Posted in Race Reports, Running

PR at the San Diego Holiday Half – Race Report

I ran the San Diego Holiday Half marathon this past weekend and guess what?

I BEAT MY PERSONAL RECORD (PR) with a time of 1:53:18!

What??? Is this real life?


Holy crap! I still can’t believe it. It’s been 4 days already and I still think there was some kind of glitch that happened in the system to give me that time, but when I look over at my Strava data and the official results, there’s no denying it. I RAN A SUB TWO HOUR HALF MARATHON. 😀 Wheeeeeee. This is huge for me because

  1. I have NEVER run a sub 2 hour half marathon before.
  2. I hadn’t PRed in a half marathon in over a year and a half.

My last PR for this distance was a 2:01:41. That’s almost 8 and a half minutes slower than what I currently ran. This is kind of insane to me. This year, I’ve been hovering at around a 2:07:00 time and was really doubting that I was improving as a runner. Not PRing in over a year and a half despite pretty consistently running was a little disheartening. BUT, with this recent development, I think I’ll double my efforts next year and try and PR again! 🙂 WHEEEEEE!

Okay, onto the nitty gritty details.

Bib Pick Up – You pick up your bib at Road Runner Sports the day before the race. Bib pick up was a bit disorganized in the evening when I got my stuff, but it made up for it with the swag. Your registration comes with a long sleeved tech hoodie, a pair of gloves, and some coupons. Most registrations don’t come with a hoodie so I was pretty stoked about this. The gloves they provide are meant as throwaway gloves after you’re all warmed up on race day. I wore them race day and they helped A LOT. It was freezing the morning of.

Must haves: Honey Stinger waffles, Flip Belt, earbuds, SparklySoul Headband, Hammer or Honey Stinger gels, and water. LOTS OF WATER.

Morning of – It was about high 30s/low 40s for most of the morning. We got to the area around 6:45 am (the race starts at 7:30 am) and found parking fairly easily after a little confusion. The designated parking area had a few smaller lots off to the side that had private parking signs and no one was sure if we were allowed to park there. We just went to the second designated lot and walked a few blocks to the start. Easy peasy. 🙂

The Race  The race itself has a 711 ft net elevation drop, which makes it a very PR-able course as proven by yours truly. I ran with a few others and we all PRed. A fellow runner even high fived me at the finish line and told me she PRed by 15 minutes! I could tell by her face that she couldn’t believe it. If you want to PR, this is definitely the course for you.

Although the race has an overall elevation drop, be prepared for hills. They’re not too bad, but the hills are spread throughout the race. There is also some bottlenecking, but it’s not too bad. You run along the 56 freeway (not on it, but through a bike path) and it’s pretty much a straightshot from start to finish.

Beast Pacing did the pacing for this race. It was also the first time I ran with a pace group. I stuck with the 1:55 pacer and made it all the way through to the end. Well, I sped up the last mile cause I got too excited, but that’s besides the point. The point is this group did a fantastic job of pacing. I was on schedule the entire time and the pacer was positive the whole way through. Now I’m thinking about being a pacer. Hah. I’m easily influenced.

I waited for the 1:55 pacer Andrew to cross the finish line so I could get a pic with him. Hah. 

Anyway, the only thing I didn’t like about this race was the hill towards the end of the race. I like downhill finishes, but because I was on a mission to get my best time possible, I gunned it at the end. 🙂 Once you’ve crossed the finish line, you’ll feel like a million bucks (especially if you’ve PRed).

Post-race festivities – You get awarded a medal, collect your freebies (food!), and take a bunch of photos because hey, why not? If you completed the 15k South Bay Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving like I did, you get the Winter Exacta medal. (woohoo)

My Winter Exacta medal/bottle opener (LOL) and my Holiday Half medal

There is also an extra medal (Route 56) if you completed the San Diego Craft Classic Half marathon in July. Since we parked at the start line, we got onto a shuttle and made our way back. The trip was extremely smooth and I’d totally run it again. 2017? Bring it on!





My name is Mai and I am a recent PhD graduate. :) When not hard at work, I can be found training for a race, traveling the world, or talking about Disneyland. Come join me on my journey and help me navigate this world. :)

10 thoughts on “PR at the San Diego Holiday Half – Race Report

    1. Thank you! I was also running slower all year and didn’t think I could do it. Just keep at it and you’ll definitely get there. I think that training for a marathon really helped. I ran so many miles that a half seemed a bit easier. Good luck with your halfs!


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