Wharf to Wharf is a 6 mile point to point race starting at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz winding and hugging the coastline to Capitola. I call it a mini Rock n Roll as there are many bands playing on route along with cheerleaders and excited spectators!
Forward Motion took on Wharf to Wharf by storm with approximately 30 athletes. I awoke at crack o’ dawn to prepare myself for race day. Fortunately I was able to stay in San Jose the night before making the drive to Santa Cruz a little shorter. Starting the day off with a ‘can’t miss’ cup o’ tea while munching on half a whole wheat English muffin with almond butter/banana. Thinking that should be more then enough for a 6 mile race!
Dressed in my FOMO kit & Flynit Nike shoes I’m ready for business – let the fun begin. I make the drive along windy route 17 to Santa Cruz with Rosaura by my side! Route 17 is busy but not enough to slow us down until we get close to the exit. Then the driving became a crawl but thankfully not for long. I find parking across from the shuttle busses. Making sure camera, ID and Chomps are packed in a fanny pack I board the shuttle bus with other excited participants the short drive to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
Stood inline for the potty for what seemed like forever – I then make my way through the crowds to the Elite Corral – only to find the Elites have their own set of potties!! Note taken for next year! In the Corral I meet up with other excited FOMO athletes when out comes the camera for some fun group shots. After warming up for 15 min’s it’s time to enter the corral. Throughout the morning on my mind has been making Top 100 – why do you think? Well – there are no age group awards in this race – it’s purely the top 100 women & 100 men whom cross the finish line first that receive the prestigeous Wharf to Wharf Top 100 Finisher jacket!! Luck was on my side the past 3 years I have ran W2W and only just made the top 100 finishing either high 80’s or 90’s.
The gun goes off and so do I only taking about 7 sec’s to cross the start line. Play your own game Diane I say to myself. Winding along the route I feel good/strong taking on the rolling hills passing a few women and wondering if I’m going to make the top 100. Bands are playing and entertaining me along the route as well as enthusiastic crowds cheering. There’s a variety of rolling hills – just enough to keep your legs awake & heart rate pumping! Two more miles to go and still feeling strong but something happens around mile 5. With one mile to go I start to struggle and see myself slip back as a few women pass me by that I had passed earlier. Did I go out too fast – no it had been negative splits until then. I start to prepare myself that I just may not this time make the top 100 women and say it’s OK there’s always next year. Not too far down though I know I would be upset and disappointed with myself if I truly didn’t make top 100. I also felt it was expected of me to place being an Ambassador!
The last quarter mile to Capitola is downhill to the finish – easy one would think but I still struggle to gain momentum and take advantage of the hill. Generally I’m proud of my finish kick – not today. With about 29 yrds to go I hear Robert call my name – usually a boost but I cross the finish line with just enough energy to take my placement card and stop my watch!! Feeling weak and not able to take another step I’m ushered to the First Aid tent to recover. Taking a good 10 minutes of heavy breathing & feeling light headed and after a few sips of apple juice the breathing gradually comes back to normal and I’m able to stand without swaying!! Finally looking at my watch I see it’s a PR for that course – happy I look at my card to see I’m female 66 – YAY I made top 100 females!
Rosaura and I make our way to collected our Top 100 Finisher jackets – itching to put it on but twinkling (sweat!) all over my body I use better judgement and place it in my bag!!
Down to the beach where I meet up with numerous other Forward Motion athletes – and fun group photos are taken. After congratulating everyone it’s up the hill with the crowds to the shuttle bus back to Santa Cruz. The line snakes to the busses – no wait at all really. Once onboard it’s all happy chatter.
Rosaura and I head out of Santa Cruz as quickly as possible to avoid the traffic jam – heading to Los Gatos is a smooth ride as we beat the rush. Stopping in Los Gatos we find Gilley’s Coffee Shoppe – a quaint diner. Soon to join us were seven other FM friends (Paul, Michael, Kristin, Sheila, Michael, Alex, John).
A delightful brunch to finish off the day. Will Wharf to Wharf be on my calendar next year? You betcha!!