Sunday, February 5, 2012

Surf City USA Half-Marathon 2012

EVENT: Surf City USA Half-Marathon
DATE: Sunday, February 5, 2012
LOCATION: Huntington Beach, CA
RACE BEGAN: 7:45 am (wave start)
FINISH TIME: 01:55:56
(First race of the Beach Cities Challenge)

This was my fourth Surf City Half-Marathon event (see 2008, 2009, 2010).  Last year, I ducked out and volunteered for two days instead.  Thinking back, I'm not sure why I skipped out, since this race is always so well organized and one of the flattest ones out there.

But keeping with the volunteering tradition, "The Ukrainian" and I spent nearly six hours at the humid expo tent, distributing bibs to people who apparently run about the same pace as me (bibs 7000-7999).

I think I've said this before, but it's unbelievable how many people never show up to pick up their bibs... that's like $100 per sheet of paper, yo!

Of course, this was after we picked up our own bibs and waited in lines like this to sample Clif bars.

We ducked out sometime after the expo closed to grab dinner and head home... the entire 60-ish miles or so.  Knowing the crazy traffic that's always associated with the race, we made sure to tuck in early.

The morning consisted of using the porta-pottie multiple times (gah, stomach) and people-watching.  This is one of the largest races we participate in regularly, and with many of the runners doing their first half/full, it was interesting to see everyone come out with all their gear.

Given that I've gone over the race details in my other recaps, here we move on to my splits and narrative of the race:

Mile 1 - 8:39
Mile 2 - 8:48
Mile 3 - 8:48

I wanted to follow the 1:50 pacer, but he/she seemed the immediately disappear into the crowd as our wave left the start line.  I was like, Okay, I should know how to pace myself, and 1:50 is out of my range, anyway.

Mile 4 - 8:53

The only significant climb of the race was here.  Really, after Carlsbad two weeks ago, I should have coasted through this much-flatter race.  I was feeling comfortable at this point and decided I'd hold back a little so I could attempt a negative split in the second half.  Looking back, what was I thinking?  I've never successfully been able to achieve a negative split, no matter how much I hold back in the first half.  *sigh*

Mile 5 - 8:36
Mile 6 - 8:33
Mile 7 - 8:50
Mile 8 - 8:49 - turnaround point

Mile 9 - 8:44
Mile 10 - 8:51

Right at Mile 10, my sister passed me.  I tried to run along with her since I knew she'd be running my desired time, but when I checked my pace, it was 8:00 min/mi, which was out of my normal range.  I scaled back quickly.

Mile 11 - 9:09
Mile 12 - 9:03
Mile 13 - 9:01

So much for negative splitting.  Although I felt that I was putting in effort, I was apparently moving slowly.  It was getting out of my range of comfortable temperatures -- the sun had been up the entire race, but it was in my face now.  Anyone who knows me knows that heat of any kind makes me perform poorly at an exponential rate.  Had I not bombed these last few miles, I would have been within striking range of my desired time.

I was out of gas, and I remember thinking, This is where training would have helped.  Uhhh, duh.

.15 - 8:05

That last bit was torture, as I knew I'd missed my PR (1:54) but wanted to at least not hit my Carlsbad time (1:56).  With a final burst that sent my stomach into "I-have-a-case-of-the-runs mode," I barely streaked by.

I believe this was my second best half-marathon time overall.  Although I wasn't thrilled about missing a PR, you all probably know the possible reason why.  Maybe had we had cooler conditions, I would have had a chance.  Maybe if I had done some training (although I was running a little more than usual prior to this race, I'm still way behind where I'm "supposed" to be in that realm).  Maybe if my stomach cooperated.  Still, all of these "what-ifs/maybes" would apply to anyone, regardless of training or ailments.  I conclude that I'm pretty satisfied with my performance today.

In the next two weeks, I'm doing a 5k, 10k, and half-marathon, essentially on or around my home turf.  While my home turf is not as flat as the beach, I hope to perform similarly in them.

Can you spot the medal in here??

Best shirt ever (looks like a wet suit)... and I LOVE that last line of the shoe chip tag instructions!


  1. Nice work girle! I envy that sweet medal. AND The tech t at my last half sucked turds. I want that long sleeve!

  2. Awesome, it seems like you're getting back in the swing of things in terms of running. Get back at it!

  3. That is one cool medal. Love it, and Congratulations on that half marathon. Looks like you have a busy race schedule. You are doing all that in 2 weeks time? lol.

  4. Second best of a few dozen races -- and on less training, not the ideal conditions -- is definitely a win in my book. I've spectated at Surf City, but never been interested in running it. Beach running is cool until you realize it's soooo sunny.

  5. A near PR with little training? Sounds like you're onto something out there :)

  6. Wow! What a great race, both in terms of your time and the swag (here in NYC we're lucky to get a t-shirt for most races, but alas, no medal). You're pace is spot-on too. I'm really hoping to run a sub 2-hour half this year.

  7. Great job with your race! Congratulations! And that is some seriously cool stuff they give you. Awesome shirt! Well done, and I hope you have a great season of running ahead of you!