I went away to Nice this past weekend with my husband and one of the motivating factors for choosing this destination was the “Sun Run” Half Marathon. It is a one way race leaving from the marina in Nice going to a stadium in Monaco, and follows the coast line.
As I am in the middle of my marathon training, I figured 21K with fantastic views in mild weather would be a good training run and the objective was to use it as such.
We arrived Friday evening and I went to pick up my bib first thing Saturday morning. There were few people, so it took me all of 2 minutes. Since I had never been to Nice and wasn’t sure where I was going, my husband and I immediately scoped out where the start of the race was. We spent the rest of the day visiting the city and eating (too) well. The weather was gorgeous (sixties) but the wind picked up at the end of the day and I stalked the weather all evening. Rain ? wind ? sun ? it kept changing, so I laid my clothes out thinking I should dress warmly if the wind were to continue.
The race was starting at 9 a.m. the next morning, so I was up at 6:45 a.m., stalking the weather. In less than 15 minutes it went from 95% chance rain, to no rain. Phew. I hate running in the rain. I wore a light windbreaker just in case.
I dressed, ate and left the hotel at 7:45 a.m. The start was about a 2 mile walk from the hotel, so I did a run/walk to warm up and got there in plenty of time. They were giving away coffee, and there was a bag drop, but I just hung around, continued my warm up and used the porta potties a couple of times.
I talked with a couple runners and discovered that the route was all up and down. Uh, how did I miss that in the race information ? This was a destination race for me so most of the people were from the region and knew the route and the race. Not me !
We lined up. I wanted to use my run/walk strategy but wasn’t feeling confident that I would be able to manage it. At 9 a.m. we were off and immediately my strategy went out the window. Firstly everyone took off very very quickly, wanting to avoid an initial bottle neck ?
The first mile was all uphill. I actually love running uphill but as I wanted to start out slowly I somehow found myself at the very very back of the pack and stayed there the entire race. I ended up running with about 4 or 5 other women for most of it, and walked periodically but did not use my planned strategy. I was really worried about coming in last. So I ran 95% of the race, which in hindsight was not a great idea. My Achilles and my knees have let me know. Going downhill just doesn’t agree with my body.
I arrived in Monaco 2,5 hours after I started.
What I liked :
- The size of the race. There were fewer than 1 500 people, so it was a good size.
- The views. Probably about 75% was along the water. This is definitely the highlight of the race.
- The weather conditions were perfect.
- There were water stations every 5 k, decent food at the end.
- It was very cheap, as it was organized by a local running club.
What I liked less :
Being at the back of the pack was not fun at all. Like I mentioned, I immediately found myself at the very back of the pack….as in 50 feet in front of the 2 motorcycles that were sweeping the race. It completely irked me because running with 2 loud motorcycles right behind me for a mile was not enjoyable at all. They eventually went away, either because I ran faster, or they sped ahead. Being at the back also meant that when I went through the towns, the roads were not completely blocked off anymore. So some of the race was run with traffic. No fun.
Arriving in Monaco. Monaco is built on a hill. And its a city. You can tell from this picture my husband took how steep it is.
However, the past mile + was run through the streets of Monaco. Not enjoyable at all. It kept winding and once again, with traffic.
The logistics / information : I know the woman who gave me my bib was a volunteer but she had no information. Because the race was one way, I asked her how to get back to Nice and she didn’t have any advice to offer. I also had no idea that there was a bag drop, which would have made my life a bit easier. There was no map on where the race started, no elevation map, and not to mention I had contacted the organizers three times leading up to the race through email and by phone and got NO ANSWERS to my questions…. just generally poor information.
Finally, and I take full responsibility ! I wasn’t happy with myself about not applying my strategy. Being at the back, I felt a lot of pressure and didn’t do my run/walk. I was seriously afraid of being last, but I didn’t want to push it too much, so I had all this psychological pressure I was putting on myself.
But what irked me even more, is that I ended up with the exact.same.time (2:29) as I did when I applied my run/walk strategy for the Vincennes Half Marathon in October. To the minute.
In the end, I wasn’t last ! I came in 1 303 out of 1 347.
I took Monday and Tuesday off from running, as I had some knee niggles and my thighs were horrendously tight. Walking an additional 13 miles + sitting on a train for 5 hours + lack of stretching probably didn’t help. Today is Wednesday and I got my training run in, and it felt quite good. Phew.
Would I do it again ? Not sure. The views were fantastic but all the rest was only OK.
Then again…while I was at the tourist office on Saturday, I came across this :
Hmmmmmm. I asked the other runners and this marathon is quite flat. We’ll see ! I am linking up with Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, Erika at MCM Mama runs and Patty at My no guilt life for Tuesdays on the run.
Ever had a race you were excited about and it didn’t fully meet your expectations ?