I ran the Livermore Half Marathon last year as a pacer and loved the race and course. So, when pacing sign-ups were posted, I marked my calendar. Unfortunately, the race organizers decided to get rid of 5 pace groups from last year, including mine (2:20). So, despite the fact that there are 2 pacers per group (this is one of the larger races the TVRC paces), sign-ups filled up immediately and I was squeezed out. Whomp whomp. However, the good news was that not running Livermore meant I could go to Tahoe with my former Berkeley colleagues for a ski weekend. Hooray!
After a very snow-less winter, it decided to storm the weekend Tahoe/Livermore. Because of my work schedule, I couldn’t leave until after 5pm on Friday, which put me in the worst possible driving conditions. I ended up having to cancel last-minute, which I was super bummed about.
It was Saturday, March 3rd, and I was doing my usual weekend things – chores, etc. At around noon, I got a message from NT asking me if I wanted a free bib for Livermore. Someone he knew wanted to run the 408K in San Jose instead. Who turns down a free bib? Not me! I know that bib transfers were technically not allowed by the race director, so I’m not posting my actual finish time because I don’t want to get my bib-giver in trouble.
Since I had less than 24 hours notice, this wasn’t really a race for me as much as it was a long run/workout. I had already planned on doing a fast-finish long run, so my plan was to start off with NT and his fellow 2:10 pacer. I’d run with them through mile 10, then pick it up for the last 3.
This race starts early, at 7:00 a.m. It can be warm in Livermore, so I think they want to make sure everyone stays as cool as possible. Just like last year, parking was a breeze. I beat the bathroom line and stowed my things in the TVRC pacing tent. The weather was chilly but clear — great for running.
Before the race started, NT mentioned that their strategy was to bank time in the first miles before the hills at about the halfway point. So, I was mentally prepared to let them go a little bit ahead.
Because I wasn’t really racing, I’m not going to cover the race in detail. You can read more about the course in my recap from last year. As I ran, I noticed how many sections of the course I missed last year while I was focusing on pacing.
In general, it is a beautiful course with a few hills but nothing too major. I ended up running faster than 10:00/mile for the first 10 miles because the 2:10 group just took off. I kept them within reach for a while, but realized that they were going way faster than my plan so I let them go. My splits for the first 10 miles:
10:09 (big hill)
9:07 (big downhill)
Then, it was time for the fast finish, and hopefully catch up to the 2:10 pacers. I finally did at mile 11.7. My last 3.2 miles were: 9:22, 9:00, 8:47, 7:53 (for 0.2 miles). I finished in 2:05:xx. I was pretty pleased with how I did as far as a long run/workout goes. I was especially happy to see sub-8:00/mile pace for the last sprint. I don’t think I’ve done that since the Healdsburg Half 2016.
Anyway, it was a great day and I left with tons of endorphins. I got to see friends, run on a beautiful course, get some nice swag, and NT even bought me a cup of coffee. 🙂 Similar to last year, I finished too early in the day to want to drink wine at the post-race wine festival, but one of these years, I will! I highly recommend the Livermore Half.