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Oakland Half Marathon 2012

Well, I lied about not having any other pictures of me racing on Sunday due to the Gentleman not spectating.  Turns out the bay-area runners and bloggers are super supportive and thoughtful, and they documented all of us purple-sock girls very well.  Thank you Beth and Aron!

THE STATS
Garmin: 13.32 miles, 1:27:09, 6:32 pace
Official: 13.4 miles (I swear, I'm going by the official race elevation map) 1:27:38
Women: 7th of 2,077
Age Group: 5th of 381
Overall: 48th of 3,452



I can talk the talk about how I "really" ran 13.1 miles in 1:25:49, but that sure doesn't escape the fact that some badass young girls turned out this year, who can run 13.4 miles in 1:18! Last year, I was first in my age group of 25-29.  This year, I was 5th! 5 of the top 7 women were in that age group.  I came in seventh of women, behind a 1:18; 1:19; 1:23; 1:24; 1:24; 1:25.  Holy fast batman. 

BEFORE THE RACE



Looking way too tired for 8:45 a.m.

Get ready to see a LOT of these socks

I allow myself one "duck face" per year


put that away

Stuffing my shorts with Chomps that I will not end up eating

I woke up at 8:15 a.m.  The race started at 9:15 a.m. and the start was a 12 minute walk from my front door, which is why I like to call this "my favorite most perfect race in the whole wide world."  I can't believe I have to wait another year for it...

I ate two GU's, half a package of Chomps, and sipped some gatorade.  I stuffed the remaining pack of Chomp's in my pocket, but never ate them.

I stuffed my pockets with other stuff I never ended up using: two pieces of gum, and my ipod.  I never whipped out the music.  I did use the key in my pocket to get back home.  That's all.

I walked out the door at 8:50 with the Gentleman who was walking to BART to go to work in San Francisco.  I got near the starting line with about 4 minutes until go time, and finagled my way up to about the 10th "row" of runners.  As I was walking towards the start, I some a pack of 3 or 4 "serious" looking girls.  They looked like college athletes, in their young twenties.  If you peek at the stats above, it's pretty clear word got out that this was a great course and all the fast 25 and 26 year olds came out to shatter my chances of placing first in my age group.

The rain was hibernating, happily, and I felt warm enough so I decided to run in a tank and just wear a throwaway old running shirt to the start to keep warm.  The whole race the temps were great -- I remember some strong winds that felt lovely and refreshing, never chilly.

I didn't warm up besides my 1.2 mile walk.  I stood at the start without a plan.  It didn't once cross my mind to think "how fast should I got out? What pace should I aim for? What time do I want?"  I only planned to run fast for as long as my hip would allow, and if I was feeling good enough, go for a PR.
 
DURING THE RACE

Oakland had a new course this year, and I guess I liked it the same? It's just a great course.  Some very very gentle ups and downs, lots of sights, lots of characters cheering you on, and as I mentioned yesterday, lots of really truly madly wonderful cops.

Thanks Angela for finding me this!

I started with a "mild" pace.  As always, starting near the front, people were zipping out like madmen, so I felt like I was restraining myself with this pace.  I think this could, on my very best day, be my half marathon pace, so I'm happy enough with it.

Mile 1: 6:20
Mile 2: 6:22



I don't know if it was the shoes or the socks, but I was having some discomfort in my calves.  I shook it out and forgot about it by mile four, but it is always a bit of a concern when something feels bad so early on.



Now, I want you to look long and hard at this picture above.  That is me on the left.  This picture shows three dudes that I spent the ENTIRE race with.   Guy in the front right was awesome.  He was giving a bunch of other men support (wait hey...maybe that's not awesome) and I said something snippy to him at one point because he grabbed the water that I was reaching for.  Then I felt rude.  I ended up passing him with 1/2 mile to go, which surprised me because he was running strong throughout.


The guy in all black in the middle.  I can't even describe.  He is the absolute number one person you do not want to be stuck with as a pace-buddy in a race.  The whole race as he and I approached others, they would spin their neck around like "WHAT is that noise?"  It was his insane train whistle exhale.  The loudest schwoosh I have ever heard.  I was just hoping no one thought it was me.

Anyway.  Mile 4 we went under a tunnel for oh, maybe 25 seconds?  I was feeling totally fine.  Not much else to say.


Mile 3: 6:37
Mile 4: 6:21
Mile 5: 6:30



I had just a few small sips of water and gatorade.  Food never once sounded appealing, nor did my Ipod.  Why would it, with entertainment like this:




I got some high fives here



Mile 6: 6:25
Mile 7: 6:38
Mile 8: 6:39




And with the supportive cheers of people like Beth, who took this flood of photos.



This guy was also great support.  We paced each other for about a mile after this, and then I ate his dust as we went up a little hill towards Lake Merritt.  Oh, and hot Oakland police car!

Dorkily smiling at the cheerleaders

My fave pic because no other runners are in it

Check out that bouncing bag of useless Chomps in my pocket

Admit it, the socks are rad

 
Unfortunately, this is what happens when you wait more than 24 hours to write your race recap.  I just don't remember anything significant to say.  I just ran, and at a somewhat consistent pace.  I really felt great the whole time.  I was maybe running a little too conservative, because I am out of practice for 1/2 marathons (at least four months now), and was worried I would lose steam.


Mile 9: 6:39
Mile 10: 6:31
Mile 11: 6:47




Mile 11 was my slowest.  I think this was the beginning of the lake, with a couple short hills that I slowed down for.  Oh, here's some commentary that I remember: this race has a sh-t ton of turns.  If you don't like turns, or they slow you down, you may not adore this race as much as I do.  Lots and lots and lots of turns.


Thankfully, they are extremely well marked.  No fear of getting lost out here.


Another thought: I had expected it would be sad and I would have less motivation without the Gentleman there to smile at me every few miles.  Turns out, sorry honey, that my own mental stubbornness is all the motivation I need. 

Oh and one more thought: I never stopped to stretch out my hip, as planned.  So peculiar...I have had to do this on EVERY run I have taken for the last 3 months.  All of them.  I didn't have any hip tightness today.  Maybe running fast is the key to fixing your hip?


Finally, the home stretch.  Not exactly a "kick" but more of the same steady fast pace.  At least that is favorable to a slow death at the end.

Mile 12: 6:36
Mile 13: 6:39
0.32: 2:01 (6:25 pace)
 
Aron caught a flood of photos of me approaching the last quarter mile of the race.

If you ever wondered what it was like to watch me run, this flip-book of photos is as close as you will get.






Mile 13! My watch was well past 13.1 at this point

picture.  I'm so sick of captions right now....

After the race, I walked one mile home in a daze, not drinking any water.  I just talked to some guy named Raymond who has a 2:45 marathon PR and a 1:22 half-marathon PR, which seemed weird to me.  Your full isn't usually your half x2, you know?

I seriously regret that I headed straight home, but there were no freebies to entice me to stay except some crappy generic chewy granola bars.  The regret, is because I missed this awesome time:


But luckily I did get to see some of these girls before the race (at the expo) and after (at a bar with Sesa and Megan from the Runners Kitchen).  Details to come.

Overall, this race day was too good to be true.  It was so smooth and easy in every way.  I guess, unfortunately, that makes for a boring recap.  I still feel great today, no hip problems to tell of.  I will know for sure after a run tomorrow morning.  Happy running y'all.