Santa Cruz 10k — My first 10k!

I've done 5ks, half marathons and plenty of other distances in between the two, but somehow, I'd never actually done a 10k. Today, I changed that!

Back in January, I signed up for the Santa Cruz Half Marathon after some coworkers decided to do it. I wasn't terribly optimistic about my ability to get up to half marathon shape in that period of time, but I figured I'd give it my best shot. Well, my better judgment set in as the race loomed closer and closer, and I opted to change my half marathon entry to a 10k one. Over the past few weeks, I've been hitting 4 to 5 miles on my runs pretty frequently, so I knew getting up to 6.2 miles wasn't that much of a stretch.

The day started very early (and, as I've mentioned on here before, I am not a morning person). I had to leave my house by 5:30am to pick up my friend Arianne, so I woke up about a half hour before that to make sure I had everything I needed. Armed with a bag full of workout clothing for every conceivable temperature (coastal weather is finicky!), a water bottle and a coffee mug, I hit the road right on time!

Sunny Santa Cruz!

We were cutting it a bit close when we got to Santa Cruz, so I dropped Arianne off to pick up our packets while I scavenged the city for parking. Eventually, we made it to the starting line, but we had already missed the start time for the 10k! Fortunately, it was chip timed, so it didn't really matter that we were starting a bit late. We jumped in with all of the people waiting to start the 5k and went with them.

There were a lot of people in the 5k! It appeared to be a 5k geared towards children, so there were a lot of parents tagging along and taking photos. That meant there was a LOT of traffic at the beginning of the race. I took advantage of the slow pace to shed my first layer and switch to a tank top (it warmed up quickly!).

After about a mile and a half, the traffic cleared up as the 5k and 10k routes diverged from one another. That was also where I started catching up with some of the people who had started the 10k on time! It was, of course, people walking the race...I didn't catch up to any other runners for quite awhile! As I continued on, I noticed that each of my miles was getting faster, despite some tightness in my calves. Right around the halfway point, I got a second wind and felt fantastic! It wasn't really until around mile 5 that I really started hurting.

Fortunately, I had some great music playing (my playlist is on Spotify if you want to check it out). Whenever I start feeling like I'm dying while running, I start counting songs. I know that each mile is about three songs, so I kept reminding myself that there wasn't that much left. "Only three more songs...only two more songs..."

The end of the race kind of snuck up on me! There was a steep downhill, followed by a sharp turn onto the beach...then bam! Finish line. I normally have a pretty solid kick at the end of races, so I was kind of sad that I didn't realize it was coming up until the pavement had transitioned to some very soft, hard to run on sand. Regardless, I still managed to get a little bit of pep in my step and crossed the finish line with a time of 1:04:59!

Tank: Nike [similar]
Pants: Under Armour [exact]
Half Zip (around my waist): Nike [exact]
Sunglasses: Oakley [exact]

This tank top ended up being the perfect race shirt! It was loose enough that it was comfortable, but fitted enough that it didn't get annoying. I spotted quite a few other runners wearing Nike Women's Half Marathon shirts, too, although none of them were in this particular one. All in all, it was a great race outfit that I'm sure I'll be wearing again in the future. 

I did sign up for another 10k today, after all :) I think I've found a new favorite distance!

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