Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wharf to Wharf 10K Recap

Barbara and I - after more than 30 years of friendship, about to run our first race together!
Pre-race picture right near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - I love this area!

I survived the Wharf to Wharf 10K! It was a lot of fun, but definitely not a "running" race - there were just too many people to be able to consistently run, unless you were an elite runner and got to begin at the start of the pack.

We chose the front of the 10-minute-mile pace area to start...after that it was the walkers. What, nobody runs an 11 or 12 minute pace? Or maybe they just ran out of signs. Yeah, that must have been it.

Anyway, due to my experience at the Armadillo Dash of it taking about 30 minutes to get into the park for the start of the race, I was a bit anxious to get to the race early. Barbara indulged me in that, so we arrived around 7:40 am - her husband dropped us off quite close to the starting area (thanks, Dave!). Holy mackerel - there was a ton of people there! I knew that the race was capped at 15,000, and it was full, but wow. That was something to see - just a wall of people all around us.

People in front of us......and people behind us.
While we were waiting for the race to start, gigantic beach balls came tumbling down the street where we all were waiting. Music was being played - it was a party atmosphere for sure! Getting closer to crossing the start line!

Around 8:30 am the race started and we were off! ambling toward the start line - it was pretty funny to see some people try to run...really, that just wasn't happening. I was surprised that just as we crossed under the rainbow of balloons marking the start line that we were actually able to run - now it was getting exciting! Whoops...spoke too soon - exactly half a mile in, the four lanes converged into two AND started to curve and we came to a dead stop. Time for a photo op, right?

Half a mile in - still fresh as daisies!

This was when I realized that we were just going to have to go with whatever the race threw our way...stop, go, climb a hill, whatever.

There was a ton of entertainment all along the way, ranging from:

kilted bagpipers and drummers, to ukulele players,to the Santa Cruz chapter of the San Jose State marching band alumni (I have a soft spot for marching bands what with Sam and Jeff both having been in one)

There were also a lot of bands with ages ranging from kids to some really old people. The course was full of spectators - this felt like the social event of the year!

This is the first time I've run with my camera - we had fun taking pictures along the way:

First water stop - 2.5 miles inI ignored the sign!
There was a really cool peace sign (which I am successfully covering up) next to the "2010" drawn in the sand (the glare plus sunglasses made it difficult to see what you were taking a picture of - we were lucky to get as many good shots as we did).This place used to sell homemade fudge and all kinds of candy when I was a it's a cafe.
Click on this picture to see the line of runners - it's really amazing!
Loved this shot of the encouraging sign, along with the two runners who had not only finished the race, but picked up their goody bags and were heading back to Santa Cruz!

Then we crossed under the official photo op camera and found Barbara's daughter Theresa and her sister Sandi! We ran over for a quick picture - Theresa was in the middle of making us a sign and was a little disappointed that it wasn't finished...

Quick shot and then it was downhill to the finish line!
Done! We finished in 1:19 (Ricky Bobby time) - not too shabby considering all the stops (forced and voluntary, lol)

After we crossed the finish line, we had to keep going to the beach, where we picked up our goody bags with the OFFICIAL FINISHER'S SHIRT. Now, I have to tell you that this shirt was really promoted on the website - along the lines of how exclusive it was, only runners would get it, etc. So we both opened our bags right away to look at the shirt...and it was the same one as they were selling at Fleet Feet before the race! What the heck??? I tell you, I was getting fired up! I mean, seriously...what happened? Then we realized that in little letters below the logo, the shirt said "Runner 2010" - the other shirts just said "Santa Cruz" - so fine, it was an official shirt. I guess we were both expecting something proclaiming how awesome we were to have run from Santa Cruz to Capitola...hmmm, high expectations, ya think? LOL
The "Official Finisher's Shirt"

We put our shirts on, went and watched the announcement of the race winners (the fastest man, Shadrack Kosgei of Kenya, finished in 27:01!) and then headed back up the hill to find Theresa and Sandi. Our sign was finished, so we got to take some pictures while other runners were still finishing the race behind us!

"Peace Out, Peeps" - the official phrase of our visit, thanks to Theresa. :)Runner's pose!
Our gorgeous sign! Thanks, Theresa - we loved it!

In case you haven't gotten enough of this crazy race, you can click on this YouTube link to see more (and get a sense of what it was like to run with so!many!people!)

It's so funny to me that the last time I visited Barbara, in April 2007, the idea of me walking, much less running, this distance was not even in the outer corners of my mind. I was well over 250 pounds and was living a completely different lifestyle. It's times like these that make me realize just how much I have not only turned my life around, but opened myself up to doing so many more fun things...all because I took that first step on May 14, 2008, toward losing weight and getting fit. Best decision of my life, really.


  1. What a great post Shelley, I loved reading it. And you both look like you had so much fun!

    Well done on a great run!

  2. LOVE THIS and its sooo like we were actually there.

    Youre inspiring, Sister.

    That last paragraph needs to be mandatory reading...somewhere.

    Magazinewhere? :)

  3. You and Barb look great! What a cutie her daughter is. There was a done of people, for sure. Kind of like the Heart Walk here in Phoenix. We didn't have forced stops though.

    I agree, getting fit and healthy really is the best best decision anyone can make!

  4. a ton of people. Not done of people. proof read much, Dana?

  5. I've read a lot of blog posts about races, but this one was especially enjoyable to read. This seems like more fun than the parking lot partying before a heavy metal concert. I was a bit disappointed with the shirts, too. "Exclusive" is often oversold. Boo. Still, you two finished before the sign was even completed. Major high fives!

  6. Awesome! So great! Looks like you had a great time. Congrats!

  7. AWESOME recap- I LOVE the photos!! You have to be proud of yourself for all your hard work!! Yeah you!! :)

  8. Yay! Congrats to you guys on your first 10K TOGETHER!! How exciting...looks like so much fun!! Watched the video, too. Um, hills? Ick. And the sign is beautiful! :)

    Glad you had so much fun... those races when you can take pics along the way are so much more fun, I think.

    HUGS from Orlando!

  9. Ah, I love big races like that! Don't really have any in my area so I've only experienced it running the Marine Corps Marathon. I can imagine it was crowded so I'm glad you guys relaxed and went with the flow. Great report Shelley!

  10. Woohoo for you and your race!

    My 10K was 1:13, but that was without all the distractions you had.

    You guys had an amazing time for all that going on!

    We used to live in Norcal and hit up Santa Cruz, Capitola, Monterey, etc. with some frequency. Beautiful area with some BIG hills...

    Onward and upward in your evolution, right?

  11. Loved your post and all the great pictures. Congrats to you and Barbara. I don't know why, but for some reason I thought you were running a half. When you said you finished in a little over an hour, I thought OMG, OMG!!! Have a safe trip home. Texas misses you!

  12. Welcome back to the blogosphere! And what a great post. Looked like such a fun run, and I LOVED that Ricky Bobby was in most of the photos, too :)

    Best decision you ever made...I like that, and concur.

  13. Welcome home! Such a good race report, and awesome pics. I love the last paragraph too. I love that you have that distinct marker of a visit with your BF to think about 'then' and 'now' and what a difference it is. I need something like that right about now...

  14. OMG! Loving these photos! Just like being home! I'll be there next week, but won't be doing too much running myself... unless my sister drags me out to the beach for a hard workout! :-)
    Got my IDEAL sweatshirt out, and I'm ready for some FOG!
    Congrats on the race! I'll shoot for next year! :-)

  15. Love the pictures! Aren't big races like that awe-inspiring? Being a part of that mass of humanity is incredible! And so the running sort of takes a second place to the experience.

    You really have changed your life! I know all your friends and family are so happy for you and so am I. You are awesome!

  16. Fun recap! Glad you had such a great time :)

  17. I have yet to run in a race that was that crowded! I really like races but I think that would be very frustrating to me if you couldn't actually run (I KNOW WHO AM I?). BUT 1:19 in that crowd seems really good!

  18. Wahoo! I love that you could just enjoy what came your way. Stopping along the way and not worrying about times or goals. Just enjoying it. The experience of it! I am terrified, but still so excited about my first 5K in September! You're an inspiration for it.

  19. *high five* What fun!!! I can tell you were having a blast. And it's even better to do it with a friend. I love that you guys had entertainment along the way.

    Love it love it love it! Thanks for sharing all of the pictures. It really helps to get a sense of the race.

    ((HUGS)) Glad you had fun. Gosh, what's next?!

  20. That was fun! Thanks for the vicarious visit -- now I want to go back to Santa Cruz :)

  21. Thanks for this post, and congrats!! I have signed up for my first 5K and cant wait! I dont know what to expect at all, but I am still excited since I am down 65 lbs and finally feel capable of doing a 5K! This makes me want to run with my camera too :) Maybe I will.


  22. Great race report. Congratulations on your race.

  23. Great re-cap! I love all the photos, you look like you are having so much fun. Great job finishing at a decent time with all the distractions around!

  24. Shelley - loved the recap!! I think that's a great time considering all the people. So much people watching too!

    The sign is beautiful too - glad you and Barbara had such a wonderful visit - can't wait to hear more about it and some blog meet ups along the way too - that's not fair! :D

  25. Bout time there was this recap! I've been waiting :D

    Congrats on doing it - that is an amazing thing and to see what fun you had as well! How was running with the camera?

  26. It all sounds like so much fun. I'm glad I didn't attend.
    ;-) Hope your flight home was easy.

  27. Your last paragraph almost has me in tears. You are such an inspiration!
    Kudos to you for getting to the sign before it was done (see how fast you ran!)
    I ran in a Girls on the Run 5k w/ 7,000 runners and lots of stops and maneuverings around people...annoying!
    Loved the pix!

  28. I loved the photos, and I love your blog! What a journey--and thanks for sharing!

  29. So glad you got into the spirit of the day and had a great time! I love all your race recaps.

  30. Shelley that's so awesome!! Thanks for all the pictures what a great race and great time considering the sea of people!

    Great job!!!

  31. Ah! Rollercoasters! Remember when we all went to 6 Flags and you and Jeff forced me to go on rollercoasters and I hated it and screamed and cried the whole time? Boy I must have been a pain. Just wanted you to know I got over it. At about age 35. I went to Valleyfair with my daughter on Sunday and I rode everything and had a ball! Ack! I miss you!


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