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Oakland Half Marathon Recap

They Say Never to Try Anything New on Race Day...

Let's take a look at the numerous things I did wrong, which should technically have resulted in a failure of a race day.

1) I wore a brand new pair of shoes, in a style I've never worn before.  They came in the mail two days prior to race day.

Saucony Pro Guide 3

2) I wore brand new socks.  I got a little shop-happy at the expo...as you will continue to see...

I have ALWAYS wanted a pair of REAL running socks. My first.
3) I wore brand new sunglasses.  Again, expo.

$19.95.  So light and flexible.

4) Brand new shorts.  Beginning to see a trend...?

I only run in shorts with full pockets, which is hard to find, so I had to swipe these.  $30.

5) Brand new hideously bright 80's tank -- I bought this so my sweet supportive boyfriend would be able to spot me easily, because the last time he watched me race there was a little issue called "he has NO ability to differentiate runners as they speed past him", and I had to holler up in his face as I was passing by.

Just hideous.  Wait til you see me in it.

6) I ate something unfamiliar to my stomach the night before -- an entire roasted kabocha squash (a small one).  I went to bed feeling like a log, and really, really kicking myself for eating it (I also had extreme heartburn from it)

I hate you Kabocha.

7) I woke up and drank something entirely new to me (from the expo)

I had about half.

8) I ate caffeinated Gu Chomps before the race, something I've never done before (I usually eat a banana before running -- NOTHING else seems to sit well -- but we were all out of bananas).  I usually avoid caffeine at all costs.

Mine were cranberry apple I think

9) I decided not to bring my ipod.  The last 3 times I have tried to race with music, my effing Apple product decided to effing die at the start, so I give up on effing Apple products.

However, if you saw my brief earlier post, my race was not a failure at all!  It went as smooth as possible.

If you're wondering why I never mentioned this upcoming race in the past couple weeks, it's because I only signed up for it 1 week ago.  I don't know why I was dragging my feet.

Oh wait yes I do.  Because races are FREAKIN EXPENSIVE.

The race began at 9:00, which was just dreamy -- I woke up without an alarm at 7:30, got my business done at home, then sauntered over to the start a mere 1.5 miles from my front door at 8:30.

No, it is not 1988.  I'm just wearing highlighter-green.

After shivering in my ugly tank and shorts (upper 40 degrees), I tucked in about 10 rows deep behind the starting line and we were off at 9:00 promptly.

8:45, waiting.

I felt crazy disconnected to my body, thanks to the caffeinated Gu Chomps and my shivering skin, so couldn't tell what speed I was clocking.  I was loosely aiming for a 7:15 pace, but truth be told hadn't put much thought into it at all and was just going to run.  Have some fun.

This is about the 3 mile mark, first time I saw my boyfriend.  Smiling!

My Garmin alerted me at the one mile mark.  I looked down to see where I was hanging.

Mile 1: 6:27

"Oh. SHIT" -- I said this, out loud, truly concerned.   I never, ever run sub 7:00's outside.  I have done 6:40's a few times on the treadmill, but it's not a pace I can hold for more than 15 minutes. 

In short, I thought I screwed myself, and that I would be hobbling the rest of the race.

Instead, this is what happened.

Mile 2: 6:47
Mile 3: 6:34
Mile 4: 6:39
Mile 5: 6:43
Mile 6: 6:47
Mile 7: 6:46
Mile 8: 6:49
Mile 9: 6:49
Mile 10: 6:47
Mile 11: 6:48
Mile 12: 6:48
Mile 13: 6:50
0.1 (0.36 according to Garmin): 2:21, 6:26 pace

chuggin along

Spot the bright green?  Passing some men at mile 9.

I really don't know what happened.  Like I said, I don't run sub 7:00.  I kept thinking I would run that pace for 1 more mile, but I never ended up feeling bad enough to stop.  So I just kept it up.

Terribly consistent though, right?  Look at how many of those miles are within 1-2 seconds of each other!

My chip time was 1:30:00, and I mentioned in my earlier post that when my Garmin hit 13.1 miles, my time was 1:28:24.

Any thoughts on Garmin innacuracies?  Do GPS's fail, or does this mean I was weaving/taking the long route?

Doesn't look like I'm weaving...
1st place in division (of 379), 5th woman (of 2,095), 57th person (of 3,408)

Here's the sad part though.

As I ran through the finish line, a race official approached me, threw a tag over my neck, and said "CONGRATULATIONS, YOU PLACED THIRD!".

To which I said "huh?  Of Women?"

"YUP".

So for the next 2 hours, I proceeded to brag to my boyfriend, my mom, Mr. Incredible Runner Dane Rauschenberg, and my two friends who were also running the race, that I placed third.

I really wanted to go home and shower.  Instead, I sat around waiting because the idea of standing on a podium and getting a trophy SOUNDS PRETTY FRIGGIN AWESOME.

Finally, at noon, I learned that the race official is a gosh darn dream-ruiner, and was mistaken in giving me that tag.  I placed 5th in Women.

And so, that is how an incredible race ended up making me actually feel quite bad.  I was moping as we went home.

Another reason I was mopey -- and this addresses a reader question -- is that I was a MILLISECOND from breaking the almighty 1:30.  And I KNOW I had it in me.  I'm not sore at all for goodness sake, I didn't kick it at the end.  I really regret not making that 1 second happen, especially with how much energy I had afterward.

And then I remembered I kicked butt and had a really, really good time in my own city, and so all is good.