A little over a week ago, several ladies from Santa Cruz Endurance decided to run in the Mermaid East Bay. While none of us were looking to add a race to our schedule, we were all game to support a good cause and through race into our training. The Mermaid Series focuses on supporting women in “fitness and life.” They are also run a great organization to get girls excited about running, the Mini Mermaids. Finally, they tend to have some sweet swag!
This particular race was held in Fremont, about an hour from my house. And since I had to be in San Jose around noon to pick up Elise(!) from the airport, it worked out perfectly. Mermaid Easy Bay has four distances: 5k, 10k, half marathon, and 18 miler. Leslie and I ran the 10k and Gaylia and Sam each ran the 18 miler.
Adding a race into the schedule can be a fun way to mix things up. I also tend to get crazy race nerves and psych myself out on A races, so as Leslie reminds me, these are a great way to get more comfortable in races and practice for my goals. Good strategy!
I picked up Leslie at the Park n Ride not far from my house and we headed out of Santa Cruz around 6:45am. There was no traffic and we just made a quick stop a coffee shop for a bathroom break. We parked about a half mile from the start, which served as a perfect warm up. When we got there, both the half marathon and 18 mile races had already started, so we were meeting up with our teammates post race. Before the race started, I ran into Paulette (who, spoiler, got a new PR at the race! Great job Paulette!).
I had never run in Fremont, let alone the Quarry Lake path, so this was a fun new area to explore. The course was basically a fairly flat (just a few little bumps along the way) trail with some gravel at times. They had generous staggered start times for each event, so the course never felt crowded. Leslie’s plan called for her to treat the run like a tempo run. My plan for the day was actually 14 miles, so I kept my 10k pace conservative (aiming for around 7:30 pace, ended up with a 7:35 pace). There was a little turn around, when I saw Leslie cruising along at her speedy tempo pace. I also saw Paulette again after the turn around. I love having friends to cheer along during the course! Like the Mermaid SF, the course ended with sharp turn on grass. But for my goals, that was no problem. I came into the finish with a time of 47:38 and placed 3rd in my age group. Not too shabby. Leslie won the race (and did so following her training schedule, just 2 weeks after Boston! Rockstar!). After our cool down, we met up with our 18 miler gals. Gaylia took 1st in her age group and Sam won her race. Love these speedy ladies! We hung out to snack a little and pick up our awards.
After the awards, Leslie joined Sam on their way back to Santa Cruz and I headed to the San Jose airport. Soon after, Elise’s plane had landed and we were back in Santa Cruz in no time! At this point, with warm up, race, and cool down, I had run 8 miles and had 6 miles left to finish up my very disjointed long run. But I didn’t care because those last miles would be with the speedy Elise. We met up with another friend and headed out to the coast, where it was crazy windy! (My visor blew off!) What a great way to start the week with a good friend visiting!
What do you think about using races as training runs? Do you “fun run” races?