I can’t tell you how excited I was to run this race! After three marathons last fall the thought of only having to do the half the distance left me thrilled. My only goals for the race were to run a sub-2 hour race and to actually push myself when it started to get hard. I love to run this race every year, the energy is always great, it’s right near (sometimes on) my birthday, and I love burning all the extra calories pre-Super Bowl feasting! This was also my first race post-foot injury and cortisone shot, so I was super anxious to see how my foot would feel! AND my first race of 2014! The night before the race I prepped all my clothes, ate my pasta, and baked yummy cupcakes for Super Bowl the next day. BF and I got up bright and early and made the quick trip two beaches over to Huntington Beach picking up our friend who was also running along the way. It was only 48 degrees at the start and I was shivering up a storm wearing only a tank top, booty shorts, a sparkle skirt, and make-shift arm sleeves!
Lets talk about how much I love my Sparkle Athletic Skirt.
After a speedy stop at the beach bathrooms I found my way to my corral. It was super packed, with people not in their proper corrals, which drives the type A side of my crazy. The race also started about 20 minutes late, which worried me because this race can get hot, but luckily it was more annoying than anything. Finally the pack started moving, on the way to I got to say hi to a friend, and soon I was off!
I started off pretty quick with the first mile at 8:30, but settled into a somewhat consistent pace between 8:40-8:50. Mile 4 was that big hill off of Seapoint and I slowed to about 9:10 but made up for it on the way back with mile 6 at 8:36 pace. I was feeling great for most of the race drinking water and popping shot blocks from aid stations. I was SO glad they had some fuel at the aid stations because I somehow forgot to bring anything with me!
This race can test you mentally, because though it’s toted as being right along the beach, you’re on a major highway. Miles 1-6.5 are awesome with scenery changes, hills and down hills, and lots of spectators! But come mile 7 you’re trudging along the asphalt with the sun beating down on you. Mile 7 and 8 I found my friend and kept an 8:50 pace on the slight decline with him until we hit the turn around. The turn around was welcome, it always feels like it should be closer than it is! I was still feeling awesome; my legs were starting to get a little tired though.
This is where Surf City can get tough, the last miles are at a slow and steady incline with a big hill at mile 11ish, (I think?) I lost my buddy as the slow incline started to deflate my pace a bit. Mile 10, 11, and 12 were my slowest at 9:11, 9:27 (that hill!) and 9:02, so I didn’t quite make my goal of all sub 9 miles. Mile 12 I really tried to get my pace back but couldn’t quite get there, I think it was more mental than anything. I was really glad to get my mile back under 9! These miles I could definitely feel fatigue in my legs, but for getting back my fitness after being so sick, I was really really pleased with how this race went!
I finished in 1:57:06 with a pace of 8:56, sub 2 and sub 9 pace! I was overjoyed! (AND my foot didn’t hurt at all, cortisone shot, I love you.) The best part I know I could definitely go faster! My legs were tired but my cardio felt great and I know with some speed work I can make up a lot of speed in the last 4-5 miles. I dubbed this my “adult” PR because this is my fastest race since I set a PR of 1:51 when I was 18! (on this course when it was still called Pacific Shoreline Marathon.) I have no doubt I can smash that PR, it is just going to take some hard work! I really feel like I’m learning how to “race” the race and not just run the race and it’s honestly SO much fun! I think a PR in the half is in the cards for 2014, and while we’re at it a PR in the full too!