I’ve been referring to the Oakland Half as a goal race, but have I been training like it? Hardly. I finally snuck in a couple of race pace/tempo workouts in the last few weeks, and got some decent long runs in too, but I haven’t done nearly as much running as I intended. However, I’m trying to focus on the positive, such as:
- Temps should be pleasant (partly cloudy, high of 60F) despite a late start (9:30 a.m.)
- It’s a similar course as previous years, but the start/finish moved last year to Eastshore Park. That means no more last 5K slog around Lake Merritt, culminating in the last steep-ish hill on 19th St. (which will now be in the second mile of the race).
- I convinced two friends, AR and ME, to run Oakland as their first half marathons. I’m looking forward to celebrating with them post-race at the Lagunitas beer tent!
- The late start means a relatively normal pre-race evening. I don’t have to make sure to have an earlybird dinner, nor do I have to be in bed by 9:00 p.m.
Now let’s talk goals. As I readjusted my goals and expectations to meet the amount of training I’ve done, I realized that my C goal – setting a course record – would actually be very doable, as long as I don’t bonk and/or suffer a serious injury. My course record at Oakland was set in 2013, when I aimed to run sub-2 but fell painfully short, finishing in 2:04:26. I’d say there’s a 95% chance that I will set a course record tomorrow. (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself!)
My B goal for this race is to do better than Kaiser, which I ran over a month ago, finishing in 2:01:19. That was a tougher course and in relatively humid conditions. However, I have a tendency to go out too fast at Oakland and run anywhere from 13.3-13.4 miles (according to my Garmin). So, I’ll be happy if I finish with a faster average pace, even if I don’t beat the finish time.
Finally, my A goal is to run a sub-2 hour half. This was my original goal when I signed up for this race, but as the weeks went by, I saw my chances get slimmer. Again, with the very good possibility that I won’t run the tangents and end up running extra distance, I’ll be super happy if I can run 9:09/mile or faster. Basically, sub-2 pace but not sub-2 finish time.
My race plan is to start behind the 2:00 pacer, go out easy for the first mile (9:30-ish). Then, I will pick up the pace and try to catch up to and hang with the 2 hour group for as long as possible. Of course, if the pacer sucks and is running too fast/slow, I won’t run with them. However, I think it’s mentally easier to run with the pack than it is to go it alone, especially when you’re pushing your limits for such an extended period of time.
At the end of the day, finishing a half marathon is a big accomplishment. Regardless of whether I meet my time goals, I’ll be satisfied if I try my best for the duration of the race and to remember to smile and thank all of the volunteers and spectators along the way. I will run happy because I get to run. Cheers!