I am a conservative runner by nature, but after a few beers and some peer pressure, some things can seem like a good idea. And so it was that I agreed to do the Surfside Half Marathon (02.04.2017) with a few running friends; although they would be well ahead of me.
Of note, my friend Jon finished third in his age group and Lynette (Jon’s wife) took home second in her age group. I finished in my age group, so that was an accomplishment as far as I am concerned.
In mid-January, when I agreed to this nonsense I had three weeks to get ready with a long run of six miles (back in November) under my belt. My plan: a five mile long run the first weekend, an eight mile long run the next weekend and hope that was enough.
Apparently, it was enough. But…
The Wind in My Face
The one thing about running at Surfside is the weather is different every year. Freezing temperatures; gusty winds; severe thunderstorms; crazy fog; you can even combine some of those elements and come up with a weather forecast for Surfside. This year, it was (I guess) thankfully just wind. But what a wind it was. Constant at 25 miles an hour, I could barely hear the surf during my 6.5 mile trek into breach.
The Surfside Half begins with a 2.5 mile jaunt to the southwest before turning around and facing the wind for a full 6.5 miles. I have run the Surfside Marathon multiple times and I certainly did not envy the marathoners on this day. The temperature was not bad, but the wind was relentless.
The strategy at Surfside is predicated by the condition of the beach. Although there is plenty of hard-packed sand to run on and very little camber, vehicular traffic and nature can impact the condition of the beach.
This year, I opted to run along the shoreline and it worked out very well. My feet were soaked several times, but is was more exhilarating than anything. While sea water was not necessarily a concern, the wind was.
The best one can do is relax and not fight the wind. Many folks likely pushed too hard into the wind and it would come back to haunt them. For my part, I did not worry about my splits on the way out, especially during a race I was not exactly prepared for.
At mile 9 I registered an 11:06; my longest mile of the day and the last mile before I turned around. Turning around was glorious; I improved by nearly two minutes, registering a 9:15 for mile 10.
Each successive mile was exponentially faster than the previous as I tore through the sand so I have that to hang my hat on.
Finishing time was 2:13:24, which is not too bad as I expected to be somewhere between 2:10 and 2:15. 8/18 in my age group and 22 out of 81 Masters Runners.
I am not sure what to think of this race. I was not exactly prepared, but I didn’t have a bad race. Could I have run it faster with proper training? Indeed. Also, I don’t run races for the medals and at the moment I have no goals to speak of. So…
To be honest, I am glad I did the race. I have always enjoyed running at Surfside, even when the inclement weather produces additional challenges. Plus running on the hard-packed sand is easy on these old bones.