Race number 4 was the Surf City Half Marathon. It was an out-and-back course along the Pacific Coast Highway with a 3-mile loop back into the hills.
Goals: I’d just run the Manhattan Half Marathon the weekend before, so I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel, not to mention jet-lag, so I set the usual goal of running between the water stations and hoped I could manage a 2:10. This was the inaugural running (it used to be called the Pacific Shoreline, but the name and the course changed this year), so everyone set a course PR.
Expo day: Shayna had suggested that I run this event and when I decided to run it (to support my brother in his first half marathon), I thought I would surprise her by showing up at the expo. I arranged for her to meet my brother at the expo to introduce him to some Big Cats. As we were walking towards the expo, Shayna sent a message that she wasn’t going to make it, so I had to call her to tell her I was there. We arranged to meet before the race the next morning. Next time, I’ll do a better job setting up the surprise. I didn’t get to meet any of the other Big Cats, either, unfortunately.
Race day: It was raining, cold, and windy. On the way to race, I decided to reset my 2:10 goal to 2:15. We donned our black garbage bags, then dropped my sister off at the 5k start (she was walking it with a friend from work) and headed over to the marathon start to find Shayna and company. We huddled together for a while and then headed off to the start. My brother had planned to start at the back, because this was his first half marathon, but I’ve been following his training and knew that he was going to run faster than he expected, so I made him start in the third wave with me. We headed out together and I stayed to the left of the course, so I could find my sister in her 5k. As we passed the start area for the 5k, the announcer asked who was supporting the Giants. I cheered loudly, of course! Then, he asked who was supporting the Patriots. There were some boos, but not as many cheers as for the Giants. Then, he asked who would rather be sitting in a warm, dry living room watching the game and we all cheered!!
I missed the first mile marker while I was looking for my sister. I saw the second one and thought that would help me find them along the way. I was wrong. They were only on the right side of the course and the ones which didn’t get knocked down by the wind were barely head-high. Most of the clocks weren’t even working. In the third mile, we turned off the PCH and headed up into a hill for a brief break from the wind. The front runners were coming down out off the hill, so I stayed to the left in hopes of seeing some Big Cats. No luck! Coming down off the hill myself, I stayed to the left to see if I could find Shayna or Jenn, who I thought was jogging with a stroller (she wasn’t). No luck! Back onto the PCH, we passed oil pumps chugging away. I’m sure the scenery would have been lovely had the weather cooperated, but, as it was, I spent most of my time avoiding looking at the surf and trying to keep the water from washing the contact lenses out of my eyes. There were two chip mats along the course – one at 5k and one in the 8th mile. I wasn’t sure of the significance of that one, but I made sure to hit them both. Clif Shot Blox were supposed to be available along the PCH, but I didn’t get any until the 11th mile station. I took a long walk-break there, eating my Black Cherry Shot Blox (yum!), walking off the stiffness in my knee, and finally getting rid of the big black garbage bag, which was more of a hindrance at this point. There was never a moment when I didn’t feel cold and I had been soaked through before the start, so I might as well have not had it on!! Anyway, I was desperate to get off the course and try to get warm again, so I pushed as hard as I could to get to the finish. I couldn’t find anyone in the finishing chute, but finally caught up with my brother at the expo tents. We called my sister and she came over so we could all take pictures together.
Official stats: my official time was 2:12:19 for a 10:06 pace and a course PR. My splits were 20:28 (1&2), 10:20, 9:59, 10:09, 9:43, 20:51 (7&8), 20:30 (9&10), 10:12: 10:54, 9:42, 8:58, and :58 for the last tenth of a mile (pace). I was out of total runners, putting me in the percentile. It was 30°F with 75% humidity and 6 mph winds.
Celebratory treats: On the way home, we stopped at In and Out Burger for fries and exchanged congratulations with a lot of other Surf City runners who had the same idea. Then, we stopped at Rubio’s for a yummy fish taco. At home, I had a slushy Dr Pepper, lots of yummy SuperBowl snacks, a chocolate peppermint brownie, and a Chokolit truffle (thank you, Lisa!)
Next up: Bronx Half Marathon (2/10)
Thanks for all your support!!
Pictures are available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/sets/72157603861918768/.