Santa Cruz Half Marathon – April 2006

Last weekend, I ran the Santa Cruz Half Marathon. Although, I had not trained a lot for this, I was confident that I would be able to complete it. The challenge then was that how much was I going to struggle to complete. As I told my wife a few days before the race – as long as the weather was cloudy and the sun did not show up, I would do fine. I dehydrate very fast and so, the difficulty level for the race just adds up (I realized this while running the Jungle Run Half Marathon last year).

Anyway, we got up early at 5:00 am and then started off at 5:30 because Santa Cruz was a little far away and I had a feeling that we might run into some traffic. Also, I had to pick up the registration tag at the starting point. We reached around 6:20, got the registration tag and I was then all set for the race. I looked up at the sky and I was so pleased to see it nice and cloudy :). Actually, the trail was beautiful – it was along the cliffs of the Pacific coast and so, one could forget about the pains and enjoy the beauty (ya right!)

The race started on time and we were on our way along the coast. It was indeed a pretty site – I looked at the houses there which overlooked the ocean and wondered that it must cost a fortune, looked at the old lady next to me, who had water strapped all over her waist but was running faster than any teenager, I was looking at the enthusiasm amongs the people who were running and it just inspired me to keep going. I took a Gu packet around the 4 mile mark and kept the pack with me till the very end of the race. After the 4 mile mark, we entered a ranch and this was a pretty interesting trail – it took us through stables, unpaved roads, sharp cliffs with exquisite scenery and then back to the main road around the 9 mile mark. Throughout the trail, I faced 4 really steep uphills. I managed to cover the first 3 quite easily but I really struggled on the 4th one. But with a lot of courage and determination and getting inspired by people around me, I managed to cover that. I slowed down quite a bit in the last couple of miles probably knowing that the end was right around the corner. Of course, I was tired too :). At this point, I saw a man old enough to be my grandpa chugging along and going past me – I thought that I should stop and give him a salute – amazing sight indeed!

I finished the race in 2:20 mins – the pleasant site of my wife waiting for me was worth more than millions! Vinay, Jyoti and Tiya also joined us later for brunch and after a heavy brunch, we all returned home.

All in all, it was a great run – highly recommended indeed.