Thursday, February 11, 2010

Surf City Half Marathon Recap

This past weekend I ran my first half marathon:  Surf City!
It was so much fun and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  The sun was shining and it was a perfect day along the beautiful beach course.
I didn’t want to set any timed goals for myself with this being my first half marathon.  Especially because I have only been running for a few months.  I didn’t know how my body would handle 13.1 miles, and mentally I had no idea what to expect!  So my only goal was to finish.  And I did!  GOAL:  ACCOMPLISHED!

Before I dive into my recap, here are my official stats:

My Garmin time for 13.11 miles: 
Tag time: 
Gun time: 
10034 out of 11799
6060 out of 7526
F 18-24: 
461 out of 533

I know I am by no means fast.  I know some people can run a full marathon in the time it took me to complete half.  But I am so happy I signed up for it and that I finished it!  I had a blast and there is only room for improvement in my future.  I now know what it is like mentally and physically to tackle 13.1 miles and so I can prepare better and train harder for the next (San Fran!!!)!

No on to my recap!..

Saturday morning my cousin, her baby, and I went to the expo to pick up our race packets.  It had stopped raining but there were puddles and water everywhere.  As we walked up to the tent we saw the mile markers lined up and we had to take a picture with Mile 13!

Me, my cousin, and her son
Inside the tent it was hot, muggy, and smelled funky.  We quickly picked up our bibs and timer chips, our technical tees, and the cute bags they were giving out, then took a quick look around and bailed.  I got home and my baby bro had come home from college for my race!  I was pumped!  That my brother, boyfriend and I had pizza and watched the Lakers play the Trailblazers.  After my fill of delicious pizza, I wanted to get everything ready for race day.  I laid out my race outfit which consisted of my blue and white Nike tank, black Zensah long sleeve (I knew I could take it off and tie around my waist if I got warm during the race, which I did), my pink Zensah sports bra, my favorite Nike running shorts, and my socks.  I put my timing chip on my shoe, laid out my bib, put my Clif Shot Blocks in my pouch, charged my iPod and my Garmin.  Oh, and Vaseline to prevent blisters!
It took me a while to fall asleep, but once I did I slept like a baby.  My alarm went off at 4:30am and I made a boiled egg and toast with peanut butter and got dressed.  Ninja!
Bright and cheery at 4:30am
I drove to my cousins and we got dropped off at the race with my cousin’s friend Lisa.  It was unbelievable how many people there were.  We had some extra time so we decided to hit the porta-potties before lining up in our corral, and of course snap some beach shots.
Me, my cousin Rachel, and Lisa
Lisa, Rach, and me
Huntington Beach
We were planning on lining up with wave 4, but there were so many people that we just kind of squeezed in.
Trying to find our wave amongst the crowd
Out of 20K participants I ran into my friend Elisa, who was also running the half!  I had no idea she was running it.  It was her first half marathon too and we ended up running the first 2 miles together.

Me and Elisa
And so it began!  I started at a slow easy pace of 12:00-12:30 and it felt good.  Miles 1-3 were nice and easy and on a flat part of Pacific Coast Highway.  They seemed to fly by.
At mile 4 we turned into a residential area and I took some water before running up the hill.  It was so clear out that you could see the snow-capped mountains to the north.  Up the hill I went, still feeling good.
Running up the hill at mile 4
After running up the hill, mile 5 was downhill.  I could see all the runners in front of me snaking along the path with the ocean in the background.  It was very exciting to see.
Downhill at mile 5
I took a little more water and a couple Clif Shot Blocks at the bottom of the hill before turning back onto PCH for the long out and back portion of the course.  Miles 1-5:  DONE!  I thought “Wow, I’m almost half way there and I still feel great!  Time to pick up the pace more!”  Well, that must have been the thought that jinxed me.  Around mile 6.5 I started to get a side cramp.  I tried running through it, but that only made it worse.  I started walking while stretching it out and focused on my breathing.  I ended up walking for about a mile until the pain finally subsided.  Then around mile 8 we turned around to begin the run to the finish line.  I was running a 12:00ish pace, keeping it nice and easy and making sure my cramp didn’t come back.  It didn’t!  Unfortunately around mile 9, though, my hip decided it wanted to ache.  I’ve never had a hip pain before so this was a new feeling.  It was a mix of soreness/stiffness/burning.  Weird.  So I listened to my body and started walking while stretching it out and trying to rub the pain away.  The pain would go away but after a bit of running it would come back.  So my miles 9-11 were a combo of running and walking depending on the soreness I was feeling.  It was so beautiful out that I didn’t mind the running/walking.  The sun was shining, the waves were crashing, the ocean was sparkling, and there was a sweet ocean breeze.
 The "back" part of the long out-and-back
I knew mile 12 was approaching so I picked up the pace.  I was cruising and around the 12-mile marker I saw my parents!  They were cheering for me, waving, screaming, and taking pictures!  It made me so happy and completely fired me up!  Mile 12 seemed like it took longer to run than the other miles though.  At one point I thought I actually missed the 13-mile marker!  I checked my Garmin and mile 13 was approaching.  After 13 there was only .1 mile to go.  I was almost there.  At mile 12.8 I stepped it up.  No scratch that.  I kicked it into full gear!  And by full gear I mean a 5:00 pace!!!  I supposed with my running/walking I had some energy stored in the tank.  I gave it my all and sprinted past the 13-mile marker and blazed through the finish line!!!  As I tried to catch my breath I heard “MAGGIE MAGGIE MAGGIE!!!!!”  I looked to my left and my brother and my boyfriend were hanging over the fence (which was only 3 feet away) with the biggest smiles on their faces screaming for me!  I went over to them then got my medal, space blanket, a snack bag, and water.  I walked along side baby bro and Sean until there was an opening in the fence then they attacked me with huge hugs!
My baby bro, me, and my boyfriend
I did it!!!  I love my medal, and I have to say, the space blanket is pretty cool!
The three of us hung out for a while before Sean and I headed to the beer garden.  My bro isn’t 21 yet so he couldn’t get in.  One more month and he will be though!  So we waited in the line and I stretched and tried to eat a banana to settle my tummy.  I was not hungry at all, but knew I had to eat something.  

Me and my love in line at the Beer Garden
Me, my love, my medal, and TUPAC!
By the time we got our Michelob Ultra (runners get 2 free beers…SCORE!) my stomach was good to go.  Sean and I found a spot to sit and I wasn’t sure if beer would even taste good at that moment, but hey, it was free!  I took a sip and surprisingly, ice cold beer had never tasted so good!!

In the Michelob Ultra Beer Garden
 We met up with my cousin again and headed home.  When Sean and I got home I iced my legs and relaxed for a while before showering.  I snuck in a nap before everyone came over for the Super Bowl.
We did it!
This day was so amazing!  I was on cloud nine!  I completed my first half marathon!  Yea I didn’t have the best time, but whatever!  I finished and that’s all I wanted!  Woo hoo!!!  I had so much fun and that’s all that matters.  Up next, San Francisco 1/2 in July (with some little races thrown in here and there until then)!!!  And I just found out my best friend Lisa who ran the Santa 5K with me last year is going to run SF with me!!!  Woo hooo!!!!!



  1. Congratulations!! Sounds like you had a fantastic race!! Well done Maggie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. WEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Omg like I said in my post yesterday, I've seriously been checking blogger like every hour on the hour to find out how it went!!! I'm SO excited for you! With your stage in the running game, it was just important to follow through with it, time didn't matter at all! Awesome awesome job!! You've made me even MORE excited for my own Half!! Although I'm super jealous of 1. your gorgeous weather and 2. your cool medal! But I will be working out some sort of beer after my own race, you can count on that! ;) Anyway, major congrats and, you're right, it's all up from here! Here's to San Fran!!

  3. What a great recap...and Congratulations on your first half-marathon!!! I loved reading this because my own first half-marathon is still to come. I am actually starting my running clinic this evening and I'm quite excited. I plan on running the Ottawa half-marathon in May :)
    I'll be back!

  4. Way to go Mags! Anytime you finish a race - that's a reason for celebration! For the little tweeks and niggles you experienced - nothing that mor miles during training will solve. After all, regardless what people may say, 13.1 miles is far!

    I'll keep an eye peeled at L.A. Marathon!