I guess I should finally get around to recapping my third ever half marathon- the Surftown Half.
I signed up to do this race with my Running Mamas crew that I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon with. Not only did we all get together for this, but we dragged our husbands and kids along for the weekend, all piling into a beach house a whopping 1.4 miles away from the starting line. (Thanks Tiffany– and Bill- for offering up the house!) Four Mamas, 1 running dada (my husband), 3 non-running dadas, and 5 kiddos under the age of 5 made for an interesting weekend. Since nobody wants to read about the horrors of 2 of the kiddos vomiting in the car on the way in, or how to feed 5 kids with 5 different sets of eating weirdnesses, how many times one kid can beg for Wall-E while the another begs for Frozen, or exactly how much sand one pre-schooler can fit in his Jake and the Neverland Pirates underpants, I’ll just go ahead and skip to the race-related stuff. K?
The morning started way easier than a typical race morning because the race was soooo close. Not to mention, I was able to do packet pick-up for all of us on the day before (except Hannah, who had hers mailed- very cool option that I refused to use because I was sure I’d end up forgetting everything at home.)
I made a terrible race-day mistake and skipped breakfast. Instead, I ate a chocolate Honey Stinger Waffle before leaving the house and regular one on the way to the start line. This was probably not the best of ideas. I peed twice in the morning, but failed to hit the portapotties right before lining up in the starting corrals. This, also, was probably not the best of ideas.
The corrals were divvied up by expected/desired finish time and you placed yourself where you wanted to be. Jay split off into the 2 hour, as did Tiffany and Hannah, I think. I really don’t know because Christina and I were hightailing it to somewhere between the 2:30 and 2:45 pacers. I always have 2 goals for any given race: My Pie-in-the-Sky goal that where I’d be absolutely thrilled to finish at and my Feet-on-the-Ground goal that is my more realistic goal. My realistic goal for today was to finish faster than I did at Sleepy Hollow. That time was 2:42:22. I was pretty damned confident that I could beat that. My Pie-in-the-Sky was a sub-2:30 time. I’d have to keep my pace below 11:11 min/mile to do that, which I had not been able to do recently. Hopefully, this beautifully cool morning, I’d be back on my game running a faster pace.
For the first 6 miles, my 1:30/:30 run/walk interval worked wonderfully to keep me at a nice comfortable pace between 10:40 and 10:55 min/mile, including a few small hills that I didn’t walk up- proud of myself for that.
But then Not the Best of Ideas #2 reared its ugly head. I had to pee. Holding it was only going to slow me down over time. I knew I was maintaining a good enough pace that I should be able to stop and not kill my time, but every portapotty along the route had someone waiting in front of it. I had time to pee, not time for multiple people to pee. Luckily, the house we were staying at was along the race route, so somewhere in the sixth mile I paused my app, told Christina to keep going, and ran up the driveway, into the house, to use a real bathroom. Convenient, huh?
Not having my bladder dictate my pace, I was actually able to speed up for the next little bit. Mile 7 was actually a whole :30 faster than Mile 5. Then the course took us off the very flat beach and up into the village of Watch Hill. Emphasis on the “Hill.” I’m not going to go crazy bitching about the hills, because after Sleepy Hollow, this really wasn’t all that hilly, but it was just hilly enough to beat my pace down. To add insult to injury, Not the Best of Ideas #1 cropped up at precisely the same time as the hills did. All of a sudden I was feeling hungry- and not the kind of hungry that popping some Supercandy or a Gu pack from the many water stations would help. Belly wanted food. To try to quiet the growling, I drank more. Works when dieting- not while running.
I bonked big time. My energy dropped fast. My 1:30/:30 quickly changed to “Just make it to that blue mailbox, then walk”/”You are going to start running again when you get that shrub, got it?” My nice, even pace got all wibbly wobbly and I became really downhearted that my Pie-in-the-Sky goal that had been starting to look more and more realistic was just not going to happen.
Then, somewhere around mile 11, a pep-talk in a black running skirt found me. Tiffany had already finished the half (1:53) and was running back to make up some distance for her marathon training. She ran with me for the rest of the way. I was trying to get back to my interval but I just didn’t have it in me, but whenever I would be walking too long, Tiffany would say something or I’d be thinking in my head that she was going to think I was the biggest loser for walking so much, so I’d start running. When I could see the finish line, I told Tiffany that I was going to walk until I got the finishing chute and then I’d sprint in, but she kept looking back at me like “why the hell aren’t you running” so I started running. I got a power up high five from a kid along the way and then started sprinting well before I planned.
And I just barely MISSED my Pie-in-the-Sky goal. Sigh.
The medal is the same giant chunk of spiffiness no matter what time I dragged my butt across the finish line.
We all headed back to the house to clean up with the idea of returning the carnival that went along with the race festivities. There would be rides and games for the kiddos and we’d all have a good time. Or maybe we’d all just kind of ice our calves in the cold ocean water and decide to hang out at the house and watch the kids play in the surf and the sand, instead.