February 16, 2016

SF Kaiser Half Race Report (with Bonus Olympic Trials Reporting)

Happy Valentine's Day SF Embarcadero Arrow!
Saturday AM, I watched the US Olympic trials with Jen and Cat because somehow, despite being overworked and egregiously tired, Jen saw my tweet asking if anyone wanted company to watch the trials and confirmed that I could invite myself over she could host us if we were willing to come to her.

Little known fact about BT -- I *love* watching sports.  I am a dedicated sports spectator and I don't really care what the sport is.  The Olympics *destroy* my productivity.  Same for the World Cup.  UFC.  Weightlifting.  Martial Arts.  Boxing.  Track and Field.  American Football.  Baseball.  Basketball.  Gymnastics & Diving (duh!).  Same for just about any physically demanding sporting event.  I just love watching the human body do cool things (and all the drama and dedication and whatnot that I know goes into it just makes it that much better for me).

So, watching the US marathon trials with fellow running lovers and cheering on the hard work (and crying, hopefully discreetly, at powerful finishes) was a great way to spend the Saturday AM before my first half marathon in 7 months.   Also, I think I'm going to go try to watch in person next time.  I was super jealous of the folks who were there.

Take home points:

1. Desi is the best pacer ever.  She is a metronome and smart and disciplined and remains my run-your-own race idol.

2. Amy and Shalane have a strong friendship and watching their emotional bond and Shalane's competitiveness visibly overcome the physicality of heat exhaustion to get Shalane over the finish line and make the Olympic team was inspirational teamwork at its best.

3. Kara Goucher is back!  That performance was nothing short of awesome, particularly admitting that she pretty much knew she wasn't likely to make the team from mile 22 on and yet she kept pushing to do her absolute best.  Gutsy and brave showing.  I'm so excited to see what she does in the 10K.  I have a good feeling!  (And, I was so sad for her, too.) 

4. Meb is the epitome of what the sport and humanity has to offer.

5. Galen Rupp's bouncing necklace would drive me nuts!

After the trials, E & I and a bunch of friends contributed to the Deadpool box office route, then I made lentil soup and drank lots of tea before bed. Sunday AM everything went according to plan.  I got up on time, drove to my usual Kaiser SF parking spot, took the bus to the start, used the portajohns, and started back a minute or so.

They call it the Sunset District for a reason...Dinner with Friends on Monday.
 I'd set some modest goals, and I showed up ready to do my best.  Jen had reminded me that the course has some nice downhills and that I should be ready to take advantage of them, because they are fun, so I did.

Miles 1-3: Average pace 10:53/mile.  I was happy with this as I tried to run by effort and every time in the first 2 miles I looked down at my watch, I saw 10:0X.  Yikes.  I knew I couldn't do a half at that pace, but I also knew the first couple of miles were relatively downhill, so I cut myself some slack, slowed down but finished the first miles in high 10s and then naturally slowed down for the 3rd uphill mile in 11:27.

Mile 4: Took a liberal Gu walking water/fuel break around mile 3.4, left my watch running, picked the pace back up and hit the mile marker at 11:04.

Mile 5: 11:05 on the nose including another walking water break.

Mile 6: 10:25 for a net elevation loss of 105 ft.

Mile 7: 10:59 including a Gu walking water/fuel break at the 10K and a net elevation loss of 92 ft.

Mile 8: 11:23.  Woo-Hoo!  After passing the 8 mile marker, I get music! 

Mile 9: 12:19.  The first song was a gift, my cadence naturally increased and I started slowly passing people.  I felt so strong and energetic.  And then... my phone muted the sound at the end of the song.  I stopped to walk and trouble shoot.  Rebooted my phone.  Walked through the water station and fueled with my 3rd Gu.  Started running again.  Started a new song.  It gave me tons of energy.  It then also muted at the end.  WTF?  I stopped to walk and troubleshoot again, frustrated.  No, not frustrated, fucking angry.  WHY WON'T MY MUSIC WORK?  I crossed the 9 mile marker and realized I was averaging 11:07/mile at that point.

Wow.  I took a minute to congratulate myself a bit.  I had more or less hit my A pace goals on point by mile 9 and I still felt fairly good.  This was already a victory.  

Except, frankly, at this point, I was more interested in fighting with my phone, listening to music, and just finishing easily than trying to push it.  So that's what I did.

I fought with the audio features (pulling the volume bar up to hear music and then watch it slide back down to mute of its own accord is particularly frustrating at mile 10) for another 3 miles before finally solving the mystery.  My headset has been dying and its death results in a signal of disconnection which results in a mute because no one wants to hear you blasting whatever it was you previously had in headphones.  AH-HAH!

Mile 10:  11:53 -- phone/music struggles, running easily when music worked
Mile 11:  12:13 -- more of the same
Mile 12:  13:08 -- lots of walking through water stations, electrolyte liquid stations, finally understanding why music that won't play at volume.  Decided to skip the last Gu station.  I wasn't pushing my blood sugar performance limits at all.  I knew I had enough gas in the tank to finish.
Mile 13:  11:33 -- Now that I'd figured out the music issue, I ignored the hot spot on my right foot and ran the last 1.5 miles or so straight to the finish.
Last 0.28:  12:04/mile pace with 26 feet of elevation gain in the short distance.

The final story is simple.  I was very happy with the performance. (Garmin: 13.28 miles @ 11:28 AVG; Chip: 13.1 @ 11:37 AVG)  I did worse than McMillan predicted (of course, he didn't predict my music woes) but better than last year.  I was very happy to take that as a good solid step in the right direction towards regained fitness and a good performance in Oakland.

Sunday night Valentine's day date dinner was deliciously decadent multi-course Italian.  The next day, E & I slept in, relaxed with coffee on the balcony, worked a bit, and then walked to and climbed the stairs up to Coit tower before viewing the line of tourists and deciding we'd come back on a less popular day.  We hiked back down, had a brunch of oysters at Waterbar, relaxed and pseudo-worked on the holiday afternoon and went to dinner at friends' in the Sunset for home-cooked Korean food (YUMM!!! Korean shrimp vegetable pancakes, where have you been my whole life?).

Today, my calves are super tight (perhaps the post-first-half-in-7-months shouldn't be followed with stairs up to and down from Coit tower?) and my left shin has some indications of anterior tibialis pain.  (Lame.  But not surprising given the multiple left ankle sprains in the late fall.)  Today I took it easy and did recumbant bike and weight lifting to help my legs recover.

Next up?  Downhill Skiing for the first time in 2 years... I'll do my best to turn it into some form of useful cross-training for Oakland.  

Wish me luck!


Jen said...

So glad that I happened to see your tweet about the Olympic Trials! You and Cat (and A) coming over made my day. :) Plus, you were so informed and way better than the stupid commentators.

Solid outing at Kaiser despite your music woes. I hope your shin feels better! Looking forward to Oakland (and the post-race party)!

bt said...

@Jen -- thanks for the encouragement. I took it a bit easy on the shin and am happy to report that skiing is going well (which is a very shin-loading-heavy activity). Went for a run with with my sis at altitude and skiing for 4 days -- I can only hope for some altitude training gains!

Angela said...

Super late but CONGRATS! Always nice to have an encouraging race. :)