Yesterday, my friends (who I will cleverly name "R", "S", and "T") and I ran Wharf to Wharf, a 6 mi run between the cute beach towns of Santa Cruz and Capitola. It's a pretty popular race with 15,000 runners and sells out every year.
I don't often get the chance to run with my friends so that was a nice thing about this one. Also, there were lots of entertainment along the sidelines with different bands, cheerleaders, etc. The views of the ocean were also nice as well.
Despite all that, I don't plan to run this one again. For one, it was super hot. The race started at 8:30AM and the sun was already out and about, brightly shining down on us for the entire race. I don't really enjoy running in the heat (which is one of the reasons I like doing my long training runs up in SF, where it's a lot cooler) so it wasn't the most comfortable. Thank goodness for some of the local residents along the route who sprayed all the runners with their water hoses. But apparently, the hot weather was not typical and usually the weather is much cooler.
The biggest drawback for me? The crowds! I expected it to be pretty congested for the first mile or so (especially when you start toward the end of the pack like we did) but it was crowded for the entire 6 mile route!!! I spent most of the race strategically planning how to weave around the people in front of me. I think there were only a few moments when I actually had more than three feet of open space in front of me. End result? Finishing times: Official = 1:09, Audrey's watch = 1:04.
So that was the race part. But the fun doesn't end there. :) Because you start in Santa Cruz and finish in Capitola, most runners (like us) park at Santa Cruz and then the race provides shuttle busses to take you from Capitola back to the start - but only if you are registered and had a bib. Well, "R" wasn't registered so the plan was that the registered ones would take the bus back, get the car, and then pick up "R" over in Capitola. With the race stuff going on, we assumed they wouldn't be able to pick him up right at the end of the race, so "R" decided to start walking back toward Santa Cruz so that the other guys could pick him up along the way once they had the car. Well, I didn't want "R" to have to walk by himself, so I decided to join him. We wouldn't have to walk too far, right? Maybe a mile or two, maybe? Just wait.
With our plan in place, me and "R" start heading back to Santa Cruz, using the street roads since the race course was still super crowded. "S" and "T" were off to go wait in line for the shuttle bus. So "R" and I are walking for a little bit, maybe half hour or so (keeping in mind, it's still hot out and we just ran 6 miles) and "R" decides to check in with the other team. Did they get on the bus yet? No. They had made a stop at some house party at the beach first. *insert dead silence here* I'm sorry, what??? In their defense, they claim they were only there for 5 minutes which later became 15 minutes which later became "S" claiming that she had to force "T" and a fifth party (who is only unidentified because I don't know him well him enough to blast him on my blog) to leave the party. In any case, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that they weren't partying it up the entire time "R" and I were walking down Capitola Rd in the blazing sun. I sure hope they weren't cooling off with margaritas while "R" and I have to stop at a local gas station to get our own refreshments (him Gatorade, me Propel) and snacks. Anyway, I digress.
I wish I had noted the times on my watch when we first left because I really don't know how long we actually walked. All I know is that everytime we checked in, they still weren't on the frickin' bus! So I'll cut to the chase since this post is already wicked long. Not only did "R" and I get to the car first, we beat them by at least a half hour!!! Apparently, the line for the shuttle busses were ridiculously long - like the kind you see at theme parks. Hey Wharf to Wharf planners - get your act together!!!
So let's see, "R" and I have now run 6 miles and walked another 6 miles. Let's not forget that I had just done a 10 mi run the day before and "R" was severely sleep deprived (I won't say why - but if you really want to know, click here). I won't speak for him, but I was tired and really just wanted to head home, take a shower, and take a nap. But instead, we parked ourselves on a sidewalk corner and continued to wait. "S" had the keys to the car.
Finally! "S" and "T" plus unidentified fifth party (now to be named UFP) arrive in Santa Cruz. They wanted to have lunch in downtown Santa Cruz. OK, fine. Plans were made that they would come meet us at the car and we would drive over to downtown. We wait. We check on their status. We find out they were already at the restaurant. Apparently, we misunderstood. Although the bus drop off seemed to be equal distance from the car as well as downtown, they decided to head downtown. I guess that wouldn't be a big deal, except that meant "R" and I were walking the half mile or so to get there now - walking again? Oh joy!!!
To no surprise, my mood greatly improved once I got some food and drinks in my system. After lunch, "S" and "T" were delegated to go retrieve the car and pick us up. They left while we finished our drinks and took care of the bill. After awhile, we got bored and started walking in their direction. We finally stopped and sat at this corner while we waited for them to pick us up. After several minutes passed, UFP wondered aloud, "Where are they?"
"R" and I just busted out laughing.