While some people spend their Cinco de Mayo weekend drinking margaritas and eating copious amounts of tacos, I spent my weekend carbo-loading and going to bed before 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.
On Sunday, May 6 was the 2nd annual Safari Park Half Marathon and my husband and I were running it. Despite still nursing bruised egos from the La Jolla Half Marathon just seven days prior, we felt good and motivated; we were going to set a new personal best.
As always, the morning started early. We were out of the house by 5 a.m. and drove up to Westfield North County mall, the start line. The course was to start at the mall, which offered ample parking for all of the runners and spectators, wind through wine country, farm land, golf courses and end at the Safari Park.
Despite a gloomy morning with some fog and light rain, the run proved to be rather nice. The course was hilly, winding through the country side, but overall it was so fascinating to see this side of California.
At mile 6, however, that's where the course took a turn for the worse. We knew going into this course there would be hills but we also knew they were not to the magnitude of the hills present at the La Jolla Half Marathon. Sure enough, the hill at mile 6 that was just inside the Safari Park was tough. As some extra motivation, race organizers had signs leading up the hills all reading cheesy animal-related jokes. My favorite was at the top of the hill: "What do elephant trunks and this hill have in common? They both SUCK!"
Despite being slowed down by the hills, we still pushed and were able to make up some time as the course continued. With the last mile in sight, I pushed my legs and I'm not quite sure where that energy and motivation came from. To help me out of my struggle in the home stretch, my husband grabbed my hand and he pulled. I'm glad he did. We set a new personal record and hit our goal of coming in under two hours...by nine seconds.
The best part of this race was what came with it. Included in our race admission was free admission to the Safari Park. We were so excited to spend our afternoon at the park. To help us refuel we enjoyed a post-race breakfast where we met other runners, feasted on scrambled eggs and were able to relax. After cleaning up–a fresh T-shirt and sport bra never felt so good–we made our way throughout the park.
After my post about my adventures at the many of you recommended going to the Safari Park. The park itself was far more expansive than we had originally anticipated. It felt more like a wildlife preserve than a zoo. The scenery was gorgeous and it was so interesting to see the animals roam in such large pens.
The day was such a wonderful experience. It was so neat to be able to see the country side of California and such a fascinating wild-life preserve. We both believe that the San Diego Zoo has a better selection of animals, but we were both very happy that we were able to experience the Safari Park.