Start Me Up! (Kaiser Week 1)


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.


The central portion of the Cleveland Cascade. Small sets of steps at the very bottom and top not pictured.

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.

Beautiful hills of Tilden Park

Beautiful hills of Tilden Park

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

To the winner goes the spoils!! ;)

To the winner goes the spoils!! 😉

Total mileage for the week: 22.1

Plan for the coming week:
Mon:  Yoga
Tues:  Speed-endurance run + stairs
Wed:  Rest
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:


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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Posted in Goals, Training
13 comments on “Start Me Up! (Kaiser Week 1)
  1. Dominick S. says:

    Nice job on the victory and signing up for a half! Its almost time for me to start focusing on the Rock N Roll!

    As for the video…Charlie Watts (drummer) is like…this is absurd the entire time. I also now know where my drunk dance moves come from…thanks Mick.

  2. Cathryn says:

    Love the new look on the blog, especially the header photo, it’s a cracker!

    Really excited for Kaiser for you – it’s def PR territory if you throw some speed workouts into the mix!

    Yay for Briones this weekend – so excited. So determined to not eat all the mince pies!

  3. BT says:

    Looking forward to seeing you at Kaiser!

  4. aewills says:

    Love love the Kaiser half! I will live vicariously through you :). Great start to the training plan!

  5. Angela says:

    Yeahhhhh, Kaiser party!! Looking forward to it!! 🙂

  6. Tammy says:

    Congratulations on registering for the run! I like the new look of your blog also. I’m going to be looking to lose some weight in 2014 and need to establish a similar schedule. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. […] feeling great, so I bailed on JT at 2.5 miles and turned around.  I definitely didn’t defend my title like I wanted to, but it was still a good to go for the group run.  Plus, there were donuts and […]

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4/28/19: London Marathon

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