Race Review: Surf City Half Marathon and the Cowabunga Challenge

Disclaimer: I’m promoting Surf City Half Marathon and the Cowabunga Challenge as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Welcome back from Surf City! 4th time’s a charm for Surf City, right? I first ran Surf City in 2013 and then came back for the past few years starting 2017. I flew out to Orange County on February 1. If you ever go out for Surf City, John Wayne Airport is an awesome alternative and about 25 min from downtown Huntington Beach and you miss flying through LAX. I took a Lyft to the hotel and checked in before finding dinner at one of the neighboring hotels with a wine bar (score!).

Saturday morning, after having breakfast, I ran into one of the physical therapists from work (mind you, Spokane), who was with family and doing a trip to Disney Land. We had a group Bibrave Pro text message going on and poor Fallon will probably have the best story of all of us. Rain decided to show up to Southern California that led to flooding in some areas, which meant that Fallon got rerouted. I went to the expo and picked up my Cowabunga bib and picked up Fallon’s Bib (quick and easy with the QR code) and dropped the extra stuff in my room.

The Cowabunga challenge took place on the beach itself. To make things interested, winds were hitting close to 30 mph. This was the first year for the Cowabunga Challenge Mile, so why not do it on the beach with ridiculous winds. The first half mile was a breeze, but the second half was right Into the wind and slowed most of us down. I’m pretty sure I was dealing with sand in my ears and my legs look like I had chronic venous issues just because of the sand!

Afterward the 1 mile run, I went back to the expo and within 20 minutes it was pouring down rain. I’m just glad it didn’t happen earlier! I picked up my half marathon bib and shirt at the legacy longboard table. My bib got stamped and I was able to get my half marathon and legacy status shirt. I may have gotten the wrong size. Whoops. The expo is huge and has a ton of vendors, races and things to look at and do (really one of the better expos I’ve been to). Take time to enjoy it when you’re out there! After searching the expo, I went and found lunch in the hotel in order to stay out of the rain. I napped in the hotel for a bit before Fallon made it into town and picked up her bib. After going to church and catching some dinner, I headed back to the hotel for the night.

Race morning showed up and somehow it wasn’t raining! We were all excited about that and the wind wasn’t horrible. After grabbing some breakfast and getting changed, I spent a few minutes getting my stuff together and letting fellow Bibrave Pro Mai avoid the port a potties and use my hotel bathroom. We made it down to the start of race and met up with all the Bibrave Pros. The skies still had us wondering about the rain status though!

The race itself is spread out. The full marathon starts at 630 AM, the 5K at 7 AM, and the half marathon at 7:45 AM. I get wanting to spread the half and full marathon out, but I’ve always thought switching the 5K and half marathon made more sense in terms of time. The course itself though is mainly on the Pacific Coast Highway. The first three miles out is on the highway before turning into one of the neighborhoods. It was flat briefly before we hit some hills after mile 4 or so. You get a view of the city before heading downhill and back out to the Pacific Coast Highway. After hitting mile 8, we came back into town and ran against 5 miles of wind (or so it felt like it). We were dealing with some sprinkling rain on and off for a little bit and another hill around mile 10 that I seem to always forget about. The last mile the crowd support picked back up heading back into the finish line. Aid stations every 1-1.5 miles with water and Nuun. I don’t get a long with Nuun in terms of flavor/texture so no electrolytes for me :-(.

Post race, there was plenty of food, water and you got your medals. Food trucks, beer gardens, massage tables galore and plenty to do. I hung around some before heading back for the million dollar shower. After packing up and checking out, I headed back to the airport for lunch and to fly back to Washington.

Overall, always a fun race and always well run. Love the addition of the Cowabunga Challenge (hey, we got a cape!), always a great course. Medals are always awesome and surf board themed. If you’re looking for a great race and a good winter get away, look into Surf City!

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Surf City Race Week!

Disclaimer: I’m Promoting The Surf City Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Race week!! Granted, I spent some time in The Bahamas with a friend of mine from residency a few weeks ago, the Washington cold is kind of sad and depressing. On the flip side, I’m also not in the Polar Vortex that is the Midwest (stay safe guys!). This is my 4th year doing Surf City and third in a row, so I’m excited to hit Legacy Status. Legacy status gets you extra swag (long sleeved shirts) and some extra race day perks.

Things to keep in mind for this weekend:

Runner Tracking: take a look here

Expo: At the Huntington Beach Parking Lot (21291 Pacific Coast Highway Huntington Beach, CA 92648

  • Friday Feb 1 from 1-7
  • Saturday, Feb 2 from 10-4
  • Can’t make the expo? someone can pick up for you, HOWEVER, people picking up for others can only pick up for 2 additional people and must have copies of Driver’s Licenses

Cowabunga Mile: Saturday, February 2 at 11 AM by the expo (and enough time to get your bib before hand!). **no gear check and does NOT count towards Legacy Status

Race Day Sunday, February 3:  Marathon Start 6:30 AM, 5K start at 7:00 AM and Half Marathon start at 7:45 AM

Things to Do in Huntington Beach

  • Plenty of shopping and restaurants downtown
  • Short car ride/Uber/Lyft to Newport Beach for more beach time and restaurants
  • Enjoying the beach (if the sun cooperates with us, fingers crossed)
  • Old World Village

Keep an eye out for all the Bibrave Orange and enjoy race weekend!

 

 

 

Race Review: Surf City 10 Miler

It’s been 3.5 years since I’ve been to the land of Surf City and in my training quest for the Honolulu Marathon and the need for a weekend get away, I headed off to Huntington Beach for the Surf City 10 Miler. It’s put on by the same people who run the Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon in February (which I’ll also be at!).

I left Friday Morning after a whole 4-5 hours of sleep. The joys of working until 1 am and not falling asleep until 2! Being 15 minutes from the airport is a godsend. I flew into Long Beach Airport (by way of Oakland) and drove about 30 minutes to my hotel and was thankful to miss LAX. After checking in, I headed out for a run to stretch the legs and enjoy the 70* weather, this a stark contrast from gusty winds and 40-50* weather in Spokane

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Weekend in Cali

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After a shower, I was off to dinner at wine bar down the road and then some time exploring. I may or may not have found a road runner sports and 2 pairs of running shoes…

Saturday, I went to the Expo and picked up my bib and shirt. Surf City is the only race I’ve done where you can get away with having a race expo outside without issues.

A good amount of vendors there, including a running shop where I got a pair of shorts, a pair of spandex and a pair of capris for $70 total (less than the total of the capris!). After finding lunch, I relaxed at the hotel before heading off to church to some some prayers an OSU win and good running weather. What’s better is they also had race day pick up!

Sunday was race day and I was up bright and early. After getting ready, I drove from the hotel to the race start (so much for Uber or Lyft being up and ready at 630 AM). I was to the start by 650 and we were off running at 7 AM. There was the option for the 10 Mile, 10K or 5K. The course itself is out and back with parts that are similar to the Surf City Marathon/Half Marathon. Even though it was cloudy, it was still humid out. Fairly flat with the beach and ocean as your scenery. I thought the water stops were every mile, but they were spread out further than expected (at least for me). shortly after 5 miles, we hit the turn around and were coming back. About 7 miles in, we joined up with the 10K runners and with 1.5 miles, we were picking up the 5K runners. I don’t mind starting first, but part of what I had issue with is the weaving in and out of walkers for the 5K/10K. 10.25 miles later, another run was in the books

The post race bling was awesome, as to be expected for anything Surf City. Post race, food, chocolate milk and water was available. The expo was still up and running.  I walked through briefly prior to heading back to the hotel for a shower and then to find lunch.

I flew to Spokane Sunday night and had fun getting through Long Beach Airport Security. The race medal led to my bag being checked. It got wiped down and set off the alarm that TSA uses to test for whatever they test for, which led to everything getting searched and me getting a full body pat down. Lesson learned, take the medal out of the luggage, just to be safe.

Marathon training continues and Surf City played into weather conditions for Honolulu in more ways than one!

 

Surf City Half Marathon

This weekend, I traded in windy, sub 20 degree weather of suburban Kansas City for 70 degrees and beaches of LA and Huntington Beach.  To say it was needed is an understatement for sure!!  I headed out to LAX after working Friday morning (thankfully on a direct flight) and was met by a friend of the family.  We went to pick up some dinner (we were going to try the Lobsta Truck but couldn’t find parking).  We made our way over to a little local cafe and picked up some sandwiches, ate and then picked up my parents at the airport.

Saturday, we made our way to Huntington Beach to the expo to pick up our race gear.  First time ever I’ve been to an expo under tents!!  I did love being greeted by some surf boards, that’s for sure

Surf Board

 

We picked up our gear and wondered the expo.  I found myself a poster for $20, a new pair of sunglasses and tried some pre race stuff which wasn’t for sale (who does that?!?!).  We headed for a walk on the beach and stopped for some lunch before heading over to the DoubleTree hotel to check in.  We watched some good basketball and headed out for dinner at Baci’s.

Around 550 AM Sunday, we were up and at it.  Luckily, I was still on CST so it felt like closer to 8 for me.  Since my stuff was laid out from the night before, I changed, brushed my hair and had some of the free breakfast downstairs.  We hopped the 6:45 shuttle to the start and arrived at 7:20.  After hijacking the Hilton’s bathrooms (which were much better then porta potties), we walked to the start and parted ways to get into our corrals.  We were delayed in getting out, so much so, that 1/2 mile in, the Johnny Rockets restaurant was nice enough to let me use the bathroom again.  I was keeping a good pace up until right before mile 3.  I saw a guy seizing and stopped to see if there was anything I could do.  There was an RN there already and police were trying to get paramedics over.  All we knew was his name and because he didn’t fill out the back of his bib, we didn’t know if he had any health problems

This is where I’ll make my plea…runners, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE fill out the back of your bib with your info and medical stuff on it.  That’s where we look first to see if you have problems if something happens to you!!!

After race officials took over, I kept going along with the 2 others who stopped to help.  Half Marathon Bib #7737, I hope you’re ok!!!  We headed into a little neighborhood that had a hill to it. Nothing bad at all (yet people were complaining about it.  I have worse hills in my hometown of Ohio!).  After we got out of the neighborhood, we were back on the highway.  It was nice to have the smell of the ocean with you the entire time and good weather.  At this point I was kicking myself because it was chilly when we left the hotel so I wore a long sleeved shirt.  By the start of the race, I wanted to take it off, but it wasn’t one I was willing to part with so pushed the sleeves up.  i at least had a nice view of the beach

Surf City Beach

Surf City Beach

Somewhere after mile 8, we turned and headed back towards the finish.  We chugged along for some miles and began seeing marathoners running on the beach portion of their course (this particular day, I was glad it wasn’t me).  The marathoners started over an hour before us so bless them for that.  I realized how much I still hate running over parts of road that act as overpasses and their gradual inclines as well!  I was confused as to where I was at time wise since I had stopped to help the guy seizing but I was so confused with seeing pacers of the 2:15 group in front of 2:10 pacers.  I couldn’t even gage where I was at!  I was pretty glad to see the finish and take off my long sleeved shirt.  By far, one of my favorite medals I’ve ever gotten (who doesn’t like a surf board medal???).  I finished officially in 2:17 even.  Based on my garmin time, I finished in about 2:12:20 which I’ll take either one.

Surf City Medal

Surf City Medal

The nice thing about staying at a hotel close to the race is the shower I got afterwards.  I didn’t have to sit in a car smelling for an hour!!  We made our way back to LA and had some lunch in the Venice Beach area before I had to head back to the midwest (at least it’s in the 40s now).  My parents?  I’m apparently not the favorite child because they went to Hawaii this morning with out me 😦 (Just kidding!!!)

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