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Half Marathon #4 for the year is complete!  YAY!

I signed up for the Santa Cruz Half Marathon a while ago and was super excited for this race.  I have actually done the 10k before, so I was familiar with the course and I knew a lot of it was along the water, and I love the water, so I thought, why not do that half?

I live about an hour away from Santa Cruz, which means, I woke up at around 5:45, to leave the house at 6:15 and get to the race start by 7:15.  All was going according to plan until…parking.

Oh man!  The parking situation was crazy.  It’s my fault.  I should have gotten there earlier.  I thought that 45 minutes before race start would be enough time…I was WRONG!  I found a spot around 7:20am that had a meter.  When I looked in my wallet I had 3 quarters…not enough for the amount of time I was planning on being there.  On the meter was a website and an app to pay online.  I downloaded the app…didn’t work.  I went on the website to try and give them my credit card number…error.  Finally, I called the phone number, it was a recording.  When it came time to read back my license plate number, the recording kept mixing up F with S…WHY?!  3 times I called back because the dang recording kept hanging up on me…the recording did not practice good customer service, if you ask me.

By 7:50 I FINALLY was able to get everything taken care of.  I sprinted to the registration booth to pick up my bib, got in the starting corral with 4 minutes to spare. I had my Flipbelt, my cell phone, my shuffle, my headphones (with my new Cordskinz), my visor, my gels…my gels??  OH NO!  The gels were still in my purse…in the trunk of my car.  No gels for me on this race.

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By the time I got in the corral, set my watch and got my headphones in it was one minute to start…ahhhhh…plus I had no time to potty and after an hour drive, plus 45 minutes of figuring out the parking…I needed a potty…oh well!  That had to wait.

We were off!  I spotted the 2:00 pacer, so I just kind of paced off of him.  We went up West Cliff Drive with some beautiful views of the ocean and the cliffs.  Around mile 5 I finally spotted a bathroom!  I took a moment and when I came out it was too hard for me to catch back up to the pacer.  We were on a paved trail high above the ocean on overlooking the cliffs, it was so beautiful!

It was also hilly.  For some reason I wasn’t anticipating all of the hills on this course, but I just went with it.  What else could I do, right?

We did a really nice trail curving back towards the paved trail we ran on.  There was a nice breeze going, but there wasn’t a ton of shade on the course, so it was pretty warm.  Not a cloud in the sky in Santa Cruz, so the sun was definitely beating down.

A little uphill at mile 8, past Natural Bridges on mile 9 and then hit a stride at around mile 10 heading back towards West Cliff Drive.

I’m not going to lie.  I bonked hard at around mile 7 and mile 10.  I had no gels, so every water stop I was taking water and gatorade (had to be careful NOT to pour the gatorade over my head, like I do with the water), but it wasn’t the same as gels.  I was feeling it big time and had a terrible cramp in my left hip.  Annoying.

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Finally, I spotted the Boardwalk in the far distance and knew we were almost there.  I walk/ran the last 3 miles just because I couldn’t keep the pace running.  My feet were feeling it too!  2 blood blisters and one regular when I took my shoes off after I got home.  Good fun.

The race finished right on the beach and I got my super sweet medal.  I also spotted my blogger friend Michelle at Blessed with Thunder Thighs!  She was pacing the 2:10 group and I came in right behind them at 2:11:20.  Always fun to see someone you know on the course!

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After I finished, I grabbed some water, a bagel, banana and some orange slices.  Sat on the beach for a bit and then headed over to grab my shirt.  The only disappointing thing about this race…they ran out of women’s small shirts!  Such a bummer!  I had to settle for a men’s small, but I think I can cut it up to be cute.

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All in all, this was a great Sunday morning run with beautiful views.  I highly recommend it if you’re close by or if you just want to take a vacation in Santa Cruz during this run next year 🙂

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Next up – Tinkerbell Half in Disneyland next month!  YAHOO!

QOTD:  Have you ever run into a parking situation right before a race?  How did you handle it?

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