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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.