Since it’s been 1.5 weeks since Surf City, I’ll do my recap now.  Danica did a great job taking pictures while she ran it (hey…it was my first half! I wasn’t about to try to take pictures…I just wanted to finish!) so check out her post to see those.  Warning: long post ahead!

It rained the day we arrived in Orange County but after getting to B’s aunt’s house and settling in for a bit, we went to the expo in the rain.  I think we were pretty exhausted from the travel at this point (plus the 2 hour time difference) so we were pretty loopy and had way too much fun splashing in the puddles inside the tent.  I definitely could have spent a ton of money at the expo, but I was pretty well behaved.  I did get a Surf City hoodie to mark my first half though!

This is how you know you have runners staying at your house.  Saturday was clear in the morning, so after breakfast, we decided to explore the beaches of Orange County.

B’s aunt and her son have an orange tree in the back yard.  So they pulled out the juicer and we had freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast every day.  Fresh OJ is intense!  A tiny glass (maybe 2 shot glasses worth) is all I could handle at once.

Margarita in Newport Beach?  Yes please!

When we got to Laguna Beach it started to get kinda rainy and we figured we better get back to Huntington and get ready to meet B’s cousin for dinner (he was doing a 10k in the area).  After dinner we went back to the house and laid out our stuff for the race!  I actually slept better than I expected; I think it was something to do with my body being 2 hours ahead of California time and all the running around beaches we did.  However, when the alarm went of, I was up and ready to go!

Luckily for Surf City, the rain ended and Sunday was amazingly beautiful and sunny.  In fact, all three of us ended up with very obvious sunglasses tan lines after the race.  I stayed in the back with the slow runners corrals and wish B & C good luck as they moved up front.  The announcer asked if there were any Saints fans.  I cheered.  Pretty sure he asked for Colts fans too, but I didn’t pay attention :P  I even saw a girl running in a black top, gold shorts & gold Mardi Gras beads.  And a guy with “WHO DAT” written on the back of his shirt (I passed him at about mile 12 and yelled “WHO DAT” but I don’t think it registered – he looked a little wiped out).  So the Saints were definitely represented in Surf City!  As the first corrals slowly started going, I was chatting with fellow slow runners and was having fun and was super excited.  And I realized I had plenty of time for another porta potty run because there were no lines at that point.  So I took advantage of that!

Finally we  started!  Apparently I started a little too far back because a majority of people around me were walking from the beginning.  So  I passed a lot of people in the first few miles.  And those first miles felt great!  I felt like I was going at my planned slow pace (even though I wasn’t paying attention to my Garmin) and thought I might just make it all 13.1 miles without walking.  There were a few very gradual, easy “hills” (and I hesitate to call them that) but they were really no problem for me.  I had my ipod in my running belt, but I never took it out.  I was really enjoying listening to the other runners chatting and the spectators cheering.

My splits

Mile 1- 11:25

Mile 2- 11:24

Mile 3- 11:07

Mile 4- 11:09

Mile 5- 10:54

Mile 6- 11:09

Mile 7- 11:23

So I was going faster than my planned 12 minute pace.  Which wasn’t the best idea in retrospect because I slowed down a LOT at the end.  The first part of the race goes into the city and around some neighborhood areas.  Then at maybe mile 6 you go back out onto the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) for a long out and back.  The out and back got me.  Somewhere between mile 7 & 8 I started to get tired and seeing the fast runners coming back along the opposite side of PCH made me think “how much farther till the turn around??”  And my feet started to hurt.  Considering my longest training run was only 7.5 miles due to injury, it makes sense that’s where I started to wear out.

Mile 8- 11:52

Mile 9- 12:17

Mile 10- 13:27

Mile 10 I was questioning my sanity and wanting it to be over with.  I think the turn around was about mile 8 and that last 5.1 miles was all along PCH straight into the sun.  I didn’t enjoy running into the sun but that’s where my tan came from I’m sure. :P And Danica even has video of it on her blog, but shortly after the turnaround, PCH was flooded on that side from all the rain, so we had to pile onto the median to run.  The last 5k of the race was brutal!

Mile 11- 14:08

Mile 12- 13:06

Mile 13- 12:28

last .1-10:31 pace

Obviously I walked a lot of mile 11.  I kinda hated that mile.  But then I picked up again and did each mile after that a little faster again and I think I finished pretty strong.  I was happy again in the last mile and all the people cheering along the sides were awesome.  I crossed the finish line and was so incredibly happy.  I really felt like crying.  Official time 2:37:38.  And then I picked up this:

and I almost did cry.  But then I realized I was hungry & went looking for post race fuel and I needed to meed B & C at our spot (they finished in 1:56 and 1:58 if I remember right).  Oh and there was that Michelob Beer Garden thing we wanted to celebrate at.  Funny story: we asked a family to take a picture of the 3 of us at the beer garden and I noticed the daughter had a college ring like mine…and the father had on my college’s t-shirt!  So I made instant friends with them.  The mom & daughter ran the full and she is graduating from Texas A&M in May.  Awesome!

Then we went back to Aunt F’s house and showered and got ready to go back to downtown HB for the Super Bowl.  C was debating on what to wear when I came out of the bathroom wearing a black & gold fleur de lis shirt.  No debate here!  We somehow lucked out and found patio seating with a TV view under the heater things.  So that’s where we watched the game.  And drank entirely too much.  I made another friend at the table next to us when I heard one guy say he was going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras so he would cheer for the Saints.  C decided my southern heritage helped me make friends everywhere there were other southerners.  What can I say?  We’re friendly! :)  She also didn’t know what “WHO DAT” meant, so I educated her.  And then she started texting “WHO DAT!” to people.

After the game we went to In & Out Burger because C & I had never been and since we were in California, we had to, right?  Honestly I didn’t think it was as amazing as it’s made out to be.  But then, I’ve never been a big burger fan.   Then we went back to the house and crashed.  I was so happy.   One of the best days (if not the best day) ever!  I finally finished a half marathon AND the Saints won their first Super Bowl?  Amazing!

I have more to say about the rest of the trip (including our Hollywood sidetrip) but this post is getting way too long so I’ll do that in another post tomorrow.