You are surfing posts written on February 1st, 2009

1 Feb 2009
Categorized As: CarbKiller, lunacy, race details

Just so you know this is going to be really long and detailed and probably several parts.

What do my shoes and my half marathon finisher surfboard medal have in common? They’re both MINE! (WOOT)

What’s the difference between my shoes and my surfboard medal? When I bought my shoes they came home with me immediately. When I passed the half marathon finish line they had already run out of half marathon medals and I had to give them my mailing address so they could send it to me. (Bitter much?)

I earned a medal, and two feet full of ginormous blisters (ow ow ow!) but missed all the day-of-the-race bragging rights of walking around with a medal. That’s a SERIOUS pisser.

The good news is, they could take my prize but they will never take my stories! So here is how it went down:

First of all I slept like crap the night before the race. I’ve been having alarm clock problems and I was so worried my alarm wouldn’t go off I woke up every 45 minutes all night long. In fact, I was up like a shot at 3:30am convinced it was really 9am and I’d missed my race window. Note to self: buy a new f***ing alarm clock. Insomnia bites the big one.

I finally threw in the towel at 5am, and ate breakfast. This was also an interesting challenge. What do you eat the morning before a race? Do you carb load? Do you eat only protein? These are the little questions I should have asked in advance but I was so worried about would I even finishing the race I never thought about food. I decided to make myself a eggwhite/kraft single/whole wheat english muffin sandwhich which I washed down with 8oz of low salt V8. I like to pretend that fulfilled a number of my daily nutritional values.

I got to the race around 6:30am. It would have been earlier but I had conveniently forgotten that the route I took to get to Huntington Beach from my house was going to be closed due to the fact that a nice chunk of it was along the race course. So at 5:45am I ended up doing a 30 minute zigzag through the back streets of Huntington. Oops.

Race parking was an interesting challenge. I found a structure that was $9 a day which is a decent price for the area. There was free parking, of course, but I didn’t get there early enough (the marathoners start an hour earlier). The problem with my parking spot was that it was at the one mile marker which meant I had to walk a mile to get from my parking spot to the start of the race. Was walking a mile a big deal? No. But it WAS a big deal when I realized I’d be walking another mile to get to my car after the race was over.

The good news about walking that mile? I started walking just as the gun went off to start the marathon. There is something about watching a wave of enthusiastic people carrying flags, waving their arms, walking with CANES (yes, canes) that makes you realize not everyone is going to have 2% bodyfat. Considering I spent most of last week seriously wondering if I could walk 13 miles when I’d never done it before that was a pretty big deal.

I got to the race location and immediately started looking for the bag checkin. I’d like to take this moment to send out a HUGE shout out to HobbitGrrl whose blog saved my ass. Big time. I knew what to look for, I just had to ask where to go. I also discovered most race volunteers are totally clueless.

All in all it was a beautiful day. I mean PERFECT. It was cool in the morning but not freezing cold. It was warm in the afternoon but there was a nice ocean breeze so it wasn’t crazy hot. Still people had various strategies for keeping warm. (If you’re a runner in minishorts and a sports bra you need SOMETHING). People wore trash bags poncho style to keep in body heat and ditched them along the course. They also brought “throw away” jackets and tops. These tended to items purchased at the goodwill to be worn and discarded along the race route in hopes that after the race they could return for it and have it still be there. Quite brilliant really. I wore running pants and a tshirt and felt just fine.

The races also went out in waves. 18,000 people means an ocean as far as the eye can see.

The ocean of people in front of me

The ocean of people in front of me (the little balloon arc up ahead in the distance is the starting line)

The ocean of people behind me

The ocean of people behind me

And all of these people? They were in my wave of the race.

My wave marker
My wave marker

 See this sign? It saved my sanity. When I signed up for the race the slowest wave you could sign up for was 2:30 minutes. I knew there was no way in hell I was finishing the race in under three hours. I also figured I’d be walking for big chunks if not all of it. But there was no walking option. I could just see myself hobbling along as everyone else ran past me.

There was no greater feeling then knowing I wasn’t going to be the only walker. WOO HOO!
Actual race details will be posted tomorrow for anyone still curious. Pre/Post race tips and FYIs included.