You could say that Surf City was my spring board into half marathons.
It wasn’t my first half marathon, not even close. It wasn’t even my first travel race. However it was the first time I spectated an event that didn’t involve working any water stations. Prior to Surf City 2011, I had volunteered numerous times at water stations for the local fun run and even the Master Elites didn’t inspire me to run. They also never wanted my water but that’s not the point.
I drove NikeC down to Huntington Beach to run Surf City back in 2011. I remember standing on a corner with her aunt and now uncle and watching all the runners run past feeling a little lazy. I thought to myself- I can do this. So I started training (sort of) for my first half and ran a local one a few months later.
It took me years to get myself back to Surf City. I ran it for the first time in 2015 and then again in 2016. Now, full disclosure, I love Surf City but it doesn’t love me. The course is fairly flat and the humidity runs pretty high. To some that is PR ready and the first two times I ran it, I attempted to run it fast and my lungs pitched a fit by mile 8ish. This has always colored my view of the later miles which bites because you run along PCH and the beach is right next to you!
Which is why I am looking forward to going back in 2019! Time to live it up!
So this time, I plan to have no plan. Well, that’s not true. I still remember the really good breakfast place we all went to after NikeC’s race years ago so I want to run the race leisurely, enjoy the party atmosphere, the beach and then walk all over until I find it again! #goals
Ya’ll I really need to get better at looking at calendars. 🤣 I am so tired.
Timehop to the rescue! I’ve wanted to run Monterey Bay again since I first ran it back in 2015 but I’ve been so tired this week post work trip. Thursday marked 3 years to the day since I last ran Monterey Bay and the memories popped up. I was reminded of everything I was looking forward to again- party tunnel, Cannery Row, ocean views and how close can I get to the elites????
Let’s do this!
That said, this is my last half of the year. And let’s be real, I haven’t had a good race all year. By good- I mean a race without some form of malady or another. So this race will be a little different.
I REALLY will have no time goals, in my previous posts I always had one in mind even when I said I didn’t; if this takes me 3 hours, so be it. I am going to take all the pictures. Thank all the volunteers. Listen to all the music available on course. Take more pictures. I’m probably going to wear something different than my more standard race outfit. I may leave the pack behind. I am doing race day packet pick up. In short, let’s embrace all things different and just enjoy a nice stroll along the bay.
This will be half #34, I mentioned that at work today and my coworkers found that to be pretty cool. Not because I’ve run 33 before this but because 34 is our office designation. I hadn’t thought about that before- that has to mean something right?
Rock n Roll Los Angeles 13.1 (Thank you BibRave!)- 10/29
Monterey Bay Half Marathon (Thank you BibRave!)- 11/12
Oakland Turkey Trot- (Thank you BibRave!) 11/22
Haha, I think I underestimated just how this week was going to go.
Don’t get me wrong, things are going well at work but we are so much busier and a little more stressed than I figured we would be. Running and working out fell by the wayside as I was often so tired I was falling asleep on the couch way earlier than normal. Also, I won’t lie, it’s very hard to motivate myself to run on a treadmill.
Monday/ Tuesday– Nada
Didn’t get off work until almost 7 and then it was getting back to the hotel. Sometimes I’d pickup food on the way, other times it was EZ Mac.
This was the latest night all week but I was still going to try and run when I got back to the hotel. However, I was starting to have a little vertigo issue. It actually stayed around the rest of the week but that day was the worst.
Thursday– 2.3 miles
I squeezed in a few treadmill miles while I was doing a load of laundry in the hotel washing machine. I had learned that I was staying in San Diego for another week and I did not pack for that. Laundry time it is!
I worked. Then I spent my time getting organized for the drive up to LA for the race on Sunday.
I lost my shit. So the race expo is at the LA Convention Center. Sounded easy enough. Except nowhere in the race information did it say that it was also the weekend of LA Comic Con. The traffic was nuts and I circled for 30-40 minutes trying to find a place to park. The stress of the week caught up to me and I was the emotional crying driver and I may have punched my steering wheel every time a convention center employee gave me wrong information again. I finally found a spot in a garage and made my way down to the expo for my bib. Then I went and hid at the hotel for the rest of night. I also possibly made a poor choice for dinner.
Sunday- Rock n Roll Los Angeles 13.1
Such an early morning! Race recap to come soon
Rock n Roll San Jose 13.1 (Thank you BibRave!)-10/8
City to the Sea 13.1-10/14- maybe
Rock n Roll Los Angeles 13.1 (Thank you BibRave!)- 10/29
Monterey Bay Half Marathon (Thank you BibRave!)- 11/12
Welcome to funk town. I’m in a funk. I need out.
On the work front, things are getting interesting. We had an employee give notice which was sad because we had a great team in place. We were super lucky and managed to hire someone quickly so we were only short staffed last week but another employee turned in notice last week. Aaargh…what is in the water?!? And both of the them were afraid to tell me because they didn’t want to disappoint me so I was always the last person to “officially” know. Thanks, I think?
So workouts- the plan called for a 3 mile run, 4 mile run and the race. I also hoped to fit 3-4 cross training work outs in.
Monday- Liift4 week 1/day 1, Mes de Mas day 1
With my leg feeling cranky from the hot mess fail of a long run on Sunday, I decided not to run and just restart Liift4. It felt harder this time around. Hmmmm. I was feeling like doing more though so I pushed play on the Mes de Mas workout after. A workout for body and brain as the instructions are in Spanish. I’ve been looking forward to this one becoming available and it was fun.
Tuesday- 3 miles/ Liift4
I kept the miles nice and easy and just tried to focus on my form and stride. Nothing hurt but my leg didn’t feel marvelous either. I did another round of cross training once home.
Something pissed off my stomach in major way. It was enough just to make it through the work day. It also rained so I tried to just see it as good timing to feel crappy.
My stomach was still angry. It’s been a while since I had bad flare up so I guess I was due for one. Race week timing was not great though.
I meant to run a couple miles. I took the day off work in order to get a few things done and checked off my to-do list but only managed to check off a few things. Grrr.
Saturday- Road trip to San Jose
Road trip! I was on the road around 9 for the drive up to San Jose. Luckily San Jose is only about 3 hours away so the drive wasn’t bad. Getting to the expo was the easy part. Bib pick up was a breeze. Getting around town after was ridiculous. It was like Apple maps and Siri just refused to work. We got lost multiple times- on foot and by car. Grrrr. Thankfully I nailed the hotel choice- within walking distance of the start/finish- and it was within walking distance of a Spaghetti Factory for dinner. Though I came to regret that. Then I tried to get a decent nights sleep. Fail.
Sunday- Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon
Race recap to come.
Dang those targeted Instagram ads that sneak up on you. I was scrolling my feed one evening when a cute wine bottle shaped medal jumped out at me. I don’t know why- I don’t even drink wine- but I saw that it was in Santa Barbara, fit my training plan, reasonably priced and vineyards usually meant dirt of some sort. So I clicked through and registered.
As race day loomed, I was tired and fussy and wondering why I even registered. They said the proceeds were for the Santa Ynez Valley Aquatic Foundation so maybe they could just use the donation? Then I noticed the winery wasn’t actually in Santa Barbara but Lompoc and spoiler alert- it wasn’t really there either. However I laid out a lazy flat runner and tried to get some sleep for the early morning drive south.
Race morning was actually a bit chilly in home town and made me question my shorts choice. After a little driving shenanigans, we arrived at the race location- Sanford Winery and were directed to parking. Then I had to decide on what shoes to wear. If you’ve never run in an actual vineyard before, they can be a mixed bag. They range from super nice fire road to ankle rolling hellish nightmare. I didn’t know what this was going to be. I wanted the cushion of my Levitates but chose my trail shoes. Smart choice.
Picked up my bib and shirt, used the port a potty and waited for the start. It was around 60 and overcast but at the last-minute I tossed my long sleeve layer to my mother. I normally run cold but something told me I wouldn’t need it. After a few announcements that I couldn’t understand over the spotty PA system, we were off through the winery.
Miles 1-2 10:14, 11:29
Dirt roads- yes! But woah, that is some loose dirt. And what the hell, my shorts just turned into underwear. I’d never had that problem with this pair before. I spent the next mile or so pulling my shorts down every 20 or so yards. It was super humid so my lungs weren’t happy and I was breathing hard but I wasn’t out there to set any records. Mile 1 had the cutest mile marker- a wine barrel with 1 foot painted on it. By mile 2 and the wine barrel with 2 feet on it I figured out the pattern but I am a horrible blogger and failed to take pictures of any of the mile markers.
Mile 3- 15:12
On the upshot, my shorts calmed down and behaved the rest of the race. Downside #1, we started a 300 foot climb. Downside #2- I hit a rock with my bad foot and rolled it in a bad way. Colorful words spilled from my mouth and I slammed to a halt. Then I hobbled my way up and on, trying to make sure that I didn’t step on any more rocks. The route was still mostly dirt path but the rocks were getting bigger. This also made them easier to avoid but I had to focus on where I was landing my feet. What was I thinking running a race?
Miles 4-5 9:36, 10:42
Mile 4 started by running through a barn and for some reason I found a second wind. We had a little bit of a downhill but because my foot was being an asshat I couldn’t really RUN downhill. I was still trying to watch where my feet were landing before they landed and avoid all rocks. As well as check out the cool outbuildings and the scenery in the vineyard as the sun had come out and it looked super pretty. I managed to find another rock coming down a little bump in the last mile and let another string of words fly. A guy running next to me asked if the hill was too steep, I refrained from being a smart ass and replying that it wasn’t even a hill in my opinion and just said I had hurt my foot a few miles back. The last bit of the race had us running literally in between the vines. Oh holy hell of rockiness. There was nowhere to put my feet that didn’t hurt. I damn near walked it but I was so close to being done. As it is, I slowed way down. Finally another few curves and there was the finish line!
If we consider this a true trail race- it was my fastest 5 miler by 7 minutes but as it only had 400 ish feet of elevation gain, I am not sure if I do.
Once across the line, there was some confusion. Registration claimed it came with a medal and wine glass for every participant but neither was anywhere to be seen. Now, I downgraded from the festival to just the race so the lack of wine glass was not a huge deal to me but the lack of medal was a little confusing as there had been zero announcements.
I was not the only one confused as evidenced by Facebook comments post race. We eventually received an email that said there had been a delay with the medals and that they would arrive Monday, then the race would be in touch with us after that. However it is now Thursday and that was the last time the race reached out. I have run numerous races with no medals but it’s another thing to say you are going to do something and then not do it.
Communication issues aside, I really did like this race and would consider running it again.