Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Santa Cruz Firecracker 10K - Santa Cruz CA

I love this race! It starts in Waddell Park, next to the Costco in Santa Cruz and winds up the infamous Pogonip Trail in the university of Santa Cruz campus. I've done it for several years, and it just might be the first trail race I ever did. So I have a lot of sentimental attachment to it.

This year I dragged Rebecca, my best friends Charlie and Frank, and Frank's girlfriend Nerissa down the hill from my house to go there and run as well. My goal was to run something like 43 minutes this year (I was a little over 44 minutes last year and was third in the 40-44 age group with that). Santa Cruz always has scarily competitive fields, especially in masters divisions.

The race starts at the civilized hour of 9am, another great feature. Almost five hundred people lined up at the start line. I got a place close to the front next to my Los Gatos hills neighbor Steve Moore. The British announcer (hey isn't this when we declared independence from those guys?!) counted down the race start from ten to zero and then took off running with the field. The first mile loops around the neighborhood and around the park for the first mile. I hit that one at 6:15. Then it was back out to route 9 and up a couple blocks to enter the UCSC campus. There's a trailhead at the bottom of the hill that I think I hit at around 20 minutes. Then its a steep uphill on Pogonip to mile 4. Then a left off of the trail and into the neighborhoods, pummeling downhill on asphalt the whole way. Its quite bonejarring. Probably the only thing I don't like about the race. I finished in 43:30, 33rd overall, and only good enough for fourth in my agegroup this year.

I grabbed a delicious pineapple popsicle and ran back out to meet Frank, Nerissa, Charlie and Rebecca. After running them all in, we considered hanging around for the free pancake breakfast. But we headed up to Scotts Valley to Auntie Mame's instead. Followed by an afternoon at the pool and a barbecue, this was a superb Fourth of July.


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