Monday, September 17, 2012

Surftown Half Marathon

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Results here.  1:22:31.  PR!  15th overall out of 1,261.  2nd in age group.
Westerly Sun article here.

I love this race overall.  Along the ocean, beautiful views, early 7:30AM start when it's cooler, sparse to no traffic on course, right in my proverbial "backyard" where I run parts of the course year round, the biggest race by far in Westerly, lots of local runners and fans.  What's not to love?  Well, a few organizational details that should be ironed out - more on that later in "Cons" section of this post.

Breakfast at 5:30AM; arrived at 6:45 ready to go.  Met up early with Muddy and Mike C for a warm-up and went looking for a local pitstop that had less than 1,000 runners in line ahead of us (found one with just 1 person ahead of us).  Mike C headed back, and Muddy and I continued on for a while, with the intention to return to the starting line just before the start.  The start was delayed, so we ran a few strides to avoid the claustrophia and body tightening up.
Can you believe the size of this field?  Good thing Muddy
and I started out in row 2.

Finally, we're off.  I followed Muddy's WTAC singlet for about 2 miles down to the Weekapaug bridge, where he was 3 telephone poles ahead of me.  That was the last I saw of him.  I ran for the first four miles with Clay Howland, a competitor from Providence but with Westerly ties and close times to mine in Li'l Rhody and several other races.  He asked me if my sole goal was to beat his finishing time by 30 seconds!

We ran 6:15 pace, but he said he wanted to back off to 6:20s, so I kept trucking to my plan.  Just then (leaving Weekapaug) the #2 woman at this point caught up to me and said I looked like a good running partner and she said she was looking for 6:15 pace also.  We ran together for the next 3 miles, until she was pulling away at consecutive 6:08 mile splits, so I let her go at mile 7 back on Fisherman Ave and stayed focused on my target splits. 
Coming up on mile 7 on Atlantic Ave

It was fun to watch the saga unfold as she caught and passed the lead woman (BAA) on Shore Road.  I think the BAA woman was slowing, as I easily passed her.  I saw the lead guy in Watch Hill where the course doubles back for a short section, and then made my way easily up the hill to Ocean House.  I was feeling good, so I picked it up and re-caught and passed the #1 woman on Ocean View Highway, and finished the last two miles both at 6:08 pace.

Strong finish through chute
Final result - a new PR by ONE SECOND!  I'll take it, and work on improving it further next year as I try to keep Father Time at bay for a while longer.  Muddy also PR'd, as did the two Mikes.  Great stuff!  Caught up with WTAC'er Dave and Tom and company afterward, before hitting the beer tent with Muddy.

  • All of the things I mentioned up top - great course, views, weather, etc.
  • Kept to my plan of 6:15 pace, and generally hit that
  • Strong on the hill; really strong finish
  • I had a blast out there on the course
  • Took 3 minutes off last year's Surftown time
  • Qualified for 2013 New York using new tightened time standards
  • Nice swag for finisher's medal and age-group award
  • Great turnout and finishes by fellow WTAC runners
  • In the middle miles (7 - 10), I had too many splits slide to upper 6:20s.  Need to work more on consistent pacing.
  • Snafu at packet pickup Sat - they had no record of me, despite me signing up in February for multiple HMF races at same time and no problems at those other races
  • Snafu race day - they still didn't have my name or info at all, and tried twice to fix it, then sent me to the timing van to resolve; despite giving all info AGAIN, they still list my hometown as "Unknown" even now
  • Took over 24 hours to post results - and then onto Bazu, which is not that friendly, instead of running results staple CoolRunning [NOTE:  finally posted to CoolRunning, but a day later]
  • Mile 3 marker was 1/4 mile off AGAIN this year - I gave them this feedback post-race last year, and they acknowledged post-race this year that it's wrong and they should have fixed it this year but didn't
I'll certainly be back next year.  Fix the above issues, and it's a great race.


  1. Great job! Sounds like you ran a really smart race and were rewarded accordingly. You'll surely PR again next year if you just cut out all the chatting along the way.