Date: February 3, 2013
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Finish: 1:49:36 (8:22 pace)
According to my medal collection, this year marks my sixth running of the Surf City Half Marathon. I ran my first Surf City race back in 2008 during it's inaugural year and have ran this race every year since. With it's $120 price tag, this is one of the more pricey halves out there...and yes the weather is so unpredictable this time of year in SoCal. Remember the "monsoon" of '08? What a way to start the series, no?!? But for me, the pros outweighed the cons and so yesterday I was out there with the best of them running my little heart out.
It was the first race of the season for me so I knew going into it that my legs would probably be rusty. The good news was that this was the first year ever that I've ran this race and was not ill, either from the flu or from my bouts with colitis. I felt so happy and lucky.
On Friday afternoon, I headed to the expo with friend Darren to pick up our bibs. We arrived around 3:30pm to find that there was still a line to get into the expo but it was moving pretty quickly. It was a rather quick and uneventful trip.
The tech shirts they handed out this year is probably my favorite out of the entire series. It is charcoal grey with long sleeves and v-neck. Previously, my favorite was the dark navy blue one from 2011. The Longboard Legacy club shirts are also starting to get better. Still cotton-y but the material is thinner and now with v-neck. Also, still shapeless...as in I look like a box when I have it on.
On the morning of the race, my phone was acting up again and so my alarm did not go off as planned. Luckily, I randomly woke up exactly at the time when my alarm was supposed to go off so no harm done but it could have been a disaster. I have to remember to set two different alarms from now on. Also, for the first time in what seemed like...ever...I slept the entire night, soundly and peacefully. I'm normally tossing and turning from race jitters. I could already tell that it would be a good running day.
The moon was still out when I headed out the door on Sunday morning en route to meet up with some friends at a local Starbucks to carpool to the race.
I arrived at the Starbucks 10 minutes before our scheduled meeting time so I grabbed a bagel to have with my hot tea. I'm almost never this organized and on time.
We got to Huntington Beach around 6:15am or so and was parked and ready to make the 1.5 mile warm-up walk to the starting line. We stopped at the beach restrooms along the way allowing for multiply stops. This is one of the many reasons I like this race so much.
Before we knew it, the race was starting. I was optimistic and lined up behind the 1:45 pacers in the second corral. I lost the pacers almost immediately because there were just so many people. The first couple of miles were on pace, all the way up until the point where we exited the residential loop. It was at this point that I realized that I should have trained more. I was starting to fade a bit. My pacing after this point was erratic, some on pace and some not-so-much. Every year I struggle the most with miles 8-10 because the turnaround is at mile 8 and from that point on you are basically running into the sun on a slight incline until mile 10 which peaks with a small "hill". This is the kind of course that will come back to bite you if you start out too fast, or so I've heard because it has never happened to me. ;)
After mile 10, it flattens out but then it becomes a straight 3-mile shot to the finish which if you are not use to or have gone out too fast could seem like a million miles away. The fastest that I have ever ran this course was 1:48 so I was aiming to beat that time but I'm still happy with how I did considering I barely racked up a little over 80 miles in January in preparation for this race. I also missed a critical long run and had to cut a couple of my long runs short. In hindsight, I probably could have given more but I would have ended up walking funny today. I really have to get over my fear of pushing myself above my tolerance level. At the end of the day, I can't really complain too much.
After I crossed the finish line en route to the beer tent with friend Amber, we ran into this other runner dressed up in "formals" complete with a top hat. His dad told me that he had seen me running on the course and had hoped that I would pass by so that we could take a bride/groom photo together. Costumed runners are the fun-est! Did anyone else see those speedy Waldos? They ran in jeans and were still really fast. So that's it! I have a couple of fun races coming up, including my 8th running of the LA Marathon! Let's go do this thing!