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.
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).
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!
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.