|The Fire Arch at the Crucible.|
The night before the race was a bit non-standard. I opted out of a party that E was attending and closed out a bunch of work and housekeeping items while waiting for him to get home. His mom called to inform us of a death in the family but asked me not to interrupt him at the party. So, after poking around the Internet to investigate pre-race meals, I decided dinner of leftovers (carrot soup and turkish salad) should be fine.
I kept working and waiting for E until it was apparent that he was having too much fun and I should try to go to sleep. I was a bit wound up, so I had a glass of wine to help me fall asleep (I don't normally have wine the night before a race, but I don't really think this one glass made any difference at all, I'd been hydrating like crazy all day and definitely didn't feel any wine-related negative effects). He ended up not making it back to the house 'til after 11 PM, and I woke to tell him the bad news. We chatted and then I fell back asleep.
The day of the race, I'll report in the style of The Classic Spaghetti Western:
I finished a half marathon healthy and happy. I saw Cat before the start -- she'd gotten her 5K PR! I enjoyed a delicious post-race bruch with Jen (who got her 5K PR *and* ran the half afterwards), Angela, and Clare (who also PR'd).
|Jen could *not* wait for the pre-brunch doughnuts!|
|Mmmmm... Malfatti. Delicious!|
I got up and out the door on time, stopped at Starbucks, ordered my standard pre-race latte, and hit the road, letting my phone guide me to the parking garage. Except, I'd forgotten about road closures, so once I was in Oakland, I was blocked by the 5K that Cat and Jen were in the middle of running. I had to do some creative driving, including a few miles on the coned-off half course down Mandela Parkway until I found a pay parking lot that was within jogging distance of the start. Every other time I've run this race, I've *easily* parked in the lot across the street from Snow Park (the location of the start/finish/celebration). So, this was definitely not ideal.
I started at an effort I thought I might be able to maintain, and then about 0.87 miles in, we hit a gated area around a construction site. The crowd funneled to a walk. Someone started a "let's go Oakland" cheer. We had nothing better to do while we walked, so most of us joined in. 45 seconds later, we were able to start running again. Not exactly an ideal first mile.
I hit the first aid station around 2.4 miles and walked a minute to take a gu and gatorade and water as planned. I started back up for a 10:23 mile and realized I'd probably started too fast. I knew this was a possibility, and I wasn't too concerned. But it didn't bode well nonetheless.
Somewhere in this area Jen caught up to me, we said hi, and then I let her go as I started to slow. I knew my A goal of 10:50/mile (assuming I ran 13.1, which is a big assumption on this case) was going to be tough. I hit the 10K (by my watch) at an average pace of 10:51 and figured I'd keep an eye out for Clare. She was doing 5 min run/ 1 min walk intervals and should be shooting for something in roughly that pace overall. Sure enough, I found her, and we stuck together for a while. The running segments felt good, but her walking recovery was *fast* and perhaps even more difficult for me than just running an even pace. It was nice to have company though, so I enjoyed a few miles with her.
At around mile 8 it became very apparent that carrot soup and turkish salad had *way* more fiber than I realized and I would be needing an on-course porta-john soon. (Why had I deviated from my go-to standard spicy noodle soup option?). At the 8.5 mile aid station, they had portapotties, thankfully, so I told Clare to go on and waited. In an uncomfortable state. 4+ minutes later, I was back on the course.
I knew I wouldn't meet my A goal, so I settled for my B goal of trying to beat my Kaiser time of 2:32ish. It was a long slow slog, but I kept on, walking through the aid stations, but otherwise just trying to get done, finally crossing the finish at 2:34:36. I didn't even beat my Kaiser time! The only small improvement I can claim here is that my average *moving* time decreased from 11:22/mile at Kaiser to 11:09/mile at Oakland.
I'm definitely looking forward to training for a 10K next. I want to enjoy some of those speedwork benefits.