Surf City Half Marathon Recap

The type A personality in me was torn between posting this first or my January Recap- this won.

On the drive down
On the drive down

I first thought of running Surf City back in 2011 when I drove NikeC down so she could run it. I have thought about running it ever since but the timing was never right.  It still wasn’t the best timing this year but I decided screw it, I’m gonna run it anyways.   Even spectating it that once, from the finish line and mile 4ish, did not prepare me for the size of this thing.  I knew going in that it was touted as 20,000 runners but I didn’t completely comprehend that until Sunday morning.    My mother and I made a road tip of it and headed to Huntington Beach on Saturday.    Other than parking packet pickup was fairly simple.  Parking made it kind of nightmare-ish.  I was less than impressed with the expo.  For such a big race I was honestly expecting something better.  But at least I got out of there cheap since all I bought was a new Fitletic belt.IMG_8953 IMG_8941

That day we planned that my mom was going to drop me as close to the start as she could then go back to the overflow parking and kill some time before heading to the finish line.   That worked out great as she got me within a half mile and we wouldn’t get stuck in the parking lot trying to leave after the race.  It just meant I had a 2+ mile walk after the race.    We got to the start so much quicker than planned so I had about a little over an hour to go.   After some unfortunate experiences with Apple maps and the freeways the day before, we didn’t take any chance.   After walking to the start line, most of my time was spent waiting in the bathroom lines.  IMG_8962IMG_8969The race start was 7:45 but I knew my wave wasn’t scheduled to start until 7:55.  Even so I headed over around 7:30 because this was my first experience with a wave start.   This may have been my first time but even I know corrals only work if the guidelines were followed and I saw so many of the wrong bibs in my wave.  At one point I was shoved out of the way by some spectators making their way through the corral- really?  Thanks for stepping on my feet too.    I crossed the start line at 8:01.

So many people!!
So many people!!

Miles 1-3  9:48, 9:55, 9:46

The goal for this race was to treat it like a long run not a race.  I had been concerned that I would try to push it too hard at the start like I do most races.  Luckily there were so many people, I don’t think I could have run any faster.  What was concerning to me was that I hurt.  My shins, calves and knees hurt right from the start and that is not normal.  I’m not sure if it was because of waiting in the bathroom lines so long or the short beach walk the day before or hey the 25K the weekend before but I was hurting.  The two hours of sleep I got the night before probably didn’t help.   My goal was to keep the 2:10 pacer in sight.

Miles 3-6  10:11, 9:59, 10:12

Holy crap, the water stations were a cluster f***.    There was just so many people and most just came to a completer stop mid run.   And who flings their arms out at water stations?  I am surprised I don’t have bruises from how many times I was pegged.    But there were plenty of aid stations and volunteers on the course, so that was huge.   My legs were still hurting but I was determined to keep the pacers in my sights.IMG_8936Miles 7-9  10:23, 10:38, 11:13

I lost the pacers around 6.5 when my lungs protested the humidity.  Honestly I knew it was coming at some point I was just hoping it held off longer.  When I had checked the weather that morning, I saw a scary number next to humidity- 95%.   By the end of the race it had dropped to 70% and the temp was mid 60’s but by then my asthma was cranky.  So from then on it was intervals of run til I wheeze, walk it out.    I also felt like a disgusting mess thanks to the humidity.    My arm warmers, which were unneeded, worked great at wiping down my face.   I also started dumping water down my back at aid stations.

Miles 10-13  11:22, 11:49, 11:04, 11:09

I slowed down more but managed to pick it up a bit by the end.   I was still surprised at how crowded it was even then.    I am used to it thinning out but it never did.    I underestimated how much the bobbing and weaving was going to take out of me and I was ready to be done.

Finish- 2:19:00   Pace 10:37IMG_9026Once crossing the line and receiving the medal, there were a few photographers taking pics there so we bottle necked.  Then there we went through little stations about 20 feet apart- water bottles, space blankets, bag of snacks, bananas.  Then there was a row of finishing pictures before walking through the medical tents.  I felt so nasty from sweating that I didn’t even put on my medal, I didn’t want it be all nasty.     I just held it up for the finisher pictures.

Then we were finally turned loose into the crowd of spectators.   I had no idea where my mom was and texts weren’t going through but I finally got a call through.  The lifeguard stations worked as great landmarks.  🙂  I so wanted to just go sit in the ocean but wasn’t going to walk the 2 miles back to car barefoot nor was I going to put wet feet into my running shoes so I passed.

I'd dried off a bit by then  :)
I’d dried off a bit by then 🙂

My overall pace was actually right where it was supposed to be for a long run according to the McMillan calculator.  My pride would have preferred to be under 2:15 but considering the humidity and how unused to that many people I was, I am actually fine with my time.   First half of the year complete and I finally got my surfboard!!  Yay!

28 thoughts on “Surf City Half Marathon Recap

  1. Great job and awesome pictures! I am so jealous. All I am seeing now is snow and ice! I llove that you had “slacker” printed on your bib. That is a crap-ton of people! It is always a little frustrating in a race that big, but you did it!


    1. I liked that they let me pick what I wanted the bib to say instead of just my first name. 🙂 I am hoping that this experience will at least prepare me for the next time that I run a race of that size! Thank you!


  2. Congrats!! Glad you finally got to do this race! 🙂 I have some things to say….
    1. The pictures from race day look absolutely gorgeous and I am living vicariously through you so hard right now as I stare at giant snow piles.
    2. No really, who *does* fling their arms out at water stops?! Why would anyone do that? That makes no sense and is ridiculously inconsiderate. Same with shoving you out of the way and stepping on you in the corral. Wtf?
    3. 95% humidity makes me want to faint just thinking about it. Serious kudos for keeping that pace with that craziness going on!
    4. That is a sweet medal! Congrats again! 🙂


    1. Right?! At the first aid station I thought it was a fluke but it kept happening! The humidity was rough but the day was so pretty so I was torn between loving it and hating it! I love the medal and the crazy in me is thinking about next year already!
      Thank you!


  3. Congrats on your first half of the year, Fallon! That’s a great time and definitely something to be proud of. Heat and humidity have such a huge effect on performance. I can attest to that from last fall. The sites look beautiful and I’m so glad you had a good experience overall. Huge races can definitely be a pain sometimes. I’m starting to really enjoy smaller ones myself!


    1. Thanks! We generally don’t have a lot of humidity around here so it’s not something I can easily train in. Even work town doesn’t get that high and it’s a beach town. I’m more used to races of 30 to 3,000 people, this was an interesting experience. My half in March will be under 1000 runners- much more my style. 🙂

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  4. I’m getting ready to use a race as a long training run too. I need 16 miles for the day, so I’m going to jog the three miles from the finish line posting lot to the race start, then do the half marathon. It should be interesting. Hopefully it’ll be fun.

    Congrats to you for meeting your goal pace for the race 🙂


    1. It was nice to have a fully supported long run!! 🙂 With crowd support too. It was hard telling myself not to race it, in that way the humidity helped hold me back. I have another race/ long run in March so we’ll see how that goes.

      3 miles before? You rock star! Good luck with your race/ long run!

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  5. That humidity would put a hurt on anybody. You handled it like a champ. Congrats on your first half of the year… You did wonderful!!


    1. I admit I was relieved when I realized other people were having a tough time with it too. For awhile I was wondering why I was so miserable but everyone else seemed fine. I was trying to figure out how I could get more practice running in humidity! Thanks!!


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