Posted by Lauren
* Races Page Updated *
I am so excited to tell you about Sunday’s half marathon. My last official race was on my birthday – June 23rd – up in Seattle. I struggled at mile 10 with a side ache, but finished with a happy time of 1:47:36. It’s almost been two full months since that race, and I definitely have not been training very religiously. In fact, since I fractured my wrist and donned a sweaty oven cast, the furthest I ran was just 6 miles.
So how did I train for a race with this cast?
- Lots of stationary bicycle riding
- Track (speed interval) workouts – cheated and did them on the treadmill
- Stuffed the cast with cotton balls wrapped in kleenex
When Sunday morning finally came, I was extremely nervous… And sore in two awkward places: my left hip and my right shoulder/neck. No secrets on this blog: I took a Vicodin (it seems extreme, but… I think I needed it). I ate an apple, got dressed, packed my bags for the Niners tailgate, and headed out the door with roommate Kevin. We parked my car on Bluxome and 5th, easily the most convenient location with free street parking on Sundays.
Kevin kindly snapped this photo of me before I said goodbye. I searched for the porta-potties and found a loooooong line, as usual.
While I waited, the clock slowly inched towards 8:30. I knew that they were releasing the half marathoners in waves, so I wasn’t too worried about getting to the start on time. I saw a few 5k folks in line for the bathrooms, but their race started at 8 am!
It was an absolutely beautiful morning – the perfect running weather.
This year’s race started in front of the stadium. Last year we were further into the Dogpatch area and got to run up and around the stadium. I don’t have a course preference, but I’m curious why they chose to switch it up when there weren’t really any blatant issues last year.
I joined a couple THOUSAND other people and waited patiently to get to the start line. Far in the distance I saw a 2:20 pacer and realized that once I started, there would be quite a bit of backlog to run around… crowded race beginnings always remind of some sort of movie where a giant monster-robot is barreling down the streets and it’s every man for himself.
16 minutes after the gun, I passed under the start canopy. Here we go legs!
Miles 0-3 passed by the Ferry Building and along the Embarcadero. It was pretty crowded so I stuck to the outer edges and ran along the raised divider (aka the palm tree planters). Right before Mile 3, we ran by Fisherman’s Wharf (pictured above) and the heavenly aroma of fresh Boudin rolls. Between Mile 3-4, a bicyclist almost ran me over. He cut through the runners on our first “hill” on Polk Street. His snarky smile was enough to make me literally push him out of my way and yell. I’m not the nicest half marathoner on the block. :)
Mile 4-5 took us down Marina Blvd and offered sweeping views of the Bay. I love the flat road out to Crissy Fields. I felt really strong running back down to sea level (100 ft drop, if that) and rode the energy-surge as long as I could.
Just before Mile 7, at the halfway turnaround point, we hit the base of the Golden Gate Bridge in Fort Point. I snapped a photo just after the turnaround, but my aim sucks.
And one minus the red face…
Also, at this point my go-to 8 song playlist (cough: Play It By) had finished. Luckily, I had NSYNC Pandora station queued up. For the record, this is the first time I’ve listened to the station, but I knew every word. Don’t judge.
Mile 8 provided great views of the city and Alcatraz. The fog lifted just high enough to expose the taller financial district buildings.
Between Miles 8-12, I kicked it into a higher gear. Usually I start off too fast and then get lazy for the last 4 to 5 miles, but I was determined to finish as close to 1:45 as possible. I realized that as long as I got to Mile 10 at 1:20, I could hit my goal. I played a little game to keep my pace up: pick someone a few yards in front of you, then pass them. It’s kinda like in website optimization how you can either focus on the macro conversion OR maximize a ton of micro conversions. That’s something I can wrap my head around.
At Mile 12 a lady started to chat with me about my cast. Just talking to her was quite tiring, and my splits show about a 15 second gain M11:M13. I “sprinted” the final 1/10 of a mile into AT&T park.
Overall finish: 1:44:41…. met my goal of 1:45!
The race finish was a little different this year – everyone got to stay on the field and stretch!
I didn’t linger very long. In fact, I wanted to just go to the bathroom, wash my face, and get a cup of Chobani with San Franola Granola. Sadly, the granola was all gone and the Chobani truck had already closed up. I hope the 5k and 10k folks enjoyed their parfaits!
Here’s my Garmin course:
And my timing:
I have no idea what happened at 1:04, lost signal perhaps? You can see the first few miles were all over in terms of keeping a consistent pace. Luckily the runners were staggered enough after mile 5.
Real Talk: There’s a tiny part of me that looks back on 2011’s race and is disappointed with my 2012 finish. In just over a year I dropped from 1:39:37 to 1:44:41. But that 5 minutes has a lot of back story: two job changes, a massive car accident, a fractured wrist, lots of travel, a move, and LIFE that pushed “training” off my top priorities list. I’m ready to get back in the swing of things, increase my mileage, bike more often to work, and earn a 1:3X half marathon time once again.
I will get there.
p.s. cast comes off in a few hours!!!!
Question: Who else raced this weekend? How did it go?!