Well, in case you missed it on Facebook or Instagram, I spent the last week having fun in the sun before and after running the Puerto Rico Half Marathon in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Admittedly, this race wasn’t even on my radar until Swirlgear partnered with them to host a giveaway for a race entry. Imagine my surprise when I won! And since the race coincided perfectly with my husband Jason’s spring break I knew it was a sign. Off to Puerto Rico we went!
We stayed at the Caribe Hilton which was literally next door to the race expo and a 5 minute walk from the start and finish line. The hotel had a beautiful pool and hotel grounds but the rooms weren’t that spectacular, the service at the on-site restaurants was hit or miss, and the location meant it was at least $30 to go anywhere by cab. Thankfully I got a lovely tour of the town on foot during the race!
In an attempt to combat the heat and humidity (it was 75 degrees and humid at the start line) the race began at 5:00 AM! I honestly had no idea how I was going to fair in those kinds of temperatures considering Chicago hasn’t seen anything above 60 for months. So, I decided just to run at a comfortable pace, and enjoy my surroundings.
The first few miles of the race were dark and hilly. I was grateful I had a headlamp and that I was running behind some guys who called out every speed bump. I was sad, though, that the first part of the race took us past historic Old San Juan and it was too dark to really see what was around us. Still, the buildings that were lit up were beautiful and it was fun to see the cruise ships shining out in the port. And once the sun came up it was neat to run though a city so unlike my own. And to catch glimpses of the ocean here and there.
The volunteers at the aid stations were wonderful although I’m still glad I wore my fuel belt since I like to drink water more than every 2 miles. And the guy who stood at the top of the final hill and said, “It’s all downhill from here! Literally!” was amazing.
In the end, the hills and the heat weren’t terrible and, in fact, I managed to run my goal long run pace of 9:30 without even thinking about it. I have to say, if you’re looking for an excuse to run a race in a tropical locale then the Puerto Rico Half Marathon should be on your list. Stay a few days afterward and take a food tour with Paulina and Gus of Spoon Food Tours, kayak the bio-luminescent bay, and lay by the ocean or pool to recover. And drink a pina colada or two. Apparently they were invented there!