Friday: Tina and I flew down to Huntington Beach (well, we flew to Orange and *then* went to Huntington Beach) for the Surf City 1/2 marathon. We arrived a little bit early at about 7:30 and expected the shuttle from the hotel to arrive around 8:00 since Tina had scheduled a pickup earlier in the day. We waited.....and waited....in the chilly night air. The Super Shuttle guy kept yelling over "where you trying to go?" until I finally yelled back, "it's okay, we have a shuttle coming." How stupid did I look as we kept standing there with no shuttle showing up? We gave them until 8:05 and then I called the hotel. The guy that answered seemed surprised that we were waiting for the shuttle and said "he'll be there in 15 minutes." Obviously they were just sending the guy out. Little did we know it, but this was a sign of how the weekend shuttle situation would be. We finally got to the hotel, walked across the road to the shopping center and grabbed some burgers for dinner. Back to the hotel to crash for the night.
Saturday: We woke up to sunshine and beautiful skies. We opted for the hotel restaurant for breakfast because we didn't think we'd be able to hold out to go down by the expo and eat. Bad choice, the buffet sounded good but the waffles were like wood, there was something *nasty* glued to the bottom of my juice glass...yes, inside the glass....*gag*, and the service was less than stellar. Oh, did I mention the kid that was squealing at the top of his little lungs through the whole thing? Okay, now that we've carbed up on bad food, it's off to the expo. The expo was pretty good, lots of shops and freebies. We also picked up our bibs and our long sleeve tech t's. Schweet. After cruising around the expo for quite a while, we decided to take the free shuttle downtown and check out the shops there. On the way to the shuttle stop we passed a kettle corn booth and decided to get bottles of water. Did you know there's such a thing as fried twinkies and fried oreos? Well, I sure didn't, but they were selling them. NO, we didn't get any....that's not good pre-race food! Sounded good tho. :-) We hopped on the shuttle and a few minutes later were down town. Cute little down town. We checked out a few shops and had some lunch, then found a little grocery store where we stocked up on water and 1 banana. Well, they only had 1 banana and neither T nor I are too fond of them, but they're supposed to be good pre-race food so we got one to share. We got t-shirts from this little street stand that sold shirts with 'famous' movie phrases. I even saw Parkers little onsie that says "nobody puts baby in a corner". :-) I got Jeff one that said "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.", because we *love* Princess Bride. Eventually we headed back to the expo and called for our hotel shuttle to come and get us. Turned out to be the same guy that got us from the airport. We needed to find some bagels for pre-race food, and *subtly* suggested to the driver that we'd like to hit a grocery store on the way back, but he didn't (or didn't *want* to) pick up on the hints. So we hoofed it about a half a mile from the hotel to the nearest grocery store and grabbed some bagels before hitting a pasta place for dinner. When the waiter brought our check and asked "Can I get you anything else?" T says "How'd you like to give us a couple of garbage bags?" I have to say he looked a bit confused until I explained that we were running in the morning and it was supposed to rain. He started laughing and said "Oh, so you want some ponchos!" It was pretty funny, and even better he brought them for us! Awesome! Then after a quick stop to pick up a carmel apple for post race, we hit the hotel to prep our race gear and hit the pillows.
Sunday: The alarm went off at 6 a.m. and we were up and getting ready and stuffing our bagels and peanut butter into our mouths. We packed up our stuff, grabbed our *ponchos* and headed down to catch our 7 a.m. shuttle. Luckily there wasn't a glitch this time. Which was quite surprising because we'd checked 2-3 times to make sure there WAS a 7 a.m. shuttle and that we were on the list for it, and never quite got the same answer twice. The rain was really coming down and as we arrived at the drop off spot, we realized that not only was it raining but it was windy as well. Bonus! :-( Well, at least we didn't have to stand around long. We dropped off our post race stuff at the gear check and headed straight to the corral. I decided to leave my sweatshirt on under the garbage bag because with the wind, I was really chilly and didn't want to get too cold. About 10 minutes later we were off and running. I have to say it was an experience that I'm not eager to repeat. It didn't take long until my pants were soaked through. My shoes and head were soaked through before we even started running, but my torso stayed *mostly* dry for most of the run. T and I kept up a fairly decent pace through about mile 8. Then we hit the turn around, between mile 8-9 and I felt a sharp pain in my knee. Great. It was doing *okay* as long as I didn't try to push the pace. Sadly, I was supposed to be pushing the pace the last few miles. Soon T was just a purple-hatted speck, then I couldn't even see her and stopped looking as I struggled to keep going. My knee and my lack of energy were saying "just stop, you can just stop running and walk" but I tried not to listen. I tried singing to myself, counting my footsteps, but all I could really do was look for the next mile marker and pray I'd make it to the end. I was miserable enough to consider that this would be my last 1/2 and I'd stick to 10k or less. Then reality hit me and I realized I'm already registered for the freaking Flying Pig. Sigh. I finally saw the finish line and hobbled weakly across. I had a technologically challenging day and neither my Nike+ nor my Garmin were fully functional. So, I looked up my *official* time and I hit 2:17:02. Sad. Even sadder, my body started feeling like it did when I was sick...just tired, exhausted through to my bones. T met me at the finish and we worked our way over to the first aid tent where I got an ice pack wrapped around my knee and T sprayed my cramping, tightening calves with a cooling spray. I have *never* had such sore calves from a run. Not even the full marathons. I'm not sure what that was about, but it was freaking miserable. We worked our way through the food stations and headed back to catch our shuttle. The shuttle was so full, we were stuffed in the back cargo section with about 4 other runners. Oh well, at least we got on! Back to the hotel to get showered, packed and off to the airport. We arrived early enough to catch an earlier flight home, and now I'm ready to crash. The knee is touchy if I over extend it or try to squat or bend too deeply. More ice and drugs and hopefully it'll be right as rain soon enough. The positive of the day, T had a PR and while I'm sad that she broke 2:15 without me, I'm happy for her. Way to go T!
Over and out race fans.