It all started with a tweet. My buddy Joe (@joecannonballs) recently ran a half marathon with my roommate, Jenn. He told me he was getting antsy and needed to plan a different race, so we both signed up for the Surf City Half. With just a little over 3 weeks to train, my goals for this race were not to PR – but to run a fun, easy race and not injure myself, go out too fast, or do anything crazy. This was Half Marathon #9 for me – so crazy. I knew a PR was not in the cards (there was no way my body would give me a sub 1:40 on such little training), but the course was relatively flat and pretty fast.
I headed down to HB the afternoon after my birthday ragefest. I made it to the Expo the last hour it was open (no packet pick-up morning of), did a little work at a local Starbucks, and met up with my friend Riley who happens to live in a house just a few blocks from the starting line/PCH.
Whitney joined us and we relaxed the night before. I was able to stay in Riley’s spare bedroom (!) which was phenomenal. I woke up at 6:30, made myself a bowl of instant oatmeal and instant coffee I’d picked up at the store the night before, grabbed a banana, got ready, and was out the door by a little after 7. The race didn’t start until 7:45 so I had a little bit of time to hang out at the start.
The race went out in waves based on projected finish time, every 2 minutes. I seeded myself in the 1:50-2 hour group because I wasn’t totally sure what sort of half-mary shape I’d be in. The waves were a little bit weird – I wasn’t able to find Joe at the start – but I didn’t get boxed in or trapped at the start like I normally do.
The course was GORGEOUS. Easily one of my favorite courses. 9+ of the miles have an ocean view. The sky was gorgeous as well. Whitney agreed to spectate which I SO appreciated. She was wearing a neon pink Asics running jacket and was riding a beach cruiser, so she was insanely easy to spot. I spotted her just before mile 2 which gave me a little boost early.
“Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia on repeat, Bingo Players’ “Rattle” and Flo Rida’s “I Cry” got me through the first half. I gu’d at Mile 7 which was pretty key. At the turn-around, I spotted my high school friend, Dani, who works for Lululemon in Newport Beach. She was there cheering. It was so nice to see a familiar face out there!
My favorite one was: Make this mile your bitch.
I spotted Joe right after the turn around (just before mile 8) and yelled his name. That gave me a little boost as well. Joe’s marathon photos are much more epic than mine:
The last 3 miles were sort of…long. I slowed down a little bit after being consistently just under 8 min/mile. I felt fine – my knees started feeling the slightest bit sore – but I was fairly strong through the finish. I saw Whitney again around 11.5 which was SO great. I knew she would be between 11 and 12 and that carried me through.
I crossed the line in 1:45:40. Not close to my PR, but my 3rd fastest 13.1. I’ll take it.
I immediately was pretty sore and limped for a lot of the day – but it was a great race and one I would recommend.
**Edited to add: I am obsessed with the surfboard medals and the fitted, long-sleeve tech Ts we got with our race entry.
What’s your favorite race you’ve ever done?