A blog about Trace and her races.

2 of 12 in 2010 – Surf City Marathon



Time: 3:16:16 (PR)
Overall: 81 out of 2353
Women: 5 out of 963
F 30-34: 1 out of 137
Click Here for Garmin stats
Click Here for Elevation Map


Another month.  Another marathon.

I am happy to have this race behind me because as you know, one of the obvious challenges of running one marathon per month is the amount of rest I get in between races – hardly any. This race however, was 42 days away from my next race, LA Marathon (LAM) which will be the longest break I’ll have all year.  The timing couldn’t be better (duh, rest is always needed) since LAM is one of my two A Events, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am experiencing some sort of pain around my right knee (IT maybe?).  I will definitely utilize this rest to focus on getting healthy.

We had a rainy week leading up to the race and I was relieved to find that it wasn’t going to rain on race day. Rain on race day is disastrous for me since I have plantar fasciitis and tape my feet – I worry that wet feet equals ripped skin and a lot of pain. I also don’t want my hair and make-up to get all messed up, go ahead roll your eyes, but remember Brightroom does post race pictures publicly…  It was raining quite heavily when I arrived to the expo on Saturday to pick up my bib – raining enough to flood the floors from the leaky tented/tarped makeshift roofs.  It was nearly impossible to keep my feet dry so I got in and out as fast as I could.

Surprisingly, race day weather conditions couldn’t have been better – cool, crisp and eventually sunny.  As soon as I was at the starting line I knew I had overdressed, wearing compression tights and a long sleeve shirt.  Oh well…too late.  I arrived with plenty of time to warm up and stretch and then we were off. Within minutes, I felt that nagging pain in my knee and I immediately began to plan my exit (DNF) and I was extremely disappointed.  Maybe the skeptics are right; my goal is ridiculous and maybe even impossible.  I even imagined what I would write in my blog, how I only managed to finish one of the twelve scheduled races.  Finally I said to myself, “What is wrong with you? Quit thinking like that!”  I cleared my mind that instant and only focused on what was happening at that moment.  I decided that I would take it easy and make a decision drop out if it was necessary.  Fortunately the pain subsided around the fourth mile, and I was able to finish the race without a problem.

I wasn’t awed by this particular course, the scenery was beautiful with nearly 17 miles of ocean views, but it was very boring as these 17 miles consisted of three out and backs along PCH. The other 10 miles were more entertaining as the course took us from PCH (around mile three) through the winding Harriett Wieder Regional Park for about 7 miles.  The last stretch of five miles were ran along the far west bike trail that was unfortunately open to the public and included a lot of dodging baby strollers, roller bladers and other non-competitive runners and joggers.  I found that like Carlsbad, the marathon was not really the “main” event; most registrants are running the half marathon.  I have mixed feelings about that.  I do like that the half starts a little later  giving me a few extra minutes of sleep and I can drive to the start without a lot of concern about getting stuck in tons of traffic.  On the other hand, I don’t like how the marathoners were sectioned off into narrow lanes, especially towards the end while the half marathoners had the rest of the street.  It makes sense why they do that but it made me feel like I was an outcast and all alone.

One thing I noticed from this race and my two previous marathons is that I get really bored during the race.  I tend to focus on the runners in front of me. I take note of their running form, check out their running attire, try to hear which songs are blasting from their ipod and wonder how they can wear huge fuel belts that bounce up and down with every step…  I hate when I do that because I end up zoning out and eventually tag-along to their running pace, not something I want to do.  This time I tried not to do this, I kept reminding myself to run point to point instead of the runner’s paths directly in front of me (the shortest distance between two points is a straight line).  I also find that once I get past mile 20, if I look down at the ground, it seems like I will never get to the finish line because the ground seems to be moving in slow motion.  Instead, I tried to look straight ahead while focusing landmarks. I wonder if that is what happens when one “hits the wall,” only mentally?   Doing these few things helped tremendously, especially the point to point running – since I can take a few minutes off my overall time without using any extra energy.

Overall a great race and time.  I am very happy with the results and the medals/awards are really cool.

Slowest splits: 2 – 7:57; 1 – 7:53; 3 – 7:47; 4 – 7:46
Fastest splits: 26 – 7:05; 10 – 7:09; 16 – 7:11; 5 – 7:12

10 responses

  1. Wow amazing race report and time! Congrats on another great race! Do you think it’s the track workouts that help? I am trying to shave off 6 minutes from my PR so I can qualify for NY (3:30). When you say point to point running, do you mean cutting the course diagonally so you don’t end up running more steps than you need to? I agree about the zoning out issue, when I do that w/ my music I tend to run a lot slower than if I focused on the present. Good luck at LAM!

    February 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    • Hey Andee – In all honesty, I think increasing my speed during my LONG runs is what really helped me. I know it isn’t really recommended but I never run 45-1:30 slower on long runs becuase mentally I think that if I do that, during a race I won’t know how to handle that kind of pain. I didn’t kill myself or go all out but I did make sure I felt it was somewhat difficult. Track workouts will help but I haven’t done enough to make a difference. I usually do one 10 mile tempo run averaging 7:30 pace (which turned out to be my race pace). But what do I know? I am a newbie! LOL

      February 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm

  2. You neglected to mention your stellar finishing place which is even more so by the fact you thought about DNFing early on.

    Excellent work!

    February 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    • Haha. I should run the Santa Clarita marathon just to get a W – right? Just kidding. Let’s see how I do in NY.

      February 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm

  3. morey000

    Wow- your splits were incredibly even. Nicely run. You’re really flying these days.

    February 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm

  4. Janese

    So proud of you Tracy! Awesome performance and race report! I loved reading this.
    You look so cute in your pictures too!

    February 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    • Thanks Janese — speaking of cute, are you goint to wear a tutu?

      February 9, 2010 at 5:37 pm

  5. David Dennis


    Good report and a very good description of how well your handled this race. Your focus on the mental, rather than physical aspect of this is interesting. The description of your thinking when you encountered knee pain early was good reading. I was impressed with your ability to take control of the situation and put yourself back in the present. Additionally, the way you made decisions to control your focus in the later portions of the race was the sign of not just a racer with her act together, but a thoughtful and well disciplined person. Quite impressive.

    February 11, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    • Dave – thank you very much! None of this would have been possible without my high school experience. You helped get me here!

      February 11, 2010 at 8:55 pm

  6. Wow, solid splits, great performance! Congratulations on the new PR! You’re such an inspiration to all of us mid-pack runners! I want to run my first Marathon in 2010 and it will probably be in Chicago in October. You aren’t running that one, are you? Again, congratulations!

    February 14, 2010 at 1:53 am

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