Greetings Runners! I hope everyone has been well and training good! This post is for anyone running (or attending) the AFC Half Marathon. If you have been in the club before, it is similar to previous race post (Carlsbad, San Diego Half, Rock n Roll, etc.) but has RACE SPECIFIC information within.
Final Race Info
A portion of this may have been reviewed during the last group run or two. In general, there is a TON of info on the race website linked below.
Lots of stuff comes directly from the race website and their official Race Information Sheet that is emailed out and also available on the site:
Maps and other info are further below.
If you haven’t already, confirm your entry now. True story . . . A few years ago, one of our runners for the Rock n Roll Marathon one year failed to do so and found out on Saturday afternoon at the expo that she was never confirmed. In a nutshell, it was a mess.
Events.com Registration Page: CLICK
Log in to Events.com, click on your name from top navigation bar and click "My Events." This page will show all of the events you are registered for. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org request a confirmation email.
Triple Crown Entry
This is the last race in the Triple Crown series. Your name should be on the official list, see below. You will receive a special bib. At the finish line, your medals will be at a special tent/table in the finish area.
Illegally transferred bibs don’t qualify. Do NOT go up to the race official and tell him that you bought a bib off of Craigslist so you think you should be entitled to the Triple Crown award. The only thing you may get is a suspension from entering future races.
General Info - (CLICK)
If you are not confirmed, then you must reach you to the race directly. We don’t have direct control or access to race registrations.
Expo & Bib Pickup
It’s generally a great idea to get to the expo on Friday. This will allow you to 1) Beat the Crowds and 2) Rest more on Saturday.
You HAVE to pick up your registration Friday (12p-6p) or Saturday (10a-5p) - there is no Mailing option or Raceday pickup. The AFC Half is a decent expo - not the biggest/best, but not tiny either. Plan on taking 15-20min to park and walk to the expo, and being inside 20-30min. https://www.inmotionevents.com/event/afc-half/afc-fitness-expo/
Someone else pickup bib?
Can I have someone pick up my bib number and timing tag for me?
Yes; however, they must come with a copy of your picture ID - no exceptions.
Training - How Much to Run? (Final Week)
During the final week leading into Race Day, you should have a good, easy run on Tuesday. If you don’t get out again on Thursday, you should plan to run Friday an easy 3-4 miles at most... And VERY EASY. You WILL NOT get any training benefit by doing anything other than a very easy jog. It's more to keep your body loose, stretched out, and things flowin’.
And if you don’t get out on Friday, plan on doing A VERY EASY jog for 15-25min. You will not “tire out” by running a mile or two, followed by a good stretch routine.
Nutrition, Food & Hydration
Eat hearty during last few days, but DO NOT eat a huge meal after 7pm Saturday night before the race - plan to eat big early. Then a snack before bed. Most of you should plan on eating a small meal, or a small snack at least, VERY FIRST thing when you wake up on Sunday. Don't wait too long, however to eat. Should have at least 90-120 minutes to digest most solid meals. Snacks and liquid supplements can be taken closer to race time.
Hydrate, Hydrate and Hydrate. Do NOT wait until Saturday evening to start drinking more fluids. It actually started days ago. You should not wait until Sunday morning to put down an extra Gatorade for breakfast - it’s actually not very effective by that late in the game. Start hydrating now, if not 2 days ago. Drink lots of water and supplement with things like Amino Vital, Gatorade or other sports drink, preferably ones with lots of electrolytes, etc.
Speaking of eating . . . every meal is important, but no meal is more important than the one before a race. Eating the right pre-race meal at the right time ensures that all your hard training doesn't go to waste. Check out these guidelines on which foods are best to eat before a big race:
Nothing New Food-wise!
DON'T do or eat or drink or wear anything new, or that you're not used to. One of the reasons for the Saturday long runs is to practice and get used to "race conditions" . . . what to eat/when, drink/when, how much coffee should I drink. Should I get on the pot before I leave the house, or wait for a blue toilet? DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.
There is always a direct link between nutrition, hydration and medical. The Rock n Roll Race website has a decent overview section on Medial and Hydration.
DO NOT however, overcompensate and over hydrate. This can have just as serious effects. Simply reflect back to our long runs, some of which were toasty, and adjust accordingly. **KEEP IN MIND that this some of the information in the above links is specific to the RnR marathon.
Getting to the Race & Parking
Half the battle with race day has nothing to do with running. It’s UPS’s tagline - “Logistics”.
Parking and shuttles are different for this race than many others. You CANNOT drive yourself or get dropped off at the Start area. You MUST take the shuttles from Balboa Park. The last shuttle leaves at 5:30am. There are two (2) shuttle pickup-points:
President’s Way (Near Finish) - This is closest to the finish area, but also smaller parking lots nearby. If you’re not in the park by 4:45-5:00am’ish, then I wouldn’t even recommend trying to go down there.
Zoo Place (Main Zoo Parking Lots) - This is where we met on Tuesday and is the main Zoo parking lots. It’s close to the shuttle pickups, but further from the finish so you’ll have a bit of a hike after the race. Recommend parking here if you arrive after 5:00am.
Plan to park in the one of the many lots nearby, or get dropped off around Park Blvd. Shuttles run from 4:30am until 6:00am and it’s recommended to get to the zoo parking area NLT 5:15am – to be parked and walking to the shuttles by 5:30am. It’s like any other big event, the later you get there, the worse the traffic/lines, so the later you ‘get there’.
Meeting Area, Time & Group Picture
We do the same every race . . we designate a spot to meet up. Begin meeting up approx ~1-1.5 hours before race time. We then take a Family Picture EXACTLY 30min before race time, then you’re off on your own to use the porta pottys, change, drop your bags, etc. We do NOT do any formal warm-up, etc.
Take the shuttle to the start area and then head to the Monument area. It’s not that big so it won’t be hard to find us. We’ll start meeting up around 5:30am’ish (pretty much as you arrive from the buses) We will meet up at the Statue up in the park, beyond the Cul de sac. The group picture will be at the statue itself.
Custom Map of the Start Area - http://goo.gl/maps/FWsSk
5:00a - Arrive in Balboa Park (zoo) (Anytime from 4:30-5:30)
5:30a - Get bussed up to the start, hang out, relax, warm-up, stretch
6:00a - Group Picture @ Statue
6:10a - Drop gear, use portapotties, get to start
6:30a - Race Starts**
*We'll be taking a GROUP PICTURE at 6:00am SHARP. Please adjust your Porta-Potty visits accordingly ;)
** With the Chip/RFID timing system, it’s not crucial that you get through the start line right at 6:30am. In fact, many hang behind for 5-10 minute to let the clutter clear. Some even do it to guarantee the ability to pass more people from the back. You also get more porta potty options nearing the gun start.
Bag Drop & Gear Check
Most races include a “Bag Drop” area and operate the same way. Sorry, we won’t have the Key or Clothing Tubs to hang onto your keys.
AFC run a bit different in that All checked gear must fit into one 15” x 12” bag which will be supplied by the race. You may NOT check any backpacks or duffle bags. This means that a small gear bag that you own from a previous should fit okay.
“All gear must fit inside one event-supplied 15”x12” plastic bag. As a safety precaution, backpacks and duffle bags will not be accepted.”
Keep an eye on the weekend weather. Here are some links and general notes:
Summer & Fall mornings are typically full-on sun, assuming it’s a sunny day
Coastal Races (Carlsbad, La Jolla, etc.) typically experience more humidity in the earlier hours.
Sunshine is just as brutal as Heat. Wear protection (Sunscreen, Hat/Visor, Etc.)
Dress as if it were 10-20 deg Warmer than it actually is (everyone will vary)
Most races allow you to strip & dump clothing on the course. Wear long sleeves/junk mittens/gloves if cold and dump them.
Specific Race Information, Course & Maps
This race is tricky, but we’ve trained for it! The big downhill start always gets people. You’ll already be fired up due to the fact it’s race day and you’ll have 5,000+ runners alongside. Negative Splitting (Running faster during the second half of the race) is recommended for any race, but more-so for this one. Don’t forget all of the great training you’ve done, including running the 6th street hill a handful of times :) Again, SLOW DOWN during the first 5-6 miles
General Racing Info & Tips
Final Race Preparation
Here are a few good online articles on your final Preparation. For Half Marathoners, keep in mind some are geared towards the FULL marathon, but most of the concepts apply:
Aid on The Course
There will be plenty of water stations (8 total) while 5 of them will have Ultima Drink. The downside to Ultima is that it is virtually ZERO Calories. It’s great stuff for keeping hydrated and supplying Electrolytes but not for keeping fueled. Therefore, you will most likely want to bring with you some Gel, Gu, Chomps or other on-course nutrition. They sell them at the expo. Just remember, there will be NO options on race-day so plan ahead.
Spectators & Road Closures
Every race is different in regards to spectators. The ability and ease for spectators to get on the course and depends on many factors:
Public Access - How available is it? I.e. AFC Half = No spectators at the start area.
The Course Itself - what parts of town (or country) is it going through. Are the neighborhoods safe?
Traffic and Congestion - Is it downtown very crowded, or in back street neighborhoods?
Your transportation - Getting around in a Cadillac Escalade is quite different than a 2-wheel scooter or a Bike.
AFC is a bit different in that spectators are NOT ALLOWED at the Start Area. In fact, the first entire mile is on Government Property, so we won’t see any spectators until you leave the park. A few popular spots:
Mile 4.2 - Pt Loma at base of Talbot St where it turns onto Scott St.
Mile 10 - Along N. Harbor Drive. Also at Ash Street Turn
Mile 12 - 6th Ave & Fir* (Location of VAVi Cheer Zone, See Below)
Mile 13.1 - The Finish, of course :)
Areas to Avoid:
Miles 0-1.5 - Not allowed anyway
Miles 6.5 - 9.0 - Harbor Island & Rent A Car Access
After The Race
There is nothing better and more satisfying than finishing, crashing on the grass, celebrating with family and friends. And where applicable . . . hitting the beer garden!! After the race, get your nice finish area picture, pick up any free schwaag, recovery snacks, and drink.
The race dumps into the big grassy areas along President’s way. There are a lot of vendors and people milling about. There are no “family meeting areas” but usually groups of Black Flag runners start forming up.
So we’ll see if we can meet up in a general location. There is nothing formal for afterwards, but we’ll keep an eye out for each other.
BEER GARDEN - Registered participants over the age of 21 and displaying their bib number and proper ID are invited to visit the beer garden in the finish line festival to receive a complimentary Ballast Point beer (limited to one per person while supplies last).
MASSAGES - They will be offering post-event massages at the finish line festival
FREE TACO OFFER - Rubio’s Coastal Grill is offering registered participants a free taco. See your bib number for coupon and additional offer details.
Black Flag After Party for AFC
After the race, a group of us will be heading over to West Coast Tavern in North Park located at 2895 University Ave San Diego CA 92104. This is an open event and everyone is welcome to come and hang out. Trestaurantant opens at 10AM and we have a few tables reserved for us in the bar area under Black Flag Running Club at 10:30AM.
Leaving The Race
Leaving always sucks. Be prepared to have some patience. Leaving AFC requires some extra patience. Plan on long lines and traffic leaving the Balboa Park area. You’ll have to walk back to your cars first, then likely sit in some traffic. The closer you try to park to the finish area or bus pick-up area, the worse the traffic will be. Again, bring some patience ;)
That's it for now . . . And should be it for the rest of the race weekend. GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL, AND CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN FOR MAKING IT THIS FAR!!! Please let us know if you have any questions!