The Santa Cruz Half Marathon

Apr 1, 2012

A last minute decision by me (the April Fool, it turned out) to try this one. It was Dave D's final race as a 40-something, and Buzz was doing the race timing, and I knew I'd see other friends out there. Spectacular surf pounding the coast, which we ran next to for many miles. What's not to look forward to on a sunny Spring Sunday morning in paradise? Well, I'd smashed my toe a few days earlier (yup, same toe, same way, same time last year) and thought it might be broken (like last year). Turns out that my toe wasn't going to be the problem...

I parked a half mile from the start, which was at the Boardwalk.

Psoas stretch; too little, too late

Alas, I never know when my left psoas issue will jump out at me like a scary Jack-in-the-box in a race. Sometimes not till mile 10, sometimes at mile 2, once even - not at all! Could I dare to hope? Could I dare to hope to run a full 13.2 mile half marathon w/o my hip hobbling me at some point? DARE I?? No, not even. No way. It was mile 3 that I started to feel it. I almost stopped, but thought - what the hell; I know what'll happen. It'll hurt, I'll slow down, but it'll plateau somewhere, and I'll ice it immediately e.g. the North Face Half in '11. And by the end of the day I'll look back with great memories and another adventure to share. Well, it didn't quite play out that way. It did occur to me that hip problems kicking in at mile 3 was the earliest ever for such a long race, and that might make for more than average suffering. But I made the commitment to finish it. The next 8 miles were quite painful, and the last 2 miles were worse. My psoas bursa must've been really swollen, because it made no difference if I walked or if I ran. No difference if I stopped to stretch it or I did not. So I "ran". I commisserated with Katherine Beiers from mile 7 to 8, then she slowly pulled ahead as my hip swelled. Met cute Marta from the SC Masters Swim too, and was embarrassed for her to see me looking so wretched out there at mile 12. Oh well.

Dave can look forward to age'ing up beginning Tuesday. Congratulations!

I manage a grimace.

I crossed the finish line on the sand at the Dream Inn at 2:43:46, which was only 12 minutes worse than at the Folsom Half last October. I do feel in better shape, and didn't come close to being winded at any point. I was pain-limited in my left psoas pure and simple. Got the ice bag on it in the medical tent immediately, but it didn't help this time. It's 4 hours later now, as I write this, and continuous ice and 2 ibuprofens and 2 acetominaphens have brought the pain down from a 10 to maybe 9. All in all, I wish I'd stayed in bed! I might be paying for this one for a while. What to do? I just have to stretch even more. And ice while I'm stretching. Purely psoas stretches. Hours per week, always with ice. Otherwise, I may never solve this. Each time I think I've got the upper hand and relax a bit on the regime, I pay for it next time.

Dave has had a low grade virus for the past 1-2 weeks and wasn't in top form. But still did a 1:29, and almost cracked top 10 in his age group, which is a huge group. Over 3,000 runners for the Half, I heard. There were a vast number of runners out there. This race attracts people from all over. It's a perfect tune up for Boston, which is in two weeks.

During the race, I had a Gu, a 16oz bottle of sports drink, and a 5hr Energy. But lack of energy was never my problem.

Glad it's over, and look forward to knocking out this inflamed psoas pain - today I desperately hope! Over and out...