Sunday, September 2, 2012

Just 2 Females...Alone...

So, it started with an online coupon offer for 50% off of the race entry for the Dirt Inspires Half-Marathon in Aptos. I put the call out to friends on Facebook to see who would like to take advantage of the savings...and split the cost of gas and room in the Santa Cruz area. As luck would have it, my friend Lauren, who had publicly announced her goal to do a 5K every month this year, answered the call. And, as luck would have it, by the time I got around to registering, the coupon offer was full.

Well, Lauren was already registered for the 8 miler so I sucked it up and paid full price for my entry and began the search for a cheap reasonably priced hotel for us to share. After reading Yelp reviews and narrowing down the search to hotels that didn't require a 2-night minimum stay I sent a link to Lauren and asked what she thought of Pelican Point Inn. Granted, looking at the pictures and room layouts I was a bit worried that she may think I was trying to whisk her away to some romantic beach front get-away but, they did offer 2 beds (rather than sharing one king) and they had only one room available for the Saturday night we needed. Little did I know she didn't even look at the link when she sent back the "okay".


I'll admit, the week prior to the race I was trying to back out of it...but Lauren was on a mission and had to get a 5K+ in before the end of the month. Plus, the inn already had my credit card number so it's not like I was going to save any money by not going. Saturday morning afternoon late afternoon {ahem} we headed to our lovely little inn armed with freshly made smoothies {thanks Lauren} and 90's tunes. Somewhere in Milpitas we missed an exit (see Getting Lost blog entry) and took advantage of this "accidental adventure" by getting Starbucks.

Then, on the dreaded Highway 17, we came to stand still. Up ahead...a Car-B-Q keeping us from our beachy destination {and a damned cocktail}. Slowly we inched towards Santa Cruz...passed a burned out VW Van (how sad!!) and drove towards the smell of salt water to our charming sanctuary...that strangely enough, resembled a MOTEL. A motel next to a taquaria...

Umm, there must be some mistake. The pictures on line looked like a little bed-n-breakfast kind of place...cutesy and quaint. was already past 7pm and we weren't about to head home so we checked the office...which was closed. I called the number taped to the door and a nice lady, who apparently had a hard time hearing me after I spelled my name 4 times and finally yelled into the phone "There are no men with us...just two females...alone" (smart, right??), told me we must be in room #4 and the key was {she gave me the secret location} and to have a good night.

Bizarre...there's no other way to describe the room...and really, that may be too soft of a word. The walls were barren except for the garish high gloss paint. The "second bed" was an old hospital roll-away...and it was in the living room...near the kitchenette. The furniture was mismatched and just kind of odd. There was a big empty shelf-less bookshelf acting as a "closet" near the door and another empty bookshelf acting as a headboard for the single bed. The bedroom was even creepier due to the lack of pictures. Strange cornice window treatments adorned the 2 windows and looked completely out of place. But the kitchenette and bathroom were well appointed with new appliances and granite counters.

Santa Cruz Harbour Beach
A quick search online confirmed there was no vacancy anywhere nearby...and besides, I would be charged for the room anyway, so we decided to make the most of it. We headed down the street to find some dinner and low-and-behold, the beach was literally right around the corner. We dined at The Crow's Nest, upstairs at the bar and grill, and had a great meal watching the sunset over the water. Amazing location and the bartender made me my first ever Classic Daiquiri {thanks Pink of Perfection}.

Classic Daiquiri at The Crow's Nest
Although we were a little shocked with our accommodations, the location was pretty awesome. About a block away was the best liquor store ever that was stocked full of every alcohol I've never even heard well as fancy popcorn. But, we were there only for water, coconut water and gum...staying hydrated for the big run the next morning.

After the best night of sleep in a long time (dang that little hospital bed was comfy) Lauren (who didn't sleep) and I headed to Aptos grabbing some coffee and oatmeal at the Starbucks in town and on to The Forest of Nisene Mark State Park for the race. Beautiful weather and scenery...a run on a pine needle covered was heaven. Well, except for the huge hills and technical trails along the way.

One of the four stream crossings during the Dirt Inspired Half-Marathon.
It really was a fantastic crossings and towering sunglasses needed on this run! I ended up running the last half of the race with 2 local ladies (I think it was Karen and Kristine) who kept me motivated and encouraged me to keep going. I did suffer some Achilles cramping in my right leg and walked for a few minutes near mile 11 but I caught up with the ladies and we finished strong (thanks for the downhill finish Dirt Inspires!!).

Lauren had finished her 8 miles ahead of me so we met back up and headed to Zachary's for a huge celebratory meal and then went back to the beach for a little recovery before heading home. Yes, we got a little turned around again on the way home...and yes, it resulted in Starbucks again...don't judge.

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