Sunday, July 13, 2008

Firecracker 10K - Santa Cruz CA

This race is one of my favorite short runs anywhere. It has a lot to do with triggering my initial interest in trailrunning. The Firecracker starts at Harvey West Park in Santa Cruz, and runs up into Pogonip City Park. I cross through Pogonip on my favorite training run: from my house in the Santa Cruz mountains to the beach.

Last year I ran it in 43:30 while training through, just missing third master in very competitive Santa Cruz field. This year I felt like I was in better shape so I hoped to do the same or better. I was planning to do the Angel Island 25K I wasn't planning to run too aggressively. We did the first street loop of Harvey West Blvd back to the park and onto Encinal Blvd., hitting the first mile in 6:10. Then left up Route 9 to Golf Course Drive, hitting the Pogonip Trailhead at around 15 minutes. Then up the infamous hill of the Brayshaw and Prairie Trails, hitting mile 3 at around 22 minutes. Up the hill I felt in my element as a trail runner and passed around five runners. Coming out onto the ridge and running on the spring trail I sped up but I got the familiar nausea that I get when cresting hills and running fast and had to slow down.

Shortly after mile 4, we let out of the park onto Spring Street, at around 29 minutes. Just less than a couple miles two go pounding the pavement of suburban streets. I kept up a six minute pace down the hills, but tried to save my quads for Angel Island. I lost a few places here, unusual for me at the end of races. I finished in 41:45, good for 21st overall and third in the 40-44 agegroup. For some reason it was record as 41:50. First master was Nacho Duran in 41:28. Just behind him was Greg Gaver in 41:36. I'm looking forward to next year when I'll be 45. That agegroup was won in 42:29.