Sunday, July 24, 2016

There went nothing at Wharf to Wharf

Enjoying a post race brew at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
after the Wharf to Wharf Race
Once upon a time, the Wharf to Wharf  six mile race, held the fourth Sunday of July in Santa Cruz was a circle the calendar event. All my spring and early summer training runs and hard track work all pointed to this one day. In the last few years, the race have morphed into becoming motivation to during busy summers full of all sorts of family commitments, where runs are no longer as intense, and fewer and further in between.

This year? Well, after taking a couple months to recover from a left hip injury from the Napa Valley Marathon, getting sick in mid-June, and various other stuff I won't bore you with that cut way down on my running mileage, I was pretty sure this year's Wharf to Wharf was going to be my slowest ever.

Still, you never know what can happen on race day, but starting my warm-up and feeling little strength in my legs, I'm thinking "I've got nothing."  Stretching and shaking out my legs in the middle of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park, I begin to feel a little life in the legs, I also chatted with some of my training partners as we stretched, which always gets my mind a little more relaxed and confident. Of course, in some ways showing up for a race no where near your best fitness is sort of a relief: The pressure to run a fast time is off, and if planets all align and you happen to run well, that bodes well for the future.

The gun goes off. Walking through the moving crowd as well all approach the starting line, a few second later, enough space forms around me so that I can break into a run.  Dodging around the various runners in the crowded field, I come through mile 1 in 6:48.  Mile 2 is almost the same pace, at 13:30.  From there, just trying to get under 6:40 per mile pace was the goal, but unfortunately that proved to be elusive and by mile 5, it's hard work just to stay under 7:00 pace. I keep at it, striving to pick up my knees up and get my arms moving.  Charging down the last down hill quarter mile of the race, I cross the finish line in 40:33, which is 6:45 per mile pace for the six mile distance.  The good news is that it was one of the most smartest run, evenly paced runs I've ever done.  The bad news my time was nearly four minutes slower than last year.

So I still have good racing instincts and desire.  Now if I can just get my mileage up, I can start doing some damage again.

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