Kaiser Half Marathon 2013

Aw crap.  I waited too long to do this recap.  Let's see, what do I remember....

This race experience is a little familiar.  It goes something like, "things went okay" but "damn I had this PAIN I was dealing with the whole time" and "I wish I could just race all out with a pain-free set of legs."

Only the pain wasn't the kind I was wasn't the kind I was prepared for.

In hindsight, of course, I should have seen the signs.  Earlier in the week, I noticed a couple aches in my right foot, but I am so focused on paying attention to how my buttcrease/leg-lock feels that I brushed it away without thinking about it at all.

The race:

I had a pain in my right foot that began at mile 3 (note: chronic buttcrease/leg-lock issue is the left leg).  I'm going to go ahead and guess it is plantar fasciitis.  First it stiffened my foot up, kind of crawled up to my calf, and I couldn't shake it off, but tried my best to run through it.

Luckily I was gifted the downhill miles of 6-7, which gave me a sweet reprieve from my prior inclination to drop out and shake my foot back to life.

From miles 8-11, the foot went totally numb.  Then the inner ankle began to throb because who knows why.  I guess the whole dang foot wanted to have a fit?

I have been golf-balling the outside-bottom of my right foot since the race. It felt fine right after the race, feels fine when I walk, and today felt fine while on an easy run.

I really want to stick with the Brooks Pure Cadence.  I should obviously worry about the shoes I was wearing since this was a big old FOOT problem, but I really don't want to blame them.  I like them so much.  What to wear for the Napa marathon in 3 weeks!?

As for the dreaded leg-lock, I really only remember it causing me despair during mile 3.  We had turned around the Golden Gate Park panhandle and started going up an incline, and the leg-lock feeling reared it's head (along with the foot pain).  It was demoralizing.  I slowed down and thought about how I didn't want to run 10 more miles like this.  Then I decided, "shut it down you fergy ferguson, just keep running until you CAN'T".  So I kept running, and suddenly it was already mile 7, and there's no quitting when you're already halfway done!

Besides my foot and the mile 3 leg-lock scare, I felt solid and strong, the weather was just GORGEOUS, the course is my new favorite find for a race (more on that below), and, drumroll, I GOT A PERSONAL RECORD Y'ALL!

My Garmin tweaked to a screen that was unfamiliar to me, so I never knew what time I was on track for until I started steaming towards the finish line.  Darn it would have been nice to get under 1:26:00!

Official: 1:26:21, 6:35 pace, 4/565 place in age group, 22/2994 place woman.

Garmin: 1:26:21 for 13.24 miles (I likely did not run the tangents well because the crowds were pretty thick), 6:31 pace.

Mile 1: 6:20
Mile 2: 6:15
Mile 3: 6:38  (The mile in which I start to give up because...I hurt)

Mile 4: 6:29
Mile 5: 6:34
Mile 6: 6:13
Mile 7: 6:05  (The point where I gain momentum from downhill miles and decide not to quit)

Mile 8: 6:41
Mile 9: 6:55  (The mile where I think "no problem, that mile was uphill, I'll make this up later" only to learn every mile along a boring highway feels uphill).

Mile 10: 6:41
Mile 11: 6:43
Mile 12: 6:38
Mile 13:  6:28 (The mile where I thought "pick it UP YOU'RE ALMOST DONE.")

0.24: 1:29

I went with compression socks that I got from a secret santa this year.  

FINALLY I meet someone with calves bigger than mine

I ran 3.4 miles before the race and 5.4 miles after, which was the distance from my car parked in the Civic Center to the start, and then the distance from the finish back to my car.  For a total of 22 miles.

The 3.4 miles before hand was not as leisurely as I had planned.  I ran my guts up the big climb from Civic Center to Golden Gate Park (if you've run Bay to Breakers, you know the one) to try and make it to the start on time.  The parking lot I had banked on using was CLOSED when I got there at 7:15 a.m., so I scrambled to find somewhere else to park (STREET PARKING ISN'T FREE IN SAN FRANCISCO ON SUNDAYS DAMMIT) then shot out of my car and ran the 3+ hilly miles to the start with exactly 2 minutes before the starting gun.  No time for a bathroom stop, barely shoved my timing chip on my shoe, tried to stretch after cramming myself in about 12 rows deep to the front.

The 5.4 miles back to my car were slowwww, as I juggled a swag bag of chocolate milk and bananas.

Let me swoon over this race for a minute here.  I cannot wait to run it again next year!

It felt like one big gathering of Bay Area superstars.  I mean, I spotted a lot of my local heros (Devon Crosby-Helms, Caitlin Smith), which I was not expecting because I was under the false assumption that this was a pretty small race.  I think there were at least 5,000 half marathoners! Perfect balance of mass energy but manageable crowds!  Other than that, I just remember tailing several strong, beautiful women in their spandex shorts (men, it isn't only you who can't look away) and being inspired by how many bad-ass runners live in this half of California.

The first half of the course is through Golden Gate Park, which bless the Tenderloin's urine smelling heart, is the one thing about living in San Francisco that I miss with a passion.  I loved those first 7 miles through the park, with the the museums, the greenery, the ups and the downs, I just love it.  Reminder to myself to BART into the city on the weekends and run around GG Park when I have a free day.

The course is then followed by 6 miles along the beach highway.  I was warned this part would be tough, and it is, but because the toughness was almost entirely MENTAL (staring down a straight never-ending highway for 3 miles, begging the whole while for any hint of the turnaround) I actually enjoyed it in a masochistic kind of way.  I found myself hating it (see: my mile 9 pace) but because I purposely chose NOT to run with music, I had the time to talk to myself and remember things like "pain is temporary, you will regret not running harder here," and thinking, "foot, ow, foot, what is wrong with my foot, not cool, not cool at all."

I can't wait to face those tedious last 6 miles again year after year of this race, and laugh in the face of the beach wind, the monotony, and the phantom turnarounds.  +1 San Francisco.