Central Coast Runners – Awesome Upcoming Races!

Hey my local friends (and those who want to run in this awesome part of the state), I have two super exciting events to share with you!

The first is coming up soon, on March 9. Remember when I told you all I am now a part of Fleet Feet Santa Cruz Racing? Well this race is put on by them as part of series of local events. I won’t be running this one but I will be volunteering! So you’ll get to see me along the race course – isn’t that reason enough? ;) The Off Road Ramble 5k & 10k is part a 3 race series and yep, you want to race them all!

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 9.56.16 AMThis race starts with a Bagpipe serenade and then brings you into the scenic Pinto Lake County Park, look at these views!

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 9.56.23 AMYou can register now, its only $35 for the 5k, or you can register for all three of the Fleet Feet races here. (If you register by Feb. 28, you’ll save a little cash too!)

Ok, maybe a March 9 race date is a little too soon? Or maybe you need more local racing in your life? That’s good because I have one other race to share with you. It’s presented by a good friend of mine and will benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The Spring it On 5k takes place April 12 and not only does it have an awesome race, it has a pancake breakfast, a bounce house and Easter Egg hunt for the kiddos, live music, and a photo booth (fun!). The entire community is pitching in, donating services and goods for a really awesome cause.

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You can sign up for this super awesome event HERE. You can also download a PDF and mail in your registration here. Local sponsors of the race include Fleet Feet Aptos, Santa Cruz Track Club, Buzzword Productions and our local Whole Foods. I really can’t say enough good things about this race, it’s just a great opportunity to run some miles and support an amazing cause. (A little shout out to Trinity for putting it all together, you rock woman!)

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So will I be seeing you at either of these events (or even better at both!)??

Super Bowl 10k – Way Better than Actual Super Bowl

Well, I guess I jinxed myself with my Fit Friday post on running in the rain. Because oh, yeah, I ran in the rain on Sunday. The cold, windy, rain. (This also explains why I have no race photos… my fingers were numb, no photos taken!)

For the fifth year in a row, I ran in the local Santa Cruz Track Club Super Bowl 10k. I really like this race. It’s super low key (they don’t even close the roads down or recreation path, which can be a pain, but no problem when no body wants to head out in the cold), it’s a course I know really well, and it’s a fun way to burn some calories before eating a whole lot of food during the game! While I went into this race with few expectations (it was my third race weekend in a row, I had some hard workouts during the week, I hadn’t trained for it), I had a goal. I wanted to PR. My last 10k PR is from this event last year (45:28, a 7:19 pace). So this year, I aimed to run a 44:59 (yes I wanted to just eek into that sub 45 result). And my plan was to try to just run a 7:15 pace. (Truth be told, when I signed up for the race this was not my goal, but after strong runs at the Tinker Bell Half and Jenny’s Light 5k I decided to aim for a PR.) I didn’t know if I could do it, but I thought I was in good enough shape to try. I enlisted the help of Jenn who was running but not racing Sunday.

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I woke up to cold, rain. Look I know the rest of the county is cold, but 40* rain with wind is not fun to run in no matter where you live. Jenn and I did a quick 2 mile warm up, followed by some strides, and said hi to friends who were also racing. It was impressive how many of my running friends made it out in this crummy weather.

brr

brr

The race went pretty close to what I wanted. I started out conservative. I told Jenn I wanted to stay closer to 7:20 for my first mile(s) and if I felt good, pick up the pace in the second half. I averaged around a 7:15 pace for the first 3 miles (7:18, 7:16, 7:13). There was a pretty strong headwind that helped me from running too fast. Poor Jenn tried to shield me from it, but it was pretty impossible to do.

After we turned around the wind was still strong (mile 4 – 7:20). Jenn asked me if I wanted to pick it up. A little part of me thought “no way!” but instead I said I did (this is the benefit of having a pacer.) I tried to tell myself, if I could run 7:05 in the final mile of the Tinker Bell half I could pick up my pace here. We picked it up for a sub-7 mile (6:57). Up until mile 5, Jenn had been calling out my splits. As we came up to that mile, a woman was catching up to me. Jenn let me know but when came up to the 5th mile marker I told Jenn I didn’t want to know (about either the woman behind me or my mile time). I’m glad she didn’t tell me, hearing a sub-7 mile would have freaked me out. I finished the final 1.2 in 8:27 (7:02 average pace).

As I came up to the finish, Aaron and Julian (teammates on SCE) and Michelle (coach of the Fleet Feet team) cheered us on. It really helped me to finish strong. I could see the clock. I knew the first two numbers were 44 but I could not read the final two and was worried that it was going to flip to 45. But I finished at 44:32 (a 7:10 pace!): good enough for 1st in my age group, 4th or 5th woman overall, and nearly a minute PR!

PR & 1st place AG medal

PR & 1st place AG medal

The race went as I hoped – I stayed within the parameters I wanted and finished with negative splits. I was definitely tired at the end but pushed through (this is something I definitely need to work on more). Jenn did a great job of acting as my stop watch, giving me some motivation, but ultimately letting me run my race (thanks Jenn!).

After the race, the hubs and I hosted a Super Bowl party. Twenty or so friends came. And while the game was boring, we had lots of good food, good drink, and good conversation. A pretty awesome day in the end.

Ingredients for the Blue Moon cupcakes for Super Bowl party

Ingredients for the Blue Moon cupcakes for Super Bowl party

Did you race on Super Bowl Sunday? How did it go?

Superbowl 10k

This past weekend I ran the local Super Bowl 10k for the 4th year in a row. This was my first race I ran after moving to Santa Cruz so it has a special place in my heart and I always look forward to it. This year was my first time running it as a member of Santa Cruz Endurance. After my recent training (see my last post), I was excited to see how I would do at the 10k distance. Well, I won’t leave you waiting… I did great and earned a new PR, 2 1/2 minutes off my previous best 10k time! Woot woot!

Fellow SCE member and SFM Ambassador, Elise, and I headed out together. We picked up our bibs and warmed up with a nice slow mile. This helped us also combat the cold weather! Brr. After that we ran into our friend Kelsey who also ran the race. We saw a few other SCE members (check out the recap here) and some other running friends and then it was go time!

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

I was ready for this race and started with a look of determination (Seriously look at my face in this photo!)
Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 8.34.07 AMAlso, I was rocking Kevin’s 49ers beanie to send some good vibes to the team. Bummer they didn’t win.

West Cliff

who can complain with this running view??

who can complain with these running views??

Anyway, I started out a little too fast (6:38 first mile, whoops!). But I felt good and just couldn’t get myself to slow down. After that I settled into an average 7:14 pace (with my longest mile at 7:30). I felt pretty good the whole race, until about half into my 5th mile. I felt tired and my legs felt heavy.. then I looked at my Garmin and saw I was running a 6:30 pace, whoops!

Sprinting to the finish

Sprinting to the finish

I rounded the last corner and knew I was going to finish strong. The course seemed a little long by my watch (6.28 instead of 6.2) so at the 10k time (again by my watch) I was at 44:47. My finish time by my watch was 45:25 and official finish time was 45:28. This placed me as the 4th overall woman finisher and 2nd in my age group (finished 37th overall). I didn’t realize the next girl behind me was so close, she finished at 45:29. Wow I’m glad I didn’t hold back! Elise was not far behind, with a finishing time of 46:06.

Walking up to get my medal!

Walking up to get my medal!

Getting a medal is the best!

Getting a medal is the best!

2nd in my age group!

2nd in my age group!

This was a great race for our team! All of the runners took one of the top 5 spots in their age group, and two of our guys took 1st and 3rd overall!

SCE runners represent!

SCE runners represent!

Have you raced yet in 2013? How’d it go?

Two Race Weekend

Over the past weekend, I ran two races. It was a little crazy and not just because I ran races back to back but also because both were pretty hilly and I hadn’t run any hills for the previous two weeks. But I still felt like I ran strong both days.

On Saturday I ran the UCSC XC Challenge with five other women from Santa Cruz Endurance. The 4 mile trail course was the season opener to the 2012 PA USATF XC Grand Prix. We carpooled to the race start and a handful of us ran a few warm up miles before the race.

After roaming the trails and stretching a bit, we set up at the start line with 121 super speedy women. I stayed conservative in the beginning, not sure how I would do on the hills. This allowed me to have sweet negative splits (8:12, 7:59, 7:39, 7:17). The course was pretty warm, especially in the non-wooded spots. But I felt strong after running in humid, hot weather the previous two weeks. I finished with a time of 31:29 and came in 75th place (see speedy runners!). Our team came in 6th overall. After the race I ran a few cool down miles with Sho and then we headed to  breakfast.

We ate at this awesome little bakery/coffee shop, Iveta. I had never eaten there before, but it is delicious! I can’t wait to go back.

At Iveta, yum!

On Sunday, I ran Race Thru the Redwoods for the third time in a row. It is a trail 10k (6.2 miles) that climbs over 300 feet between miles 2.5 and 3.5. Last year due to some confusion I ended up parking someplace I wasn’t supposed to and received a pricey parking ticket. The race felt bad and hooked me up for this year’s race (thank you!). I picked up Laura (another SCE member who was volunteering) and we headed to Henry Cowell State Park. This year I got excellent parking and had plenty of time to run two easy warm up miles. SCE members Steve and Dan also ran this race (rocked it too, taking 3rd and 4th places respectively in their age group).

Checking in at registration

Hanging out before the race

Me, Laura, and Steve

Me and Dan

Ready to run!

I ran this race as an opportunity to see how I am feeling on trails and hills. I tried not to “race” it since I had done that the day before. But of course, once I was out there I ended up racing all the same. I started out fast. The first mile is on the road and I wanted to get ahead before I got to the hill climb (mile 1 – 6:57, whoops!). I slowed down a bunch heading up the hills and got passed by several runners. After the turn around my main goal was to pass those runners again and I did pass most of them before we hit the mile 6 marker.

I took a slight detour and might have added .o5 mile to the run but nothing crazy. I finished with a time of 52:29 (a minute and a half better than my best time on this course). I didn’t place in my age group (5th of 51 runners), but I was very happy with the race. And the best was coming up to the finish line seeing Laura and Rebecca working the timer and cheering me on!

Coming up to the finish line

After I ran a two super slow cool down miles and then hung out with Rebecca and Laura as they clocked the time for runners and we cheered them on.

Overall this was a great running weekend and a welcome return to running in Santa Cruz.

Worst Race Ever

I have just completed what I officially consider the worst race ever (ok at least that I have participated in). Last year, I ran the same race, Go Green St. Patrick’s 10k in Los Gatos, and despite being sick I had a great time. I had looked forward to greatly improving last year’s time. I actually almost didn’t run the race because I have so much school work to complete this weekend, but I decided that I needed to run anyway so I’ll go ahead and run the race (plus I already paid for it).

Unfortunately, both packet pick-up times conflicted with my schedule and I was able to just make the end of the second day. By that time they only had large shirts. I know shirts aren’t the most important thing, but I like getting free running gear and it’s a bummer that I won’t really be able to wear this one. I was more annoyed with the response of the organizer when I questioned how this happened but this morning I decided not to taint the race with bad vibes and focus on having a good time.

Due to the time change, I had a hard time getting up and out the door on time. I worried that I would miss the race start. I got there just 5 minutes before the time my race was supposed to start (there were 3 race lengths, half marathon that started first, the 10k that I ran and started second, and the 5k that started last). Thankfully they seemed to be running late, par for the course with races. But unfortunately their loudspeakers didn’t seem to work and it was hard to determine which race was starting. But not a problem, I figured out and started with the rest of the 10kers.

The race began well, I started a little slower than normal trying to save my energy to speed up at the end. Great, I was right on pace where I wanted to be by mile 2. I started to see a few runners coming back my way and knew I was approaching a turnaround. A turnaround sign sat in the ground but unlike the previous signs did not say if it was for the 5k, 10k, or half marathon. Other runners kept going and I followed suit. But within a few minutes I started to grow concerned. Apparently another runner went too far as well (farther than me) and informed me that I needed to turn around. As we headed back to the official turnaround spot, the 10k runners let others know they needed to turn around. My time was officially going to be off and much slower runners than me had turned around much earlier. This was the first race I didn’t wait to see my official results posted.

After I finished I found that the timing chip had cut my ankle (I have a problem with these types of chips and should have put a blister pad on my ankle). My leg hurt and I was frustrated with the unclear signage. I went to a race organizer, along with some other racers (5k runners who almost ran the entire 10k!). The organizer was unsympathetic to say the least. In fact, she seemed angry with us! I know mistakes happen, that’s ok. But the worst part of the race for me was the organizers’ anger at runners for complaining. That’s just poor management.

On the positive side, my new nike running shoes felt great! Sami even posed with them yesterday :) And the race medal is quite nice. The vendors also had some good snacks for post-race fuel and the first aid tent was great (thanks for bandaging my bloody ankle). My results for this race (and my others races as well) are here.

To see other people’s experiences see the Active reviews.