What’s “SF2HM” you ask? It’s my personal abbreviation for the San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon, which is quite a mouthful, hence the acronym. It’s my next big race — my 2nd and perhaps last chance in 2013 to PR in the half marathon distance. So, I’m dedicating a whole training cycle to it, with its own abbreviation and everything. One more point of clarification: the “2nd Half” refers to the second of two half marathons that are run on the same day as the full San Francisco Marathon. It’s the only race that does this that I know of. (Please comment if you know of others!)
Being the nerd that I am, I like to research races as much as I can… and that means reading race recaps! T.G.F.I. (Thank God For the Internet)! This is what I’ve gathered from my research about the SF2HM:
– Expo: go on Friday if you can. It is mayhem on Saturday.
– Pre-race parking might take a while – up to 45 minutes if you’re showing up late due to the early start for the full marathon and 1st half.
– Get on a shuttle early and be prepared to sit out in the cold at Golden Gate Park for a while.
– There was a really long porta potty line last year, but it seemed to go fast (5-10 minute wait).
– It is very congested in the first few miles. Try to get in a faster corral if you can.
– Do not run the wrong way to the 1st half finish (the course intersects in the first few miles).
– Beware of going the wrong way period. There are a few places where there are alternate routes, potential for wrong turns, etc. One person ended up accidentally running 15 miles last year!
– Beware of potholes, curbs, etc.
– There are rolling hills in the first 6 miles (mostly uphill), followed by a major downhill in miles 7-8 that sounds like it could be a knee/IT band killer.
– Flat, but boring in miles 10-11
– Mile markers: only the marathon miles are marked, so you’ll have to do the math.
– Water stops are congested and spaced far in between (might be good to bring a handheld?)
– Post-race: some reports that they ran out of food, medals, and beer last year.
– There were a couple of reports of having to stop due to traffic. (WTF? I thought the whole point of paying so much for registration is so they close down the streets??)
– Re: distance. Not as bad as the Oakland half, but there are many reports of the 2nd half being longer than 13.1. I think it’s probably difficult to run tangents with the congestion at the beginning of the race.
– PR potential? Despite the slightly longer distance, congestion, and hills, a number of people PR’ed on the 2nd half course. It helps that there is a total elevation loss of 100 feet.
With that knowledge, here are my keys to training for the 2013 SF2HM:
– Hills, hills, and more hills. I will do at least one hill run a week. Running stairs will be a 2nd choice alternative.
– Better quality long runs. It’s time to get serious about building some solid endurance so I don’t bonk at mile 10, like I did at Oakland. I’m aiming for progression runs and finish each long run at 20-30 seconds slower than race pace (9:00/mile).
– Weekly interval and track workouts. I feel like I was just getting the hang of these a few weeks before Oakland. With continued efforts, I’m hopeful that I will continue to progress in this area.
– Core! This is one major area where I just plain suck. My goal is to do planks every day and do the P90X ab ripper workout 1-2x a week. I know I need to schedule a definite time for the exercises, or else I won’t do it.
So, here’s my recap of last week’s workouts:
Mon: 10 min planks and back exercises.
Tues: Easy run around the Lake.
Stats: 5.2 miles @ 10:30/mile + 30 min stretching/rolling
Wed: 60 min PT exercises, planks, stretching, rolling
Thurs: Inspired by the book I was reading (Running with the Kenyans, which BTW, is not particularly good, but has some interesting insights and is a quick read), I did a modified fartlek run – 1 minute sprint, followed by 1 minute jog. So, basically, high intensity interval training (HIIT). In the book, they did 25 repeats; I thought I should start with 12. It was tough, especially with the headwind. I’m going to rename these intervals “calf killers” — my calves were really feeling it during the cool-down! My splits for the 12 repeats (pace per mile):
2 – 8:16
3 – 8:20
4 – 8:21
5 – 8:20
6 – 8:09
7 – 8:19
8 – 8:31 (hello headwind!)
9 – 8:37 (yep, more headwind)
10 – 8:22
11 – 8:17
12 – 7:33 (saved too much for last, apparently)
I noticed that my first 5-6 recovery jogs were on the fast side (9:45-10:20), which probably didn’t grant me as much recovery as I could have had. The other thing I noticed is that my sprinting form went from fairly awkward in the beginning to a lot less awkward toward the end. Progress!
I also took my new Lululemon Bang Buster headband out for a spin. I’ve never had very good luck with headbands, but I was desperate to get one (long story). I’m happy to report that I’ve worn it twice now, through 2 tough runs, and it stayed on the whole time. It was pricey ($18), but I’m hopeful that it’ll be worth every penny.
Stats: 4.5 miles @ 9:44/mile + 30 min stretching/rolling
Fri: 90 min indoor rock climbing
Sat: I went out to run the 8+ mile bike loop at Redwood Regional Park. I got there at noon and was surprised to see lots of empty spaces in the parking lot (usually, it’s packed and I have to park down the road). The first mile on East Ridge was great — foggy and quiet. Then I came upon entire sections of mud — which was especially treacherous on the hills. No wonder it wasn’t crowded! I jog/walked about 2 miles through the mud, and was so happy to see a relatively dry Canyon Trail, leading down to the stream. What goes down, though, must come up. I’ve never been at this tail end of West Ridge but man, was it steep! My Garmin shows a 500′ elevation gain over 0.5 miles in this section! It was so steep that there are bike pull outs to prevent loss of control. Once it leveled off, it took me a while to recover. I was never more happy to reach familiar territory about 2 miles from the end. Tough run for sure!
Stats: 8.2 miles @ 13:35/mile, 1140′ elevation gain + 20 min stretching/rolling
Sun: I thought about exacting revenge on Saturday’s trail “run”, but I was having little aches and pains, so I thought I’d better rest. I walked to the library, which I wouldn’t normally include in my weekly mileage, but since I could’ve easily driven my car instead, I’m totally counting it!
Stats: 2 miles walking + 30 min stretching/rolling (yet to do)
WEEKLY TOTAL: 20 miles + ~5 hours climbing/PT/stretching
How I felt about it: Some decent running efforts and ok non-running workouts too. B-