Kaiser Recap 2017

On Sunday, I ran the San Francisco Kaiser Half Marathon. It feels weird to be writing this recap because I hadn’t planned on doing it until 4 days before the race, and that’s because I didn’t officially register. The story is: I inherited a bib from a registered runner, who decided to go to Tahoe instead. I don’t think the race officially allows bib transfers, but we did it anyway. I’m not advocating this kind of thing (I’m usually an adamant rule follower)- so please don’t judge me!

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned, I haven’t been running very much since CIM. My weekly total has ranged from 3-16 miles per week for the last 2 months. However, I’ve been meaning to jump start my training, with the goal of running the Badger Cove Half Marathon in March. So what better way than to jump into a half marathon with only a few days notice? Some people Run Less, Run Faster, so I joked that I had been using the “Barely Run, Gain 5 lbs” half marathon training plan.

Given my total lack of preparation and general uncertainty about how much fitness I had from CIM training, my race strategy was to start conservatively and ramp up my effort as the race progressed. I didn’t have a time goal, though if hard pressed, I would’ve said 2:10 for best case scenario and 2:20 if I really fell apart. I was even envisioning some walk-run intervals if need be. The one thing I had going for me was experience – I’ve run Kaiser twice previously. So, I knew what to expect on the course – when to hold back and when to push.

One of the main motivating factors for running Kaiser was to be able to have post-race brunch with Cathryn and her family – plus it was Cat’s birthday the next day! So, regardless of what happened, I knew I’d eat some good food with a few of my favorite people after the race.

Pre-race logistics didn’t go as well as I had hoped but eventually things got sorted. I found Team Ramsden and wished them well for the 5K. I ran into Sesa and her friend E, both of whom were running the half, and chatted with them for a bit before we went our separate ways.

Since this was my third time running Kaiser, I won’t go into much detail. Here were my main impressions:

  • The first mile is always a crowded mess due to self-seeding, but luckily, things spread out by the time I left Golden Gate Park (GGP).
  • I LOVE the first 7 miles of this course! It’s basically a lap around GGP including the panhandle. This time, since I wasn’t all-out racing, I took my time and enjoyed the scenery.

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    Utter gorgeousness. (I’m surprised that this turned out so well – I took it while I was running!)

  • The weather this year was the most ideal out of the 3 years I’ve run it. It was 50 degrees and overcast for most of the race, with a very slight headwind on the Great Highway.
  • The volunteers were amazing! Many were friendly and enthusiastically cheering on the runners.
  • The last 6 miles are brutal. The out and back on the Great Highway is mind-numbing, and the last little hill before the finish line can be demoralizing.
  • My half marathon pacing skills have improved tremendously. Yes, I could’ve paced better (it’s good to negative split, but I was maybe a tad too conservative at the start). However, given my lack of training and how unsure I was about my fitness, I think I did pretty well!
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Excited to see Team Ramsden at ~ Mile 8 (photo credit: Cat)

OK, so what happened? I followed my game plan and started off going by heart rate. I wouldn’t let myself get above 150 for the first 7 miles. Then, if I felt good, I’d push a little more with each mile. I did just that and finished in 2:05:xx. It’s almost 9 minutes slower than when I ran Summer Breeze last August, but it far exceeded my expectations. I was also pleased with my race execution. I know it’s obvious, but it’s so much more satisfying to pass people at the end instead of the other way around (e.g., what happened at CIM).

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Gotta love negative splits (thanks Strava for the bar graph)

As promised, there was a fun post-race brunch at the Beach Chalet with Team Ramsden. Cat got a surprise PR following her own “Wine and Cake” fueling plan (trademark pending). You can read her recap here. It was a great morning all around!

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We’ve earned our French toast!

p.s. Did you run Kaiser? If so, post your review on RaceRaves by 2/19 for a chance to win a free entry into next year’s race!

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About

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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12 comments on “Kaiser Recap 2017
  1. Mike says:

    Let’s hear it for Team “Two Feet off the Ground”! (not a team I join much). And Team “Negative Split” as well, those are nice numbers and it looks like you’ve retained a lot of your fitness from CIM. Glad your impromptu training session went well, no better course for it in a hilly city like San Francisco. Glad you scored a windless day too, that helps bigly. And I’ll just reiterate here how much I like your GGP photo, not sure how you managed that while on the run. Congrats on a solid outing, and hope this jump starts your 2017 training!

  2. gracechua31 says:

    Nicely done! Hooray for a well-executed race. You definitely still have that CIM fitness in play. Hope this sets the tone for Badger Cove!!

  3. I love Beach Chalet. I feel like a broken record whining about how much I miss the Bay Area, but I DO!

    I wish more races would allow bib transfers. People do it and it’s not going away.

    • Jen says:

      Come back to the Bay! As for bib transfers – I can see why races don’t like to do it, it’s annoying from a logistical standpoint, but then they should just charge a processing fee.

  4. Jia-Shieu OuYang says:

    Glad that the race went well and you got “rewarded” with delicious brunch! (as for me, I would have skip the run and go for the food! Haha). Nice action shot of you!

  5. Angela says:

    Huzzah! Sometimes no real expectations is a good thing. 🙂

  6. Cathryn says:

    So glad you were there and got to eat French Toast with me 🙂

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