Ok team, the 2015 Surf City Half Marathon is in the books! It was a great race with close to 20,000 runners and probably that many spectators as well. This is a particularly awesome race because it runs right along the beach on Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach, CA. I know, I know…who wants to run a race in perfect weather along the beach…this guy did. This is a great run, one I categorize as a down and out run, but there is a little 2.5 mile hilly loop off of PCH. Other than that it is down and out. Not a particularly flat run. It is deceptive in my opinion. The loop is hilly but the whole run itself is a gentle rolling route, up and down.
I finished the race in 2:02:19. Not my fastest half marathon but I did beat my time from last year by close to 9 minutes. So I consider that a pretty big accomplishment. My overall goal was to come in at 1:56 or better…wasn’t to be this race. Temperature was around 60 degrees, no wind, no clouds. I struggled around the 9 mile mark with my body temp. I felt hot and fell off my pace for about 2.5 miles. I was able to pick it back up for the last 1.5 miles but I was too far off my goal to make up that much time, so I settled in and just tried to finish strong…which I did. It was one of my best finishes I believe.
We tried to video the race and my run. Harder than you think. Tony was scrambling all over the place trying to get into position to catch me in key spots. Traffic, crowds and not scouting the race route prior proved to be bigger obstacles than we imagined. Better prep and planning of what we really need/want is key for next race. I am pretty sure Tony got as much of a workout riding the route, of which he put in over 13 miles on the bike trying to stay ahead of me, as I did running.
The expo was not as impressive as I remember last years. The same generic type gear was present. I found the logo race gear was not of real high quality and priced expensively to boot. It seemed the key items had limited sizes and asking for help was difficult. Tony and I found a few vendors that took the time to talk to us about their experience and what they thought of the expo so that was cool. Pre-race massages were available again and we took advantage of that. Never pass up a free massage I always say!
Post-race congestion was a problem. The family reunion area was not marked clearly and was very far from the finish line. Tony asked several race volunteers where it was and was told there was no such gathering place. For the most part volunteers were helpful, especially at the aid stations but around the expo, finish line and information area…not so much. Nothing that would keep me from running the race again but annoying never the less. Took a while to locate Tony, surprisingly I found him near the beer tent.
The best thing I did see, and I hope this is a race trend, is that there were medical volunteers running the race. I saw several people with their medical gear belt running and stopping to check on people that were struggling. That was cool. It made for a very comfortable run knowing help was very close all the time if need be.
Finally, the Previously Fat Guy jersey got a ton of attention. We added a new team member, Chris Mauger from Victorville, CA and his brother Bobby who both killed the race with 1:55 and 2:09 respectively! Nice job guys. Along the course I got plenty of thumbs up for the jersey and positive comments about it. It led to several conversations about getting fit and having fun doing it.
Overall, a fantastic race. Good run time, good learning experience, and good fun. Next year will be sub-2 hours!
Next race is 3/1/2015…The Swamp House Half near Orlando FL. Find me in my PFG jersey and say hi. First 5 people to do so will get a free Previously Fat Guy or Previously Fat Girl shirt!
Previously Fat Guy