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