|Me, completely oblivious to what |
awaits at Mile 18
It's fairly common knowledge among distance runners, and anyone with any sort of rationality, that no matter how hard you prepare for something, when it comes right down to it you have no control over how the day will actually go*. Yes, you can prep contingency plans, assume the worst and plan around it, etc., but sometimes the shit just hits the fan. This holds especially true with marathons.
Surf City was never a marathon I was particularly interested in running, that is until I realized that a) I could get a giant piece of bling for running it and b) not only would it be SOMF's first marathon, but also a run where I could visit some of my favorite hashers and harriettes. So I rego'd and (half-assedly) trained. Optimistically, I should have clocked between a 4:30 and 4:45 marathon, which I would have been greatly pleased with. But 26.2 miles is a long way to go, so let's get down to the race review:
Surf City is a great course. No joke, it's fantastic. Well thought out, spacious, scenic, high energy and fairly fast. The volunteers at the overly abundant aid stations sing, dance, laugh and joke with the runners as they hand out water, VitaLyte, Sharkies, Fig Newtons and Hi-Fives. This must be said of the race organizers- they never let a runner even begin to think, "Hey, I could use an aid station right about now," because by the time that thought even begins to gestate there's a 12 yr old in a bright yellow shirt handing you water.
|Head First, Ballsy and I at the Mile 20 Beer Check|
On top of the fantastic runner support, everything from the starting line to the finish line festival is top notch- Marathoner's started an hour and a half before the half marathoners ensuring a clear course (unlike that trainwreck in Las Vegas last year), the double backs made it possible for faster and slower friends to wave hello and cheer one another on at several places on course (Ballsy and I managed to holler at SOMF and Head First 2-3 times, as well as catching a few of our half marathoning Harriettes). It must be noted that the double-backs also made it easy for our Beer Check to catch the full runners twice (miles 12 and 20) and the Halfers at Mile 8. Lastly, the finish line had space blankets, food bags, ample water bottles and easy medal pickup. Inside the Expo tent were numerous masseuses rubbing out the war wounds, several First Aid booths, the Beach Cities pickup and ample rest space. Top notch, A++++, would run again (uff).
I really can't suggest Surf City enough for aspiring half and/or full marathoners. So why did I have such a bad time? Easy! Food poisoning on Friday night. There's nothing more inspiring than watching all your hydrating and carbo-loading being expelled from your mouth leaving you a shaking, clammy, pale and huddled mess on the bathroom floor. After about 12hrs of sickness I started to re-hydrate by guzzling a carton of Zico and about a gallon of water, shoveling gluten free pasta into my mouth and praying to the Goddess of Running to just let me finish in a reasonable amount of time.
Race Morning went smoothly, KOAW managed to find parking about half a mile away and we began our run. Ballsy and I stayed together for the entirety of the race, and for this I can't thank her enough. With a PR of 4:22, running with her was definitely keeping me on track for my 4:30, a pace we held together until Mile 18 when everything from my knees down decided it was done running and would rather form itself into knots instead; and so we Wogged (walked/jogged) the last 8 miles, taking our time at the beer check manned by an LA Harriette, a San Diego Hasher and a Las Vegas Hasher, and eventually crossing the finish line at 5:03, only TWO MINUTES slower than my previous Personal Worst! But I guess I shouldn't be too upset, finishing a marathon is an accomplishment; finishing a marathon after getting food poisoning has to count for something on the Bad Ass Scale.
So, all-in-all, while Surf City was nowhere near a stellar race for myself, it's a race I would definitely recommend. If you're out there next year, keep a weather eye out for myself and the Hash House Henchmen!
To finish up this rambling race review, I now offer few helpful hints:
- It gets hot REALLY quickly. I'd forgotten how warm HB was in February and race day was a cruel reminder. Cold Weather Runners, make it a point to find somewhere warm and humid to do a long run at least once before race day
- Arrive early- the parking lot fills up fast and the shuttle pickup doesn't even go all the way to the end of the lot (which is past Brookhurst)
- Don't get food poisoning
- Wear sunscreen (ow.) and sunglasses
- Register early! This event sells out every year!
*I believe the saying is, "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley"