Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Race Report: Surfers Path 10K (on fumes)

In a masochistic move, I ran a 10K on Sunday morning, approximately 18 hours after completing this insane bike ride.

To be fair, the race had been a good idea in the beginning. I'd signed up for the inaugural Surfers Path 10K at the suggestion of a friend who I sometimes get the chance to run with. Plus having a race on the calendar always motivates me to run more, maybe even with said friend. And it worked — running group ramped up the training effort and I did get one run in with my friend together before the race — so the race was probably even a good idea in the middle.

But in the end, my legs were fried from 5,300 feet of climbing, followed immediately by a hot tub soak at the Dream Inn pool deck, then beers and burgers at West End Taphouse. Everything felt amazing; the food and drink was delicious.

But the Sunday morning 10K loomed. I foam-rolled at home and hydrated. In the morning, I briefly considered staying in but, but instead pulled on my Smartwool compression socks (a hopeful move to prevent cramping) and grabbed a cup of coffee. It was go time!

The race is put on by the same group that organizes the Surfers Path Marathon and Half Marathon in the spring. All of the courses cover popular running/cycling/walking routes along the Monterey Bay coastline from Capitola to Santa Cruz. The races on Sunday (a 5K and a 10K) started on 41st Avenue and headed out to Pleasure Point, then hooking a right onto East Cliff Drive. The 5K loops back around Moran Lake, while us 10Kers continued to Twin Lakes State Beach before turning back. Everyone runs past the start line and into Capitola Village for a nice downhill finish at the beach.

Road races can be big here (thousands run the She.Is.Beautiful race in the spring and the Wharf to Wharf sells out faster and faster every year). Maybe because the Surfers Path is new, or because it's November, the course wasn't packed and the whole event had a friendly, local vibe to it.

I had a few minutes to warm up before the 8 a.m. start. It was warming up, so I ditched my long sleeve at the sweat check (pretty posh for a local 10K). I didn't see my friend anywhere, but wasn't worried. I'd find her on the course.

Cinder and Callie (and Mike) came to cheer. 
I can't report much about my pacing. I managed to screw up my Garmin right at the start and didn't record about four-tenths of a mile. Instead of worrying about pace (and because my legs were beat), I focused on enjoying myself: great views, happy people. I chatted with a fellow racer who was struggling, spotted a few friends near the turn-around point, got a cheer from Mike and the dogs, and caught up with a running buddy who was out cruising on his bike. He and I ended up chatting through about three (painful) miles of the run before he ordered me to pass some people in the last half-mile.

At the finish, we found more friends, including Greg from South Valley Endurance, the timer who handles "my" race, the Santa Cruz Triathlon. There was cold-press coffee from Verve Coffee Roasters, great race shirts and a bag full of snacks from New Leaf Market for us.

It wasn't my best 10K time, not by a long shot. But I held essentially a 9-minute mile pace despite extreme fatigue. I'm definitely happy with the overall weekend effort and am ready to plan my next race! (Oh, and I need to find some new spandex shorts. Looking at race photos makes me realize what I for was not cool. Not cool at all.)

This is PROOF I need new racing
shorts. Seriously, what am I wearing?

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