Summer Breeze Half Week 9 – Plus Race Preview

Welcome to training recap week 9 (of 10) for the Summer Breeze Half Marathon. I can’t believe tomorrow is August 1st! July has flown by so quickly, but I’m looking forward to race day on Saturday and then taking a short break. After taking a couple of weeks from training (I’ll still run, but only when I want to and for as long as I want to), I’m planning on mixing it up a bit with trail runs and new long run routes. I’ve been running the same places almost all year – no wonder I’m in a rut! I also want to plan some social runs and maybe add a couple of trail races into the mix.

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Week 9 of training went well! I completed 4 runs totaling almost 25 miles. These included a fartlek run (10 x 1 min on/1 min off), 6 miles at steady state, a short recovery run, and a 11 mile fast finish long run, with the last 3 miles at 9:15, 8:45, and 8:45. SO much better than 2 weeks ago! The steady state run and the FFLR together helped boost my confidence going into race week.

Race Preview:

The Summer Breeze course is almost completely flat, but the biggest obstacle is gravel, and lots of it. Luckily, most of it has been crushed by bikes, pedestrians, and runners so that it’s very fine, but still, it’s not going to be as fast as paved asphalt. It’s an out-and-back course along the San Francisco Bay – quite scenic, but since I’ve been running this trail almost weekly since moving to Hayward 2 years ago, I’m a little sick of it. The other possible “obstacle” will be weather. When I ran the 10K 3 years ago, it was cool and foggy.  Recently, we’ve had a bit of a heatwave (relatively speaking) but I’m hoping for Karl the Fog to make an appearance on Saturday. Today’s long run started off overcast, then the sun came out for the last few miles, which I can deal with.

This is one of Brazen Racing’s biggest races and there will be pace groups. I plan on lining up behind the 2:00 hour pacer and warming up with the group until I feel strong enough to pass (maybe I should say, “if and when” I feel strong enough to pass). I was thinking it might be nice to hang with the pace group for a while, just so I can turn my brain off and not worry too much about pacing. Not to mention, if it’s windy, then I can use the group to block the wind. 🙂 My general strategy will be to start conservatively, run with the 2:00 pace group for a while, settle into a rhythm, and pick up the pace in the last 3 miles.

I don’t have a specific time goal in mind. A PR would be anything faster than 1:58:51, which I think is possible. I think I can run a sub-2:00 (only my 2nd ever), if the weather cooperates. So, we shall see!

Looking back at previous half marathons and their respective training cycles, I think I have the following advantages:

  • Three 14-milers (2 of them FFLRs) and one 16-miler — the most >13 mile long runs I’ve done leading up to any half marathon?
  • Steady training over the past 7 months plus 10 weeks of half marathon specific training (might be the longest I’ve ever dedicated to HM training)
  • Nice progression in overall paces for all runs, from easy runs to workouts
  • Weekly practice on the race course and visualizing the finish – especially during FFLRs and progression runs

However, I think there are a few weaknesses too:

  • Lack of hill/trail running — this has always been one of my hidden strengths, but I’ve been so focused on speed this year that I’ve neglected trails.
  • My left hamstring, though better, is still a bit wonky.
  • Mentally, I’m not as “in it” as I have been in the past for a goal race. It’s only just hit me in the last couple of days that I haven’t been as committed to nutrition, sleep, and developing mental strength as I did leading up to the Oakland 5K and Danville 10K earlier this year. It’s time to get my head in the game!
  • I have a feeling that it’s going to hurt, and I’m not looking forward to it. Part of this is good, as it’s helping me prepare myself to suffer, but another part of it is based on anxiety and fear. I need to overcome those negative feelings.

This week is all about short workouts and resting the legs a little bit before the race. Mentally, it will be about getting into the right headspace. Wish me luck!


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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9 comments on “Summer Breeze Half Week 9 – Plus Race Preview
  1. Grace says:

    Taper time! It sounds like you’ve earned that taper. And you can go into the race knowing you’ve done all the homework. You got this!

  2. Angela says:

    I say forget about everything except all the hard work you’ve done. Also, I think Margot is running the 5K so you should keep an eye out for her before the race!

    • Jen says:

      Ooh, thanks for the heads-up! I’ll look for her, though between the half marathon starting 30 min before the 5K and her being so speedy, our paths may not cross.

  3. Layla says:

    Good luck! I know you said you’re dreading the hurt, but try to look at is another barrier to cross. Once you get through that level of discomfort, you’ll never again have to face that particular unknown. Of course, this is because you’ll push the bar higher next time, as we all generally do, but this is not “next time” but merely “now.” Discomfort “now” is only temporary.

    And I am on the same “get back to trails” mission, so I would love to run them with you!

    • Jen says:

      Great point about the discomfort “now”. I’ve dealt with much longer, more intense bouts of pain and discomfort (related to recovery from 3 surgeries), so I’m not sure why running-associated discomfort seems like a bigger hurdle for me.

      Yes, let’s hit the trails! And I want to ask you questions about the Iron Horse Trail.

  4. Mike says:

    Summer is such a tough time to stick to a consistent training schedule what with heat waves, vacations, out-of-town friends visiting… oh yeah, and weddings! In any case, enjoy Summer Breeze and don’t beat yourself up over performance (that’s what fall races are for), knowing that no matter what, there’ll be an IT’S-IT waiting for you at the finish. Fingers crossed too that the hamstring behaves itself. Good luck!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Mike. You’re very generous – no heat waves here in the Bay Area, so I have very few excuses outside of just not feeling it (which is legitimate, but you know, more abstract than hot temps).

  5. […] some of you might accuse me of sandbagging when I was doing race predictions, unsure about how I would do at the Summer Breeze Half Marathon. And some of you would be right. I […]

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