Race Report - Surf N Santa 5 Miler

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hanging out in the warmth waiting for the race to begin.


Pre-race: What's a great way to celebrate your 12th anniversary? Run a race together! Jen and I got a baby sitter and decided to have some fun for our anniversary date. The great thing about this race is that there was a big convention center to wait in before the start. The starting line was literally right outside the building. So we were able to stay inside and be warm until about 20 minutes until the start. Jen and I went out about 20 minutes before the start to jog around, warm up the legs, and get used to the cold. There were also LOTS of people running this race. 3750 runners to be exact. The weather was about 45 degrees with a light wind and plenty of sunshine.

Where's Waldo? Can you find me (Ben)? Hint: I'm below the 'T' on the left side. Also the man in the red in the middle is Chris Solinsky. I'm happy to come in 38th behind him any day of the week.

Mile 1-2: I went out fairly fast but settled in equally fast. After the first 400 meters I settled into a 6:30 pace and felt pretty good. I was getting passed by LOTS of people and that made me feel pretty bad. But I kept telling myself that there was lots of race to go. After the first mile I also felt a bit tired. I realized it was going to take a lot of effort to keep my pace so I just tried to relax. 6:29, 6:39

Mile 3-4: Around the 2.5 mile mark I started to pass a LOT of guys. It was payback for all those who passed me the first mile. This part of the run was on the boardwalk along the ocean in Virginia Beach. It was supposed to be a run under the Christmas lights. But the sun was still out! The ocean was pretty but I didn't get to see any Christmas lights turned on. Oh well. Around mile 3 some doubts started to creep into my mind that I wouldn't be able to keep this pace up. 6:33, 6:35

Notice how the Christmas lights are not turned on. And I'm wearing sunglasses. I was too busy running to take them off.
Mile 5: I felt like I had nothing left. I really wanted to push hard my last mile but the gas tank seemed to be running on fumes. My watch was telling me I was at about a 6:40 pace for this mile. I felt like I was going a bit slower. I did pass a few people, but around mile 4.5 I was passed by two guys. There was no way I could run the pace they were throwing down. I was just hoping to make it to the end without exploding. The finish line was inside of the Virginia Beach convention center. Like actually in the building. It seemed like I would never actually make the last few turns and get inside. My lungs were burning and my ears felt stuffy like I was fighting a cold. I FINALLY crossed the finish line in 32:33! My last mile was actually fast but it sure didn't feel like it. 6:21

Post-race: I managed to come in 38th place overall and 3rd in my age division! It was so much fun doing a race with Jen. We enjoyed some beer and spicy potato soup afterwards. We also ran into several people from my work who also did the race. My only complaint at the post-race party is the music was TOO loud. I could barely hear someone talking right next to me.  After the race we headed out to dinner. I took Jen to a 'hole in the wall' Mediterranean place that has some great Iskender Kebap and red lentil soup. Not fancy but it was perfect for our post race sweaty dinner.


My report is not as fancy as Ben's.

Pre-race: I stood in a long line for the potty, but was thankful to have indoor plumbing and a warm place to wait for the race to start.  Ben signed us up for the race and put me down for a 7:50 pace, which meant I was in corral #1 with him.  I felt like that was a lofty goal and felt very out of place at the front of the 4,000 people crowd.  It was worth it to stand with Ben while we waited for the race to start and I think I needed his confidence boost to make me believe I really can run the race he put down on paper.

Mile 1: Pure comical craziness.  I was running a 6:30 pace, which I have never run before but felt comfortable, and people were flying past me!  It was very humbling until a man started to pass me that was covered in jingle bells and was singing...then I was okay with being passed and started to slow down.

Mile 2: People started to chill out and run an even pace.  I came up behind a couple that were talking about their pace (7:40) and they reminded me of me and Ben.  I decided that I would make it my goal to make sure I didn't loose sight of them.  People were dressed up as all kind of things for the race, so when I approached a group of real gingerbread men, I didn't think much of it.  It took me a minute to figure out that they were handing out gingerbread cookies.  There was also a similar candy cane situation and I was just thinking, "Who is stopping to eat cookies and candy canes?!"  I would barf.

Mile 3-4: We ran down the boardwalk and I LOVED it.  The sun was setting over the ocean and I just relaxed into watching the beauty.  It was redeeming moment for me.  I ran that same stretch at the end of my first half marathon; it was the end of the race and the temps were very hot and I had watched a man collapse earlier in the race, who actually died.  The ocean was not refreshing to me that day and I felt like this race was the perfect way to rewrite that experience and say good-bye to the Atlantic Ocean.  The Christmas lights were actually on, Ben was just running too fast to see them and yes, it would have been way cooler if the race was later in the day.  I also passed my goal couple on this stretch which was pretty cool.

soaking up the ocean as I run...man, I wish I could keep my elbows in!
See?  My review is way girlier.

Mile 5: A very confusing mile.  I knew the race ended back at the convention center, but at 4.25 miles I started hearing cheering.  I started thinking that maybe the course was wrong and it wasn't really 5 miles.  So I picked up my pace and geared up for the finish line.  I got to the front of the convention center and there was no finish line.  I turned a corner, thinking this must be the finish and picked up my pace more.  Nope.  Another turn and I finally saw the finish inside the building.  Who's idea was that?!  I ran as fast as I could and crossed the finish line at 39:40.

Post:  I did have a little personal issue during the race that is for another post, but I was really proud of myself.  Maybe that's weird to say, but I do love that about running.  I'm only competing with myself and I have never run like I did that night.  I have never, ever run 5 miles, all in the 7 minutes...not once did my watch see an 8.  The girl I'm talking to in the picture below, came up to me at the end and said, "Nice push to the end.  I was behind you the whole time and watched you kick it home.  Nice work."  I'm glad she was behind me and couldn't see my angry face I had on during that last stretch.  I was also thankful that I had enough fuel in me to run a negative split...that also has never happened.

About 15 minutes later this whole place was PACKED. Finishing early is nice because you can get your dry bag back without a line....and get beer first.

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