Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Race Report: 02.03.2008 - Surf City Half Marathon


Distance: 13.1 miles
Time: 1:49:32 (8:22/mile)
Where: Huntington Beach, CA

It was a good news/bad news kind of race. Let's start with the bad.

The main culprit of the race was the weather. The rain would have been tolerable by itself. You get used to being soaked. Throw in the wind, though, and it's just horrible. The wind slows you down and it made the inclement weather even more intolerable with the rain blowing into you. The weather not only wreaked havoc during the race, it also made a mess of the race start. The line to the shuttles were long, the gear check-in was a mess, and the Port-A-Potties were packed. It was ugly out there, which made it more surprising that so many people still showed up.

My race could be viewed as ugly too. At 1:49:32 it marks the first half marathon or marathon where I didn't PR. In fact it's my second slowest half marathon ever. It's five minutes faster than my very first half marathon, which was this race in 2005, but it's also six seconds slower than the 2005 America's Finest City. Last year, I ran a 1:43:48.

Due to a hectic pre-race, I wound up starting the race 15 minutes after the gun went off. I must have been in a Port-A-Potty when the race started. I used the bathroom three times before the race and once after. My tummy was misbehaving. As a result of using the toilet, I had to play catch-up and I had to squeeze myself through slower runners. Last year's race was a clean, fast start with the third or so corral. This year was much slower.

I felt stiff early on and it didn't go away immediately, so I resolved to take it easy rather than risk injuring myself. I also felt unprepared and out of shape, so the confidence wasn't there. I hoped for a respectable time and I think I got it.

Like I said I took it easy during the run, and it seems as if I had a lot left in the tank. I wound up speeding up throughout the race. At the 7.75 mile mark, I was running an 8:43 pace. I finished with an 8:22 pace and felt like l could keep going. As I crossed the finish line I felt great. I was tired, sure, but by Monday there was little soreness. It felt like I had just gone for a long practice run. Even though it was one of my slowest times, it was also one of the easiest races I've done.

My knees also held up very well and didn't cause any problems at all. Soon I hope I will be as fit as I've ever been and when I do the race next year I will run a sub-1:40. I hope.

Also good is the fact that my friends Astrid, Preeti and Quynh all completed their very first half marathons--in the rain, no less.

So, yes, it was a slow race for me, but it also yielded some positive things. Hopefully in better weather I'll once again start posting personal bests.

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