February 10, 2010

Surf City Half Marathon (Race Report)

So now that my back-to-back midterms are over (sigh of relief), I can finally tell you all about my wonderful Surf City Half Marathon weekend down in Huntington Beach : ) Stacey and I headed down Saturday morning in the middle of a downpour that lasted well past LA, but cleared up a bit as we got closer to Huntington Beach. After checking into our awesome hotel and arranging for our shuttle Sunday morning, we headed back out to grab some lunch and hit the expo. The expo was outside but tented, and as soon as we got there it started pouring! The tents started leaking and the carpets inside started to flood...my shoes are still wet! Because of the crazy weather everyone was crowded inside, making it for a rather claustrophobic experience. I didn't end up buying anything surprisingly, so as soon as the rain stopped we headed out.
As we walked out the expo, we were greeted by the most mesmerizing rainbow I've ever seen in my life! Not only did it form a complete arch, but the colors were so vivid I could make out every single one. I literally just stared the whole walk back to the car, and the whole drive back to our hotel. Talk about a great omen : ) When we got back to our hotel we were both pretty exhausted, so Stacey talked me into getting a beer at the bar to relax. We chatted for a while with another guy who was running the full, then headed up to our room to relax, order room service, and get to bed early.

Sunday morning we were up by 5:30 to catch our 6:30 shuttle to the start line. We really lucked out weather-wise as the rain had not only stopped but was replaced with clear blue skies! We got there with just enough time to hit the bathrooms and find our spot in the crowd before the start. It was a wave start so we didn't actually get going for another 15 minutes, making us just a little antsy : ) I started off feeling great! We decided to aim for a 2:15 finish (a PR), pending how my legs held up. So we started out with a 10:25 pace which felt really comfortable and easy for the first few miles. The course took us along the PCH right next to the beach for a few miles before we detoured with a loop through some neighborhoods. At the end of the loop Stacey was having a lot of back pain, so she told me to go ahead and wed just meet at the finish, so I took off.

We emerged from the loop back on the PCH around mile 5 and headed out for another few miles. The day was so clear that we could actually see all the way to the mountains topped with snow! It was also really cool to see the marathon runners who had started before us and whose course overlapped ours in several parts. By the time I reached the turn around I was a little tired, and once I headed back in the opposite direction, I was running directly into the sun. I don't do well in the heat and it had warmed up fast, nor was I wearing a hat to shade my face from the sun. The last few miles I had to intersperse short bits of walking as the sun started to get to me. I was wavering back and forth with my time in terms of getting a PR, but in the end I decided it wasn't that important and let it go. Ironically, as I crossed the finish and stopped my Garmin, I realized I was one minute off with 2:18:58!

I got my amazing surfboard medal (the real reason I wanted to do this race!) and waited for Stacey. After 20 minutes, I hadn't seen her, and the race staff were trying to get finishers away from the finish line, so I made a pit stop at the bathroom before wandering the finish area for Stacey. Almost 40 minutes later and still alone, I realized how stupid we were for not picking a place to meet! Finally I asked myself, "If I were Stacey, where would I be?" and immediately headed toward the beer garden : ) Lo and behold, there was Stacey waiting in line! We got our beers and relaxed for a while, then realized it was almost time to catch our shuttle back. We took some last minute shots with the pretty beach as our backdrop then headed back to our hotel to shower and head home.

I felt pretty good post-race besides being a bit sunburned and utterly exhausted. Thankfully, no shin splints though! Unfortunately when we got back to Santa Barbara there was no time to relax as I had a midterm Monday and then another on Tuesday : ( Overall, however, I had such a great weekend and loved Surf City. Races always remind me how much I love running and get me excited for the next one I have planned. I also wanted to mention that I wore my new Asics capris, and they are basically the best things ever!! Not only are they super comfy and flattering, but they have these awesome mesh pockets on the back on either side, perfect for slipping my iPod and a couple Gus without feeling bulky. Love love love them!


  1. Great recap! And congrats on your time! Sounds like it was a great race for you.

    I ran the marathon and I was so happy the weather cleared up for Sunday's race. My whole family got completely soaked on Saturday on our way to the Expo. It was miserable, but thankfully the running gods complied and cleared the skies.

    Great pictures too. Put me right back at the race!

  2. I loved reading of your experience! Your excitement and joy shines through, and gives me a fantastic reminder to enjoy the process because marathon day will be awesome! Thank you!

    Loved the pictures. What a fabulous rainbow!

    I need to look into getting some of those capris because I absolutely, positively cannot run in shorts!

    Thanks again for the recap!