Dashing the Dip and Dash

Last Sunday, I participated in my first Dip and Dash put on by Finish Line Productions. The Dip and Dash series includes three aquathons, swim then run of varying distances. Since I’m not a swimmer, it’s not a surprise that I hadn’t participated in one before. But my friend and teammate, Sam, wanted to use the swim as a practice and asked if I wanted to be part of a relay team with her. She’s swim around the wharf and I’d run the five miles on West Cliff. I jumped at the chance to be on a team with her and thought it would be a fun chance to see where my speed is at 6 weeks post marathon.

My plan leading up to the race was to run a pace similar to the 10k portion of the Capitola Half relay back in May. This meant about a 7:05 pace. I also hoped it would be fastest enough for us to win too. The two weeks before the race I added in some speed workouts for the first time in a month. I started with a reverse ladder workout: 2×800, 2×400, 2x200s and was not too far off from the times I was hitting earlier in the summer. The Thursday before the race I ran some 400s and a couple 200s around the harbor – couldn’t seem to find a time to make it to the track. They were not my fastest attempts and I thought about scaling back my goal to a 7:15 pace. This seemed the best idea when I woke up Sunday morning feeling a little sick to my stomach (I’m assuming this was thanks to Chinese food and ice cream the night before!).

I jogged down to the start and met up with Sam, where I learned that we were the only relay team. Sweet, we already won! Ha! She had a great idea that I run the Wharf as my warm up and then I could cheer on the swimmers as the same time (as well as get some good photos). I did a few strides at the end of my warm up and headed toward the transition area. Even though the pressure of winning was off, I still wanted to have a strong run. Sam came out of the water (which had some strong swells Sunday morning) and I grabbed the chip and made my way out to West Cliff.

Swimmers ready to start!

Swimmers ready to start!

Sam rounding the wharf

Sam rounding the wharf

Since I was the only runner, I made sure to encourage all of the race participants who were running on much more tired legs than mine. I felt pretty good by the time I started the race, stomach issues were gone. I started out too fast and did a terrible job of pacing (oh well): 7:03, 6:59, 6:56, 7:09, 7:15. I finished at 36:15 with an average pace of 7:03 – easily making it to my original goal. Despite uneven pacing, I was pretty happy with that. Since it was only my second 5 mile race, it also meant a distant PR ūüėČ

I met up with Sam and another teammate, Dan, after the race. After some coffee and yogurt from nearby Picnic Basket, Sam and I collected our prize – a gift certificate for free Rudy Project sunglasses! Sweet!

Have you ever won a race because there was no competition??

SCE Takes on the Capitola Half Marathon & Relay

About a week and a half ago, I ran in the Surfer’s Path Marathon/Capitola Half Marathon race. This was my third year in a row running it and my second year running the relay portion of the half marathon (2012 half & 2013 relay). I had initially not planned to run it, but my running team, Santa Cruz Endurance, was paying the entry fee for four relay teams (one women’s, one men’s, and two mixed teams). I entered my information and thought maybe I’d be a part of a mixed team, as I definitely not the fastest runner in my team. When the teams came out, I found out I was in the women’s team paired with my good friend (and super speedy) Leslie. Challenge accepted.

The race weekend was beautiful. The day before the race, Elise (who had been in town all week visiting) and I headed down to the Expo. The race’s expo is a perfect one in my opinion. It’s the Capitola coast, includes an easy race bib & shirt pick up, and a handful of local companies’ tents. Alisyn and I were hosting a tweet up. While it ended up being just the three of us, we had a blast. (Next time, we need a sign and some fun giveaways – and maybe not compete with the awesome beach weather). After the tweet up, Elise and I headed over to the SCE tent. Our team was hosting a raffle to win a free surfboard. We were neighbors with our sponsors Santa Cruz Core and Santa Cruz Running Company. (If you are in the Central Coast area and looking for a team, SCE is an awesome one – our sponsors hook us up with great deals, Epicenter is another sponsor). I had originally planned to spend just an hour or so at the expo but ended up spending the afternoon. Fun company and beautiful weather was much more appealing than the stack of essays I had at home to grade.

Tweeting at the Tweet Up

Tweeting at the Tweet Up

SCE Tent at the Expo (photo credit: SCE Instagram)

SCE Tent at the Expo (photo credit: SCE Instagram)

The raffled off surfboard modeled by Charmin's mini-me & myself

The raffled off surfboard modeled by Charmin’s mini-me & myself

For race day, I had specific instructions from the Coach. Since I still needed to get in my long run, the race was going to be incorporated into my 15 miles. I had a 2 mile warm up with some strides. Then the race (my portion was a 10k) to be run at my current  tempo pace (7:05-7:15) and then run the remaining miles to get in 15. My plan was to run the second half the half marathon with some friends who were fun running the race Рperfect.

I jogged an easy mile and then met back up with Elise and Hillary to jog down to the start line. (I love races that start a mile from where I live!) I ended up only running 2 strides instead of 4 but I felt fine. Then I found all my SCE teammates. In addition to the four teams, SCE had 6 runners in the half marathon. (Spoiler: three of those runners scored major PRs! Woot!) Before we knew it, the race was about to start and we separated into our various zones.

Race start (photo credit: Laura or Bob)

Race start (photo credit: Laura or Bob)

Laura, our consummate phototog

Laura, our consummate phototog

My plan was to run the first two miles conservatively – 7:15-7:20 pace (there is a good climb right after the first mile) and then pick up the pace for the last 4.2 miles for a nice negative split. My goal was to average a 7:05 pace, which would have been a PR in the 10k distance. Well, you know how it goes… I started the first mile way too fast: 6:52. Whoops. The climb out of the first mile sobered that pace a bit. I ran the next mile around Jeremy, who was running the half. It was fun to hang with him for a bit. Miles 2 & 3: 7:16 (much better!), 7:09. Despite some stomach issues pre race, during the race I was feeling really good. This course is basically the Wharf to Wharf course and a route I have run hundreds of times. I know each climb and each turn really well. I think that this meant that after the first mile, I ran a very smart race. I knew I just had to hold on until about 5.8 miles because the final .4 miles was all downhill. Miles 4-6: 7:04, 7:07, 7:03. I ran the final .2 I ran at a 5:53 pace. And that was good enough for a 10k PR (yes, I realize this isn’t a real 10k race but I’ll take it!): 44:13 official (44:05 by my watch, not sure why there is such a big gap).That’s a 7:05 pace (and with my watch running the course a little long, a 7:02 by Garmin). I came across the line to hand off to Leslie and yelled “I PRed for you!” Ha ūüôā And off she went.

Keeping up with Jeremy on the hill out of Twin Lakes Beach (photo cred: Bob)

Keeping up with Jeremy on the hill out of Twin Lakes Beach (photo cred: Bob)

Coming into Opal Cliffs (Photo cred: Rebecca)

Coming into Opal Cliffs (Photo cred: Rebecca)

In what seemed like less than a minute, three of the SCE half marathoners (Elise, Gaylia, & Charmin) came through and I had to scream at them. There was some mixture of sharing my PR excitement with knowing that Elise was on route to score a massive PR. I was just super excited! Then came my two teammates fun running the half. I joined them to run the remaining 6.7 miles I had to get 15 miles. I was having way too much fun with them (see photos) and we stopped for water and bathroom breaks. We picked up Benoit with a few miles to spare (he was also running back from running the first leg of the relay). As we approached the final half mile of the race, I saw my teammate Leslie and Elise (who was in post PR glow – I’ll let her share her awesome PR story). And we all finished up our runs together.

Having WAY too much fun on my fun run back to the finish (photo cred: Bob)

Having WAY too much fun on my fun run back to the finish (photo cred: Bob)

We're done running, thank you :)

We’re done running, thank you ūüôā

The team hung out for the awards and we dominated the podium. First Women’s Relay Team: Leslie & I. First Men’s Relay Team: SCE Benoit & Casey. First & Second Mixed Relay Teams: SCE Jenn W. & Dan V; Selena & Dan M. Gaylia, Elise, & Jeremy all took age group wins, as well as their own PRs. Charmin also took a nice AG win. So much fun! (In other awesome news, Alisyn was volunteer extraordinaire, Paulette ran the longest distance since January, and her Kevin PRed in the marathon – good day all around!)

SCE hanging on the beach

SCE hanging on the beach

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Winners!

And then, I had to drive Elise to the airport as she had to go back to DC, tear. It was a great weekend to share with her even if she had to leave at the end of it all.

Awesome team!

SCE Post Race Love

Awesome race, awesome team. 1st place finish! (I need Leslie as a relay partner more often!)

Awesome race, awesome team. 1st place finish! (I need Leslie as a relay partner more often!)

Ragnar Here We Come!

I’m so excited to share some super exciting running news: I will be running my first Ragnar Relay race this April!

I feel like this is pretty cool all by itself but it gets even better. My team will be made up of San Francisco Marathon ambassadors (and a couple of friends). Clearly, we will be getting support from SFM. But some of my other fave running brands will also be supporting us:  Nuun Hydration, Sketchers Performance, and Gametiime. Wait, it still gets better, we will be running the So Cal route, which goes through my hometown including a transition at my high school!

The image below includes the twitter handles for all of the runners but for clarification the team includes¬†Chris, Paulette, Alisyn, Matt, Erin, Westley, Laura, Jordan, Mary Kelly, Bruce, Keith, and me! I’m so excited to spend this relay with some of my favorite running friends (and make a couple new friends too)!

afterNUUNrun

Will you be in So Cal running Ragnar?? Have you run a Ragnar Relay before? What was your favorite part?

Don’t forget to also register for SFM using discount code¬†DSC10RAGNAR2014!

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!)

capitola half relay sign 2

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!

capitola half relay signs 1

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.*