Kaiser Week 5 & Foster City 10-miler Recap

Here I go with the multi-part posts again… anyone want to bet when this one will get published?  (I’m starting on Monday night, posting on Wednesday.  Not too terrible?)

Kaiser Week 5:

Tuesday5.7 miles @ 9:57 pace
Alternating tempo!
Workout: 4 miles alternating between 9:30 and 9:09/mile pace
Actual: 9:31, 9:09, 9:25, 9:03

The plan called for 5 miles, but figuring that this is race week, I decided to shorten it to 4 and do a longer warm-up and cool-down. Average HR 139. I was happy to see my average HR for the tempo miles in the high 140’s.  Maybe I am getting fitter after all??

Thursday: 3 miles @ 11:09 pace
Easy run around the neighborhood – saving my legs for Sunday’s race.
Average HR 124.

Saturday: 1.7 miles @ 10:35 pace
Very short shake-out run around the neighborhood. No Garmin or HRM, just me and my Timex stopwatch.  I felt pretty sluggish, so I was glad the run was short!

Sunday: 11 miles
1 mile of warm-up + 10 miles racing at the Foster City 10-miler (see below).

Total for the week: 21.4 miles
How I felt about it: A low mileage week, and more than 50% of it at fast-ish pace, so that’s probably not great/smart.  BUT.  The Foster City race was a good confidence boost leading into Kaiser, so that’s something. I still need to work on including some core work and perhaps returning to the gym to do some cross-training.  However, considering how crazy busy the next couple of weeks are going to be at work, I’ll be happy if I can just get the running done.


Race Recap: 2015 Foster City 10-miler

Why I wanted to run this race: I ran the inaugural event last year and had a good time, so I approached the Race Director about helping with race promotion again in exchange for a free entry.  He agreed, and that was that.  I also wanted to have a tune-up race leading into the Kaiser Half, which worked out well for me last year.

Goals (in no particular order):
A goal – Beat my previous 10-mile personal record and course record of 1:27:56.
B goal – Average sub-9:00/mile, as a tempo run for the Kaiser Half in 2 weeks.
C goal – Run tangents.
D goal – Finish strong and not give in mentally.  Always a struggle for me.

JT and I carpooled to the race, arriving in plenty of time to pick up my bib (there was no line), relax in the car for a while, go on a leisurely 1 mile warm-up, use the bathroom, and do some dynamic warm-ups.  At 8:25, 5 minutes before the race was supposed to start, we walked over to the start line and met up with Margot and Angela.  There was a 5K too, which started at the same time, which seemed a bit awkward especially since they asked that the 10-milers line up at the front with the 5K runners behind them.  I checked my electrical tape-covered Garmin one last time and then we were off!

The race:
Since I was running by feel, I had a hard time settling in on a pace.  I knew that I should definitely let Margot and Angela run ahead, since they were targeting 7-8 minute/mile pace, but otherwise I had no idea.  I felt like I was going a bit fast, but I also know that my first mile can feel uncomfortable because I need to get used to race pace.  Anyway, at some point, I just stopped worrying and started going with the flow.  I saw that JT was about 15 yards ahead of me, so I decided to make her my rabbit.

After weaving through downtown Foster City, we finally hit the Bay Trail at the end of the 2nd mile.  I was already feeling a little tired and readied myself to deal with 5 relentlessly boring (but pretty!) miles along the Bay.  At least the weather was behaving — it was quite cloudy, with very little to no wind to speak of.  I continued to pace off of JT, about 15-20 yards back, for the next 2 miles.  I eventually caught up to her at the water stop at 4 miles, when she stopped to get a drink.  We ran together for the remainder of the race, which was a blessing as neither of us were particularly happy to be racing, but we pushed each other along with consistent, slightly negative splits.

I focused on getting to the end of the Bay Trail section of the course, which would mark the completion of 7 miles.  I remembered from last year that once we started winding through the neighborhood streets, it would seem like the distance was going by faster.  And it did, for a maybe a mile.  With 2 miles to go, considerable fatigue started setting in and I felt my heart rate rising.  I warned JT that I’d probably start wheezing soon, and to go ahead without me if she was feeling strong.  She responded that she’d try to pick it up with 1 mile to go, but she honestly didn’t know if she had much left in her tank.

Here, I struggled a little with the D goal — even though I didn’t know my pace, I sensed that I had achieved my B goal of sub-9:00/mile average pace.  I was so tired – couldn’t I just dial it in?  But no, I had told myself that I needed to practice mental toughness.  I also knew that I wanted to be able to look back and say that I tried my best.  So I buckled down and focused on putting one foot in front of the other.  When we passed the 9 mile marker, I decided to stay with JT for as long as I could.  I was doing pretty well, until we got to the hilly short little bridge over the lagoon, when I fell a few steps behind her.  After we cleared the bridge, the finish arch came into view — probably a decent quarter-mile away still.  So close yet so far away!  Once I got to the 3 mile marker for the 5K (0.1 miles to go), I started counting backwards from 60, with the rationale that I’d be done before I got to zero.  I think I got to 50 before I gave up — it’s hard to count backwards when you’re trying to run as hard as you can!  Eventually, I crossed the finish line, only 1-2 seconds behind JT.

After catching my breath, JT and I walked over to where Margot and Angela were standing.  They had both done really well, coming in 3rd and 4th in our age group, respectively.  We took a photo and chatted a bit, but because I had to rush home, we went to get our shirts (given out after the race) and said our good-byes.  It was a good morning!

Me, JT, Angela, and Margot post-race.  I've got half of an orange in my left cheek, doing my best imitation of a chubby chipmunk.  (Photo courtesy of Angela.)

Me, JT, Angela, and Margot post-race. I’ve got half of an orange in my left cheek, doing my best imitation of a chubby chipmunk. (Photo courtesy of Angela.)

Race stats:
Garmin data: 1:28:08 for 10.05 miles (8:46/mile)
Splits: 8:43, 9:13, 8:57, 8:50, 8:42, 8:47, 8:45, 8:46, 8:40, 8:24  (Negative split by 1 min 3 sec. Woot!)
Average HR: 159, max 203 (spiked at the very end, for ~1 minute as I recovered from the small hill/bridge)
Fuel: Pre-race coffee and cereal with almond milk.  During the race, I had water and 1 salted caramel Gu.

Official results: 1:28:09 (8:48/mile)
72/183 finishers overall; 19/78 women; 9/27 age group (30-39)

Post-race introspective analysis:
First, let’s review my goals:
A goal – Beat my previous 10-mile personal record and course record (1:27:56): Not achieved.  But so close!
B goal – Average sub-9:00/mile, as a tempo run for the Kaiser Half in 2 weeks: Achieved! More about this below.
C goal – Run tangents: Garmin read 10.05 miles.  I’m going to count this as a victory.
D goal – Finish strong and not give in mentally: It was a struggle, but I’m happy to say I achieved this goal.  The fact that my last mile was also my fastest drives home that point.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with how this race went.  Even though I didn’t PR, I felt like it was an equivalent race performance to how I did last year.  I think this bodes well going into Kaiser.  A few weeks ago, if you had asked me if I could run a PR at Kaiser, I would’ve been like, “HELL NO.” But now… I think there’s a decent shot, especially if the weather is better than last year’s wind and cold rain AND if I manage to run the tangents better.  Last year at Kaiser, I ran 13.2 miles, so if I can be even a bit smarter about the tangents, then that’s like getting free time on the clock (or off the clock?).  Also, I know how important mental strength is for the Kaiser course — the first half is lovely, while the second half can be brutal, with a potentially fierce headwind and a 5.5 mile out-and-back that feels like it goes on FOREVER.  Then, just when you think you’re done, there’s a decent-sized hill up to the finish line.  So yeah, I’m going to be spending the next couple of weeks getting my head into that zone.

Physically, I’d say that I ran Foster City hard, maybe 90% effort.  I could feel it in my legs almost immediately after the race, and it’s taken about 3 days for the soreness in my calf to go away.  Even my upper body was sore!  The one area that I was worried about was the ball of my left foot, which was quite tender after the race but is finally getting better.  I think I might’ve bruised it.  Just as a precaution, I decided to switch my workouts around and delay any speed work until this weekend, to give myself extra time for rest and recovery.


About the race: (Note: This is mostly the same information as last year, with changes struck out or in bold.)

  • Organizers: Corrigan Sports
  • Cost: The 10-miler started at $50 for early bird registration and went up to $85 on race day.  The 5K started at $35 and was $50 on race day. (Note: I received a free entry in exchange for race promotion.)
  • Course: Flat (mostly), fast, and somewhat scenic.  Well-marked for the most part — there were a lot of traffic cones laid out, as well as course marshals directing traffic.  There were quite a few turns toward the end, but it was easy to run the tangents due to the sparse crowd.  Also, the turns were a welcome sight after running straight along the coast for so many miles.
  • Parking: Free.  I parked at a nearby parking garage as designated by the race organizers, but you could also park across the street at the public library. There was ample parking at City Hall, which is where I parked this year.
  • Aid stations: 4 water/Gatorade stops, at slightly different locations than specified on the course map.  My recollection is that they were at miles ~1.5, 3.5, 5.5, 8.5 (but I didn’t have my Garmin on, so these are guesstimates based on mile markers and pacing).   They had advertised that they would be handing out Gu at the last 2 aid stations, but I never saw any.  However, since I was carrying my own, I wasn’t necessarily paying attention.
  • Bathrooms:  The senior center in Leo Ryan park was open for bathroom access.  No porta potties on the course, though there seemed to be some park bathrooms along the way (I wasn’t really paying much attention, obviously).   I assume the bathroom situation might change if there are more runners in the future.
  • Swag: Long sleeve, attractive tech tee – in a surprisingly soft fabric.  There’s a medal only if you run all 3 10-milers in the series. Two-tone short-sleeve tech tee (you can see a photo on Angela’s recap). 
  • Post-race food and drinksEach entry came with 2 beer tickets, which I did not take advantage of.  I got a bottle of water as I crossed the finish line.  There was only a smattering of food left by the time I finished — I assume, based on the trash bin contents and empty boxes, that the 5K runners ate most of the bananas and granola bars, leaving the mid-pack and back-of-the-pack 10-milers with 2 small boxes of navel oranges.  Not that I have anything against peeling my own oranges, but it would’ve been nice to have someone there manning the food table and cutting up orange slices.  It was a bit underwhelming for such an expensive race (though to be fair, I didn’t have to pay).  Food situation was pretty much the same this year.  They had run out of Gatorade by the time I finished, and I had to peel my own orange again.  Whomp whomp!
  • Other notes: Very well-organized for an inaugural event!  There weren’t a lot of spectators, but everyone was really nice and I enjoyed myself.  It’s a good race to keep yourself motivated over the holidays, especially if you have a spring half or full marathon on the schedule.  I’ll be excited to see how this race grows in the future!  Even though the course isn’t super exciting, this is a well-organized event on a flat, fast course.  The weather has also been ideal both years.  I like how the crowd thins out by mile 3 such that it’s quite easy to track the people ahead of you and try to catch up to them.  JT and I managed to consistently pass people ahead of us without getting passed in return, which is always a nice feeling.

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 Race Recap
9 comments on “Kaiser Week 5 & Foster City 10-miler Recap
  1. egb says:

    Great job on the race and tackling your goals! I always find it helpful to have a rabbit!

  2. Mike says:

    Nice job! Hitting three of your goals (and almost your fourth) after not racing fast for a while bodes well for Kaiser, especially with negative splits. Continuing to hone that mental game is all-important. And though it may not have carried you to a PR this time, I’m guessing that sweet-looking t-shirt cut your post-race recovery time in half!

    The food situation sounds like something an inexperienced RD (which Corrigan shouldn’t be) will learn with continued runner feedback… I typically have barely enough energy/desire to peel a banana post-race, much less an orange.

    And really… why DOES it take you so long to publish your race reports? 😉

    • Jen says:

      I did get a big kick out of racing in that REALLY COOL LOOKING shirt, though I didn’t PR, so I want my money back! Oh wait, I didn’t pay for that. Seriously though, I chuckled to myself thinking about people reading the back, saying that I was a RAVing lunatic.

  3. Cathryn says:

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to comment. Great race – you should be incredibly chuffed that your last mile was your fastest. It’s been a long time (aka never?) since that happened to me. Such encouraging stuff to take into Kaiser!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Cat! I was really surprised that the last mile was so much faster — I felt like death!! Having JT there definitely helped; maybe I can convince her to pace me at Kaiser. 😉

  4. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for keeping up with this blog Jen, but more importantly, it’s so great you manage to keep running. I always fall in and out of running regularly (as it depends on whether I’m motivated enough to sing up for a run), so your blog serves as motivation. Congrats on all your races, it’s really amazing to see your progress.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Cynthia! Nice to hear from you. 🙂 I was just thinking the other day about my internal motivation to keep running… I guess it’s become such a habit and even a part of my social life. Signing up for long distance races help too. It’s crazy to think that my little blog motivates/encourages people to run, but I’m always happy to hear it. Hope all’s well with you!

  5. […] I’m feeling:  The Foster City 10-miler took way more out of me than I expected.  I think I might have raced it too hard, because I feel […]

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4/28/19: London Marathon

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