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.
- 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.