Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Surf City half marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, February 7
Huntington Beach, CA
Half Marathon #143
Weather - Sunny and HOT

Heather had made the best decision EVER when she purchased the "VIP" registration for the Surf City half marathon. We went to the expo on Saturday around lunch time. The VIP got us a parking spot right next to the tent. We spent an hour or so in the HOTTEST venue ever. Seriously, tents on the beach get super stuffy. Anyway, picked up some merchandise, said hi to my former Ragnar teammate at her booth (Bic Bands) and then headed out.

Race Day

I was planning on running with Maureen. Thanks to Jandy joining us, I hoped that she and Heather would run together (so Heather could run faster than my pace). Maureen's wave was scheduled to start at 8, and being right down the street with our super special parking pass, we decided that leaving at 6:30 would give us plenty of time. Our only issue was actually making the turn into the lot. Our spot was even closer than the one we got at the expo. Bathroom lines were slow so we hit them up first. We wandered down the beach path to get some pre-race pictures.

Heather, Jandy, Me and Maureen
Heather and Jandy waited in the corral for me and Maureen while we made one more pit stop.
Most baffling? All the people wearing pants and long sleeves!!
Best sign of the race!
Sure enough, right after our wave started Heather and Jandy took off. I had a great time running with Maureen, and I was surprised by the number of people I recognized on the course. I had studied the course map the night before, and other than the first aid station being at mile 2, it looked like most of them were only 1-1.5 miles apart, so I had decided to not carry a handheld, even though it was sunny and eleventy billion degrees. I stopped at every single aid station, taking water and the electrolyte drink when it was available.

The course was extremely crowded. It did thin out a bit after the first few miles, but it was definitely more people than I am used to running with. Maureen and I chatted the whole race, and both of us felt good the entire time. I cannot remember the last time I ran a race where I actually felt good the whole time, did not take unscheduled walk breaks, and STILL had a kick at the end. Obviously not anywhere close to the speed I had years ago, but I will take a race where I feel awesome the whole time over being speedy.

Official Time - 2:19:00
Garmin Time - 2:19:02
Garmin Distance - 13.18 miles
Mile 1 - 10:52
Mile 2 - 10:48
Mile 3 - 10:42
Mile 4 - 10:49
Mile 5 - 10:20
Mile 6 - 11:00
Mile 7 - 10:09
Mile 8 - 11:10
Mile 9 - 10:30
Mile 10 - 10:28
Mile 11 - 10:33
Mile 12 - 10:33
Mile 13 - 9:42
Mile 13.18 - 8:03 (FLYING)

Awesome medal - the center spins AND it has a fold out stand!
We found Heather and Jandy, discovered the beer line was way too long to bother with and headed home.


  • Virtually no shade. We were lucky to enjoy a slight breeze on the way back. It was unbearably sunny and hot (especially coming from single digit temperatures in Colorado!
  • The course is very flat, with the exception of a small loop around a neighborhood around mile 5 and an overpass.
  • Plenty of aid stations. It was a billion degrees and I did not ever feel like I was desperate for water. They also had gels and shot blocks.
  • Some of the aid stations had trash boxes in the middle of the course. Awkward, especially when you are running with tens of thousands of people and can't always see them... I almost tripped over one.
  • The marathon course looked SUPER confusing, based only on the signage I saw for it. No first-hand knowledge of course.
  • The expo was not my favorite. Way to hot and crowded.
  • Shirt is cute - of course no picture, sorry!
  • The race branded merchandise was actually pretty affordable. I didn't buy any because I already have way more running clothes/items than I'll ever wear out.
  • The finish area was a CLUSTER. I did not care for any of the "freebie" food items, and it was a bummer that the beer line was so long since we had 2 free beer tickets on our bibs.
  • If you are running with a group, SPLIT THE VIP COST and buy it with one of the registrations. I cannot stress enough how awesome it was to have this! Totally worth the money at a race this size. We did not have to mess around with the shuttles and we got super close parking for both the expo and the race.


  1. That is so cool you were in So Cal this weekend! I just read Matt Damon ran Surf City Half too! Hope you enjoyed the incredibly hot temps!

  2. I live in Costa Mesa, right up the hill. I joke that I could throw rocks from my street and hit the runners. Surf City isn't my favorite, despite being so close. I don't like paying to run in an area I can run for free, and like you mention, there's very little shade and this time of year the sun is very low. It's basically in your face the whole time. They do give very cute shirts and I like the reusable shopping bag.


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