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 45º 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.
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.
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.
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.