Today, I ran my first race of the year. After the Sacramento marathon in December, I took it easy and did not run much in December. Then the demands of the new job and the cold weather have kept me (read: I got lazy!) from training as much as I would have liked early this year. To remedy to that, I signed up for the Santa Cruz 1/2 Marathon race this morning because knowing I have a race coming always keeps me motivated in going out running.
Anyhow, My goal was to have a good race. I had initially set a 1:40 finish time goal but then, based on my training, I could not see that happen…
I woke up early and drove to Santa Cruz. The weather was beautiful, blue sky and moderate temperature in the high 50s. Getting to the starting line seemed like it would be hard when I got stuck in traffic 1/2 mile away but then, I got good parking karma and found a spot waiting for me with only a short direct walk to the start.
While waiting for the race to start, I got into a discussion with a man that looked to be in his 50s and in good shape. Along the way, Ricardo told me he has been running over 30 marathons and many more other races since he started running 15 years ago. Today was his first race after he injured an ankle some weeks back so his goal was to finish in less than 2 hours, pretty far from his all time best of 1:45. He won several gold medals at the senior olympics last year and he is running again this year. And the most amazing thing I discovered was that this gentleman is 71 (yes, seventy-one) years young! If you do the math, that means he started racing at 56. Kudos to Monsieur Ricardo Guidolin. What an inspiration.
The race went well, I paid attention to my pace at the beginning as usual to not let myself be carried away by the adrenaline rush of the other runners. I felt a bit tight for the first 5 miles and though it might become hard by the end. But then, I and my body relaxed and things got smoother, I started accelerating. The views along the Ocean cliffs were beautiful and kept my mind busy as I was pushing harder. I kept on passing runner after runner giving me an even bigger moral boost. By the time we were back on West Cliff Drive, I was so pumped that I felt like I was flying (lack of glycogen does that you… some also call it the runner’s high). To make a long story short, I finished in 1:43:04. Really happy with my race and my results. I will be back next year to run that awesome race again.
Next in line is the San Francisco 1/2 Marathon in July. It was the first 1/2 marathon I ran when I finished it in 2007. It will be a good way to see how much I have improved since then ;).
And by the way, Ricardo finished in a bit more than 2 hours taking first in his age class by 25 minutes! I just wish I can still run when I am his age.