(#41B) Santa Barbara International Half Marathon (November 10, 2012) – Part 1 (Morning Bus Rides & Funny Signs)

November 12, 2012

crowded shuttle bus on the way to the Santa Barbara International Half MarathonAnother series down; another race down!

Our shuttle bus was a party. We were mainly sitting three to a seat, with some people on other people’s laps. People who were ready to board a shuttle around 5:45am still weren’t at the race for a 7:15 start. There were very few buses and many, many people.

They held the start for 15 minutes. My shuttle didn’t get there until somewhere around 7:40 – and I still had to get my bib. Yet again (just like last week), I was late – even though I was way early.

I got into Santa Barbara at 5:15. (I also ended up on a shuttle that took me to a second shuttle spot instead of the race start (even though the instructions said it would take people to the race). So, by the time I got to the second shuttle stop, the line was humongous.)

On my bus, everyone kept wondering – “They’ve started without us, haven’t they?” “I bet they already started,” until one girl said “There are people running – at which point there was a collective sigh.

Basically, the morning was a bit of a mess. At least this time I don’t feel responsible. I got there super early, followed instructions, and still ended up late.

This time it also was a much smaller deal, ’cause here, there were tons and tons of people who were late. I wasn’t even the latest. When I was already on the course, I saw a big group of people booking it to the start – from the opposite direction I was going.

Can you imagine having to jog part of the course in the opposite way and see all these people making progress – knowing you are just getting to the start line?

Not only had the shuttle been quite late for them, at that point, I guess it couldn’t get past certain road barricades that had been put into effect.

I didn’t actually have any strong feelings about all this. Some people were annoyed. I was mildly annoyed about standing around waiting for the bus for a such a long time ’cause it was sort of chilly in the morning. But it’s California. Honestly, how chilly does it really get?

Look out for people riding horses? I’ve never seen this sign before…

Anyway, getting to the actual racing stuff – to me, this marathon was the marathon of signs. There were interesting signs I’d never seen before and a new funny one.

Someone had a sign that just said “Encouraging words,” which I thought was really funny.

One person was holding a sign that was just a big smiley face – and he had a huge smile himself the whole time.

(My favorite new funny sign is the last one in this post.)

There were some motivational signs such as one that said “Be the good in the world.” (That one was from the Gwendolyn Strong foundation.) I had never heard of the gsf foundation until that race, at which point I heard about it hardcore.

It seemed as though every person I saw was wearing a shirt running for the gsf. (The foundation increases awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy and searches for a cure.) They were out in full force and absolutely could not be ignored. Their motto and branding and everything is burned in my brain forever.

You can find out your best time according to Paul Ryan here: http://www.PaulRyanTimeCalculator.com/

The volunteers and spectators at this race were really good about cheering for you by name (which is on your bib). That’s always one of my very favorite things about running Indiana – you hear your name about 40,000 times and feel super special. We were all rockstars at this race as well. (Yay!)

One thing that was weird about the aid stations here was that there weren’t any until after we hit mile 3. Then they were everywhere! (By everywhere I mean every single other mile.)

I didn’t mind. I’m just a bit curious why it was laid out that way. I heard some of the people who started in a rush (late) talking about a wish for water, but we all got plenty by the end.

This was the first time I’d done a half marathon where the marathoners do the entire second half of their race on the half marathon course.

On one hand, it’s sort of cool. You got to see the 1st place male and female go by. You get to see everyone go by. You see the story of the marathon as it unfolds. But you also feel even slower than usual. (By “you” in those sentences, I mean me. Actual you might very well be a lot faster than I am.)

I’ll pick up here tomorrow.

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