Taper Time! (Dirty Dozen Weeks 4-9)

Hey there! Yes, I’m still alive… I just haven’t been blogging. 🙂 Somehow, 6 weeks have passed since my last update. The good news is that I’ve been building my long runs pretty consistently. The meh/bad news is that my weekday mileage never increased past 9 miles, and I had a couple of weeks of very low mileage due to travel. Here are some running highlights from the last 6 weeks:

  • A solid 20 miler (the last 6 with bt) on the Bay Trail between Emeryville/Berkeley/Richmond. We followed the run with bagels at my favorite bagel shop in Berkeley. (Yes, I plan my long runs around post-run refueling. Doesn’t everyone? LOL)
  • The Gypsy Runner and I went on a long hike in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park during a weekend getaway to Aptos. I made the executive decision that the hike would be a substitute for that week’s long run, given the hilliness of the hike. These are the perks of self-coaching. 😉

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    The gorgeous and serene redwoods of Nisene Marks SP

  • An 18 mile run at Lake Chabot with 1,100 feet elevation gain. My knees were sore after this run – they’ve been bugging me since descending Mt. Diablo in April. :/ Besides the sore knees and getting stung by two yellow jackets (OUCH), this was a solid run.

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    I got stung by a yellow jacket soon after this photo

  • 26.2 miles at the Vibha Dream Mile Marathon. I volunteered to pace so I could do a 5+ hour supported long run, and unfortunately it turned out to be a very hot day. The “real feel” by the end was 90+ degrees F and on top of that, it was an uncharacteristically humid day for the Bay Area. I’ll write a separate recap of this race, hopefully soon.

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    With the TVRC half and full marathon pacers at the Dream Mile race, while it was still reasonably cool at 6:30am.

  • Yesterday, I ran 21.6 miles on the Iron Horse Trail, accompanied by SP and AS. I was a little anxious about this run, because I spent last week traveling (total mileage: 11.4 miles), and this past week, I did my usual short weekday 3-milers, totaling 9 miles. I know it’s  risky to load all of your mileage on the weekends, but this is what my schedule allows for nowadays. Since this was going to be my last long-long run before the Dirty Dozen, the goal was to log 4 – 4.5 hours on my feet, regardless of distance. I also wanted to simulate walking through aid stations, which are 1.5 miles apart. So we did run-walk intervals of 20 minutes of running to 1 minute of walking, which allowed me to practiced fueling too. By the end, I was happy to be done (obvs), but I could have kept going, which feels like a good sign. Afterwards, AS and I went to Gotta Eatta Pita — it’s like Chipotle, but with Mediterranean food, and it’s AWESOME. They also have the best soda — the brand is Stubborn, and it’s made with real sugar and less of it. I try not to drink soda, but after a long, hot run, there’s nothing more refreshing to me than an ice cold fountain drink.

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    Overly excited about my giant bowl of food

So, that’s what’s been going on with me. More later on my thoughts and strategy for the Dirty Dozen 6 hour race. Hope everyone is having a great summer so far, and Happy Father’s Day!

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A rare photo of running friends in regular clothes, so obviously I had to share.

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Posted in Training

Dirty Dozen Week 3

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A very serene morning at Lake Chabot

I survived the first week at my new job! I’m glad I had a flexible mindset going in, because training certainly didn’t happen as planned. I got my regular Tuesday morning run in (yay!), but an 8:45 am meeting in South San Francisco on Wednesday meant I had to be on the road at 7:00 am. I’m not yet at the point where I’m willing to wake up at 5:00 am to run. Luckily, bt saw my last post – that I was going to be in her neck of the woods Wednesday afternoon – and offered to get together for dinner and a run. I felt very sluggish during our 3 mile jaunt, but being able to catch up with a friend AND get a run in was significantly better than sitting in rush hour traffic (obvs). She even cooked dinner for me! It was such a treat.

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Post run selfie 🙂

I canceled my Thursday run because I had yet another early morning. I actually got home at a decent hour, so I could’ve run after work, but I decided to write some work emails instead. I figured I could run during lunch on Friday… which didn’t happen, for no good reason. I was lazy, plain and simple. My logic was that I had had a busy week and why not take a full rest day before my long run on Saturday.

Which brings us to Saturday! I decided to run two laps around Lake Chabot, for a total of 17 miles and 1,768 feet elevation gain. It took me just over 3.5 hours (12:51/mile), which was my goal. Yes, there was quite a bit of walking in the second lap, but I jogged steadily until the very end, so I was happy about that. I was pretty wrecked for the rest of the day.

On Sunday, I did a short recovery jog of 3.2 miles, which brought the weekly total to 26 miles. Not as many miles as I would’ve liked to have logged, but it is what it is. This week’s schedule should be a lot better in terms of fitting in runs – except for Wednesday, when we have to make a day trip to the central valley.

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Posted in Training

Gearing Up for Another Change

My new job officially started today, but there’s a 4 week transition period, where I’m still doing my old job (tech support, working from home) on Mondays and Fridays. So, tomorrow is my actual “first day” on the job. I’m really excited about the new role. I’ll be going to a different location every day (and sometimes multiple locations in one day). For example, my schedule this week has me going to:

  • Tuesday: UCSF Mission Bay/CZI Biohub
  • Wednesday: A biotech in South San Francisco and Stanford
  • Thursday: UC Davis

The starting time each day varies as well. Tomorrow, I don’t have my first meeting until 10am, but Wednesday’s first meeting is 8:45am. Yes, traffic will suck, but at least I don’t have to always be in the same commute traffic day in and day out. Plus I have a new car!

One major challenge will be finding time to train. Or rather, being more flexible in my training schedule. Over the last 6 months, I’ve stuck to a regular schedule of running Tu/W/Th mornings, mostly because I prefer to run in the mornings. However, with this new gig, I’ll have to be more creative. I was thinking of always keeping a change of running clothes with me in case I get out of a meeting early, but not early enough to beat rush hour. So I could go on my run after work and then drive home in lighter traffic. My gym has a couple of branches around the Bay Area and I was thinking about upgrading to the “VIP” level so I could at least access a locker room and jump on a treadmill if I need to. And even though I HATE running on Fridays (I don’t know why), I may very well start running on Fridays because that’s the day I’ll be working from home and will have the most flexibility.

Anyway, I know many of you have hectic work schedules. What kinds of tips or advice do you have for fitting in training runs during the work week?

**

A quick word about Dirty Dozen training: so far, so good! I guess I’ll call 2 weeks ago (week of April 16th) “Week 1” of training. I ran just under 26 miles (25.9), with a long run at Lake Chabot of 13.2 miles and 1,640 feet of climbing.

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The beautiful and tranquil Logger’s Loop at Lake Chabot

Week 2 was another step in the right direction; I logged 30 miles for the week, my first week in the 30-somethings in ages. For my long run, I decided to take a break from trails/climbing and focused on continuous running for 3 hours. I ended up running 16.6 miles at the very flat San Leandro Marina.

Uncharacteristically, I’m kinda making things up as I go. I keep thinking that maybe I should write out a plan, but knowing that I’m heading into a period of uncertainty with a new job, I don’t want to set myself up for failure. I’m taking it one week at a time for now, and am putting more thought into my long run more than anything else.

 

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Posted in Trail running, Training

Back to Trails

After the Oakland Half, I started thinking about what my next goal would be. DD and I have talked on and off for a while about doing the Brazen Dirty Dozen 6 hour race. This is a 6 (or 12) hour event consisting of 3.3 mile loops at Point Pinole Park in Richmond, CA. It’s not particularly hilly – I think the total elevation gain/loss per loop is only about 150 feet – but it is unpaved, so it’s technically still a trail race. Dirty Dozen was the first race at which the Gypsy Runner and I volunteered, and I remember thinking at the time, “Who would ever want to do this?” But then, shortly after that, I got into long distance running and I started to understand. And eventually, I saw my friends run it and thought, “Hm, that doesn’t look so bad…” Because it’s a Brazen race, it’s extremely well organized and has a great atmosphere. It really is like a 6 hour running party, as weird as that sounds!

I’ve held off on registering for the Dirty Dozen because I haven’t felt a desire to run long on trails for a while. Compared to long runs on roads, it can take me 1.5-2 times longer to complete a long run on trails. Plus, they usually leave me super exhausted. On the upside, the scenery tends to be prettier. What really put me over the edge this year was DD signing up for the race. We both had volunteer credits and we both had wanted to run the 6 hour race, so…why not? Having a friend signed up for this race hopefully means that I’ll have a training partner for a few long runs. We might have even convinced AS to sign up as well! 🙂

My goal for the Dirty Dozen is to run at least the marathon distance and, if all goes well, complete my second ever 50K. My process goal is to run consistently the whole time, meaning I need to start slow and be patient.

I’ve decided against following a specific training plan because I’m starting a new-new job in 2 weeks. I know what you’re thinking – didn’t you just start a new job? Yes, I did. But then another position opened up within my company, I applied, and I got it! That’s the good news. The bad news (for my running, anyway) is that my schedule will vary quite a lot from day to day and week to week, which makes following a training schedule extremely difficult. For now, I plan on running 3 days during the week, with one of them being a longer run (12-15 miles total on weekdays), and two runs on the weekends. On which days the runs happen will be determined on a weekly basis. My long runs will be more focused on time spent on my feet as opposed to distance, since that varies so much with elevation gain/loss. I think if I can get at least three 4.5-5 hour long runs in, I’ll be happy.

So, with that race on the calendar, I decided it would be a good idea to start training. I joined DD and friends for a run/hike up Mt. Diablo this past Sunday. Considering I had only run 12 miles in the span of 2 weeks (thanks to a work trip), I knew Mt. Diablo was going to be a challenge — and it was! It’s up there with one of the toughest trail runs I’ve done: 14 miles and 4300′ gain/loss. Two days later and my legs are still very sore. Fortunately, my left knee feels better — it wasn’t happy with all of that downhill running! At least it was pretty though?

 

 

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Posted in Trail running

Out With the Old, In With the New

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My new car! The 2018 Honda Civic EX Sedan in Cosmic Blue. I looooove it.

This weekend was a big one – I bought a new car and sold my old one! Angela saw my tweet about getting a good price on my new car ($1200 under invoice) and asked me to share my secrets, so here I am. I hope this is useful to anyone out there hoping to buy a car soon.

Step 1: Research. This was honestly the most time-consuming part. After I had an idea of my budget, and narrowed it down to the compact vehicle category, I started reading online reviews. I did not want to test drive more than 4 vehicles, but you may be more patient than I am. YouTube was useful for video reviews – I particularly liked the Kelley Blue Book videos. I also read through various written guides to get an idea of what kind of features I wanted (or didn’t care about), as well as safety features. When you narrow it down to a handful of models, you can usually find side-by-side comparisons online.

Step 2: Test drive. Do not even think about buying at this point. You are merely checking out the vehicle in person. It can be useful to make an appointment so that you’re not waiting for them to bring the vehicle to you. Some sales people are very chill – we had one guy let us drive the car without him, while you can expect most to want to ride with you and blather on about features. I liked the ones who told us very little except to give us directions on how to get back to the dealer.

Step 3: Evaluate and decide on a model. This can be tough when you’re dealing with so many different options and price points, including dealer rebates, etc. I ultimately went with the Honda Civic EX even though it was a few thousand dollars more than my second choice, mostly because my second choice didn’t have any other pros besides, “cheaper than Honda Civic”.

Step 4: Research price: MSRP, “True Market Value”, invoice, and rebates/specials. You can easily google all of these things without paying a dime. (I think that you used to have to pay for such a report. Not any more!) A few definitions:

  • MSRP: Manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or the sticker price. Never pay this – you can always negotiate lower than sticker price.
  • True Market Value“: this is data compiled by Edmunds.com on vehicles sold nationwide. They will give you the market average, what’s considered a “good” price, and what’s considered a “great” price. I can’t help but think these numbers are inflated, because 2 of 3 quotes I received came in lower than the “great” price. But I think these are good starting points.
  • Invoice: a.k.a., “dealer cost” which is misleading, because the true dealer cost is usually lower than invoice price. This is because there are hidden incentives with every vehicle between the factory and the dealer, so you will never know the true cost. Before I bought my car, the only rule of thumb I knew was to try to get $500 under invoice.
  • Rebates/specials: every dealer will advertise on their site if they’re having cash back deals or special financing rates. Traditionally, the deals get better as you go later into the year, but every car manufacturer differs in their release schedule. Toyota, for instance, already had 2018 cars on their lot in September 2017, whereas Honda didn’t have 2018 models on the lot until the very end of 2017/beginning of 2018.

Step 5: Research dealerships. There are so many car dealerships in my area that I basically started with the 3 closest to my house and went from there. You might also want to look at Yelp or Google reviews to read about other people’s experiences. I didn’t spend too much time doing that.

Step 6: Send an email/message to dealerships. The dealerships I messaged all had “Contact Us” forms on their websites. I left off my phone number (or created a fake one) because I didn’t want anyone to call me. This is what I wrote, which I modified from this very helpful post:

I would like to get a quote on the following vehicle:

1. Trim: 2018 Honda Civic EX Sedan, CVT, 1.5L 4 cylinder engine
2. Colors: Exterior – Cosmic Blue or Modern Steel
3. Accessories: None

I am aware of MSRP and invoice prices and would appreciate a competitive bid.

Please respond via email to this request.

Thank you.

Step 7: Wait for a response, then start negotiating. I received 3 quotes within 30 minutes of my initial email. One salesperson said he couldn’t give me a quote over email, until I told him I already had 2 from other dealerships. Then, he sent me a very competitive quote. I withheld information for as long as possible. For instance, I didn’t mention how I would pay (cash vs. financing) or if I was going to trade-in my current vehicle. All I was negotiating was the price of the new car itself. Everything I read online recommended doing that first, then adding the other stuff later. One thing you want to clarify is what’s included in the quotes — destination fee, etc.

I got a good vibe from G in Fremont — he was responsive and not overly pushy. Plus, he immediately kicked off the process with $1,000 under invoice! Just as I was going to say yes to him, another sales person came in with a slightly better deal ($30 less). So, I went back to G with the better quote, saying that I appreciated his responsiveness and that I’d like to give him my business, so could he go lower? He came back with $1230 under invoice, so I told him he had a deal. This was all within 2.5 hours of my initial email. I didn’t expect this to go so quickly! I didn’t immediately tell the other 2 dealerships that I had agreed to a deal with G, because I wanted something in my pocket in case this deal fell through.

Step 8: Buy the car. I made an appointment for Saturday morning. I told G that I didn’t want to haggle or be upsold when I picked up the car, and he pretty much stuck to that. He did show me two quotes (probably because his manager made him)- one with the basic features and price we agreed on, and the second with all weather mats and tinted windows. Hard pass. So, fortunately, everything with GM went smoothly. From a friend who had bought her car using this same method, I knew to expect to be at the dealership for 2-3 hours, despite ironing out the deal in advance. What took so long? We did a short test drive, signed the quote, decided not to trade-in my old car (another story for another time), then I got sent into the financing office to work on payment.

Step 9: Buying the car, part 2. UGH, the financing guy was soooo lame. I don’t think it matters whether you’re paying cash, financing, or leasing, they will try to sell you an extended warranty and maintenance package no matter what. As the financing guy started his spiel, I let him go through the first column (of 5!!!), then I interrupted him and said firmly that I would not be interested in any of these plans. He looked taken aback and said he had to go over the maintenance package, at the very least. OK, fine. I let him say his thing (with ridiculously overinflated estimates for oil changes, etc.), and then I said – again, firmly – no, thanks. The part that bugged me was when he went on to say, “I don’t think you understand what a great deal this is. Do you understand about maintenance?” I about blew my lid. WTF. Yes, I understand car maintenance. I’ve been driving for 25 years and I have a Ph.D., thankyouverymuch. I wish I had said this, but I didn’t. Anyway, there were more irritating parts to this story, but the end result is the same: JUST SAY NO (unless you want to, which by all means, say yes).

After waiting for another 40 minutes for the car to get detailed (tip: bring a book), I was done!! G showed me how to pair my phone up with the car’s Bluetooth, and then I was freeeee. It was all much easier and much much less awkward than I anticipated, minus the short episode with financing. If you have to buy a new or used car from a dealer, I can’t recommend this method enough. I had a terrible experience when I bought my last vehicle, and this way was much more empowering. I had all of the information and power at my fingertips, thanks to the internet! I have wondered if I could have gotten a much better deal (maybe, given how readily two salespeople went so low to begin with?) but I’m generally very satisfied with how this all went. Let me know if you have questions and I’ll try to answer them!

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Race Recap: Oakland Half Marathon 2018

Last week, I ran the Oakland Half Marathon. I realized that I should recap this race before I forget too many of the details. Plus, I leave today for an 8-day work trip, and I definitely won’t have time blog.

To review: my goals going into the race were:

  • C-goal: Beat my previous course record (CR) — 2:04:26.
  • B-goal: Beat my time from Kaiser 2018: 2:01:19.
  • A-goal: Finish under 2 hours OR averaging 9:09/mile or faster (in case I didn’t run tangents and ran substantially longer than 13.1 miles).

Spoiler: I hit my A-goal.

I originally registered for Oakland as a back up race, in case I didn’t meet my goal at Kaiser. My friend PC, a race ambassador, had a discount code and then there was a Black Friday sale. Y’all know that I’m a sucker for a good deal! I think I ended up paying like $65(?). It had been 2 years since I last ran the Oakland Half, and since that time, they had changed the start/finish location, so I was really curious how that would affect my experience.

Race Morning
In previous years, the race always started at 9:10, which is already late by half marathon standards. This year, they pushed back the start time to 9:30am, so that most half marathon runners are finishing in the heat of the midday sun. Thankfully, it was much cooler than past years (maybe 50F at the start?), but still very warm in the sun. The upside is that I had a much more leisurely race morning than usual. I met up with friends at their apartment just half a mile from Lake Merritt at 8:00 a.m. We hung out inside for as long as possible to take advantage of their warm, comfortable living room and a real bathroom.

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Ready to run! (Photo: CC)

At around 8:45 am, we started walking down to the Lake, taking the longer but less steep route. We got to the start area shortly after 9:00, I went and used the bathroom one last time, said good bye and good luck to my friends, and headed out for a short, 5-minute warm-up. At 9:15, I got into the corral, lining up near the 2 hour pace group. Shortly after, there was an announcement that the race was going to be delayed to 9:40. UGH. It was already very cramped in the corral, so there was no place to move or stretch out. Eventually, as more people came into the corral, I got separated from the 2 hour pacers, who ended up quite a ways in front of me. I know that this (i.e., standing around for 25 minutes in a cramped situation) isn’t even that big of a deal compared to big city races, but I guess that’s why I’m more of a small race kind of girl. Finally, the National Anthem was sung, followed by a countdown, and at 9:46, the race FINALLY started.

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Before it got really crowded

The Race
Thinking back on the race itself, I had a very different experience than in the past. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve run the Oakland Half so many times (3 times, plus most of the course for the full marathon once), but I was sort of “in the zone” the whole time. I have random snapshots and memories of Downtown, Chinatown, West Oakland, etc., but it was more observational/detached, like, “OK, I’m here now.” Almost Zen-like? It was also weird because the race started about 2 miles away from where it used to, so there were parts of the course where I would realize that I felt more tired than usual, but reminded myself that I was also 2 miles further along, which would make me happy/relieved.

The other reason I felt a little discombobulated was due to the mile markers. After 2 miles, I switched my Garmin to time lapsed, and I was counting on the mile markers to help me calculate pacing, just as I had done at Kaiser. I like how doing simple math in my head distracts me and gives me a pace goal for the next mile. Anyway, markers for miles 1-3 all appeared right on schedule. I never saw the mile 4 marker…or mile 5…or mile 6. I had to guess at my pace a little, hoping that my Garmin was mostly correct. At mile 7, the marker finally reappeared but earlier than I expected by about a quarter mile. I knew I was running ahead of 2 hour pace, but I didn’t think I was in PR range (1:56)! Same for miles 8 and 9. It wasn’t until mile 10 that things seemed to go back to normal. Looking at the official data, there was something definitely off about the placement of the timing mat at 5.5 miles. Supposedly, I was averaging 8:27/mile — which I can assure you, I definitely was not! Before the race, I was worried about running a lot longer than 13.1; during the race, I began to wonder if the course would end up being too short.  Fortunately, I clocked 13.15 miles on my Garmin at the finish, thanks to my mindful running of tangents and having to take less turns than previous years. The marathon runners didn’t get so lucky; just about everyone I know who ran the full has data showing 26.6 miles or longer.

I don’t really want to get into a mile by mile recap, just to say I pushed myself pretty hard the whole race, just as I had planned. I went out a little too quick in the beginning and I’m so glad I never blew up — though I slowed down a lot by mile 13. I was doing a lot of bargaining and self-talk in those last 2 miles. I knew I was really, really close to finishing in 2 hours, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to come in at 13.2 or 13.4 miles, which I’ve done in the past. I very nearly let off the gas, especially around those tiny hills around Lake Merritt, but countered with the regret and anger that I’d have if I went over 2 hours by just a few seconds.

As I ascended the last small hill and took a right on Grand Ave., I knew it was a straight shot and slightly downhill from there. There was another woman struggling, and I turned to her and said, “Let’s do this!” and we ran as hard as we could toward the finish line. I registered CC and her friend L cheering from the side and waved. However, I didn’t dare spend an extra ounce of energy looking at my watch. I sprinted as hard as I could past the finish and then stopped my watch, which read 1:59:53. I did it! Thank goodness.

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Splits according to Strava. I don’t like the bars representing speed – I preferred when it was time/pace instead.

Post-race
It took me a while to catch my breath, but I finally did and walked toward ME, who finished his first half marathon in 1:55 with minimal training. Soon after, A finished, and then AR. We took photos and drank our free beer, which was disappointingly odd tasting (very sour, but not in a good/intended way). One of the things I love about the Oakland Running Festival is that I always run into people I know post-race. I got to catch up with Angela, who ran the full as a training run for Boston (you can find her recap here).

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With Angela (Photo: CC)

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Happy finishers (Photo: CC)

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Our cheering squad 🙂

 

I was in disbelief all day Sunday and even now, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around accomplishing my “A” goal based on my current not-great-fitness level and also weighing about 5-8 lbs. more than my “fighting weight”. I can only explain it by citing experience and mental strength. It took me many tries to break 2 hours for the half marathon, but this is now my 4th sub-2 half and probably the least I’ve ever trained for one. The other thing that helped me mentally was moving the start/finish to the northeast corner of Lake Merritt. In previous races, I’ve always floundered in the last 5K around the Lake. This new course finishes only 1 mile into the path around Lake Merritt and has a nice straightaway to the finish line, versus the old course which was a cramp-inducing hill up 19th Street. Anyway, I did it! Yay! Stay tuned for what’s next in my running adventures…

Official results:
1:59:47 (9:08/mile); 13.15 miles (Garmin)
25/182 AG, 270/1532 F, 872/2971 overall

**

Race logistics were similar to years past except for the start/finish. I parked in the neighborhoods east of Lake Merritt and walked down to the race. There was plenty of street parking there, but there is a very steep hill – don’t kill your quads before the race! There were shuttles for people who rode BART. I don’t know how well those worked, I think I overheard people grumbling about them.

Race organization was excellent minus the delayed start, mile markers, and too long distance for the full marathon runners (or should I say, ultramarathon runners?).

ePKe%z3dSMmNbTW2iOw47QSwag consisted of a nice, if boring, shirt – a soft poly-blend technical long sleeve tee – and a medal that doubles as a bottle opener. There were free race pictures too, but so far I’ve only seen 3 of mine, even though I signed over all of my privacy rights to the photo company on Facebook. Supposedly, photos could be downloaded a week post-race without doing the FB thing, but I just checked (8 days out) and I still don’t see them. Oh well.

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I finally got a decent fire arch photo, even if I’m doing something weird with my arms. 😉

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Posted in Race Recap

Race Preview: Oakland Half 2018

I’ve been referring to the Oakland Half as a goal race, but have I been training like it? Hardly. I finally snuck in a couple of race pace/tempo workouts in the last few weeks, and got some decent long runs in too, but I haven’t done nearly as much running as I intended. However, I’m trying to focus on the positive, such as:

  • Temps should be pleasant (partly cloudy, high of 60F) despite a late start (9:30 a.m.)
  • It’s a similar course as previous years, but the start/finish moved last year to Eastshore Park. That means no more last 5K slog around Lake Merritt, culminating in the last steep-ish hill on 19th St. (which will now be in the second mile of the race).
  • I convinced two friends, AR and ME, to run Oakland as their first half marathons. I’m looking forward to celebrating with them post-race at the Lagunitas beer tent!
  • The late start means a relatively normal pre-race evening. I don’t have to make sure to have an earlybird dinner, nor do I have to be in bed by 9:00 p.m.

Now let’s talk goals. As I readjusted my goals and expectations to meet the amount of training I’ve done, I realized that my C goal – setting a course record – would actually be very doable, as long as I don’t bonk and/or suffer a serious injury. My course record at Oakland was set in 2013, when I aimed to run sub-2 but fell painfully short, finishing in 2:04:26. I’d say there’s a 95% chance that I will set a course record tomorrow. (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself!)

My B goal for this race is to do better than Kaiser, which I ran over a month ago, finishing in 2:01:19. That was a tougher course and in relatively humid conditions. However, I have a tendency to go out too fast at Oakland and run anywhere from 13.3-13.4 miles (according to my Garmin). So, I’ll be happy if I finish with a faster average pace, even if I don’t beat the finish time.

Finally, my A goal is to run a sub-2 hour half. This was my original goal when I signed up for this race, but as the weeks went by, I saw my chances get slimmer. Again, with the very good possibility that I won’t run the tangents and end up running extra distance, I’ll be super happy if I can run 9:09/mile or faster. Basically, sub-2 pace but not sub-2 finish time.

My race plan is to start behind the 2:00 pacer, go out easy for the first mile (9:30-ish). Then, I will pick up the pace and try to catch up to and hang with the 2 hour group for as long as possible. Of course, if the pacer sucks and is running too fast/slow, I won’t run with them. However, I think it’s mentally easier to run with the pack than it is to go it alone, especially when you’re pushing your limits for such an extended period of time.

At the end of the day, finishing a half marathon is a big accomplishment. Regardless of whether I meet my time goals, I’ll be satisfied if I try my best for the duration of the race and to remember to smile and thank all of the volunteers and spectators along the way. I will run happy because I get to run. Cheers!

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On the docket…

7/7/18: Dirty Dozen 6 Hour Race

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