd then realized I had 400 meters left and was spent. I tried to keep the pace (ended up being 7:40 for the last .3 miles!) and did okay, but for a split second I thought I might throw up. You’re welcome for that image.

The splits:

rock n roll los angeles splits

Yes, despite the fact that my shirt said “Positive Vibes, Negative Splits”, I started out the race with complete positive splits. (And semi-negative vibes.) I’m such a phony. But I finished with sort-of negative splits and definitely a more positive vibe.

Around mile 7 or 8-ish I decided I wanted to aim for an average pace in the 9s, which, if you count the extra .19 I ran, it would be a 9:55/mile average. (Official race results say 10:04, damn it!)

rock n roll los angeles race recap

This race was one of my slower halfs (about 12 minutes slower than my PR) but I knew it would be going into it. I set that little goal at the end to push myself, but this day wasn’t about speed at all for me. I’m truly grateful I finished and was able to enjoy running, and that’s all I asked for.

Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon Medal 2016

RNR always has great medals!

When I finished I was freezing so I skipped the free beer (so unlike me) and headed home immediately, where I proceeded to take the hottest shower ever, put on pajamas and lay in bed watching football for hours. I only left the house to get Chinese food with Brendan and it was a glorious day.

Tell me about your favorite race! Do you like smaller races or larger ones?

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. Beth
    November 2, 2016 / 12:11 am

    I’m SO proud of you!!!!!! As always! I loved this recap. It was like I could hear your voice and you were just telling me about your race. And, for the record, I think you’re fun! But I’m the same way at a race. I can do without all the woohooing and such. Awesome job!!!!! Which marathon are we running next year? <3

    • November 2, 2016 / 6:45 pm

      Hahaha thank you for thinking I’m fun! And for the lovely compliments :) I vote for NYC again!

  2. November 2, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    You’re so funny. I can’t wait to start running again. I’m focusing on a 10-minute mile. (Period) Not thinking I’ll be doing a marathon ever, but a girl can dream with entertaining reads like yours!

    • November 2, 2016 / 6:47 pm

      Thanks girl! And I believe that if you can dream it, you can do it :)

  3. November 2, 2016 / 4:17 pm

    Congrats!!!! I was planning to do that race but got nervous that they wouldn’t have one because of how long it was taking to come out with the course. So instead I signed up for a small race in Santa Monica for the same day. I really loved it but maybe you wouldn’t because it was flat the whole time 😀
    I saw a number of complaints about RnR LA so I’m really glad you had a good experience. Congratulations again!

    • November 2, 2016 / 6:50 pm

      Thank you so much! Congrats to you on your race too :)

      I was so oblivious that they didn’t have a course; I didn’t even know that was happening until they sent an email saying they finally finalized it, haha. Was the Santa Monica race one of those from I’ve been wondering about that!

      What were the RNRLA complaints?!

      • November 2, 2016 / 7:07 pm

        Yes it was with A Better World Running! I always see their races during my cardio class so i decided I would do one. It was small, with an open course, but so early that it was fine. I was worried the loops might get boring but hey, it’s on the beach so it was great!

        The RnR complaints were basically about logistics and planning–the kind you tend to hear (or feel) about most of their events. People felt like they didn’t care about this race since it was put together so last minute; the expo was at the same time and place as Comic Con and they only sent out an announcement that it might cause problems at 1pm on Saturday so a lot of people were stuck in traffic or couldn’t find parking and couldn’t pick up their bibs. People complained about the course…that kind of thing 😛

        • November 3, 2016 / 3:35 am

          They have so many races! We should sign up for one together :)

          Ohhh gotcha! Thanks for filling me in. The normal complaints, haha. I feel like we’re all adults and we should be able to figure most of that stuff out on our own :)

          • November 20, 2016 / 1:41 am

            Yes! Let me know if you want to do one of their races, maybe a 5k or 10k 😀

  4. November 2, 2016 / 8:12 pm

    First, Congratulations on running your 11th Half Marathon! Glad you were able to run and finish!

    Second, I would have tripped the guy ranting, that is not the place or the time, buddy. I am not a mean or nasty person by any means. You’re a better person to get away from him.

    And finally I LOVE all the GIF’s throughout this post. You are such a great writer and I felt like reading this was just a conversation.

    • November 3, 2016 / 3:37 am

      Thanks so much Tracy! That is the best compliment ever :) I appreciate you saying that and I’m SO glad you enjoyed reading! (Also yes I am obsessed with gifs haha)

  5. November 3, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    Congratulations on finishing the race and enjoying it! It is totally okay to set a goal to enjoy a race, especially a Halloween themed race and a rock and roll event. They don’t all have to be PRs, and you don’t always have to run negative splits to have a good race. Glad to see you running and writing again, and hope you had a good recovery.

    • November 3, 2016 / 2:10 pm

      Hi Amy! I know you’re right! I don’t know why I felt the need to, in a way, tear myself down like that. Thanks for the reminder :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *