Santa Rosa Marathon (#1)

There was very little social media lead up to this event because I had my doubts about finishing. That a DNF was entirely possible given the training the past month and my injury status. So it’s understandable that my friends didn’t know it was my first full marathon!

It’s a pretty phenomenal feat. I am still pinching myself because it feels like it was a dream. It is definitely not something to take lightly and think you can finish without training. Deep respect for the 26.2.

The race started a little below 60 degrees. I started in the back of the pack (at the finish line) and chatted to a couple people as we left the streets of Santa Rosa and entered a park.

I’m delirious when I have to get up at 3am to make it to a 6am start. I started in the back near the finish line.

Along the course, I started talking to a woman who kept leap frogging with me. She was doing intervals too. So I made a new friend, switched to her intervals around mile 6 (90 seconds run/45 seconds walk) and we ran to mile 25 together. It was great to have a distraction from the miles. I bet my mood would have gone south had she not been there to talk to.

The weather was overcast until about mile 24 when the sun started to peak out and it started to feel a little more like 70 degrees.

During the run, my right foot swelled and I had to loosen my shoe. I loosened it 3 or 4 more times and even at its loosest the top big toe joint was still pushing on shoe. My left Achilles starting hurting around mile 14. My back was tight during the run and I stretched it a couple times at aid stations. I did my usual high knee kicks every once in a while to keep things loose.

The course was pretty with all the vineyards around that were pumped full of grapes. It made me very excited to run the Healdsburg Half with my sisters next year when the fall leaves will be turning.
 I had a 1/2 banana on the route, along with my two packs of chews and I drank Gatorade plus a cup of water after mile 20. There was an aid station every 2 miles, which was awesome! I drank water at every aid station except the last one. I started drinking two glasses because I could feel the thirst. In previous races, I never drink at every station and rarely stop at stations to drink for halves. I ate two chews every 2 miles after mile 4. I didn’t use the porta potty along the course.

We slowed at mile 17 then by mile 24 I was pushing the pace again – I was ready for the race to be over! With a blessing from Carla, I took off. Luckily, we had just caught up to her husband so she had company for the last couple miles.

At mile 25, after I had given up hope that I’d see the NP tribe along the course… thinking that they had gone off to brunch with the other finishers. I was on a walk break and fairly tired then I heard someone calling out my name. It took a decent amount of coaxing and two tribe leaders flanking me on both sides to get me to run again. We ran to the finish together and I found my last and final wind.

The photographer at the finish wanted me to raise my hands. It wasn’t going to happen. I was spent.


There was no food at the end. No bagel. No banana. No milk. No foil wrap (not that it was needed). It was all gone except for watermelon and bottled water.

Never try anything new on race day. Except I did.

  • I had oatmeal breakfast cookies, which were similar ingredients to my typical morning meal before a race (additional egg whites and banana).
  • I also wore two pair of socks, the outside layer being compression socks. I’ve never run in compression socks and never doubled up my socks.
  • Also, I pinned snack baggies to the front of my skirt, put my chews inside them and flipped the baggie inside between my underwear and the skirt. This worked out well for grabbing my chews on the go.

Post Race Assessment:

  • I have some sore spots. Some new spots creeped up during the run, but nothing that kept me from completing it.
  • After the race, the right foot, left Achilles and knees received brief ice.
  • My back and groin received ice on the 20 min drive to breakfast.
  • My right knee hurt the most on the drive home – the one stretched out for the gas and brake.

Retrospective:

  • I would change my morning caffeine to decaf. My pee was bright yellow after race and was thirsty half way through the race.
  • Otherwise, I think fueling was decent.
  • Definitely liked the baggies pinned on the front of my skirt. There was one point where it started to chafe my leg but adjusting the baggy fixed it.
  • Having someone to talk to while running the race definitely made it feel like a breeze.

Outfit Report

Fuel Report

  • Morning Of: Oatmeal Breakfast Bars: ½ c oats, 1 banana, 1 tbsp honey, ¼ c blueberries, 2 tbsp slivered almonds, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 2 egg whites. 1 cup cold caffeinated tea
  • During: 2 packages Pro Bar Bolt one with and one without caffeine; water; Gatorade after mile 20 aid stations; 1/2 banana.
  • Right After: Muscle Milk; black grapes.
  • Later after race: gf waffles with peanut butter, almonds, bananas, blueberries and syrup; water.
  • Tried eating but body said NO!: I looked at the picky bar in my bag and decided to forgo it.

Soreness/Injury Report

  • Pre-race Injury: The weekend prior my right calf seized which kept me from running the full mileage the last week.
  • Taped: Both knees, groin, hamstrings, calves, shins with KT tape. The PT put arch supporting tape on both my feet.
  • During: Left achilles, right top of foot, twinges of pain here and there in my right calf and right shin. My back was tight. Toward the end of the race my glutes were burnt out.
  • Post Race: Did not stretch after race.
  • Day after full: Calves were fine and so were shins. Top of right foot was achy and stiff. Left Achilles hurt when wearing shoes. Groin is a little sore. Iced knees and Achilies and top of foot.
  • Two days after race: Bottom of right foot stiff. Left lower IT Band sore. Top of right foot was achy and stiff. Left Groin is a little sore. Achilles and knees were slightly sore. I was feeling phenomenal otherwise, and wanted to go run a couple miles. Iced knees and Achilies and top of foot.
  • Three days after race: My right foot felt like it was being pinched of circulation and that it would go numb at any moment. The PT said my right leg was entirely swollen and did electrodes + ice. I also ice massaged that even and the next day.

Course Elevation

The race directors said it was a flat course; Nike plus said the elevation was 524ft.

Santa Rosa Full Marathon Elevation Map

Santa Rosa Full Marathon Elevation Map

Rock ‘n’ Roll SF Half (#15)

Birthday Half marathon!!

Weather Forecast

The weather was predicted to be the same temperature as yesterday’s race, but I wasn’t going to be fooled. And I was right. Because of the clear night sky overnight, I was quite chilly in the start corral with my sleeves and headband on. At gear drop off for the previous day’s half marathon I knew I wouldn’t need the sleeves even though there was a slight chill in the air. Today, however, I kept them with me!

Race Report

There was a small group of November Project folks who gathered before the start for a photo. I ended up seeing the twins at the end as they walked back up the course with their medals and they called my name out. =)

First hill of the race! I had to pause to get a picture of this. The streets of SF are so dead on Sunday mornings. It was almost eerie. Also, the run crowd for this race were not talkers. Usually there are little conversations going on and there’s a low hum of noise, but this crowd was quiet for the WHOLE race.

Half way through the race, on the other side of Golden Gate Bridge, I was able to pull down my arm sleeves and take off my headband. What a great picture. I love the lone rock in the water.

My friend sprinted the last 1/2 of a mile to the point where it was difficult for me to keep up with her. What an accomplishment! I’m so happy for her and glad she chose to spend my birthday morning with me. Here we are, very happy and tired in front of the courthouse.

I received a handful of happy birthday wishes today, and even more yesterday when I wore this sign. People were so friendly in Livermore.

My new visor is a birthday present from my friend who ran with me and worked out perfectly for the first time wearing it!

Outfit Report

Fuel Report

  • Morning Of: Oatmeal with crasins, almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon; 1 cup hot caffeinated tea with splenda.
  • During: 1 package Pro Bar Bolt without caffeine; water; Gatorade at aid station mile 4 and 10.
  • Right After: Banana; chocolate milk; Zone bar, chocolate mint; Nuun; Sambazon Strawberry Lemon Acai drink;
  • Tried eating but body said NO!: N/A – I did not eat anything that my body revolted at

Soreness/Injury Report

  • Pre-race Injury: Sore calves and back from the half marathon the day before.
  • Taped: Both knees (1 strip each), hamstrings (2 each), groin (1 each), calves (3 each).
  • During: Calf soreness the entire race. Top of right foot hurt (like shoes were too tight).
  • Post Race: Stretched well after the race (thanks to T). Hung out with NP in Hayes, stretched, stayed mobile then commuted home. Took a ice bath after I got home. Knees were swollen and hurt walking down hills and after sitting for long periods. Hung out in Dolores and kept shifting positions. In the evening, iced knees, calves, and back. Calves stiffened after ice (ice for knees, heat for calves?).  Lightly stretched before bed.
  • Day after Half #15 (two days after Half #14): Calves, back, knees were a little stiff in the morning. Sore calves all day long. Knees hurt when going down stairs. Right foot near big toe swollen and hurts when I lift up big toe. Went to PT who massaged calves and said metatarsal is stiff on right foot. She advised to not do any hills for awhile and do easy runs to allow calves time to heal. Strength training is needed for calves.
  • Two days after race #15: Ran slowly for 1/2 mile and walked 1.5 miles. My foot is still hurting and swollen. My calves when warm are not sore. My back still has some soreness.

Course Elevation

Rock n Roll SF Elevation

Livermore Half Marathon (#14)

Birthday Weekend Half Marathons (double trouble)!!

 

The last long run before this race was Monday at a quick clip of 5 .5 miles.  The weather looked cool but at the pre-race warmup, realized that I didn’t need the sleeves because it was on the humid side. Warmer than expected.

 

 

I taped everything because I didn’t want to feel the calf soreness since Monday and didn’t want to strain anything because I am running another 13.1 tomorrow.

After mile 6, I slowed down. It was a warm day, there were hills, there were long stretches, I was tired. But! At mile 12, T was waiting with this sign which fueled the last mile of the race – I did it without stopping to walk.

Goal was under 2:15 and I accomplished it!

My two friends were waiting for me at the finish. So glad to have them with me on my birthday weekend.

Outfit Report

  • Pearl Izumi hat
  • Athleta headband – the next one I get will be from Pearl Izumi
  • Last year’s Livermore #RunLiv premium t-shirt
  • Champion Sports Bra
  • Sports Basement Pace Band tattoo
  • Manzella lightweight Gloves
  • Nike Plus Sport Watch
  • XtremeMac iPhone holder
  • RoadID Slim Wrist band
  • Orange Mud Race belt – This allows for all sizes of bibs without puckering. Also, I love their hydroquiver.
  • Skirt Sport Skirt – the one with the long pocket down the right side, perfect to hold my chapstick close at hand!
  • A standard money belt that you would take traveling to carry Pro Bar Bolts, money, ID, keys, (chapstick), and tissues.
  • Patagonia Active Hipster Briefs
  • Lucy Run Capris – I love that they have reflective strips on both sides!!!
  • Kinesio Tape
  • Injinji toe socks – they just came out with a women’s specific run sock that I can’t wait to try out.
  • Newton Distance U (retired by Newton)
  • Shwings

Fuel Report

  • Morning Of: Oatmeal with crasins, almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon; 1 cup hot caffeinated tea with splenda; nature valley crunchy oat bar.
  • During: 1 pack of Pro Bar Bolts with caffeine; 1/2 package Pro Bar Bolt without caffeine; 1/2 kidz clif bar, chocolate chip; water.
  • After: Banana, Purity Peach, Kidz clif peanut butter protein bar; french fries; fruity drink;
  • Tried eating but body said NO!: Kind bar; Pulled pork; baked beans

Soreness/Injury Report

  • Pre-race Injury: No injury. Sore calves since Monday after 5.5 mile 10 min/mile run.
  • Taped: Both knees, hamstrings, groin, calves.
  • During: Calf soreness @ mile 10.
  • Post Race: Stretched well after the race (Thanks to T). Lunch in Livermore, 1 hr commute home. Took a ice bath after I got home. No stretching or exertion after that.
  • Day after (and before next half marathon): Sore calves. Stiff back in starting corral.
  • Two days after race: See Rock n Roll Half Marathon Report

Course Elevation

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 9.37.36 PM

Golden Gate Trails Half Marathon (#12)

Wow, 12 half marathons in two years. Let’s let that sink in for a bit.

This was my second half marathon trail run and with 2400 feet of elevation gain it was certainly an accomplishment. I was tired for two days after and sore all over. The good kind of sore. No injuries!

Rivers throughout courseDuring the entire race it was either raining, down-pouring or raining with wind that stung like hail. I enjoyed every minute of it. =) The Orange Mud Hydroquiver double barrel was an excellent accouterment for this endeavor.

My calves started to tighten around mile 8 when I’d run the hills so I walked most of them. I didn’t mind the walking because this was a training run for a half in March. You can imagine how happy I was when even with the walking and the weather/trail conditions, I came in under my estimated time of 2:56 (official time 2:51)!

I kept my head in the game and this was the right distraction from life this particular weekend.

After finishing, I couldn’t help but smiling and filling with joy as I walked to the ocean and soaked my legs up to my thighs in the ocean. I mean, how often do you get to go into the ocean fully clothed with shoes and all?! I felt like a kid!

Ocean Ice Bath

In the stall of the bathroom at the restaurant pebbles kept coming out of my shoes and my socks while I changed, which only reminded me of how much fun I just had. Brunch included recovery eggs and potatoes along with a gang of November Project friends.

Before the start, fellow NP

Beer and a bubble epsom salt bath followed at home to round out a fantastic Sunday.

Soreness/Injury Report

  • Pre-race Injury: No injury. Spasming back. Tight hamstrings.
  • Taped: Both knees, hamstrings, calves.
  • During: A couple of times the calves tightened and so I walked. My hamstring was only slightly tight on the run.
  • Post Race: Not much stretching after the race. 5 minutes of soaking in the ocean. 1 hr drive home. Took a salt bath after I got home.
  • Day after: Sore hamstrings, quads, neck, shoulders, back. Calves were a little sore, not bad at all!
  • Two days after race: Sore hamstrings, quads, shoulders.

Golden Gate Trail Coastal Trails Elevation 2015

Woodside Ramble Winter Trail Half Marathon (#11)

The half marathon trail run was great!

It started out arriving about 45 mins early, parking at Huddart Park was not a problem. I stayed bundled up in my winter coat while i collected my bib, it was 47 degrees. I went back and forth about wearing capris with a long sleeve shirt or short sleeve with arm warmers. I went with long sleeved. While standing in the small corral about 4 mins before the gun, I decided to run back to the car (which was close) to switch out to warmer gloves because my fingers were turning white (I have raynaud’s).

The race started and it was single file on the very very narrow trail for 1 mile. Then it opened up and I was able to slow my pace. People were passing me but I didn’t care, I wasn’t going for a particular time. The forest was beautiful, with pine needles on the path and mossy trees. Lots of redwoods and redwood smells.

The elevation was a climb for 4 miles, an ungulated trail for 5 miles with an aid station toward the middle then a decline for 4 miles back to the start/finish. The aid station had all types of food: boiled potatoes, bananas, PB&J sandwiches, M&Ms, Clif Bars, Clif shots, potato chips, coke, mountain dew, and electrolytes.

The climb was tough, lots of walking, my heart rate was up to 168 while running uphill. On the downhill, it was a good recovery from the tough climb (140 BPM). My watch said 11 miles and I texted my trail buddy who was waiting at the finish to let her know the estimate time of finish. I was feeling great and ready to tackle the last two miles (and then some!) Then at mile 11.5 a sign said “Finish!” with an arrow. WFT?! Right around the bend was…. the finish! I didn’t run fast to it, I was confused and honestly didn’t want it to end.

I had estimated a finish time of 2:56 and came in at 2:50. I went to map the route on mapmyrun to find out what it says because it didn’t feel like 13 miles and it mapped out at 12.2 miles. The entire race was fun and had lively conversation because I was running with my weekday running buddy who has now been turned onto trail running because of me. He signed up for this race after we ran around this park as a training run a few weeks back.

It was a small race with a small budget. There were no mile markers on the course. The race medal was the same for the 50k, 35k, half marathon and 10k distances. The race premium was a red long sleeved technical tee with christmas trees on the back. At the finish they had the same goodies as they did on the trail, plus a plethora of chips (including veggie), chocolate milk, apple pie, christmas cookies, cupcakes, and salsa.

I came home and took a salt bath. My back is the only thing hurting and has been bothering me for the past three weeks. I’m going to my PT tomorrow about it. I’m pretty dehydrated and need nutritious food.

Soreness/Injury Report

  • Pre-race Injury: No injury. Tight back (not due to running). Tight right hip flexor.
  • Taped: Both knees.
  • During: A couple of twinges in the calves. My hip flexor has been tight and was tight on the run.
  • Post Race: Stretched after the race. 1 hr drive home. Took a salt bath then wore compression sleeves after I got home.

RunOak Half Marathon (#8)

Back on the running band wagon, or so I thought.

The 10 miler went well, since I had a running buddy who kept me at a 12 min/mile pace and I stuck to the 2 min run/ 1.5 min walk strategy. I used the same strategy for this half marathon and stayed with the 2 hr 30 min pace group for the first 7 miles doing my run walk, which kept me at a comfortable 11:26 pace. At the hill I pulled forward as everyone slowed and then raced down the hill.

After the hill I spotted two women wearing matching shirts and I recognized the design of the shirts as the same company that my two sisters and I just bought our matching shirts from for the October half we are doing together. I asked them if they found the shirts to be comfortable and they both said yes. Then they continued to talk to me. They stopped to refill their water bottles while I passed up the aid station and surged forward. They caught up to me though and started chatting again.

I’ve made some new friends and we plan to go running in Marin on some trails soon so they can train for their 50k endurance trail race.

My calves were sore right after the Saturday race and so was both groins. It was Tuesday when I went for the first run that I noticed my right groin was indeed injured. I’m sad, frustrated and confused. This is the opposite groin that was injured last time.

Questions circling to find the cause, overtraining? Yes. Running down hill during the half? According to the last runners world magazine, running downhill creates elongated quad muscles and micro tears so probably contributed. Lack of stretching? Maybe.

I had taken care between the 10 miler and half by running short distances and continuing the longer walk breaks. I think my competitiveness came out and was the ultimate cause.

Now to skip my long run this weekend and rest till this groin injury is over because I don’t want a repeat of this spring where it lead to SI pain. I have a PT apt scheduled for the day I return from vacation.

Soreness/Injury Report

  • Pre-race Injury: No major pain, even the mid-back pain I had had weeks earlier had subsided
  • Taped: Both knees.
  • During: both groin soreness mile 4-13. Calves a medium soreness mile 4-13.
  • Post Race: Stretched a little while waiting in line with friends, cool breeze. Both groin low pain, calf soreness, wore compression sleeves when I got home.
  • Day after: walked 18 holes of hilly golf. Aleve all day. Groin pain was low, and calf soreness low – just a few awkward steps after waking up.
  • three days after race: went for a run and only got .5 mile before realizing it was an injury and not soreness.

Sunnyvale 10 miler (10 miler series)

I signed up for this 10 miler because it was a series of three and I had run the first one. The second one was canceled due to low entrants and I was grateful because I was nursing an SI/groin injury.

It was a surprising morning because L’s afternoon tee time meant that he could run the 10 miler with me and I jokingly told him if he could run 10 miles untrained and the carry a golf bag 18 holes, that I could walk the golf course with him after too. And that’s what we did! I think the walking may have helped the recovery.

He paced me and we stuck to my 2 min run / 1.5 min walk strategy. We finished strong and then drove down to the golf course.

I had no soreness or injury from this run.

Livermore Half Marathon (#7)

Number 7, wow. And Half Marathon #1 was just a little over a year ago.

This was the inaugural event of this half, and is put on the same organizers of the SF US half. They are also planning an Oakland Half, which will be the second for that city.

The Livermore Half Marathon expo was the night before the Saturday race. The expo was on the green outside a theater and quite small 9 booths. The town of Livermore is quaint, with some pretty good looking restaurants. It’s set in a lesser known wine country of the SF bay area.

I knew this would be a nice race even though I was injured and on tired legs because it was my birthday and was just for fun, but I had no idea how wonderful it would end up. I had an unexpected running buddy which kept me motivated and was the sole reason for my steady negative splits.

I made sure to start out slow among the chaos of runners unguided by pace/corral markers. I did my usual run walk which meant I was running on the sidewalk a lot because running in the angled part of the street near the gutter is less than stellar, but that changed by mile 3.5 when the course turned into a park with a pedestrian only path.

There were meadows upon meadows. So pretty. I made sure to take in the moments – to be present and look around. There were a number of small hills through many vineyards, which made the course interesting. The route wound past a golf course with a hole named “Lombard” after the famous crooked street in SF.

The final few miles were back in the city. Looking to the left I could see the tents for the after party, the shoot and where I’d double back to cross the finish line. I was so happy to have completed this on such tired legs and with an injury. As I rounded one of the last corners, I saw the 2:30 pace group waving people to pass them. They were way out in front of their time and were holding back so they would cross at the correct time. I couldn’t believe I’d come in around 2:30! I had been running without feedback from my Nike+ app on purpose (this was a fun run), so I really had no idea what my time would be and was expecting something closer to 2:40-2:45. What a nice birthday surprise.

There were very few people clapping and cheering on the people who were finishing, it was extremely odd but that didn’t stop me from having a huge smile on my face because I was about to finish.

I turned around, after getting my medal, to wait for and cheer on someone I had chatted with on the course. As I was passing her around mile 10, a friend of her’s called her name from the sidelines, so I said “Good job, Jesse”, asked if this was her first half, it was. She was probably 14-16 years old. As she neared the finish line, I called her name and cheered her on, then walked over to hear and congratulated her. She said she enjoyed the experience.

Another birthday delight was having my favorite donut, blueberry cake, after the race, free with race entry, along with champaign. I had checked a gear bag with two shirts like last time and boy were they needed. There was no rain during the race, but the wind picked up and the sweat was chilling me as I stretched and sipped champaign.

There were aid stations every other mile, which was the perfect amount to keep my palette wet. I had oatmeal in the morning, and only Bolt chews during the race. The after party was in the middle of town, which left little space to sit to stretch and no space that would have been soft enough for some stretches. I bet next year it will be better organized and I’d certainly do it again, especially if it’s the weekend of my birthday.

Soreness/Injury Report

  • Pre-race Injury: Left groin pull. Both calves were sore the days leading up to the race due to race the previous Sunday. The day before the race the left calf was feeling fresh, but the right was still sore. Tight Achilles/planter facia (more on left than right).
  • Taped: Both knees, groin.
  • During: Tylenol and Aleve. Left hamstring tightness mile 0-10. Left groin pull mile 0-4. Calves a medium soreness the entire route.
  • Post Race: Stretched at home, then ice bath within 4 hours of the race and continued with Tylenol. Left groin pull low pain, right calf soreness more significant than left but both were mild after the ice bath.
  • Day after: Aleve all day. Ice bath in the afternoon after foam rolling. Soreness in the back. Calves more sore after foam rolling and ice bath. Groin pain was low, and only when twisting would it hurt.

Oakland Running Festival Half Marathon (#6)

Training for this race started mid-December on the Jeff Galloway 12 week training plan. I ran consistently 3x per week, even if I didn’t do the speed work. This race was a personal best, but it also had moments of enlightenment. GlycemicIndex

Fueling

Pre race fuel included a number of items on the glycemic index chart with a low index (Sweet potatoes, apples, yogurt, pear) throughout the day, along with some carbs and protein for the morning meal (so it would be digested by the next day). I avoided salty foods because of what happened last time. The number of low glycemic items off this chart was sufficient, but could be improved next time. [AREA OF IMPROVEMENT]

I stopped all ibuprofen the day before race day, and instead iced and used compression on my injuries. I walked quite a bit 4+ miles the day before, and perhaps next time, I can manage my day a little better to reduce the time on my feet.

Race Day

Race day morning included the typical long run breakfast of oatmeal, cranberries, almonds, 1 tbsp brown sugar and cinnamon right after waking up and then nature valley crunch oat bars about 15 minutes before the race started. I had a few sips of tea shortly after waking and could feel the effects of the caffeine so then drank some water to make up 8-9 oz of water per my usual routine. Since this was a race for a decent time, I pulled out the Pro Bar Bolts that contain caffeine (my usual LSD include Pro Bar Bolts without caffeine) and two tylenol (I’ve been battling headaches this week). After a double check of the muni schedule and BART schedule, I set off across the bay with gear bag in hand.

20140324-093726.jpgThis was the first time checking gear. There was no line when I arrived 1 hour before the start but then 15 mins before the start had to wait. Tip about how to secure the gear check bag tag – take the square solid end and wrap it around the string on the bag, then pull the square solid end into the hole on the other end (first enlightening moment of the day).

Gear check is certainly nice. No carrying of articles on the course like post-race fuel, gloves or a jacket. The most important thing I packed was a jacket AND a long sleeved shirt for post-race. I was grateful for the second third layer. In addition, my calf sleeves, sunglass holder, tylenol and advil, tissues, food, and an electrolyte post-recovery drink were brought along. Enlightening Moment Number 2: Utilize the gear check.

Race Report

My sister mentioned that going against the advice of “start out slow” will result in a faster end time and of course I wanted to try this theory, so I aimed for the 2:00 pace group, which would shave 11 mins of my personal best. I figured aim high, but not unrealistic. From the one experience at the SD half, the pace groups start out at about the same pace that they end with or so I thought – read on. I’ve contemplated a lot that perhaps I’m just not pushing myself enough, that I’m holding back. So this time, I wasn’t going to hold myself back as much to see what I could accomplish and if I failed, I was going to fail big.

I certainly remember every mile of this race – every three minutes of running for one minute of walking – and it went something like this:

  1. Great! I am right on the tail of the 2:00 pace group for the crowded first .5 miles. They should really have a wave start for this race – Do I even like this course anymore? Maybe I will skip this one next year. Can’t believe my nike watch didn’t sync to GPS in time, should I start it now? Nah, I should have enough phone battery for the app I started on my phone.
  2. I’m still within view of the 2:00 pace group. This will be an intense run, I’m breathing heavier than a LSD. That’s to be expected since I’m going for time. Can I do this for 11.1 more miles? Yes, I can do it.
  3. No groin pain! Just passed a wheel chair bound person being pushed – go team Ari! Ok, creepy dude who just nudged and winked at me, I hope I don’t see you again.
  4. The 2:00 pace group is long gone, but my Nike+ is still boasting a 9:30 pace – Sweet!
  5. I see a pace group with 9:54 pace, but what finish time does that translate to? I can’t do the math, focusing on running. TURN THE SIGN AROUND! Darn, they are too far for me to see without my glasses.
  6. This S turn at mile 6 is familiar, I walked at this point last year. Oh that was the 2:10 pace group, what? That doesn’t make sense because I’m averaging 9:30. Creepy dude tried to say we were twins because he is wearing a marroon shirt and I’m wearing fuchsia – Yes they are both a shade of purple, but not even close to the same and please stop interacting with me, at this point, I don’t have breath to socialize with you.
  7. I’m doing 9:36 average pace. Damn, slipping, but still faster than my PB, just hold this pace. My legs feel like lead when I’m going slower and shuffling, but if I focus on form, increase my stride and lean (which in turn, I go faster) I feel like I’m exerting less effort. Enlightening Moment Number 3: Practice speed. There is the bronze/copper arch – smile for the camera on the other side!
  8. 9:39 pace WTF! You can do this, just focus on form on every run segment. I MUST catch up to the 2:10 group before the next walk break. Remember, you do have walk break so KEEP RUNNING. What? The 2:10 pace group just said they’ve been going a minute fast and will need to ease up – WTF, aren’t they supposed to be PACING!
  9. Oh crap a random camera person while I’m walking, better run then take my walk break after I pass him. I LOVE howling in tunnels. I haven’t been thanking nearly enough volunteers on this course, I will make up for it next Saturday.
  10. There are lots of people cheering, can’t take a walk break here. Hey, where is the photo setup for the photo taken from above with the painting on the ground as the backdrop, that was a cool photo last year. There’s the lake, just a 5K left – You can do this, no, you ARE going to do this.
  11. I remember they position a camera person at the top of the hill by the gazebo, can’t take a walk break till after! Smile!
  12. Just one more walk break and then I’m done. Ok, maybe 1.5 walk breaks, I can still see the 2:10 pace group. Another camera guy!? Don’t think about the hill, don’t think about the hill.
  13. Am I even moving? Where is my friend? Curse this hill. Ahh – up and over. Oh cool! I heard my name over the loud speaker! Where is my friend?

After running a hard race like this, my preference is to take life slow, grab food, water, stretch, then obtain wine, and find a sunny spot to continue stretching, do some people watching, eat and just rest. I realized this because my LSD running buddy showed up and I felt the need to entertain… to “do” instead of just pulling up a green sunny patch of earth and resting, which is all I really wanted – well that and a bag of cheetos. Enlightening Moment Number 4: Hard effort races require downtime after the race so solo is best unless that person just ran that hard effort with you.

I appreciate her coming all the way to see me, but I failed to have the energy to be the engaging friend (I took the tactic of asking her a bunch of questions so she did most of the talking). After a stretch and obtaining my two glasses of wine we wandered around the after party before leaving for lunch in the city.

I probably didn’t drink enough water on the course or after because I didn’t use the restroom till about an hour after the race, and even then I didn’t have to go urgently. Yeah, my post-race fueling was not A+. I should have drank the bottle of water they provided after the race – I only had the cup of gatorade they handed out at the finish. If I had rested and hung out instead of entertained, I may have thought to drink once I came to my senses and regained feeling in my body. I did get some carbs within 30 mins but probably should have eaten more than just the kidz clif bar. [AREA OF IMPROVEMENT] OaklandHalfMarathon2014RouteOaklandHalfElevation2014

Soreness/Injury Report

Quite happy with no back pain or knee pain post race! So aside from my groin injury, I’d say that I’ve had the least amount of post-race soreness. The lack of back pain, I attribute to the simple back stretches I started doing three days prior to race day. My feet (facia) had sharp pains at time, the days leading up so I wore compression socks for a few hours during the night the night before the race and also wore my compression tights the night before the race for 3-4 hours. Perhaps those helped with the delayed soreness of the calves during the run.

  • Pre-race Injury: Left groin pull.
  • Taped: Both knees, groin.
  • During: Left groin pull and calves around mile 9-10 but otherwise great beforehand.
  • Post Race: Left groin pull is significant, right calf soreness more significant than left.
  • Day after: Soreness in the core, back and calves. Groin pain was intense but Tylenol helped

Do you take notice and smile for the cameras, why or why not? Yes, even though I typically don’t purchase the photos, smiling provides a subconscious boost to your energy and mental state.