The Finish Line
By Scott Campbell
The long ten weeks of training finally came to a head on May 22, 2016. After the long trek from San Diego County to Santa Cruz we were faced with 13.1 miles . That challenge and all the faults within us lay ahead.
This was the first out of town half marathon for This Runner's Journey. The lack of sleep because of the long drive wasn't anticipated and the results of that completely ignored.It showed in the time. A 2:14 was the official finish time for that race. It was four minutes slower than the personal record however I have zero regrets. I can PR another race. This was indeed an adventure on a grand scale. It not only took us along 13.1 miles of beautiful California coast line but also on a trek down the historic Highway 1 and through the breadbasket of this state and a lot of this nation , The San Jauqin Valley. I can't leave of of course the City of Santa Cruz, The Holy Cross and The ancestral lands of the Awaswas tribe. That city is in and of itself an adventure that we merely scratched the surface of and will deserve a separate trip just to explore. It is is the scene of a couple of famous 80s movies, The Lost Boys and Sudden Impact.
The morning of the race was a cool 48 degrees with clear sunny skies. It wasn't like any start of a race I have experienced. The first thing I noticed was there was no loud announcer coming through the speakers rousing the waiting runners like an old time preacher. there were only runners stretching and chatting amongst themselves. We were too cold so we joined the crowd of runners and chatted amongst ourselves.
As we prayed for the sun to rise faster an announcer broke the silence . He was announcing the race. He did a " who is running their first half marathon" and I think I might have heard a gun .We were off!
I did something that I have never done intentionally this race. I ran without my own running app. I went by the race clock. I felt the first half was quite fast and around six miles I regretted not knowing my pace but at the same time it was rather refreshing just to be running for running's sake but back in my mind I wanted to know !
The race course is flat for the most part and hugged the California coastline. At 6.5 miles it descends into Capitola which is a quaint little town . According to what I read it boast to be the oldest resort village on the West Coast. There is a loop through the village then back up the hill towards Santa Cruz. The hill was moderate and I just ate it up for my morning breakfast. The faster you go up a hill the sooner it is over. That is my philosophy. The way back was just me pulling into the training and pushing onward to the finish line where I finished at 2:14 which was not a PR for me. I would have needed a 2:10 for that just to tie it. I blame the long drive and lack of sleep for that . Runners always have a reason for everything that doesn't go as planned.
The one funny thing that happened was that they moved the finish line down to the beach so when we rounded that last bend it wasn't there as expected.There was no announcer yelling off people's names as they crossed the finish line so we had no idea if we were close or even where it was at that moment. We finally heard some cheering and knew we were there.We crossed the finish line daughter and father as we have done many times before and there is nothing in the world like that feeling.