Tuesday, February 3, 2009

running surf city half

These have to be among the coolest medals runners want to covet, my dream hardware notwithstanding.

When I got the wake-up call at 5:45am from my sister-in-law, I checked the current temp. It read 45ยบ F. Oooh, it was a going to be a chilly race start Sunday morning for the running of the Surf City Half (formerly known as the Pacific Shoreline). Fortunately though, it wasn't going to be a washout like it was the year before. The forecast this morning called for sunny skies.

This was going to be the 7th year in a row my brother and I have signed up for this race although I didn't run it last year because of an injury. My brother, Rhodri was shooting for a sub 2-hour time, something that has eluded him in the past. I was hoping to better my PR of 1:59:39 set in the 2007 edition of this race.

Team Duke represented at Surf City.

What's always fun about these road races is the expo which is a runner's shopping paradise. We visited it on Saturday and picked up our race bibs with Karen, my sister-in-law who was running the 5K, and cruised around checking out some of the running stuff and wares. A booth was selling the Digital Therapy Massager and my brother and I ended up getting one each. We spent a bit of time chatting it up with Greg at the Team Duke booth. He generously gave us each a long-sleeve Team Duke technical shirt which we promised we'll wear on race day.

Runners huddle for the chilly start.

Since Karen's start time was at 7:15, we dropped her off as close as we can to the start line and parked the car about a mile and a half away. We were jogging to the start but opted to get on the shuttle bus to escape the frigid cold. At 7:40, we got dropped off, the Star Spangled Banner was being sung, and the half marathon started soon after. Eight minutes after the gun, our wave was set free.

For the first three miles, Rhodri and I ran together. Pretty soon he started to pull away and before too long I couldn't see him ahead of me anymore. I was trying to find my rhythm and the same time keeping a close eye on my Garmin. I wanted to maintain a 9:15min/mile pace or better if I wanted to better my PR. I was right on target running at about 9:11. My heart rate was a bit high, but I was feeling pretty good.

I ran with a hand-held water bottle with Cytomax so I can save time through the water stations. I found this very helpful and a sound race tactic. I can keep myself hydrated throughout the race without having to drown myself at the aid stations.

During the run, I felt like I was in a groove. Around mile 8, a runner who forgot her watch, asked me the pace we were running. I was surprised to see that it was around 8:40. I was in the zone–my breathing was comfortable and my legs felt great. I wasn't sure what pace she was shooting for but she stayed relatively close to me. I wonder if she was using me as a pacer.

After the last turnaround with less than 5 miles to go, I pushed the pace up a bit more. I was well under my goal. Is it possible, I thought? Could I finish in 1:55?

The last uphill section of this relatively flat course came at Seapoint, about 2.5 miles to go. The pier was getting closer which meant that the end was near. 1.5 miles to go and I checked my time–about 1:44. 1:55 was not meant to be today, but still I pushed to see how well I can beat my PR. With about 100 meters to go I sprinted to the chute. I clicked my Garmin to see my time of 1:57:39.

My official time was 1:57:34. My brother crushed his goal coming in at 1:52:46, and Karen finished her 5K at 30:48.

Karen and Rhodri

Proudly showing our well-earned medals

After the race it was a nice surprise to see two of my T-Headz friends, Corrinne (2:01:51) and Wendy (2:00:26). I hadn't seen them in awhile so we spent the next mile and a half walking leisurely back to our cars while catching up and planning out future runs.

This year's Surf City Half was a fun race. The last couple of runs have turned into PRs for me. Here's hoping that it becomes a tradition.

Pictures courtesy of Rhodri and Wendy.


Abbie said...

Let me know how that digital therapy thing works! And congrats on a great race :)

Running Diva said...

Nice post! Enjoyed reading it. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

i like the picture of the medals on the sand and the backdrop! so cool! Congratulations!

e-rod said...

abbie... thanks!! so far so good on the therapy gadget. i'll let you know in about a month how it is.

diva... thanks! :)

chaia... thank you. i wish i could take credit for the photo but i just snagged it off the official race website.

Justin Moore-Brown said...

Nice blog. Not much of a runner myself but enjoy reading about people's passions.

Are you going to be participating in the March of Dimes in Newport? It's not a run but would be good to get some Tweeps out there!

e-rod said...

justin...i might. i'll save the date on my calendar.