Race Report: Ensenada Half Marathon

Well I have to admit there is a lot of fear mongering about crossing the Southern border. If one stays on the beaten path and participate in “normal” activities experiencing a foreign country is quite enjoyable. It’s been about year or so since being in Mexico last. Lately my infrequent trips south have only been for breakfast/lunch at one of Baja California’s famous restaurants, La Fonda. The drive down for SD  offers great views of the pacific ocean and various “3rd World” towns along smooth toll roads.

I heard about this event, Ensenada half marathon, about a week ago and was offered a ride share down to the race (with fellow TCSDer Greg S.)… had to take advantage of the offer. No fancy website,  just a basic web page that gave date, time and location. I read a few blogs from others who had participated in the past. Many running events in Baja California are free of charge and offer prize money, not chips, no computers. This event fit my budget perfectly.

The drive down was pretty eventless,  arrive early to get a grounding of the area. Parked about 2 block away for race central, Sullivan Sports Complex. The complex has a great cushioned track as part of the facility.

Since no web page/site, I had no idea what the course was like, but no worries. It was just time to get an intense run workout and continue to verify/test my foot. I was predicting a 1:38 to 1:42 finish time and push hard for as long as possible.


Bib number with event procure (in Spanish) that included a course map.

Not sure of exact participant count but my guess was +650. No need to line up two hours before gun time. Races of this distance are not won in the first mile so I did not mind stating 10 deep. However, when the “gun went off”, I was kinda trapped by some pokers ahead so I headed to the right side of the path and speed my way to clear space ahead.

The course, click to enlarge.

Most of my training runs have had an average pace of  9+ min/mil with a heart rate around 128 or less. So, with my goal time, I knew I had to step it up. As it turned out I certainly did with an average hr of 164. That is right around my threshold and was kind of surprised when reviewing post race data. The half marathon course looped around several of the city central streets before heading out of town and up the coast highway. Overall the course was pretty flat, less than 500ft in elevation gain. There were plenty of declines to make up for the gradual inclines, marshals/volunteers at all cross streets, very little traffic… a well protected course. My splits turned out to be pretty even. I was keeping myself in check by heart rate levels and gauging my performance by pace.

Shoes: I decided at the last minute not to racing my Avia Stoltz, I have to figure out and stop a little rubbing that it is on the top of my foot and did not want to have any trouble so I raced in my Avi Quest Lite, w/orthotics which worked out great.

Clothing: Cep compression running shorts – they were great, kept the muscles from excessive vibration and bounce.  Since this was a stand alone run socks are a must; knee high compression socks by Saucony, again to keep and control muscle vibration. Tech shirt and hat in bright Team Trakkers green.

Post race, trying to support the massive Powerade bottle.

Nutrition: Start the day with fried egg on english muffin and PButter. Pre race (hour before hand): Have to have my Bazi Energy Shot with it’s 8 super fruits which are naturally energizers, antioxidants and powerful nutrients. During: 1st Endurance EFS Liquid Shot (Berry flavor) in 5 serving flask. I took in my nutrition sporadically but strategically when need to supply energy and nutrition to keep my muscles firing. I have not been training with Liquid Shot in a while and the first shot surprised me with it’s sweetness. Fortunately a water station was right there. I quickly learned and adjust the about taken per squeeze. Water was supplied in plastic bags. Many races in “3rd World” use these. I actually prefer this method over paper/plastic cups because there is less spilling and one can easily regulate the flow of water. Post: Powerade supplied  at the finish line and a mexican buffet in Rosatita on the way back north.

Results: Since results were hand compiled. I do not have any official result yet (not sure if ever will), just my Garmin 310xt data. Greg and I hung around for the whole awards ceremony waiting for results. We intended just to see the result quickly to determine if necessary to claim any possible awards (wishfull thinking). Since no computer and not fluent in Spanish we missed hearing the 45-49 group awards. The awards ceremonty was broken up with cultural dancing and random give aways/games. The presentation was not very organized but hey, no worries its a free event. I wish I did not have an event schedule that coexists with the upcoming Tijuana tendrá Maratón Internacional held this July10th. There are generally 50-100 Americans at this event and again they are free!

Awards all lined up, but none for us. I needed to be 10 minutes faster.

Time: 1:31:35 / pace 6:53 (unofficial), wait at border crossing 3:45… my longest ever! The good news is, I think (know) and I will be able to complete and compete in the Rev3 Cedar Point triathlon in September.

On course.

Finish line press.

Day after: Foot feels fine no excessive pain, quads/legs a bit sore but the compression wear helped out tremendously. I need to go for a swim but busy with this report and  work projects…Update quads still a bit sore but stairs are no problems, no running until Thursday. will be biking and swimming thru recovery.

PS why can’t America bring some micro cars like this to the USA?

The Chevy Spark (notice rear door handle location) above and the VW CrossFox below.


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