Last Monday, I bit the bullet and registered for the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon. I wanted to run a half marathon in February and had been waffling between Kaiser and Brazen’s Bay Breeze. Both are fairly reasonable price-wise and have fast courses. Even though Bay Breeze would have been easier logistically and more familiar (I had set a 10K PR there in August), I ended up choosing Kaiser because the course is point-to-point (vs. out and back), and will hopefully be more interesting and scenic. Not to mention that a couple of friends have registered too, which always makes races more fun and memorable.
It’s amazing how quickly a race registration can put a fire under you. I went from totally relaxed to “OMG, race day is in 7 weeks! LET’S DO THIS!!” If it’s one thing I’ve learned from this year’s races, it’s this: don’t set time goals until the week before, and only with actual workout data in hand. However, I already know that my main goal isn’t time-related at all, but to try to pace the half marathon distance better. I have a tendency to bonk at mile 11 and I’m going to try my best NOT to do that at Kaiser.
Timing-wise, it’s great that the Foster City 10-miler is 3 weeks before Kaiser. It will give me a chance to practice pacing, as well as give me a good indication of my fitness level. Speaking of the Foster City race — Oakland Running Festival is offering a great deal: if you register for Foster City by 11:59 p.m. on 12/24, you’ll get a $20 off coupon code towards the Oakland Half Marathon or Full Marathon. Not to mention that you can still use the discount code JLEE (expires 1/1/14) to save 10% off the Foster City 10-miler or 5K. Just wanted to pass that on, in case you’re thinking of running both races.
So far, my Spring 2014 race calendar looks like this:
- Jan 12th: Foster City 10-miler
- Feb 2nd: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon
- Feb 22nd: ITR Chabot Trail Half or 30K? (Tentative)
- March 23rd: Oakland Half or Full (undecided re: distance; if I run the full marathon, it would probably be as a training run for Big Sur. Any thoughts or advice on this?)
- April 27th: Big Sur International Marathon!!
It’s a full schedule, but I’m quite excited! Can’t believe that Big Sur is only 18 weeks away! 🙂
I treated this past week as the first official week of Kaiser training (out of 7 weeks). It’s a short cycle, for sure, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes. One thing I just realized recently is that I’ve never really trained for a half marathon. What I mean is — yes, I’ve ramped up total mileage to make sure I can cover the distance, but I’ve never done half marathon-specific speed work. So I went to the all-knowing Google and searched for workouts and found this helpful guide — giving me exactly 6 weeks of workouts! What a happy coincidence!
My plan is to follow the “beginner” set of workouts (threshold run every week, speed-endurance run every other week) while following my own long run schedule. What I like about the prescribed workouts is that they are focused on sustaining race pace or faster, which is definitely my weak spot. I actually appreciate the fact that they make me slightly uneasy — I think it’s a good indication that this is an area I need to work on and that doing these workouts will increase my confidence. As far as mileage, I plan on continuing to hold steady at 20-30 miles/week, focusing on quality instead of quantity. I also plan on running the Cleveland Cascade, a set of stairs by Lake Merritt, every Tuesday as strength training. Tomorrow, I’m starting what I hope will be a regular Monday yoga routine.
So, that’s the plan! Here’s what actually happened this past week:
Tues: Easy run with short pick-ups (about 5-7). 3 runs up the Cleveland Cascade with a 30 second rest in between each climb. I’m working my way up to 10 full climbs.
3.8 miles @ 10:11/mile
Wed: Easy run, no Garmin. Pretty sluggish and tired.
3.8 miles (no pace stats)
Thurs: Threshold run.
Planned: 2 x 2 mi at half marathon goal pace (9:00-9:09) w/ 4 min rest interval. 1 mile warm-up and 1 mile cool-down on either side.
Actual: 8:54, 8:58
I have to admit I was a little scared going into this, as I was feeling really tired and bloated. Once I warmed up, I felt good and actually found it difficult to hold back pace-wise. By the last mile, though, I found myself having to push a lot harder to sustain the pace.
6.4 miles @ 9:26/mile
Sat: Jingle Bell Hell 2013!
I showed up at Inspiration Point thinking that I might be the only runner and I was right. However, race organizer XLMIC was there and the promise of post-run donuts kept me going. It was really beautiful – I haven’t run on Nimitz Way in over a year. The scenery was the opposite of “hell” so I tried to include some hellish bits, like running every hill, listening to a very boring podcast, and only stopping once to take photos (I had wanted to take more). There was also an aggressive cow who was a bit scary, so that was hellish too, I suppose.
With 2 miles to go, I saw Roserunner and her gentleman, who got there late and were turning around due to the gentlemen’s bad knee. The 3 of us ended up running together for the rest of the “race”. This was great because their company made the time go a lot faster, but it was also at a faster pace and therefore, slightly more hellish. As we approached the finish line, XLMIC was waiting with “chip” timing: potato chips on the ground- HA! Roserunner and the gentleman graciously let me sprint ahead for the win. We celebrated with donuts and as the winner, I received a tube of grape Nuun and a box of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered peppermint Joe Joe’s! It was lots of fun and I hope more people make it out next year! Thanks to XLMIC for organizing! (Find her recap here.)
8.1 miles @ 9:45/mile, ~650′ elevation gain
Total mileage for the week: 22.1
Plan for the coming week:
Tues: Speed-endurance run + stairs
Thurs: Threshold run
Fri: Easy/recovery run (or rest)
Sat: Briones Reservoir trail run
Sun: Rest (or easy/recovery)
And because I can’t resist a good YouTube video: