That Time I Wiped Out at Surf City: An Overdue Race Recap

I apologize for such a late race recap. I was so upset about my performance at the Surf City Half Marathon that I couldn’t bring myself to write about it. Now, after running well at Ragnar SoCal and the OC Half Marathon, I can look back at this race with a better perspective.

I was stoked. On February 1, 2015 I’d be running a Half Marathon on what I consider my home turf since I run along PCH in Huntington Beach at least once or twice a month. This was my second half marathon. My first one was back in Oct 2013. This was my comeback race. My goal was to run it in 2:10, three minutes faster than my first half marathon time. I was confident that I could it.

At the Expo, I got to meet up and hang out with some my fellow No Meat Athlete OC Runners.
At the Expo, I got to meet up and hang out with some my fellow No Meat Athlete OC Runners.

Race Day! Despite not getting much sleep, I was feeling pretty good!240079_184617088_XLarge

 

 

It was a beautiful morning!
IMG_6338

My plan was to maintain a 9:30 pace throughout the first 10 miles then pick up speed for the last 5k. The first couple of miles felt good… 240079_184791233_XLarge

Then tummy troubles hit. So I hit the portapotty line at around 2 miles. It seemed to take forever! Eventually, I got back on track and on pace.

The views were glorious!IMG_6340 IMG_6345

 

At mile 9, I was on track to meet and exceed my goal! I didn’t feel tired. At 9.5 miles my time was 1:28… I thought might even finish in less than 2 hours! So I started to accelerate, trying to run a 9:00 min pace.

Then my wheels fell off…

First, my left calf started to cramp and spasm. Then my right groin muscle tighter up. Then my right calf followed the other calf’s lead. I tried to keep going but it felt like the tendons on the back of my legs were going to be sheared off the bone!

I had to stop. I stopped along the side of the road to stretch. A couple of other runners stopped to check on me but I assured them that I was okay. But I wasn’t. I stretched and stretched some more.

Eventually, I gathered myself and started to run again. This time at a 10:00 min/mi pace. I started to hurt again. I slowed down enough to where I could run with minimal pain. I looked up and saw the 2:15 pacers run past me…. my heart fell.

My goal now was to cross the finish line. I was indignant as I ignored my calves and groin spasming. I forced myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, trying to block out the pain. But evidence of my discomfort were in the tears that were welling up in my eyes and grimace that I likely had on my face.

Although it was beautiful, these last three miles were the tough running hurt.
Although it was beautiful, these last three miles were the tough running hurt.

I crossed the finish. Disappointed. But I finished. My official time was 2:19.31. Not a terrible finish but I was still frustrated with my body letting me down at the end.F15EDE89-4CC2-45D5-ADF5-C0C71136CDCE

 

In the weeks after Surf City, I’ve thought about what I could’ve done differently. Here are the improvement I’ve made since then that have actually helped me in my more recent races (Ragnar SoCal & the OC Half Marathon).

  • Run at least 3 times per week… being a weekend warrior is not enough
  • Push the distance on the longer runs. My longest run leading up to surf city was only 9 miles. If I plan to race a 13.1 mile race I need to train like I’ll be running a 13.1 mile race
  • Hydrate the entire week preceding the race. I started using nuun all day regularly
  • Run hills… both up and down hills.

These four changes helped me considerably at Ragnar SoCal and the OC Half. Stay tuned for those race recaps.


 

  • Have you had race that didn’t go your way?
  • How did you recover (physically/mentally/emotionally) from it?
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