I ran the 36th annual Wharf to Wharf on the 26th of July. I managed to PR the course running 33:26 for the 6 miles (splits 5:36, 5:39, 5:45, 5:30, 5:38, 5:18). Probably more due to the good, cool conditions and better pacing than any great increases in fitness from the previous year. It seems nailing your pace in the first mile is critical in these mass participation races (15,000 in the case of the Wharf to Wharf). If you go out too fast you can fall into the trap of getting carried along with runners too fast for you until you realize you have nothing left for the back half of the race. I found running a preparation race, the Firecracker 10k, a few weeks before and doing some pace running over the first part of the course prior to the event really helped.
Tricoachmartin athlete Rohanna ran a 3 minute PR but was unable to crack the Top 100 (who win a special edition wind breaker). Goal for next year.
The following Friday was The Core Run Swim Run, one of the funnest races I've done. Basically you run along the beach at low tide from Santa Cruz Wharf to Capitola Wharf (Map) until you reach a cliff or a harbour and have to swim. It was even better this year because of some gnarly surf conditions. Although, I wasn't quite paying attention on the first swim and was a little late getting under a wave and got thrown back with such force I lost my swim cap but somehow kept my googles. I was pacing with Reto Waeffler, former pro triathlete, luckily for me recovering from illness. We stayed together until I showed his some Aussie surf skills pulling a wave to shore on the 2nd swim. But we were both smacked by a couple of young swimmers leaving me with 3rd place. The race was great value: well supported out on the water, free burrito breakfast and I won a pair of garish sunglasses that I knew my wife wouldn't let me keep and are now selling on Ebay!
After a day recovery it was time for my 3rd attempt at the Sandman Triathlon that I won in 2006 and came 3rd last year after puncturing. Chris Partin who had beat me on Friday put a big lead into me during a long choppy swim. After passing female pro, Linda Gallo, shortly into the bike I was on my own, riding solo, through the 15 mile bike. Once on the sand I saw Chris again for the first time since the swim. He had about 40 seconds on me. I was able to erase all but 8 of them to finish second and dropped to the sand on my face. The race wasn't without contraversy and it is one of those races that needs to move with the times a bit. ie. get chip timing so splits can be taken and get some decent prizes (see my plastic lobster trophy) are a couple of things that spring to mind. It's all very well to run races as fund raisers but you still have to get the people in or you don't have a race. Which would be a shame because the course is a great one.