Sunday, February 8, 2009

Surf City Marathon - Race Report

This time last week I was running the Surf City Marathon.......

We had no clock in our hotel room so Bailey and I both set the alarms on our cell phones. I set my to give me a 5 min snooze. I slept a little better Saturday night with my new pillow but still now as well as I would have liked. I kept waking up wondering what time it was, does anyone else think it is weird there was no clock in our room?? The alarm finally went off and I just hit the button, fell asleep and woke up about 15 mins later in a bit of a panic. I jumped out of bed and put my contact in and brushed my teeth. I was starting to get my breakfast together when Bailey started making waking up noises. I asked her if she knew what time it was and then informed her it was 4:35 and time to GET UP!! Bailey is not a mornning person and she was grumbling and moaning a bit but she was getting up. As we were talking about why my snooze didn't work she said well i wonder why my alarm didn't go off. I plugged in the coffee maker and had just poured the water in when Bailey said to me IT IS 2:48am. At first it didn't register in my brain what she was saying, and then I was like ummm no my phone says it is 4:whateveram. WELL.... For some reason Blackberry's don't change time when you change time zones so all weekend I would just subtract 2 hours whenever I looked at the time on my phone, but when I set my alarm on Sat. night I completely forgot about the time difference. We both started cracking up and I immediately turned off the lights and got back in bed. I laid there and laughing for a long time before I finally was able to fall back asleep.

It was just as hard waking up at 4:30 as it was at 2:30 but we got up and started the pre race preparations. I had brought oatmeal with me to have for breakfast but with all the shopping at Target and Trader Joe's that we did on Saturday I never thought about the fact that a bowl and spoon might come in handy for preparing and consuming my oatmeal. Bailey suggested using the coffee carafe so that solved one problem... now what to eat it with. We had bought some kind of corn chips for after the marathon. So I used the coffee stirstiks to mix up my oatmeal and I used a tortilla chip as my spoon.

I haven't had oatmeal as pre run nutrition in a very long time. I ate about 1/2 of it and I can happily report that it didn't cause me any stomach distress and I really think it helped with my energy levels during the race.

We gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the race and it was a good thing too because we had to make a few u-turns, but we made it in plenty of time. We parked in the Beach parking lot and had about a mile walk to the start. I actually didn't realize we were that far away until after the Marathon! I like walking at least a mile before a race, it seems to help things loosen up and I'm usually able to have a successful port a potty trip.
It was pretty chilly at the start, luckily I had accidentally brought a pair of throw away gloves and I bought a throw away shirt at Target on Saturday. We wandered around and then went into the expo tent for a few minutes to stay warm.
When we got back to the start it was packed!! We headed towards the back of the lineup we were right next to the tape dividing the full and half marathoners so we thought we were at the back but turns out they didn't give us enough room and there were still a ton of people behind us.
The announcer kept saying if you don't have a bib on get off my course and yes if you didn't have a big/tag you shouldn't be on the course but he kept looking out in the crowd and saying he saw people with no bibs... well I don't think he realized that a lot of people had warm up clothes on and there bibs were underneath.. like me!!

Finally the race starts, and within the first 100 yards or so there is a very large lady with walking sticks and a friend. I was tryng to get around her and on the ground is a large water bottle so I'm trying to dodge the lady and the water bottle when this young guy just about tackles me trying to get around all of us! Not the best way to start a race, but we settled down and into a comfortable pace pretty quick. The first miles were on the Pacific Coast Highway and although it was cloudy and grey I could see the beach and smell the ocean air so I was happy!!
The first 6 miles really passed pretty quickly, I think it took that long for Bailey to warm up, she had brought a short sleeve t-shirt as a warm up and it wasn't doing a very good job of keeping her warm. I warmed up within the first 3 miles and had thrown my gloves away about mile 2. I felt terrible that I threw them away instead of giving them to Bailey but I wasn't thinking luckily I was using my brain and when it was time to take off my shirt I gave it to Bailey.
After the PCH we ran through some park and around a lake. This section was FULL of kids cheering us on! It was great having them out there! We also had a little bit of trail running while in this section, it was just a short stretch but the hard dirt felt good, not so much the sandy section on the little uphill.
When we got back out on the PCH the sun had come out in full force and I was very thankful I had bought my new sunglasses on Saturday!! and very very glad I had brought along a visor!
The miles on the PCH are kind of a blur, Bailey took pictures every mile and most of them had me in them.

You can see I was feeling pretty sassy at mile 3
And what is up with that guy still wearing his trashbag at mile 5?? LOL

Oh and I was right not to trust the course description. This was not a hilly race at all BUT there were more than the one hill that was mentioned in the race course description!!

We did a good job with our nutrition, we did get started on our gels a little later than planned. We were going to start at mile 4 or 5 but next thing you know it it mile 6. I brought 5 gels 4 Accel-gels and 1 orange vanilla Roctane GU. The first time I had the Roctane I hated it so I'm not sure why I brought it but I liked it better this time so I will keep it in the lineup. I had a new flavor of AccelGel, Raspberry Cream, I took half of one early in the morning right after my oatmeal just to see if I could handle the flavor. It wasn't bad, but of course none of the gels taste good to me, it is more a matter of what isn't just flat out disgusting! I really like the Accel-Gels because they have the 4 to 1 ration of protein to carbs and I can tell the difference.

So I never did get new shoes before the marathon, I think I might have blogged about they New Balance 1224's that I bought a few weeks ago? They suck!! They are probably great shoes but they just don't work for me. I ended up wearing my Kenyano 13's, they have been through a lot of miles, 2 marthons and a big part of the training for 3 marathons. I put in my new Berry Super Feet insoles and hoped for the best. Well I know the insolses probably helped a lot but by mile 13 my feet were hurting, specifically my big toe on my right foot. I get that pain a lot during longer runs but usually it doesn't start that early and the pain was worse than I have ever felt before!

The Marathoner's started about an hour earlier than the 1/2 marathoners and at about mile 9 we all met up we came from opposite directions and turned onto another road, well at first I was kind of excited to see them, but once we turned it was awful... there were thousands of them and they were at mile 3 of their 1/2 marathon so they were all running a lot faster than we were and they just overtook us and were coming at me from all sides and I actually had a little bit of a panic attack!! I couldn't breath and just felt really out of sorts! I also was running faster than I needed to be trying to stay out of there way. I can imagine it must have pretty frustrating for them having to dodge the slower marathoners!!

Eventually it calmed down and I was able to get back into a rythmn for a while, but the pain in my toe and the little panic attack were taking their toll and I was having to take some walk breaks. I really just wanted to get on the beach!! and then finally we are turning onto the beach path and it is just the Marathoners again. This race course was full of out and back loops so we were constantly seeing other runners and it was the same on the beach path.
We had taken a Gel just before turning onto the beach and within the first little bit there was an aid station and they had "uncrustables" PB&J sandwiches. We were thrilled... we were on the beach and we had PB&J sandwiches!!!! We walked we ate our sandwiches, we giggled we were just in runners heaven! BUT Hell was waiting for us a little ways down the path. My calves had been cramping for several miles already but it was really starting to slow us down and I was having to take more walk breaks which actually made it worse i think.
Bailey was GREAT!! we lauged and talked the whole time and As much pain as I was in it never erased the good feelings I had. Heck we were together, we were in California and we were running on the Beach!!!
We saw lot's of interesting people in the race!! The barefoot runner, Forrest Gump, the lady hacking up a lung! The lady in the interesting leopard print outfit!
During one of the out and backs we got to see the Marathon Leaders... that was pretty exciting especially seeing the Female leader. She had the biggest smile on her face!!! I hope she won!

Finally we were getting down to the last few miles... but I swear mile 17 lasted forever and had to have been at least 5 miles long! Mile 18 I finally had to use the port a potty, I think it was the combination of the GU and PB&J.

Bathroom Break
Bailey took so many pictures!!

We finally get back to where we first entered the beach path and are now headed in the opposite direction, DAMN it is another out and back and a guy running beside us, or maybe walking at that point just lets loose with a few angry cuss words!! Of course I start laughing because I am feeling the same way on the inside, but then I feel back because maybe he is hurting or something.
We talked to a girl in this section who had run the Barcelona Marathon and she said it was very hard because you passed the finish line several times before you really got to finish! plus it was really hot... it definately made me want to NEVER run that marathon!!
Finally the last miles....

I had called Brenda at about 19.5 miles. I was really in pain and was starting to hit the wall and needed to hear a Brenda pep talk and she didn't dissapoint!! After a few minutes with her I felt much better...still hurting physically but uplifted mentally! I also called Jane a little later, she didn't answer so I left a voice messge and she called me back.

Although it was just Bailey and I who made the trip to Huntington Beach we were not out there alone!! We got so many text messages and phone calls the whole weekend!! When you are a Cabot Cruiser you are never alone!!!

Finally we are back on The Pacific Coast Highway with about a mile left. I was still in pain but I was getting excited! My Dad, Stepmom Vonda and Aunt Leni were are going to be at the finish line and I couldn't wait!! I also couldn't wait to get that cool surfboard medal around my neck!!!

Bailey and I crossed the finish line together with hands held high above our heads!! We both got to hear our names announced, that was cool!!

I love the D-tag system they use in the California they don't have to be turned back in so no having the hassle of getting your chip cut off!! I hope everyone starts using them soon!

I called my dad and unfortunately they were just arriving so they didn't get to see us finish. My Aunt Leni was somewhere around the finish line but I don't think she saw us either. Oh well they were there and all had traveled at least an hour just to see us!!!
We chatted a bit and then made plans to go to my Aunt's house in Menifee to watch the Superbowl.

The mile walk back to the car felt like 10!! I honestly didn't know if we were going to make it! Once we got back to the car we headed to the beach for our Pacific ocean ice bath!! The walk across the parking lot barefoot was excruiating but once I got to the sand it was great!!! The water was soooo cold and we were squealing like little girls the whole time!! At first it was just the feet but little by little we went further and further out until our legs were also in the water. It hurt but we knew it was going to make us feel better later so we endured!!
We saw a few other people doing the same thing but they were a lot quieter about it than we were!! LOL

After we left the beach we headed to find an In-N-Out burger... it took a little while, a few u-turns a little frustration but it was SO worth it! We took our burgers back to our room, somehow made it up the 2 flights of stairs and then devoured our food!!

More about the rest of the day later....this post has taken me over an hour to write!!


Anonymous said...

Hey lady- that lead woman we saw did end up winning. There's a picture on the website of her coming across the finish line and she was grinning just as much then as she was before. I love it!

Cathy said...

Awesome race report! I cracked up about the cell phone alarm mistake. I did the exact same thing when I ran the half in Phoenix! I wish phones could tell the time zone automatically.

Susan said...

WONDERFUL! This sounds like the race of a lifetime. I love all of the photos, especially the one at the top of your blog. Way to go!

ShirleyPerly said...

Yes, nice new header photo!!

Great job on the race. I am not a fan of out-and-backs except that you do often get to see the leaders, which is nice. I often start cheering for people on the other side to try to make those sections go by faster. How nice to take a dip in the ocean after your race.

Arland said...

You and Bailey are official "Maniacs" now so get your number!

aron said...

awesome!!!!! congrats on ANOTHER marathon finish!!! you are just knocking out these cali races :) love the pics and great report!