Revisiting the Run in the Name of Love 5k

A little over a week ago, I was thinking about what a fun time I had at the Run in the Name Love 5k when I ran it with Elise in 2012. I realized it was happening again this year on June 15 and when I emailed my running coach my recap of my week’s running, I asked him what he thought of me throwing it into my schedule. He said he thought I was in good shape (could possibly even PR) but I would have to finish up my week’s long run after the race (I was used to that … yep, this training cycle has now included 3 long runs that have had a race thrown in the middle of them). Awesome! I hit up my friend Hillary to see if she might want to come down and run the 5k too, she’s not been training for races but I thought it would be fun to go to Carmel together and I knew she’d be game to add 8 miles after the race (she’s crazy like that). Yep, she was in – so I hopped online and paid the measly $35 registration fee.

Sunday morning, Hillary and I headed down to Carmel. I picked up my bib (and long sleeve tech tee) while Hillary registered. We then hung out in the car for 15 minutes or so since it was a little chilly and we didn’t want to warm up too soon before the race. We also saw John H. (fellow SCE runner and running cartoonist). Then we ran 2 miles for a warm up, I ran a few strides, we hopped in the port-a-potties, and had about 2 minutes before the race started – perfect!

Long sleeve (and medal)

Long sleeve (and medal)

For the race, I turned off the auto lap (and since there were no mile markers, I don’t have true splits – just what Strava marked as my miles). My only real concern with this race was that I would take the first mile way too fast as it is a steady downhill (in 2012 I ran a 6:11 mile here and then lost all steam, slowing to an 8+ min/mile in the end). And yep, I was flying in the first mile. I saw lots of women (and men) pass me, but when I glanced at my watch I knew I shouldn’t go any faster. My first mile was 6:08! I knew I should stay around 6:45 for the rest of the race, but I didn’t look at my pace ever (a few times I glanced at my watch in the second half of the race but only looked at mileage).

After the first 1.5 mile, there is a little climb. It’s very small, maybe only 20-30 feet. But after cruising downhill it feels like more. I passed a few women up this little climb. There was one woman who had been glancing back at me trying to keep ahead. I told myself to hold back and pass her later but I ended up passing her on this speed bump. There was a handful of women directly ahead of me and I passed most of them except a speedy girl who looked about 12 or 13 (she rocked the race and ended up taking 3rd woman!). My second mile was a much more reasonable pace: 6:49. The rest of the course has some little rollers but I held on to my pace, slowing down just a few seconds: 6:55. My final tenth of a mile was at a 6:07 pace. As I came up the finish I knew I was finishing under 21 minutes(!) but wasn’t sure of my exact time because just like at Carlsbad I didn’t actually stop my watch right away.

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Close up of medal

I took my medal and food bag. While I didn’t think my results would be posted yet, I was surprised to find they were (nice work SVE Timing!). I saw my official time was 20:56 (a few second faster than I thought!), that I had finished 1st in my age group, and 4th woman overall. I had no idea that I was going to finish in the top 10 women let alone the top 5! This was also a 9 second PR, only 2 1/2 months after my last 5k PR. I was STOKED! I then met up with Hillary. We decided to start our 8 mile “cool down” by jogging back to the car and dropping off the goody bags/medals and getting a long sleeve.

Hillary & I on the podium (and a 2nd place runner who we didn't know - but congrats to her too!)

Hillary & I on the podium (and a 2nd place runner who we didn’t know – but congrats to her too!) Photo credit: John H.

We then ran part of the course back to make it back just as they were starting the awards. We also found out that Hillary placed 3rd in our age group and we both got the cool beer mugs as prizes. Because it was misty and cold, we took off right after our awards to continue our run before cooling down but later I learned that John H. also placed 3rd in his age group! Nice work Team SCE! We finished the run off by going back to the car to drop off the mugs and then running some of 17 mile drive and exploring part of a new trail. This meant we ended up running 794 feet in elevation after the race (thankfully we ran pretty slow!). We finished up our morning with some coffee and quiche at Carmel Coffee Roasters. Pretty sweet race morning.

This is definitely a race I recommend running if you live in the Central Coast. The race is a tribute race and co-organized by Big Sur. It is extremely well-organized. For $35, it included a closed course, a long sleeve tech tee, a timing chip, a medal, and a food bag with a bagel and cream cheese, cookie, and fruit cup (I’ve paid more for longer races and not received that). The tech tee was a bit large (but they acknowledged that and it sounds like it won’t be a problem in the future). Additionally, the timing is well done and its relatively small, capped at 1000 runners. They had plenty of port-a-potties and I never saw a line for them. They even had a potty around 2ish miles in the race – rare for a 5k! The event also includes a 2k walk/run, and participants of the 2k are invited to bring their pups (they even get a free dog bandana, how cute!). And the beer glass is a great prize, I used it later that day!

Cheers to a fun race prize!

Cheers to a fun race prize!

Do you run 5ks? What is your favorite one?

 

 

 

When Running Does More

If you read this blog regularly (ok let’s face it, even if this is your first visit here – Welcome!) you know I’m a runner and I do it because I love it. It’s a great way to keep in shape and to release that competitive spirit. But sometimes, you can do a little more with all those steps on the pavement, trails, track, or treadmill.

This past week I finally participated in the Mizuno Baton project. Have you heard of it? It’s an app you download on your phone (both for iPhone & Android users). You run with your phone for a week and it tracks your mileage. For each mile you run, Mizuno is donating a dollar to Back on My Feet. Back on My Feet gets homeless people running:

Back on My Feet (BoMF) is a national for-purpose 501(c)3 organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change in their lives that results in employment and independent living.

The organization’s mission is not to create runners within the homeless population, but to use running to create self-sufficiency in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. The program’s success is measured by how many Members obtaining independence through employment, job training and housing.

Through dedication and hard work, Residential Members (those experiencing homelessness) earn the opportunity to create a new road for themselves.   Running leads to personal transformation and dedication to the program leads to access to training, employment and housing resources.  Through community and corporate support, the program strives to change the perception of homelessness.

I love that Mizuno is doing this. And after your week, you can “pass the baton” to another runner – spreading the charitable love!

My week with Baton is just about up!

My week with Baton is just about up!

And of course, there are others ways to do something charitable with running. The most common is to fundraise for a race. Team in Training is probably the most well-known way to do this. If you’ve run a race, you have seen these awesome guys and gals in purple who have raised a significant chunk of cash to benefit the  Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. But there are other ways too.

For example, for the third year in a row, The SF Marathon has opened 100 spots for runners to run 52.4 miles (yep, that’s the equivalent of two marathons, runners run the marathon course backwards before the actual marathon and then join in to run it again!). Those who participate in this extra long race, raise at least $1000 for the charity of their choice. No, I’m not doing this but I know someone who is and is donating to a cause that is near and dear to my heart: helping animals! Pavement Runner is a dog lover like me and is raising money for the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. And not only is he doing this, he’s making it fun for those who help him along the way. You can win a HALO belt or pair of ProCompression socks if you donate. Pretty awesome right? To donate & enter the raffle go HERE. To just donate to the cause go HERE.

Photo courtesy of TSFM website

Photo courtesy of TSFM website

Do you run for charity? What other ways do you think runners could help support causes important to us?

 

A Little Trip to the City

When I was in fourth grade, my parents took me to San Francisco. I remember driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting Pier 39, eating chocolate at Ghirardelli Square, and getting a souvenir from China Town. But what I remember most is falling in love with the city. Ever since that trip, I’ve loved San Francisco. Back in southern California I cheered for SF teams (the hubs is still frustrated when I say I’m a Giants and a Padres fan), including cheering for the 49ers at the preseason San Diego game following their defeat of the Chargers in 1995. When we moved to Santa Cruz, I was so excited to be just 90 minutes away from SF. For a brief time, we considered moving to the city but we decided to stay put in Santa Cruz (good decision, love our town and its fun to have SF as a place to visit still). Anytime I have an excuse to make it up the city, I take it. So for the second year in a row, I joined the hubs for part of his time in the city attending WWDC. Last year, I came up for 2 1/2 days, this year it was just a day and a half. But still, so much fun!

My little vacay included good food (Tropisueno, GhirardelliSuper Duper Burger, 21st Amendment Brewery, and The Grove), window shopping (ok a little real shopping too), and some runseeing (my word for sight-seeing during a run, perhaps I could start a business doing this…). On Sunday night we had to enjoy margaritas and Mexican food since we were so close to Tropisueno. But then we were super bad and indulged in a sea salt caramel sundae from Ghirardelli. On Monday, we headed to 21st Amendment Brewery and restaurant. I am a big fan of their beer so I was excited to it out. I decided to try a blonde ale, since its not available outside of the brewery. The Conventional, name of the blonde ale, was really good. I don’t normally seek out blonde ales, so that was a nice surprise. Our table enjoyed several different beers (several of the hubs’ co-workers joined us) and we agreed that the Conventional was good, the IPA fans liked Gigantes IPA, but we did not care for Saison de Voile.

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Danger!

Danger!

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So many choices!

So many choices!

I only had a 6 mile run on my schedule for the time I was in the city. It was an easy run, so I decided to make it fun and take photos along the way. If you follow me on instagram you saw them all but here are some of my faves.

Always a good route for a run

Always a good route for a run

Saving the run over the bridge for the SF Marathon

Saving the run over the bridge for the SF Marathon

Not everyday I see a gold dude walking down the street

Not everyday I see a gold dude walking down the street

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This was my fave photo of the run

Ferry Building

Ferry Building

Cupid's Arrow

Cupid’s Arrow

The hubs did the Apple thing, getting up SUPER early (this is the one time of the year that he’s getting up before 5am and not the other way around) to get into the keynote. (Side note, the Apple fangirl in me is really excited about the new OS, Yosemite, and some of the cool things that will be connecting between Apple devices, and of course the Health integration, let’s hope Strava gets in on that!) For the rest of the week, he’ll be busy learning all the new stuff about iOS 8 and learning a new programming language (that sounds hard!).

But my little trip to the city is over and I made it back in time to vote!

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Don’t forget, today  June 4, is National Running Day! If you are in the Central Coast, join Santa Cruz Endurance and Santa Cruz Running Company for a 6 mile fun run (all paces welcome!). We start at SCRC at 6pm and then will head to Discretion Brewery for some beer to celebrate.

From John, the Running Joke Cartoon artist & SCE member

From John, the Running Joke Cartoon artist & SCE member

What’s your favorite big city? How are you participating in National Running Day?

SCE Takes on the Capitola Half Marathon & Relay

About a week and a half ago, I ran in the Surfer’s Path Marathon/Capitola Half Marathon race. This was my third year in a row running it and my second year running the relay portion of the half marathon (2012 half & 2013 relay). I had initially not planned to run it, but my running team, Santa Cruz Endurance, was paying the entry fee for four relay teams (one women’s, one men’s, and two mixed teams). I entered my information and thought maybe I’d be a part of a mixed team, as I definitely not the fastest runner in my team. When the teams came out, I found out I was in the women’s team paired with my good friend (and super speedy) Leslie. Challenge accepted.

The race weekend was beautiful. The day before the race, Elise (who had been in town all week visiting) and I headed down to the Expo. The race’s expo is a perfect one in my opinion. It’s the Capitola coast, includes an easy race bib & shirt pick up, and a handful of local companies’ tents. Alisyn and I were hosting a tweet up. While it ended up being just the three of us, we had a blast. (Next time, we need a sign and some fun giveaways – and maybe not compete with the awesome beach weather). After the tweet up, Elise and I headed over to the SCE tent. Our team was hosting a raffle to win a free surfboard. We were neighbors with our sponsors Santa Cruz Core and Santa Cruz Running Company. (If you are in the Central Coast area and looking for a team, SCE is an awesome one – our sponsors hook us up with great deals, Epicenter is another sponsor). I had originally planned to spend just an hour or so at the expo but ended up spending the afternoon. Fun company and beautiful weather was much more appealing than the stack of essays I had at home to grade.

Tweeting at the Tweet Up

Tweeting at the Tweet Up

SCE Tent at the Expo (photo credit: SCE Instagram)

SCE Tent at the Expo (photo credit: SCE Instagram)

The raffled off surfboard modeled by Charmin's mini-me & myself

The raffled off surfboard modeled by Charmin’s mini-me & myself

For race day, I had specific instructions from the Coach. Since I still needed to get in my long run, the race was going to be incorporated into my 15 miles. I had a 2 mile warm up with some strides. Then the race (my portion was a 10k) to be run at my current  tempo pace (7:05-7:15) and then run the remaining miles to get in 15. My plan was to run the second half the half marathon with some friends who were fun running the race – perfect.

I jogged an easy mile and then met back up with Elise and Hillary to jog down to the start line. (I love races that start a mile from where I live!) I ended up only running 2 strides instead of 4 but I felt fine. Then I found all my SCE teammates. In addition to the four teams, SCE had 6 runners in the half marathon. (Spoiler: three of those runners scored major PRs! Woot!) Before we knew it, the race was about to start and we separated into our various zones.

Race start (photo credit: Laura or Bob)

Race start (photo credit: Laura or Bob)

Laura, our consummate phototog

Laura, our consummate phototog

My plan was to run the first two miles conservatively – 7:15-7:20 pace (there is a good climb right after the first mile) and then pick up the pace for the last 4.2 miles for a nice negative split. My goal was to average a 7:05 pace, which would have been a PR in the 10k distance. Well, you know how it goes… I started the first mile way too fast: 6:52. Whoops. The climb out of the first mile sobered that pace a bit. I ran the next mile around Jeremy, who was running the half. It was fun to hang with him for a bit. Miles 2 & 3: 7:16 (much better!), 7:09. Despite some stomach issues pre race, during the race I was feeling really good. This course is basically the Wharf to Wharf course and a route I have run hundreds of times. I know each climb and each turn really well. I think that this meant that after the first mile, I ran a very smart race. I knew I just had to hold on until about 5.8 miles because the final .4 miles was all downhill. Miles 4-6: 7:04, 7:07, 7:03. I ran the final .2 I ran at a 5:53 pace. And that was good enough for a 10k PR (yes, I realize this isn’t a real 10k race but I’ll take it!): 44:13 official (44:05 by my watch, not sure why there is such a big gap).That’s a 7:05 pace (and with my watch running the course a little long, a 7:02 by Garmin). I came across the line to hand off to Leslie and yelled “I PRed for you!” Ha :) And off she went.

Keeping up with Jeremy on the hill out of Twin Lakes Beach (photo cred: Bob)

Keeping up with Jeremy on the hill out of Twin Lakes Beach (photo cred: Bob)

Coming into Opal Cliffs (Photo cred: Rebecca)

Coming into Opal Cliffs (Photo cred: Rebecca)

In what seemed like less than a minute, three of the SCE half marathoners (Elise, Gaylia, & Charmin) came through and I had to scream at them. There was some mixture of sharing my PR excitement with knowing that Elise was on route to score a massive PR. I was just super excited! Then came my two teammates fun running the half. I joined them to run the remaining 6.7 miles I had to get 15 miles. I was having way too much fun with them (see photos) and we stopped for water and bathroom breaks. We picked up Benoit with a few miles to spare (he was also running back from running the first leg of the relay). As we approached the final half mile of the race, I saw my teammate Leslie and Elise (who was in post PR glow – I’ll let her share her awesome PR story). And we all finished up our runs together.

Having WAY too much fun on my fun run back to the finish (photo cred: Bob)

Having WAY too much fun on my fun run back to the finish (photo cred: Bob)

We're done running, thank you :)

We’re done running, thank you :)

The team hung out for the awards and we dominated the podium. First Women’s Relay Team: Leslie & I. First Men’s Relay Team: SCE Benoit & Casey. First & Second Mixed Relay Teams: SCE Jenn W. & Dan V; Selena & Dan M. Gaylia, Elise, & Jeremy all took age group wins, as well as their own PRs. Charmin also took a nice AG win. So much fun! (In other awesome news, Alisyn was volunteer extraordinaire, Paulette ran the longest distance since January, and her Kevin PRed in the marathon – good day all around!)

SCE hanging on the beach

SCE hanging on the beach

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Winners!

And then, I had to drive Elise to the airport as she had to go back to DC, tear. It was a great weekend to share with her even if she had to leave at the end of it all.

Awesome team!

SCE Post Race Love

Awesome race, awesome team. 1st place finish! (I need Leslie as a relay partner more often!)

Awesome race, awesome team. 1st place finish! (I need Leslie as a relay partner more often!)

Mermaid Funning

A little over a week ago, several ladies from Santa Cruz Endurance decided to run in the Mermaid East Bay. While none of us were looking to add a race to our schedule, we were all game to support a good cause and through race into our training. The Mermaid Series focuses on supporting women in “fitness and life.” They are also run a great organization to get girls excited about running, the Mini Mermaids. Finally, they tend to have some sweet swag!

Love the shirt!

Love the shirt! See good swag!

This particular race was held in Fremont, about an hour from my house. And since I had to be in San Jose around noon to pick up Elise(!) from the airport, it worked out perfectly. Mermaid Easy Bay has four distances: 5k, 10k, half marathon, and 18 miler. Leslie and I ran the 10k and Gaylia and Sam each ran the 18 miler.

Adding a race into the schedule can be a fun way to mix things up. I also tend to get crazy race nerves and psych myself out on A races, so as Leslie reminds me, these are a great way to get more comfortable in races and practice for my goals. Good strategy!

We also got this cute necklace!

We also got this cute necklace!

I picked up Leslie at the Park n Ride not far from my house and we headed out of Santa Cruz around 6:45am. There was no traffic and we just made a quick stop a coffee shop for a bathroom break. We parked about a half mile from the start, which served as a perfect warm up. When we got there, both the half marathon and 18 mile races had already started, so we were meeting up with our teammates post race.  Before the race started, I ran into Paulette (who, spoiler, got a new PR at the race! Great job Paulette!).

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I had never run in Fremont, let alone the Quarry Lake path, so this was a fun new area to explore. The course was basically a fairly flat (just a few little bumps along the way) trail with some gravel at times. They had generous staggered start times for each event, so the course never felt crowded. Leslie’s plan called for her to treat the run like a tempo run. My plan for the day was actually 14 miles, so I kept my 10k pace conservative (aiming for around 7:30 pace, ended up with a 7:35 pace). There was a little turn around, when I saw Leslie cruising along at her speedy tempo pace. I also saw Paulette again after the turn around. I love having friends to cheer along during the course! Like the Mermaid SF, the course ended with sharp turn on grass. But for my goals, that was no problem. I came into the finish with a time of 47:38 and placed 3rd in my age group. Not too shabby. Leslie won the race (and did so following her training schedule, just 2 weeks after Boston! Rockstar!). After our cool down, we met up with our 18 miler gals. Gaylia took 1st in her age group and Sam won her race. Love these speedy ladies! We hung out to snack a little and pick up our awards.

SCE Fun Runners Post Race

SCE Fun Runners Post Race

After the awards, Leslie joined Sam on their way back to Santa Cruz and I headed to the San Jose airport. Soon after, Elise’s plane had landed and we were back in Santa Cruz in no time! At this point, with warm up, race, and cool down, I had run 8 miles and had 6 miles left to finish up my very disjointed long run. But I didn’t care because those last miles would be with the speedy Elise. We met up with another friend and headed out to the coast, where it was crazy windy! (My visor blew off!) What a great way to start the week with a good friend visiting!

What do you think about using races as training runs? Do you “fun run” races?