Where to begin with this event?! December and January were not my strongest half marathons… cold temps, tough courses, muddled mind. I was frustrated with times around 2:35. I knew I was stronger than that.
I went in to Surf City wanting a better time, a better race, a better mindset. I had a lot of expectations for this event, a lot. A part of me hoped being near the ocean would help my mind.
The road trip there was uneventful. The expo had a great feel, set up in a parking lot next to the beach in a tent just a fun vibe all around. I met some great people, Diana, Paula, Marathon Show Joe and Eddie, Andrea just to name a few. Saw an old friend Hailey from iFitness… a really good time. Afterwards, my travel buddy and friend Charlene and I grabbed some dinner and headed to the hotel to relax.
Saturday we went back to the expo, to hang out and well… be interviewed by Joe for The Marathon Show (my interview starts at 19:35)! I talked about my 13 in 2013 goal and training strategies. A great guy and a great time. We headed back for some lunch and relaxing, then went back to hang at the pier and have some dinner with friends.
Now, to race day. We were up early, headed out to meet up with the Half Fanatics for the pre-race photo and get into our groove. After the photo, I went off to my corral to stretch, relax and get my mind ready. Although the forecast called for cloudy skies, it became apparent quickly that the weather would be sunny and beautiful with a slight breeze. I chatted with some people before the start… and then, we were off. To say I love this course is an understatement. You start near the pier at Huntington Beach and head down Pacific Coast Highway. Just before mile 3 you turn up into town, do a loop and head back to the PCH just before mile 6 for the rest of the race. At mile 8 you turn around and run back to the pier. So for 10ish of the miles, the beach is right there… to run with the sound of the ocean waves is amazing, and hard to have a bad race. The finish was AMAZING… when I saw the sign for the marathon that said mile 26, I knew I had .2 miles to go, and turned it on, sprinting to the finish. For the last few miles I was just ahead of the 2:25 pacer, and wanted to finish before him. I did… at 2:26:29. FINALLY! I was back out of the 2:30s. I honestly crossed the finish line, stopped my app, and text my husband, “I’m done, good race. What was my chip time?” (he was home tracking me). I then got the text from Charlene where to meet up, headed to gear check to grab my stuff and meet her.
My concern was fueling for the day. It being over 70% humidity was not a normal run for me. The sun and humidity had me a bit worried on my electrolyte levels. I planned to adjust for this. At around 6:30 I had a Honey Stinger Peanut Butter energy bar. 40 minutes before the race I had a Honey Stinger vanilla gel. At mile 3 I took 2 electrolyte capsules as the sun was really beating down. At mile 4 I took some Honey Stinger chews (I mix pink lemonade and limeade). At mile 7 I took another gel, and at mile 9 a couple chews and my last gel. At mile 10.5, the last 2 electrolyte capsules. Perhaps a bit much, but I was feeling good throughout the race, mentally strong, consistent energy and I didn’t want to fade towards the end. It worked, I finished strong. My pace stayed consistent and I felt good afterwards. No pain, no exhaustion… a great race. I also tested out a theory that coffee was causing me stomach issues while running. So, I opted for no coffee before the race (this is NOT easy)… I was right *sigh* no coffee = no stomach issues. Just have to have the coffee post race from now on!
Afterwards, we played in the beach and took some photos. Then, grabbed some lunch and hopped in the car to head back to Vegas.
So… at Surf City I finally broke my mental funk, came back into the 2:20s for my pace, and had a solid race. I haven’t felt that good in a VERY long time. The beach helped (as did my training). So… thank you Surf City for an amazing event. I will be back next year.
Oh… and I am running the half at Orange County (May) and Long Beach (October) to get THIS amazing Beach Cities Challenge medal!