Sunday morning, I woke up at 6am for the 8am start of the Santa Cruz Half Marathon.
The sweet t-shirt design. (Note: This is important as I don’t run races, unless I get a t-shirt…)
I have to say, living in the town of the race you’re running is in is the best possible scenario. I knew how long it would take me to get to the race start, I had an idea of where I would park, and most importantly, I got to sleep in my own bed.
I woke up at 6am, showered to wake my myself up, had breakfast and got ready.
Breakfast was a slice of quinoa bread with a smear of almond butter & a half of a banana.
I left at about 7am, knowing it would take me anywhere from 10-15 minutes to find free parking. Once I parked and got my gear together around 7:30, I headed to the start. At the start, port-a-potties were plentiful, crowds weren’t too packed and the announcers were quite entertaining. Oh, and it started next to the beach boardwalk. Great views.
Although I was too ‘concentrated’ on the race to take photos, let me just say this 7 of the 13.1 miles were along the coast…with the best views I could’ve asked for.
The race started with the biggest uphill on the whole race, right at the start. And then wound along the coast for about 2 1/2 miles before turning inland. We then ran through a few neighborhoods, and into Wilder Farm State Park, where we wound up, down, and around until we hit the cliffs, where we ran for about 2 miles before turning back inland and catching back up with the ‘out’ trail to run back to the start/finish line.
I started off faster than I anticipated – with my first 3 miles taking me about 25 minutes (I think I might have actually PRed my 5k time if I had stopped at 3.1 miles). And I kept that up for a while longer. However, I realized when I had run 7 miles in 58 minutes that there was no way I was going to be able to keep up that pace. I mean honestly, I had done the 3W2HM with my longest run being 8 miles…2 weeks ago.
Around mile 6 I started slowing. It went gradually downhill from there – not the course…my splits. I’m not complaining: I only had 3 miles in the 9 minute range, but if I hadn’t started out so bloomin’ fast, I probably wouldn’t have slowed so much towards the end. But, regardless, I finished…and got my t-shirt and medal
The original goal was to maintain an 8:30 pace.
Mile 1 – 8:17
Mile 2 – 8:10
Mile 3 – 8:06
Mile 4 – 8:41
Mile 5 – 8:15
Mile 6 – 8:35
Mile 7 – 8:42
Mile 8 – 8:49
Mile 9 – 9:12
Mile 10 – 8:54
Mile 11 – 8:56
Mile 12 – 9:15
Mile 13 – 9:00
Mile .1 – 0:26
Total Time (Official): 1:53:21, making this a 15 minute and 18 second PR (an 8:41/mile pace). I mean, the previous PR was my second race ever back in 2008, but still. I squashed that time. It feels good.
Now while I enjoyed running in my town, there was some good, and some bad.
The bad? The hills – from looking at the map online I didn’t think there would be that many hills. The cliff running in Wilder Farm State Park – while the views were beautiful, we were running at times on sand, dirt, rocks – and I had to slow my pace so as to watch out for divots and such that could jostle my knee (I’m always is overly cautious in trail running/non paved paths because of my knee.). And lastly, the lack of electrolyte drinks at the aid stations. There weren’t many aid stations to begin with, and only one had Gu, and I didn’t see any electrolyte drinks. I was disappointed, but so happy I had carried my own.
The good? THE VIEWS. I don’t have any photos, but one of these days I’ll go down there and take photos, so you can all understand. THE PEOPLE. The other racers were very considerate, walkers stayed to the right hand side of the paths, and the volunteers were awesome. While it was lacking in spectators, it was only 13.1, so I didn’t need people like I did at mile 18 of the NWM in November. THE FINISH. You actually run down ONTO the beach to finish. While I didn’t enjoy the sand-in-my-shoes part, it was really fun to finish onto the beach. It reminded me that I truly do live in a ‘paradise.’
My cohort member Kim, also ran on Sunday – she ran the 10k, and rocked it – way to go Kim
Don’t mind the sun, ‘cuz I know I don’t
Post race goodies I munched on from the race, and for lunch.
Here’s to finishing Race 2 of my Raceolution! And to more great races in 2011!