Oakland Half Marathon Race Recap + A NEW PR!!!

This past weekend we took a family road trip up to Oakland so that I could run the Oakland Half Marathon on Sunday. Jerold's best friend lives in the Bay and we were able to stay with them (Anyone that opens their doors to let a family of five stay with them is a true friend!!). The original plan was to take the kids out of school early on Friday and hit the road. Uh, yeah - no. My kids protested that they wanted to stay the whole day in school - pleassse Mommy don't make us leave early. Ok.
I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that it was In N Out burger day at school? Hummm...

Plan B was to wake up at 4 am on Saturday and make the drive super early. Um, yeah  - no. I was feeling exhausted and just wanted a couple more hours of sleep and our 3 year old was getting over a cold. 

Plan C - we left mid morning after breakfast and everyone was happy. I was happy to have more sleep and they were happy to have new movies to watch in the car!


We arrived in Oakland on Saturday afternoon and I had to make a quick dash to the expo to pick up my bib number. I can't even tell you about the expo, because I made it just before closing! That's what happens when you are a mother runner on a road trip with three kids - there are many, many pit stops along the way :)

We went into a very cool section of Oakland for pizza at Zachary's pizza. I personally think it is THE BEST pizza west of the Mississippi. Highly recommend!
I didn't run before we left and needed to get in a quick 4 mile easy run that day. It worked out perfectly, because the wait to get a table was so long - I was able to run and get back just as the pizza arrived!

A little carbo loading! :)

Early bedtime for all of us and I slept really well that night. I got up at 5:30 am (the race did not start until 9:10 am) to have breakfast.

My breakfast ---> 2 slices of toast with almond butter, a banana and a cup of coffee.
Wait, what?

I don't drink coffee. Like. Ever. Okay, okay - I would say I have a latte with friends once or twice a year to be social. But I never drink coffee and Jerold doesn't drink it either. We are those weird people that don't drink coffee... I have been reading quite a bit about the benefits of coffee for runners and how having a cup before a race or hard workout can have benefits.
I was curious to try and see how I liked it + how my body reacted to it (well before Boston) and decided to try it for this race (NOTE: I should have tried this well before the race as this race was super important to me and I could have really messed things up if my stomach was upset from it. Try new things during a workout!!)

In my last 3 races, I did not have my kids with me and I was excited to have them around for this race. By the time we got everyone out of the house, on the road and through many street closures, I only had time for about a quarter mile warm up (oops! I was supposed to run a 1.5 mile warm up) and a little bit of dynamic stretching before it was time to get to my corral. 

I was able to meet up with some social media friends before the race!!

Brian and Christina - We Run Social!!

I also had some very fun pre race stretching partners...

I went to the starting line feeling confident and ready to run hard. You know that feeling you have when you are ready to have a kick butt race and grab a PR?
I knew that my training had been going really well and I felt ready to race.

The National Anthem was sung and I was trying not to worry that I hadn't warmed up enough. I had to focus on the warm up that I was able to do and stay calm and positive.

The gun went off and I felt good. My body felt light and ready to race.

Miles 1 and 2: 6:29, 6:52.

Another oops. CRAP. This was too fast! My coach had given me the plan and he wanted me to ease into the first mile at 7:15 - 7:25 pace, mile 2-10 at about 7:05-7:10 pace and the give it all I had the last 5K. What in the world was I doing?
Was it the caffeine? I felt like a horse that wanted to fly like the wind, but I also didn't want to shoot myself in the foot for later. Whoa, let's get this under control.

Miles 3 and 4: 7:14, 6:52

It was an AMAZING day for racing. Overcast and very cool weather. No winds in the beginning, although that would change later.

Miles 5 and 6: 7:13, 6:56

It was like my mind was constantly in motion, but I felt totally in control, Every time I ran a mid seven mile, I felt like I knew I could run faster the next mile, but wanted to keep something in reserve for miles 10, 11, 12.

Miles 7 and 8: 7:17, 7:09

The course had a lot of rolling hills, which I liked. I realize I think I like this more than a completely flat course. It kept things interesting!!

Mile 9 and 10: 7:23, 7:24

Okay - this is the section where there a gradual hill and it was pretty windy at this point. I was bummed about the 7:20s times (although a big improvement over the 730s time I would fade to a month ago during Surf City), but I also ran past a lot of women in these miles. That kept my confidence up and I just kept telling myself to keep pushing.

Mile 11: 7:23

I knew I would PR at this point, but I didn't know by how much. The crowd support was great and I was so happy to hear music and see people all over the place! It's amazing how music and people really keep you going. I felt really fit and my body was still happy at this point.

Mile 12: 7:19

Only 1.1 mile go to. I know I can do anything for one more mile. Let's get to the half mile first, then another half to go - then sprint hard for the last .1 
I can do this!!

Mile 13: 7:16

Ready to sprint for the last .1 and the finish line is no where in sight. Nothing. Nada. I look down at my watch - it reads 13.1 and the time of 1:33 something.

Where is the finish line?

I kept running and running and running and finally there is a pretty steep uphill and at the top of the hill was finally the finish line! 

At that point, I had to make myself sprint up the hill. I was so ready to be done and I knew the course was so much longer than 13.1

Finally I finished!

The course measured 13.47 on my Garmin which was 1:36:09 (7:08 pace) for that distance.
13.1 was 1:33:40, which is a huge PR for me as my best time before was 1:36:43!!!

When I ran Surf City last month, I really wanted to run 1:35 (and didn't) and now to run 1:33 and grab this beautiful PR... I am THRILLED!!!!

1st in my age group, 13th overall woman.

21:08 5K time and 43:18 10K time within this race.

I am so happy. I feel like the hard work is paying off.

I need to go back to the drawing board on my race execution - start conservatively and save more for the second half. It is critical that I do this for Boston and I will do what it takes to make that happen. Hold yourself back - whatever it takes to not go out too fast. 
This will be my mantra, this is what I will focus on these next 4 weeks.

I feel humbled. There is so much yet to learn about running and racing - I learn something new EVERY DAY. I love it! Even though I have been running for such a long time, I still want to be a sponge. I love learning and constantly improving to be a better runner and be a better Nat.

I ran a 5.5 mile cool down after the race for a whopping 19.5 mile total day. Let's pile on the miles, shall we? :)

A little about the Oakland Half Marathon

First let me say - Oakland is such a great city!! Gorgeous homes up in the Oakland Hills (I ran 4 miles up in the hills on Saturday) with views of the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate bridge and beyond. Lush, green and beautiful scenery, great food + funky, hip vibe. 
If you haven't visited the East Bay - go! So many people miss this great city when they visit San Francisco, but it is definitely worth checking out. :)


Good course support. People lined up cheering all along the course. Water and Gatorade at aid stations about every other mile.

Great running weather! Cool, overcast and and a runner's dream. This is the kind of weather that I thrive in!!!
We were so lucky, because right after the race the sky opened up and it started pouring!

Nice course with rolling hills - as you are going up a hill, you know there is a downhill to follow.

They had a nice set up of post race food - yogurt, bananas, oranges, chocolate milk, water.

Good amount of port o potties

Fun kids zone with games and food for the kids - so awesome.


The only con I have is they need to work on the course measurement. This is HUGE.
Every race that day was really long - from the 5K to the marathon.
The race director needs to make major changes for next year. With the amount of money that people pay for races ($95 for the half), you should have an accurate course. I would love to run this race again, but would steer away because of the course issues.

This was my last race before Boston and I am back to grinding away these next two weeks in a last push to get ready.

Have an awesome week and Happy Spring!

Have you ever run a race on an inaccurate course?

Happiness Is Running Life!


No comments:

Post a Comment