#37 Hollywood Half Marathon


37 down only 15 to go.

So Big O Tires tried to kill us on the way to Hollywood last weekend. This race report almost didn’t happen because we barely made it to the expo in time to pick up our bibs before they closed. We sprinted into the expo with only minutes to spare. We got our bibs and as we were on our way to get our t-shirts they were shutting down and kicking everyone out. The woman at the t-shirt booth had to dig out a box she had put away to get Tim’s shirt. We got the breaks done at Big O in Pacific Beach on April 4th but didn’t drive the car (except a couple blocks home) until the following Friday. I think it is a bad idea to for a Saturday race to have no day of race packet pickup. Moist people work on Friday so it turns the event into a locals only race or an inconvenience. Tim took a half day off and we left at 1pm (expo closed at 7pm) so we would have time to check into our hotel and play at the expo. We were in the carpool lane, on interstate 5, when we started to hear some pretty scary noises coming from the back of the car. At first, we though it was someone else’s car because, of course, our car won’t make a noise like that. The noise got much worse very fast leaving no doubt that it was our car. Tim managed to get across 5 lanes of traffic (I closed my eyes) and take the next exit. He took off the tire to see if he could figure out what was wrong. I guess it was clear what was wrong. When they put our new breaks on they left out 2 bolts! [They didn’t bolt the left, rear caliper back on – Tim]. I don’t really understand any of this but Tim says the breaks could have seized and flipped the car. I know it was serious because when Tim called Big O they did everything they could to help us. They called a tow truck to haul us to the Big O in Carlsbad. The tow truck was pretty fast but by this time we were worried that we were not going to make the expo. We even started looking for last minute Sunday races. When we got to Carlsbad we found out the tow truck guy didn’t take credit cards so Tim had to run and find an ATM (Big O did reimburse us). The guy running the Big O in Carlsbad was a huge jerk. Right away he made clear that we were his lowest priority and that the only reason he was dealing with us at all was because he had to. He seemed to take a personal dislike towards us. It sounds paranoid but he was beyond rude. Maybe he didn’t like the looks of Tim (he was a no hair, Fox news type) or I looked like his ex-wife. I don’t know what his problem was but as soon as we realized that our car would not even be looked at for hours, Tim got on the phone to Big O in Pacific Beach and they set up a rental car for us. A woman from enterprise picked us up in Carlsbad and drove us to their Carlsbad office to pick up our rental car. The Enterprise office is south of the Big O in Carlsbad. We were going away from Hollywood. I almost screamed. Kudos for Enterprise for getting us out of there in record time. For once I didn’t complain about Tim driving too fast. Thanks to Tim’s skillful(?) driving and lack of traffic police, while we didn’t get to see the expo we did get our bibs, so we were able to run the race.

We stayed at the Budget Inn only a few blocks from the starting line. The hotel was a a little run down but the room was clean and more than half the price of everything else in the area. If you ever run this HM I recommend this place (room #108) for it’s price and location.

We found a little hole in the wall pizza place, Fat Tomato Pizza, for carb loading where we talked to a German couple who were also running. The pizza was great.

#37 Hollywood Half Marathon

My – Don’t I look smart – glasses

The race started at 6am so we set the alarm for 4:30am. Once we are finished with this project, I hope to never get up before the sun again. It’s a good thing we stayed so close to the start because Tim wore the wrong shoes and had to run back and change. It was a bit chilly so I had on my favorite flannel shirt and Tim had on a hoodie which we planned to leave at the bag check. Turns out that the bag check was at the finish line. How are you supposed to put your warm clothes in the bag check if it is at the finish line? Maybe they reasoned that people would want to put a change of clothes at the finish. Most races transport your bags to the finish if it isn’t a loop course. Anyways, Tim actually wore one of those crappy race backpacks with the string shoulder straps, stuffed with our warm clothes, for the entire race. Once again, I nominate him for husband of the year. I suggested ditching the clothes but it was his kung-fu hoodie and he knew it was one of my favorite shirts.

#37 Hollywood Half Marathon

I like the sign in back

Much like last weekend, this race had some great costumes. Unlike last weekend, that’s not all it had going for it. This race was actually well organized.

#37 Hollywood Half Marathon

Marilyn, I found a Marilyn for you

We stated in corrals which seemed to have nothing to do with finishing time but worked out well. I didn’t really see that much of the course because I was too busy chatting and people watching. It was all on pavement through the streets of Hollywood. There were plenty of fully stocked aid stations as well as port-o-pots on the course.

#37 Hollywood Half Marathon

Happy birthday – Have som pain and suffering

This course was a little convoluted and doubled back on itself a couple of times. Being the queen of getting lost I was a little worries when I saw the course map but there were so many people and such good traffic control that it was never an issue. I got to see Tim a couple of times. He must have been flying in the beginning because he was way ahead of me when I saw him the first time.

#37 Hollywood Half Marathon

Thanks for reminding everyone what’s really important

Another nice thing about this run was the music along the course. Live music is a great distraction. I liked the drummers so much that I ran back to get a picture but it turned out blurry. Luckily great minds think alike(really Sharon, cliches from someone with a Masters in creative-writing) and Tim got a couple unblurry pictures.

#37 Hollywood Half Marathon

I have seen people running with flags at quite a few races. They always pass me and it’s always awesome.

#37 Hollywood Half Marathon

Works the arms as well as the legs

The second time I saw Tim he didn’t seem to be as far ahead as he was the first time I saw him. I was afraid that he was having a problem with his a-fib and I found out later that I was right. It must have been very frustrating for him because he said that he felt great but every time he tried to run after mile 8 his heart rate would spike. I think it might have been caused by the stress of Friday.

How awesome is this guy? Tim took this picture. The sad thing is – I never even saw this guy. He was too far in front of me. I hope I’m still running in 25 years.

#37 Hollywood Half Marathon

I’m 77 and a half years old

Around mile 10 I smelt a major pot smell. Three guys were sitting on a bench passing a joint in daylight with a whole road full of runners passing them. I was in the middle of the road and could smell it clearly. I thought it was pretty bold given that there were cops all along the course. I think marijuana should be legal but not in public where everyone around you is affected (I feel the same way about cigarettes). It made me want to take a nap. “I’m going for a run”, said no one, ever, after smoking a joint.

I got a little nauseous during the last 3 miles and had to stop and walk (plus I was tired) but it was nothing like the last couple of weeks. I was able to put on a sprint and pass 3 people in the last 10 seconds before crossing the finish line. I like passing people too much.

#37 Hollywood Half Marathon

Check out our ninja weapon medals


  • Must get to expo before 7pm Friday to get bibs (hard on out of town, working people)
  • Drop bags at the finish line
  • Pricey ($125) for what you get
  • Shirts ran a little small
  • They ran out of small and medium shirts for women


  • 6am start (helped beat the heat)
  • Well organized
  • Fun vibe with costumes
  • Frequent aid stations
  • Iconic landmarks along course
  • Good traffic control
  • Music on the course
  • Cool medal
  • Emailed runners their time day after race

This race was a lot of fun. I would recommend it with the caveat that it seems a little spendy for what you get. We didn’t make it to the expo so maybe they had lots of freebies there. The shirt is wearable and they had a cool medal. The course was interesting in parts with good crowd support at the beginning and end. It was a little hilly but completely beginner and slow runner doable. A great place to dress up as your favorite movie character and not get weird looks. The runners made the race interesting. I could have put in many more pictures of costumes. At many races I have seen the sign – Worse parade ever – This race was actually a good parade.

Please click on comment to leave a comment. I love comments.


  1. WOW!!! I’m so glad you didn’t get hurt! What kind of a shop forgets to bolt something on — it’s the easiest part of a brake job!!! Talk about drama! The story of you getting to your bibs is a real nail-biter. I’ve volunteered at expos and have wondered about the folks that come scrambling in at the very last second, now I know to be very, very kind to them, as they may have just watched their lives flash before their eyes!

    This sounds like a must-do run that I would love to do. 13.1 miles of foolishness is my kinda race. And the pic of the guy in the birthday hat with the caption is a classic!

    • The most exciting moment was when Tim crossed 5 lanes of traffic in our very loud shaking car. Tim says that they were so helpful because we had a pretty clear lawsuit. The guy Tim talked to sounded almost as freaked out about the situation as we were.
      This was a pretty sweet race but I don’t think we are going to do it again. Once we finish the next 14 races I want to focus on trail running. It would be nice to run not walk up a hill
      How are you doing? Are your running injuries letting you run yet? Take care of yourself. As I’m sure you know small pains can turn into months of no running if you don’t talk care of feet and legs. Knowing how much you like to do races this must be hard on you.

  2. Hi, kids! I finally have a minute to write but only a minute.
    What an adventure you had.. you can laugh about it now but it was scary at the time. I am thankful you arrived safe and sound.
    You look happy and so relaxed, and yes, everything must be agreeing with you in sunny California.
    Loved all the photos and what you wrote.
    I have 20 fires going on but wanted to take time to write and say Hi.
    Much love,

  3. Loraine Chapman

    Glad you made it safe and sound to the race. It would have been a shame to miss it. Looks like a great time!

  4. First of all, I’m so glad you’re both okay. It sounds like it was a fun race, in spite of the fact that you almost didn’t make it there (on time, or at all, thanks to your car troubles). I am very impressed with Big O tires in Carlsbad. They really took care of the problems (which of course they should have, since they caused them!). You must have angels riding on your shoulders, you two. I can’t even let myself think of the awful things that could have happened.

    Thanks for taking a photo of Marilyn for me! It would have been fun to dress up as Marilyn and see Marilyn running at the HM. A race in Hollywood should have fabulous costumes, and it looks like this one really did. I love all the photos you post, but especially the ones of you two. You both look so happy, and I know living at the beach is exactly perfect for you both.

    I’m delighted your blog is sounding more “up.” Think it may have to do with the fact that there are “only” 15 more to go? It sounds doable, doesn’t it?

    Please take a walk on the beach for me. Stand in line at Woody’s and have a cup of coffee for me. If you see her, say hello to the other Marilyn. And a big, happy hello to the ocean. As Arnold said, “I’ll be back.” Sending you love and hugs….always!

    • Hi sweetie. You must have misread my post or I was not clear. It was the big O tires in Pacific Beach were we got the breaks done that did everything they could to help us. The guy in Carlsbad was the biggest douch nozzle on the planet. Luckily it all worked out and now I know what break calipers are.
      While the end of this project is on our minds we are still having a great adventure. My last post was more up because I liked the race a lot not because the end was within sight. I try to call the races as I see them. Who’s you were with us as the fabulous photographer friend.

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