Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Giant Race 2011

This weekend 2 favorites of mine converged – running and baseball = The Giant Race. Here’s how the weekend went.

Friday

ART
I visited my chiro for an ART session. If you’ve ever had an ART session, you know that they are very intense, but fairy short, usually 15 minutes or so. This particular session was at least 45 minutes, if not longer. Dr. Eva started to work on my right hamstring, but it was pretty tight and almost sore to the touch. She had to massage it for a while to loosen it up before she could really get started with the ART. It was so intense that I broke out in a sweat.

Next she worked on my piriformis, which actually wasn’t too bad at all. She did hit a couple of tight spots but it was more relieving than anything else. She had me stand up to do a forward fold and could tell that something was still pulling on my right side so she decided to work on my upper calf. I didn’t think I was having any calf issues but once she started working on it, I realized it was pretty tight too. Funny how the chiros can always find the spots that torture you the most. I left the feeling a little abused but overall, much better.

Orange Friday
The game the night before the race is called “Runner’s Night”. We had the opportunity to buy game tickets, which are usually in the upper deck, in the worst area of the park. Having experienced this last year, Karin and I ditched those tickets and sat in our friend’s Club Level seats.

We had a little bit of an adventure getting into the park, but once we did we spent most of the time combing the club level for “carb-loading” food. I had my usual baked potato (with pulled pork, grilled corn, broccoli, mushrooms, bacon bits, salsa, etc). But you can’t be in the Club Level and not have dessert. So we decided to split some gelato and strawberry shortcake – yum!

Personally, I wish Runners Night was held the game after the race. I had to leave the game early so that I could get a full night’s sleep and be well rested for race day. I was home and in bed by 11 pm but found myself wide-awake at 2:30 am. I was paranoid that I wasn’t going to be able to fall back asleep and started having all kinds of doubts float through my mind. I started to feel bruising from my ART session and seriously considered skipping the race and just being a spectator. But I paid a lot of money for this race (it’s quite pricey for a half) and didn’t want to let it go to waste.

Saturday

Pre-Race
I was up at 5:30 am and realized I didn’t have anything to eat for breakfast. I barely had enough cereal to fill a bowl. I had meant to make some oatmeal the night before but forgot to. I found one last English muffin so I threw it in my bag, along with a Gatorade and was out the door by 6 am. Although the race didn’t start till 8 am, I wanted to make sure I got parking in Lot A (closest to the Start Line and ballpark).

I sat in my car for about 45 minutes eating my breakfast. I still wasn’t feeling very motivated until PunkRockRunner reminded me that he was racing an Ironman on Sunday. That was enough to get me over my pity party and I headed over to the start area where I met up with Courtney, Aron and Audrey

…and my friend Mark.

I lined up in the very crowded starting corrals with Audrey, eating a GU right before the race started.

Race

The GU was a nice pick-me-up; once I started running, I felt quite energized. I needed it too because the first few miles were spent weaving through people. I expected this for the first couple miles because the group I was assigned to was “Group B” which was for 9:00+ min/milers and walkers. But at Mile 3 I was still weaving through walkers.

Though the weather conditions were perfect – foggy and breezy, I still double-fisted through every aid station because I wasn’t sure where or how many they were. Turns out, there were 4, which you hit twice on the out-and-back course. I managed to run up most of the Fort Mason hill and took another GU during Mile 4.

I was cruising down along the waterfront at the Marina, enjoying my playlist when I came upon a large group that was causing a bit of a commotion. I looked up and saw Brian Wilson, All-Star closer for the SF Giants! I whipped out my phone from my belt and threw to the first guy I saw and ran up to him to take a photo.

Apparently he was there for quite a while high-fiving and taking photos with runners. How awesome was it to have a Giant out on the course supporting runners of their own race?! I was stoked and had a permanent smile on my face for the rest of the race!

I continued onto Crissy Field still with a huge grin on my face. The course looped at Mile 7, closest to the GGB. See how foggy it was? You can’t even see the span of the GGB.


{thanks Mark for the photo}

On the way back I started to get tired and this time walked back up the Fort Mason Hill while eating my last GU. One way or the other this darn hill owns me. Actually everyone around me was walking up it as well, until a girl came on by and started cheering us on and telling us to keep going. It was a nice little pick-me-up so I picked up the pace and thanked her for the motivation. We kept passing it each for the last 5K.

Ideally, this would have been a nice race to PR at because the course was mostly flat and the weather conditions were ideal. But after the Brian Wilson encounter where I stopped for a few minutes, I kinda gave up on that idea. But at Mile 11 I ran into Mark. I told him that if I pushed hard I could be close to a PR so he told me that we should at least try.

Unfortunately, the last few miles were spent weaving around the 10K walkers. I understand in a race like this the participants are likely to be more fans of the team than fans of running, but I wished they knew a little more about race etiquette – like how about moving to the side and not walking 10-people wide? Especially if you have strollers. I was seriously hating the strollers.

I crossed the Finish line at 2:15:59, missing a PR by 55 seconds. Had I not stopped for the photo op, I would have had it, but I don’t regret it. Meeting Brian Wilson was well worth a PR. I would do it again in a heartbeat! Best race photo ever!

Post-Race

Up until this point, the race experience was great. Then we got to the Finish Line where I could barely cross it because it was so backed up. It was horrible. HORRIBLE! The same thing happened last year and I was hoping they would have fixed this, but they didn’t. (Check out Aron and Courtney’s race reports for photos of the ugly mess.)

I hopped over the rope just so I could stretch and walk around to bring my heart down. The ushers yelled at me at get back over. I told them that this is how people get injured. I had to push my way to a corner where there was a little room for me to circle around and do a little stretching.

The line slowly moved forward where we were handed bottled water and medals. We crossed by home plate but there was no photo op this year. I eventually met up with Audrey…

…and had to climb the stairs (more cruelty) to get to the bobble head line. If you’ve been to the park, here’s some context to what it was like:

– Finish Line was in front of Left Field bleachers
– Got smushed walking down the 3B line to home plate
– Followed the line along the 1B side and climbed the stairs to the main level along Right Field

It was packed and slow moving. My legs had already stiffened up on me. We proceeded on the Promenade Level back towards the home plate area where we were handed a bag with the typical race expo coupons and flyers.

The line continued along the Promenade Level (so we’re circling back along the 3B line towards Center Field. Along the way we were given bagels, bananas and Safeway shopping bags. That was cool.

Finally, by 1B we picked up our Timmy Lincecum bobble heads, then had to continue on to get our Nike Dri Fit shirts. I actually really like the shirt – I think it’ll still chafe me, but at least it’s much better than last year’s shirt. And to their credit, they didn’t run out like last year.

After getting my shirt and bobble head, I was ready leave. Instead, we were forced to pass by the “expo booths” all the way to Center Field. It was chaotic. The ushers were upset and yelling, “This is so unorganized!” Yes, it was. I wasn’t happy that we were forced to walk through it and not have the option to just leave.

We finally made it to the Marina Gate where we had to walk down the stairs (even more cruelty).

Courtney had patiently waited for Audrey and I. We headed to lunch at Momo’s where I had my traditional burger and fries. I sometimes think the only reason I run races is for the fries, since I only allow myself to eat them after a race.

All in all, there were some nice things that were improved from last year:

– Not running out of shirt sizes
– Giving us a real bobble head and not a mini Lou Seal one
– Mailing us our race bibs and chips
– Parking in Lot A

I still think they need to fix the Finish Line debacle, the whole “forced expo” exit and walkers merging with runners. But overall, it was a fun experience (mostly because of the Brian Wilson sighting) and I think we got a new Giant fan out of it! :)

Half-Marathon #14 is in the books!

Next up is the Moo Cow Half on Sept 18th!

This Week

TGIF! It’s Friday afternoon and I can hardly believe that I survived the week.

The week started off with hours spent at the County courthouse for Jury Duty. Yes, JURY DUTY. It makes me irrationally angry that because someone else decided to commit a crime, others have to be inconvenienced by sitting in a basement rooms for hours on end when that time could be used for more productive things.

I was off schedule, working evenings the rest of the week to attend some international meetings. It threw me off – my sleep schedule, eating patterns, etc. I would come home at 10 pm absolutely starving. I hate eating that late.

So it was no surprise that the miles I ran this week were all pretty crappy. Probably not a good thing considering that I’m running a race tomorrow…yep, another half-marathon. Needless to say I am not feeling it. Sadly, I have a definite lack of excitement for this race versus how excited I was for SFM. I’m sure this will change tomorrow come race day – at least I hope so.

To try and drum up some excitement, I quickly threw together a playlist. It’s pretty similar to my SFM playlist with a few new additions.

Tomorrow’s race is the SF Giants Race, as in my team.

It starts at AT&T Park and runs down the Embarcadero to Crissy Field and back. With the exception of the Fort Mason Hill, it’s a flat course, so as Audrey said, “I’m hoping that I saved all my mojo for race day.” Ha! I’m also hoping for cool weather and that race organizers don’t run out of shirts and Tim Lincecum bobble heads for half marathoners

My motivation will be a big bowl of chocolate salt ice cream waiting for me at the Public House post race.

Here goes nothing!

Week 33

After taking no rest days in Week 32, I ended up taking 2 this week due to some unexpected travel. But the rest was much needed and I ended up only missing 1 workout of the entire week.

Monday

AM: Spin. I decided to skip my usual Monday morning Core training class. The regular instructor (and good friend of mine) was on vacation and I wasn’t a particular fan of the sub so I just put in the full prescribed 70 minutes on the Spin bike.

PM: I spent an hour at home that evening doing yoga from my Yoga for Runners app.

Tuesday

AM: An easy 4-mile, Garmin-free run around the neighborhood.

Wednesday + Thursday

Rest / Travel Days

Friday

AM: A 6-mile jaunt around the ‘hood again, alternating speeds at every mile. I must say, when I started this run, it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was just going to hoof it around the neighborhood at an easy pace, but once I got going, it felt really good and I finished the last mile at an 8:42 min/mile pace which is really fast for me. I guess the old saying is true that you never regret a workout.

Saturday

AM: Swim. This was my prescribed rest day, but since I took 2 earlier in the week, I didn’t feel the need to take this one. Last Saturday when I was at the pool, it was already packed by 7 am. I hate having to wait for a lane so I this week I got there super early – like at 6 am — on a Saturday. That is early, even for me!

And guess what – I wasn’t the only one there. I recognized one of the other guys from last week who had to wait for a lane; he got there early like me. I swam for 1 hr and 10 minutes (2500-m). Great workout.

Sunday

AM: Sunday Runday in Tiburon. I woke up with a bad headache, which I’m guessing is from all the stress I’ve been dealing with lately. Work insane, over the weekend I found out about a second death in as many weeks. A friend from home (who was also a colleague) passed away. He was only a few years older than me and had been battling cancer for the past year. It’s always so sad when someone loses a fight with cancer, but when they are so young it just feels even more tragic.

I stopped taking Ibuprofen before runs so I didn’t take anything for the headache, but managed to shake it before the run. While I had such an enjoyable time with my runner friends, I struggled through this run. But since I had such a great one 2 days prior, I’m not dwelling in this one very much. And I do give myself kudos for running without music again! Sandra seems to be the only person I can run with without music!

This Saturday I have a half-marathon. It’s the second time I’m running it and I’m hoping for a better experience than last year. Here’s to another race week!