On Sunday I ran in the Wharf to Wharf race in Santa Cruz. Yep. Just me and 15,000 of my closest friends. It was a fun 6 mile race from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk to Capitola.
I ran pretty well, but unfortunately, I made one critical mistake: I did what I was told. The race organizers told us to line up before the starting line according to our pace. I figured I could run a seven and a half minute per mile pace, so I lined up next to the “Seven Minute” sign. Makes sense, right?
Wrong. I spent the first three miles fighting my way through huge crowds of slow runners. Puffing, out of shape people in new running shoes. Groups jogging four abreast, chatting amiably about last weekend. Even people walking in front of me, fer crissakes!
It took me a full 2 minutes after the start to actually walk across the starting line. It took me 12 minutes to finish the first mile! My split times could only get better after that – 2 miles at 8 minutes, 2 more at 7:30, and 6:55 for the last mile.
In spite of the crowds, it was fun run. It was cold and foggy in Santa Cruz when we started out – perfect running weather. People lined the entire route to cheer us on. And there were bands of all types every few blocks- rock bands, surf punk, drum teams, even bag pipers. It made for a real festive event.
Just the same, I think I’ll look for a less popular event for my next race. And I’ll know better than to listen to the organizers.