I had hoped to be significantly faster at the Surf City Half Marathon, but such is life, and I ran for the day I had. Truthfully over the last few years, I’ve found my race reports to be somewhat whiny. Why aren’t I running to how I once did? Did I even run a 1:22? Was that a dream? How did sub 1:30 ever feel so easy?
Looking back, I think Surf City Half Marathon was probably doomed from the start. I had a lot of issues and maybe some I wasn’t even aware of. For whatever reason, most major California races use Nuun as their electrolyte drink. Nuun Sport is fine, but it’s not fine for me during strenuous efforts. I need something with calories. With the heat increase from about 45 to 65 and no shade and minimal race fuel, it’s no wonder I tanked hard. But my tanking at Surf City Half Marathon isn’t limited to just a lack of calorie-based electrolyte drinks.
A few issues that derailed my race at Surf City Half Marathon:
- Lack of calorie based electrolytes
- The heat (I’ve been running in 20-30 degrees lately, so I was not acclimated)
- Unrelated stomach issues
My stomach cramps and issues hit around mile 6. I went from feeling decent to feeling terrible, wondering if I would vomit and just be in survival mode. Thankfully it was the feeling of vomiting and nothing more. Somehow I made it to the finish without puking and even made it a few hours afterward. But my stomach was not happy. Why? I really don’t know. I rarely have stomach issues, and I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve felt this way. Even a few days later, my stomach does not feel perfect.
Moving on to the race. There are some good news parts of Surf City Half Marathon as well. I raced in the Nike Streak LT for the first time in several years. It’s a shoe I’ve run multiple PRs in, and it’s not a carbon-plated shoe. I ran 40 seconds faster than Carlsbad, even with all of my issues, so for that, it is a win. I have a long post coming whenever I can write cohesive thoughts about why carbon plated shoes don’t work for me. I don’t think it’s the carbon plate themselves but the stack height (and yes, I’ve tried pretty much every single one…even that one…).
I think stack height is too high for me personally, and it strains my hamstrings and hips. Anyway, this is supposed to be at the Surf City Half Marathon, and at nearly 400 words, the only thing I’ve said is that I nearly barfed, and I didn’t race in carbon plated shoes.
Before Surf City Half Marathon:
The Surf City Half Marathon is my 67th half marathon. It is the first half marathon I’ve ever signed up at the expo. I knew the race was happening, but I’ve had a busy few weeks, and honestly, my injury comeback has been rough. After running a great workout that Wednesday, I decided I would just do it. The 2-hour drive into Los Angeles was chaotic as always, but we arrived to the Surf City Half Marathon around 3:30, and I signed up.
After that, we got back to the hotel in Irvine (because Surf City Half Marathon hotels were around $1000…I love running but not that much). I probably fell asleep around 7:30. The morning of the Surf City Half Marathon went well. We got parking about 2 miles away and just walked to the start (my favorite type of warmup). I felt fine. My stomach felt fine. I actually felt pretty good. I was excited!
The Surf City Half Marathon Race:
The gun went off, and off we went. I noticed the 1:30 pacers weren’t that far ahead, and I wondered, would I be able to keep up with them? I was fairly pleased to log a 6:56 first mile of the Surf City Half Marathon. I was running in a new shoe but a long-term friend. It felt good. I felt good. At that point, it was around 45 degrees. I was in good spirits.
The next few miles were pretty low-key. I was just plugging along and ran a 6:54 and 6:48. I was on cloud nine. I thought I had finally solved my issues, and who knows, maybe I still have. I began noticing there still hadn’t been an electrolyte stop. I grab water or electrolytes at every aid station in half marathons.
The next couple of miles of the Surf City Half Marathon went through a small neighborhood and up a small incline. The Surf City Half Marathon is fairly flat, and I think one of the flattest California races I’ve done. Mile 4 I ran a 7:04, and mile 5 was a 6:58. It would be my last mile in the 6s and when I began to feel stomach pain.
As mentioned, I know many people deal with stomach issues, and I am generally not one of them. Once my stomach issues hit, the next 6 miles of the Surf City Half Marathon proved incredibly difficult. I thought about stopping every minute. I was waiting for the point I would barf. But I didn’t during the race, and my barf around 11:30 am.
My only goal from mile 6 to the finish was to finish the Surf City Half Marathon. I was in survival mode. We met with the marathoners as we continued along the Pacific Coast Highway. I passed the 5:30 pace group as well as another. While I know why races do this, I still find sharing race courses dangerous, and the water stops got congested.
I grabbed the Nuun offering every time I could, but it didn’t sit well in my stomach. It was also reasonably hot by this point, and I grabbed water as well. The sun was beating down on me, and I was doing my best to stay in the race, weave around marathoners, and not be too negative.
I then remembered that my feet felt fine, which motivated me. I didn’t go any faster; in fact, I only got slower, but I found motivation at least finish.
Mile 11 of the Surf City Half Marathon was especially tough. The 11th mile is the most challenging period, but this went particularly slow.
Around 12.6, I could see the Surf City Half Marathon finish. I looked down at my watch for the first time in probably 5 miles, and I thought, you will run faster than Carlsbad, GD it…just don’t stop. The finish line felt like it was getting further away, but I just focused on finishing. I kept telling myself: Just run under 1:37.
I crossed the Surf City Half Marathon finish in 1:36.49 and just hugged the side of the railing for a second. I thought surely the barf would come out now. But it didn’t. After standing there for a good minute or two, I walked down the finisher shoot.
Surf City Half Marathon Thoughts:
I know I have a faster half marathon in me, and I strongly believe I could have run a 1:33 if I didn’t feel nauseous. I’m going to have to figure out if I want to start carrying hydration during longer races. I’ve run a few CA races, and all of them have used Nuun sport or Ultima. I just wish races had water and a calorie option.
I don’t think the lack of calories during the race was my reason for feeling sick, and I think that was a separate issue, but I believe it contributed to my perfect regression run.
As far as feeling sick, there have been roughly five races I’ve felt this way and twice were because I was starting to get sick and didn’t realize it, and another was from food poisoning. The rest of my body felt better than it had in a while, and since I didn’t barf at the finish line, I didn’t become a meme. So I guess it was ok. Even 3 days later, my stomach does not feel perfect, so I know either I ate something that didn’t sit well or had a minor food poisoning case.
Anyway onward. Hopefully, I have forgotten this experience at my next half in roughly 6 weeks.
Questions for you:
Have you run Surf City Half Marathon?
Have you ever gotten sick during a race?