Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ready to Run

Not that I'm a total geek, but I'm rarely on the cutting edge of anything.  My phone is not the latest version.  I keep my eyebrows in their un-waxed, natural shape.  My car is 9 years old.  I own exactly one pair of skinny jeans (that I've never worn in public). I didn't see Frozen until it came out on DVD.

But today, I am firmly with the "in" crowd.  I got myself one of the 16,000 available slots to run in the Santa Cruz Wharf to Wharf race.  This is a six-mile road race from Santa Cruz to Capitola that I never even knew existed when I actually lived in Santa Cruz during the late 1990's.  Maybe it wasn't so popular back then.  Or maybe I just didn't notice because I never visited any tourist areas during the summer months.  Or (more likely) it was completely off my radar because I had absolutely NO interest in anything that looked or sounded or smelled remotely related to running.  Those were my Jazzercise and outrigger canoeing days.  Ahhhh....to be 21 in Santa Cruz. 

So I heard about this race years ago, after I turned into a runner, and was immediately intrigued.  First of all, the majority of the race course is pretty flat and meanders along cliffs with sweeping ocean views.  Second, the streets are lined with performers of every kind....magicians, musicians, singers, jugglers, you name it.  It's kind of a Santa-Cruz-Style-Bay-to-Breakers sort of thing.  And third, it's bigger than a 5k but not a half marathon, which means its a bit of a challenge but nothing that's going to completely cripple me (we hope).  It sounded fun, and it seemed like a good excuse to visit my old stomping grounds so I added the race to my Bucket List. 

Somehow I convinced my gaggle of high school girlfriends to join me on this adventure.  It really seems like the kind of race you can't do alone.  It's more of a social, team event (preferably with matching outfits).  And perhaps one that requires an early morning fuel-up with a round of mimosas.  Lest anyone be tempted to train a little too hard for this race, we have made a pact that the winner among us is rewarded with the pleasure of buying a round of drinks for the rest of the group. 

It turns out that this is not the type of race that you can stumble upon when browsing through Active.com for races in your neighborhood.  This one requires some planning.  It sells out every year.  According to the local newspaper, it sold out in 12 days in 2012.  In 2013, it took just two days.  Our running crew spent Monday afternoon (the eve of registration opening day) debating if we needed to stay up until midnight to secure a spot, or if we could sleep in.  Some went the midnight route.  Some of us opted to seize the sure thing (a good nights sleep) and gamble on slots still being open in the early morning hours.  I'm happy to report that we all managed to get signed up.  Good thing too, because this is the message I found on the website as I was typing this post...

If you can't read it, that little orange bar below the race countdown says "SOLD OUT" (in just 9 hours for those keeping track at home). You may also notice the photo of  Nelson Oyugi, who was the winner of the event last year with a time of 27:12.  Wow.  Just, wow.  Pretty sure we won't run into him anywhere unless he's at Margaritaville after the race. 

I'm a little amazed, frankly, that there are 15,999 other people in the world that were THAT excited to do the Wharf to Wharf race that they logged on in the very early hours of registration to secure their spot. Apparently it's pretty popular.  Which means it must be a lot of fun, right?

If I know these girls, they will not disappoint on the fun factor.   The run fun will just be icing on the cake.

Monica, here's your reminder.  Feel free to bookmark for reference on race day.


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