Saturday, September 24, 2011

Surftown Half Marathon Recap

I have been looking forward to writing this all week because the race was such a great and fun experience. Unfortunately, the race lead up and the race itself got me a bit behind in my schoolwork (which seems to be increasing exponentially) but officially caught up and I am excited to share the experience!

Although it so warm and humid now, last weekend it was actually bit chilly. I woke up at 5:30am on Sunday and it was around 50 degrees outside--apparently perfect running weather since it eventually warmed up to 65 degrees but it felt freezing in just my shorts and shirt. I ate my usual english muffin (sadly un-toasted) with peanut butter, applesauce and half a sliced banana. I read in one of my running books that on race day you can drink 6-8oz of water every 30 minutes so I stuck with that and had no problems ( I seriously have nightmares about having "runners trots"-a fairly common occurrence for runners going on long distance runs where their bowels get unhappy with all the movement and they literally crap their pants). Pretty sure one of my goals in life is to not have to do my business in front of 700 people...so therefore I watch what I eat and drink really carefully before running. Anyway, the worry was for naught because I didn't have to go during the race and I guess I sweated a crazy amount because I didn't go until I got home-about 3 hours after the finish. Is that TMI? Yeah...sorry about that.

So I got to the race site around 630am. I hyperventilated in the car and hysterically asked Logan why in the world did I sign up for this and freaked out for a good 10 minutes. Finally decided that the lure of a post race corn dog (the race bib got me into a local fair that was on site for free) was enough of an incentive so I finally got out of the car.
Do you think it counts if I drive to the finish line?
Logan went off to volunteer for the race (so he would have something to do for the 3 hours and he got a free shirt plus admission to the fair--we are all about free stuff in this family) so I wandered around for a while pretending to stretch, praying to not throw up and trying to figure out a way to take an llama to ride for a portion of the race. The fair had a petting zoo that really did have llamas and camels so this plan was not entirely out of the question. Around 7:20 I went over to the start line and realized that I was about to voluntarily run 13.1 miles and resumed freaking out. Luckily I couldn't freak out for long because before I knew it, the race gun sounded! It didn't take too long to get across the start line and we were off!

One of the things I liked best about this race was the course. The course ran alongside the ocean, through cute ocean-side villages and neighborhoods. Plus it was flat...it probably could have been the most ugly course and I would have liked it because it was flat but it was actually really pretty:
Logan took these pictures as he volunteered. I hardly have coordination to run without tripping, let alone run while not tripping while taking pictures. I am only human!





This road went forever...I think I spent at least 8 miles on it..bad thing was that the bog kinda smelled.
Once again, I did exactly what I wasn't suppose to do: I started way too fast. I felt awesome and it felt good to get the nervous energy out so I was humming along at around 9 or 10 minutes/mile (which is crazy fast for me. Turtle speed for the win!) and this actually worked for like 5 miles. I started to hit a wall around mile 7. I could hear people finishing (in like barely over an hour--crazy!) and I realized that I was barely half way and I was starting to really feel the quick start that was way over my training pace. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I thought about quitting around mile 8. I felt so tired, my legs were like lead and I still had 5 miles left. Luckily, I was able to realize that my body was fine *still really tired* but fine and that it was just my mind playing tricks on me. I decided to give it another mile and then when I reached mile 9 I told myself that 4 miles is so tiny! In fact, if I looked down at my running calender and saw a 4 mile run I would be so happy because that isn't long at all, so I kept going.

At this point I had entered Watch Hill, my beloved oceanside village, but I had overlooked one tiny thing about Watch Hill...the HILL portion of it's name. Ugh, so many hills! What sadist decided to put hill after hill after hill at the end of the course!?! When I drove the course the day before they hills did not seem nearly as steep...so I had to take prolonged walking breaks to simply make it up them. The last few miles are a bit of a blur but I do remember that as I passed an older lady she yelled you "you go girl!" It made me smile and kept me going. **Sidenote: runners are so nice! everyone was cheering as people passed them and was yelling encouragement to each other. Unexpected but a great surprise** My favorite part of the race was as I was nearing the finish line I came upon the water station where Logan was working. He started yelling encouragement and ran to the end with me. The first thing I said when I saw him was "why didn't you bring me an alpaca to ride?!? I am so tired!!" He laughed and told me to keep going or I wouldn't get a corn dog. I was so inspired that I stopped my three legged turtle pace and got all the way up to four legged turtle pace!
Four legged turtle pace...be in awe
Before I knew it I was at the finish line! I didn't know this beforehand but apparently at half and full marathons they say your name as you cross the finish line--I was quite pleased.
Someone point me to the corn dogs right.this.second.
A volunteer handed me my medal and a bottle of water and I attempted to walk for a while (I read in my running book to walk for a half mile after finishing). The attempt lasted for about 10 seconds and I plopped down on the sidewalk.
So ridiculously pleased with my pretty surfboard medal
One of the best things about races is the post-food/drinks. I immediately went to the beer tent and got my free beer. I had two gulps and gave the rest to Logan as I am not a beer drinker...those two gulps however were very delicious.
If only they were serving Diet Coke
There was also clam chowder, breads, chips, crackers, cookies and various drinks available but I was not feeling fond of food so I ate my two cookies (nothing can keep me from cookies, NOTHING). We walked around the fair for a while and I did get my corn dog which did not live up to the Tulsa State Fair foot long corn dogs which are a step away from Heaven. I ate two Reeses Cups that I had stowed in the car and promptly became dead to the world and slept for a few hours.

So my official time: 2 hours 52 minutes and 5 seconds and gun time: 2 hours 52 minutes and 43 seconds
Half Marathon under 3 hours? Success!

Observations:
1. I think I will try to avoid races with time limits. I think the 3 hour limit scared off some of my fellow slow people so it got kind of lonely towards the end.
2. Water is a safety blanket for me so I think I am going to get a camelbak because that tiny handheld one doesn't cut it.
3. I need to buy proper running wear because I wore my old workout capris and they kept ridding up. You know what's awkward? Trying to fix your pants when  people all around you staring at your butt.
4. Corn dogs are really motivating
5. I can't wait till my next race!!!
Speaking of next races, I think I will aim for one in the spring. I want to do a proper training program that incorporates hills and timed trials. My program this time was purely distance based and I was utterly unprepared for hills plus I think I can be faster. I am hoping for a 5% improvement so that works out to around 9 minutes. I think my goal will be to finish under 2hr 40 minutes.
Such a cool experience!
 I can totally see how people get addicted to this because I can't wait to try it again.

5 comments:

  1. Steph, you are amazing. You look so beautiful and glowing in your pictures. Congrats x 1,00,000!

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  2. I'm running this race (my first half marathon) this weekend! I'm so glad I found your recap, since it will help me prepare for the race. I'm quite a turtle, and have been stressing about the 3-hour time limit. (I keep thinking, "What if I need, like 3:10?) Congratulations on your Surftown experience!!!

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  3. How exciting! I absolutely love the Surftown race...I have done a few more half marathons since last year and surftown is definitely my favorite course by far. Good luck and I have no doubt that you will have a wonderful race!

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  4. This is awesome! You should feel so very proud of yourself for accomplishing this :) Love the pictures and your request for an alpaca, LOL!! I would have thought the same if I were in any kind of a state to think logically.

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