In preparation for the Long Beach Marathon, I figured I would pay a visit to our friends down at Run Racing.  Ironically I arrived exactly 26 days before the big day- and we had 26 miles to cover over the next 2 days!  Danica and I had so much fun on her visit to San Francisco, she’s like my “job twin”, we both love Social Media, Marketing, Community Outreach, etc.  We’ve had a lot of fun bouncing ideas back and forth since the last trip, so it seemed like a good time to reunite down in her neck of the woods.

Our first stop was the Run Racing offices.  She gave me a quick tour, introduced me to her team and showed me the office and warehouse.  A fun fact- Run Racing shares their office and warehouse space with the Long Beach Grand Prix, so there are just a ton of fun little gems lying around.  It had been a VERY early morning, so Danica and Leslie took me over to their hotspot (7 Eleven) for some coffee.  A few minutes later we were on our way to the Start Line!

When we got to the waterfront it was gorgeous and sunny- perfect!  I tried in envision the big Start Line Banners, Spectators, and thousands of runners lined up in corrals as we cruised past the Hyatt, the Ferris Wheel, the pond with paddle boats, and some local waterfront restaurants.  After a while we were headed up the bridge to head over towards the Queen Mary.  At the top of the bridge, you can look across the water and see the Lighthouse on the Left, Queen Mary on the right and all of the cute waterfront property.  We wrapped around, getting a closer look at the Queen Mary, and back over to the other side of the Bay.

The course then continues along the waterfront along the Pier, past the Aquarium, the Long Beach ICB Marathon Volunteer of the Year Benches, and the Marina Green.  Around Mile 7, we were connected with the running path along the beach.  Not only was the course completely flat and we rode along taking in views of the sandy beach on the right and cute waterfront homes on the left.  We passed volleyball nets, a cool mural, and Danica explained what the bizarre little islands out in the water were.

Finally, we turned to go up a mild little hill to continue into the neighborhoods.

After seeing the first half, we were exhausted! Danica took me to my hotel, the Hotel Maya, which is right on the waterfront down the street from the Queen Mary.  It was such a fun place- highly recommended!  Looking out the oceanfront patio at night, the bridge and cityscape lit up.

The next morning, Danica and I grabbed breakfast at the Omlette Inn in Downtown Long Beach.  We’re both “Breakfast people” so making a decision on the menu was difficult.  It was delicious- and portion sizes huge… Needless to say we had to wait a while before heading back out to run.

A few hours later, we were back on the course to finish what we’d started!  The second day’s route was more residential, weaving through neighborhoods, past a golf course, past the school that the movie Freedom Writers was based off of, and finally to CSULB.  Once we were on campus, we did a big loop, passing by Greek Row, the Pyramid and more!

We made our way back in the way we came, excited to know we were almost finished.  In the last mile, we were back along Ocean Blvd, taking a left down the hill on the Grand Prix Circuit, and finishing right in front of the Marina Green!  Although the finish line was not set up, the finish line WAS there, because it is the same finish line used by the Long Beach Grand Prix- and it stays there year- round.

I tried to envision thousands of screaming fans, yummy post-race snacks and the excitement of the finish line festival.  We were exhausted, and I had a plane to catch.  We drove back to the Run Racing office, grabbed my things and headed home.

The Long Beach International City Bank Marathon is now less than 2 weeks away!  I can’t wait to hear how all of our Cal Dreamers do on Race Day.  Make sure to tell us how the run goes and enjoy cruising the beach!

Happy running!

Jojo