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!)??

Calling Central Coast Ladies!

Hey my local running friends! As you know I love the new running/athletic clothing, Graced by Grit. Well, now you have a chance to come check out their gear in Santa Cruz. They are coming to visit us and bringing their new winter line with them:

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Here’s the info to download: Santa Cruz Sunday Trunk Show

If you want to come, RSVP by commenting to this blog post or emailing heygirl@gbg.com.

 

I hope to see you there!

Wharf to Wharf 2013

This past weekend I ran my third Wharf to Wharf (W2W). For those of you who don’t know about “the best little road race in California,” it’s a 6 mile race along the Santa Cruz coast, starting just past the Santa Cruz Wharf and ending right before the Capitola Wharf. 15,000 registered participants race, run, jog, and walk the course along with an estimated 5,000 bandits who jump in on the fun along the way. The course also includes tons of bands, awesome spectators, and even the house or two who is friendly enough to hose down the runners. Not only was this my third year running, it was also my fastest Wharf to Wharf!

2011 – 52:52
2012 – 45:10
2013 – 42:39

My goal this year was to run the race in 42-43 minutes and clearly, I did it! I’m not going to lie, it was not easy – it was HARD! This was the longest distance I’ve ran a 7:06 pace. And after weeks of travel with little running on real hills, those W2W rollers really felt tough.

The plan was to start out conservative, my goal was a 7:15 first mile. The first mile of W2W is notoriously fast, especially if you are in the elite corral. You have to make sure you don’t blow out in the first half of the course (which by the way is NOT flat, lots of rollers!). Then I wanted to stay in the 7:05-10 range for the next 2-3 miles. Finally, in the last 2 miles, I wanted to see if I could really push myself and maybe even finish with a sub 7 minute mile.

The day before the race, Elise and I did a little shakeout run and confirmed we had similar goals. We decided we’d stick together but in the end, still run our own races. Then later in the day, I learned another good running friend (who is super speedy), Jenn, had gotten the ok after an injury to run (but not race) W2W. She was generous enough to agree to pace Elise and I would reap the benefits!

SCE ladies pre-start

SCE ladies pre-start

Race day, I headed out to the start. I live practically right in the middle of the course, so I ran an easy warm up run from home to the start. I was supposed to run the last 3 minutes at tempo pace, but as I got closer to the start it was getting pretty packed with people so that didn’t really happen. Then I bumped into some of the SCE ladies about to head out on their warm up runs.  We took a quick photo and they were off jogging while I headed over to the start line and found my other running ladies as well as a few of the guys. Before we knew it, the gun was shot and we were off!

Elise, me, Jenn, Emmy, & Hillary hanging out after the race.

Elise, me, Jenn, Emmy, & Hillary hanging out after the race.

We started off well, slightly faster than I had planned though (my Garmin had 7:07 for the first mile and I think Elise’s watch had 7:13). I felt the hills after having little access to hill running for the past few weeks. I knew Jenn was keeping an eye on the pace, so I turned my watch to the clock function so I wouldn’t keep checking my pace. Before I knew it we had finished mile 2 (7:01) and were running down by the harbor and Twin Lakes Beach. I tried to enjoy the bands (I had my iPod with me but didn’t use it) but we were cruising past them. We climbed up to East Cliff and 17th, passing the mile 3 marker (7:03). Kevin, the pups, and a few of our neighbors were out cheering. I was stoked to see Kevin, it’s always nice to have support and hear that “Go Meg!” And then we were back hugging the coast and running those hills that I run so often. As we cleared the second downhill, Elise dropped back to use the bathroom right before the mile 4 marker (7:07, hills!).

Then it was just Jenn and me. I was tired and hurting, I really felt I was pushing my hardest. Jenn kept me going those last two miles. I might have accused her of yelling at me, but really she kept me motivated and focused on my goal – thanks so much Jenn!!!! I could not have run this race without you! Mile 5 is a hard one, while it doesn’t really have the hills like the previous two miles, it starts uphill and then has tiny elevation changes as you race through Pleasure Point and come into Opal Cliffs. I finished mile 5 in a speedy 7:01 minutes. Jenn had started pointing out runners for me to pick off. At the time I thought, “I can barely keep this pace and you expect me to pass people!?” but I pushed through. In hindsight, this was actually really helpful and did give me little goals in the last mile.

yep... this photo shows exactly how I felt coming out of Opal Cliffs!

yep… this photo shows exactly how I felt coming out of Opal Cliffs!

Opal Cliffs is a hard part of the race, you have a nice downhill to look forward to at the end of it but its a hard little road and can mentally really beat you up. Thankfully there are tons of spectators in this section and they cheer on all the runners. In this stretch, we saw a team member having a tough time and looking like she might drop off. Jenn peeled off to help her out and then I was on my own. I had a hard time keeping the push in this section and was passed by a woman or two. I caught at least one of them on the last downhill, heading to the finish. While the last mile is hard, it does have a sweet downhill as a reward. I pushed as hard as I could down that hill! Last mile was 7:07 (so much for that sub 7 final mile!). When I finished I really felt like I gave it my all (a feeling I always want to have at the end of the race but I have to admit I often don’t have).

Coming up to the finish

Coming up to the finish

SCTC and Fleet Feet Racing team member Michelle saw me and gave me a big hug! That was awesome! I also heard Laura cheering me on. These ladies knew this was a big PR for me and it was great to have their support. Then I found more and more of my team, including Leslie who also secured an amazing PR (39:20!!). I saw my coach and was so excited to be able to tell him I actually hit my goal! My official finishing time was 42:39, 135th overall (not top 100 but I’ll take it!).

Jenn, me, and Trinity post race

Jenn, me, and Trinity post race

This year was a great Wharf to Wharf! They really improved the race by adding corrals to the start (elite plus 4 waves) and having a staggered start. I think their corral system will only get better year after year. I’d love to see less people jumping in along the course as that just makes it feel crowded in the middle, which is no fun! But I think as the race continues to improve like the corral system and accurate timing, more people will take it a little more seriously and actually start at the start! (Ok probably not, but a girl can dream!)

 After the race, Julie, Hillary, and I jogged back toward my house as a cool down. Kevin and I hosted a post party. Many of the SCE runners and other friends came by to celebrate their strong races and also send a farewell to Elise before she moves far, far away from us. It was a perfect way to end the morning.

Any of my readers run Wharf to Wharf this year? How did it go for you?

Relay Recap

This weekend I ran my first ever relay race at the Capitola Half Marathon, part of the Surfer’s Path Marathon. I ran the inaugural Capitola Half Marathon last year so I was excited to run the relay this year. While I didn’t really “race” this relay, it was still a great race for me and I met the goals I set for myself. And this ended up being even more fun because seven other members of Santa Cruz Endurance (SCE) also ran in the relay (spoiler: they all did AWESOME!)

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The day before the race several SCE runners also volunteered at the Girls on the Run 5k in Los Gatos. Leslie and I carpooled and after a Starbucks pit stop and a little walk to our designated volunteer location, we were ready. Ok, not really. There was some serious confusion about the course and we didn’t get it cleared up until a few minutes before the first runners came through. Leslie and I gave out  A LOT of high fives and it was so awesome to see all these girls (and their families) running their first 5ks. They were little troopers for sure! Following that, Leslie and I did some shopping, had some lunch, and headed back to Santa Cruz. I was pretty beat but luckily, my relay partner Hillary worked the expo and was able to pick up our bibs so I didn’t have to… score!

SCE Volunteers with GOTR Coach (& SCE speed demon) Jenn B.

SCE Volunteers with GOTR Coach (& SCE speed demon) Jenn B.

Sunday morning I woke up a little before 6am, battled some small stomach aches, forced myself to eat a little peanut butter, and headed to the second leg of the relay start. I wanted to still have a long run this week and ran that by the coach, so I decided to run/jog to the start line about two and a half miles away. I arrived at the start just before 7am. The race started at 7am, so this gave me plenty of time. I ran into the other SCE 2nd leggers as well as the awesome Michelle (part of the M & M duo) who was racing for Fleet Feet Racing Santa Cruz. I did a little loop with Leslie and Michelle, took some photos with team (thanks Laura!), and before we knew it the first leggers were coming into the transition. The SCE men’s team, mixed team, and other women’s team all powered through. Before I knew it, Hillary’s number was called and I prepped to start my 6.64 mile leg. The race organizers had given us slap bracelets instead of batons and I think Hillary and I had way too much fun with this! Hillary came speeding into the transition, slap bracelet ready, and I had my arm extended, yelling “slap me!” Ha!

Ready to run!

Ready to run!

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Slap Bracelet!

Slap Bracelet!

The race went well. I really just wanted to see where I was in my training and if I could maintain a 7:30 pace for 6+ miles. I started out a little quick, but the course immediately takes up a decent climb so that sobered my pace. I was surrounded by guys and held my place. I could see a local Santa Cruz runner, Jose, a little ahead of me and decided to keep my eyes on him because I knew his marathon pace would be a good overall pace for me. Around mile 3, I caught up to him and we ran the rest of the race together. It was fun to have him to run next to and help me hold my pace. The course is full of good rollers so having someone to focus on rather than the ups & downs was very nice indeed. My miles were as follows:
Mile 1 – 7:27
Mile 2 – 7:27
Mile 3 – 7:38
Mile 4 – 7:39
Mile 5 – 7:34
Mile 6 – 7:22
Last 0.64 – 4:40

Coming up to the finish with my running buddy, Jose

Coming up to the finish with my running buddy, Jose

Love this photo Elise caught of me coming up to the finish!


I love this course because it’s where I always run. I know it really well and have a good idea of where to be conservative and where to push. The race finishes on the sand but thankfully it’s just a few steps. As soon as my foot hit the sand I could hear and see all my team members at the finish. But the best part was that Kevin surprised me by being at the finish! Love that! The medals were really cool and we got some nice snacks and a frisbee. I saw SCE & SFM ambassador Elise, who did major work volunteering for this event. Seriously, I don’t know if the race could have happened without her. And I also got to see fellow SFM ambassadors Alisyn and Paulette who also did some amazing volunteering (Alisyn also does a ton of work for this event). While waiting for the awards, the SCE women all got some nice chiropractic work and enjoyed the beach.

capitola half relay finish line 1

capitola half relay finish line 2

I checked the results and my team (SCE Chicks) finished with a time of 1:35:58. (I wish I ran that as a real half, ha!) Some Garmin watches read the race at 12.8 miles rather than 13.1 but it’s hard to know. The course is not USATF certified so it is possible it’s a smidge short. Anyway, the official results had the SCE men’s team in first place (mens & overall), the SCE mixed team in first place (mixed team, 3rd overall), the other SCE women’s team (Team Nice) in 2nd (women’s, 5th overall) and Hillary and I finished third (women’s, 8th overall). I am very happy with the results and, more importantly, I had so much fun!! (Results were updated May 21 and I’ve updated this paragraph accordingly.)

Team SCE Chicks!

Team SCE Chicks!

Fleet Feet & SCE Finishers

Fleet Feet & SCE Finishers – Don’t those new SCE singlets look snazzy?

Hillary & I with our fave photographer & volunteer! (Laura & Elise)

Hillary & I with our fave photographer & volunteer! (Laura & Elise)

Post race festivities

Post race festivities

After the race, Leslie and I jogged back to my house for a cool down. Then Kevin, Hillary, Leslie, and I all me up at Greek Festival downtown for some delicious food and cold beers. A perfect way to reward ourselves after a good race!

medal & bib photo

*disclosure: I did volunteering for this race and received a free race entry, but this my honest appraisal of the event.*

Run Safely Runners

We in Santa Cruz know these are dangerous times… February, in particular, has been a crime heavy month. And we are saddened by the loss of two police officers yesterday. This has been on my mind as a runner and so I provided some suggestions to run more safely in my SFM Ambassador blog post. I hope you take a moment to consider adjusting some of your runs to keep you a bit more safe.

I also wanted to share the image that the local She.Is.Beautiful race posted on their facebook page this morning. Let’s focus on this as we move forward as a community and hopefully make Santa Cruz a safer community.

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