The Surf City 10 Miler Race in Huntington Beach, CA, is a fun event for runners seeking a picturesque course along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). With a variety of race distances to choose from, including a 10 Mile race, 10K, and 5K, it’s an event that caters to runners of all levels. In this race recap, we’ll dive into the details of my experience on this scenic course that provided ocean views and a refreshing breeze with friends…
- Location: Huntington Beach, CA
- Race Distances: 10 Mile, 10K, 5K
- Course: A flat 5-mile out-and-back route along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)
- Starting Point: Near the Huntington Beach Pier
- Event usually scheduled in September
On race day, the weather in Huntington Beach was overcast with a hint of humidity in the air. While the sun may have been shy, the ocean breeze kept things comfortable and refreshing for runners taking on the Surf City 10 Miler. But… if you’re not cold before the start of the race – it’s probably going to feel HOT. So, we were dripping with sweat at the end.
Backstory: I signed up for this race because Kelly from Sparkle Athletic told me to and I didn’t have a good reason to say no. Plus, I’m trying to make more friends so this is me trying…
Seriously though, Kelly and Elise from Sparkle Athletic have always been super sweet and welcoming to me at Run Disney races going way back. We’ve hung out a lot more recently and are officially good friends. This is important with run buddies because you end up telling them random embarrassing stories while running. Plus, they’re fun!
The Start Line and Race Strategy:
As I lined up at the start, I found myself in good company, chatting with my friend Elise. Unlike some races where I set a specific time goal, this time, I was content to enjoy the run with a friend and take it easy. Elise, on the other hand, had a plan in mind – she aimed for an 8:30 to 9-minute mile pace.
I was happy to run around that with her until “8:30 to 9 minutes” became “100% 8:30 pace or bust”. I should’ve known she was going to push to the faster end of that range! (Never trust a fast running buddy who says they’re going to take it easy at a race.)
RUNNING with a PACE GROUP?
Meeting the 8:30 Pace Group:
As the race kicked off near the iconic pier, Elise and I found ourselves running alongside the 8:30 pace group. They were friendly, and before we knew it, they assumed we were aiming for that pace too. While part of me felt that this pace was a tad faster than my comfort zone, I also knew that I had the fitness to sustain an 8:30 per mile pace for the entire 10 miles. It was just a matter of conquering my mental hurdles.
The Mental Battle in a race:
Running with a pace group can be both motivating and challenging. On one hand, it’s inspiring to have a group pushing you forward. On the other hand, you become acutely aware of your pace, and that can sometimes be a mental hurdle. I typically like to zone out and let the miles pass. However, on this day, I was constantly thinking about that 8:30 pace, which made it feel more difficult.
I’ve been running by effort level over pace lately. I’m not used to talking about or thinking about pace while running. On speed work days I think about effort level and in races I usually try to keep a good tempo effort. But, I felt like my effort level in the first few miles of the race was higher than I could sustain to the finish line.
Pace group leaders are there to run a certain pace, keep that pace throughout the race, make adjustments as needed to finish in that goal time and give the runners in their group updates. Basically, it’s their job to think and talk about what pace we’re running. I 1000% appreciate pace group leaders because it’s NOT easy and runners really count on them. The 8:30 pace group leaders were very good at staying on pace, giving us updates and were fun to talk to. My mental hurdles were completely due to second guessing myself being able to hang on at that pace.
I wanted to back off but I knew I could keep that pace based on my current fitness. So, I let myself run just a few steps behind the group. This way I didn’t feel pressure to stay with them if I really needed to slow down. But, I also wasn’t letting myself back off before I truly needed to.
The initial pressure eventually wore off and I got warmed up and comfortable. In the last two miles, something interesting happened – I finally accepted that I was perfectly capable of maintaining that pace. It no longer felt daunting, and I even pushed a bit harder towards the end. In the end, I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:22:39, achieving an 8:22 per mile pace – a result I was proud of!
In the end I wasn’t that tired or depleted. I didn’t even have to give it 100% to maintain that pace. I just needed to push myself a little bit more than I planned. At first that felt uncomfortable so my mind was telling me to slow down. But, I did it. And it wasn’t that hard. The self doubt would’ve just hurt me from running my best, but I didn’t listen.
The Surf City 10 Miler Race turned out to be a beautiful yet challenging experience along the scenic PCH. While running with a pace group brought its own set of mental challenges, it ultimately pushed me to achieve a pace I was initially uncertain about. The overcast skies and ocean breeze added to the charm of this race, making it a memorable event for runners of all levels.
Whether you’re a seasoned runner looking to set a new personal best or a beginner seeking a picturesque course, the Surf City 10 Miler offers a fantastic race day experience. I had a great time at this race and look forward to new challenges on the horizon. Until next time, happy running! #SurfCity10Miler #RaceRecap #RunningGoals
Ben and Diego came out to support. After the race we went to Mama’s on 39th, a cute brunch place in Huntington Beach. They’re dog friendly and we got a table on the patio pretty fast (I think we beat the crowds). And it was a delicious victory lap to celebrate a 10 mile race done.
In running gear news… I need a new camera that does texting (aka… a phone). My phone had the fanciest cameras on the market when I got it and now can’t focus to take one clear picture. This has been happening for months now and I’ve just been taking video and screenshotting images if I need a photo. I’m considering going from Android to iphone. What are your thoughts on this?
WHAT I WORE TO THE 10 MILE RACE:
Overall – I’m happy I ran the race because I got some quality time with my Sparkle Skirt running buddies. And I’m extra happy I held onto the 8:30 pace group because I physically could do it and it was just my mindset that was hurting my ability to live up to my full potential.