Category Archives: Running

Kaiser 5K Race Recap

 photo 2f47ef9e-c977-467c-b459-6e766575bab8_zpsa77d11cb.jpg
{Photo credit: Kaiser Half Marathon and 5K Facebook Page}

I love the Kaiser Half Marathon. In my opinion, its one of the best half-marathon courses in the Bay Area (it also holds my PR for this distance so I’m biased that way). I signed up for this race when registration opened last Fall but ended up dropping down to the 5K. This was my first time running this distance.

A Week Before the Race

A week before race day I went out for an 8-mile run. Unfortunately I developed a “hot spot” on my foot, right where I tie my laces. It was painful but I was stubborn and completed the distance. It bruised my foot and had me limping for a few days.

I was still hopeful to run the half, but I wanted to see what my options. I emailed the race organizers to ask if I would be able to drop down to the 5k.

They responded immediately with this note:

“No problem! You still wear your white Half Marathon bib, listen to the announcements so that you will be in the correct place to take the 5K cut-off. You will be scored in the 5K and receive your medal. You will notice that there are many other white bibs doing the 5K with you (many don’t even decide until race morning that they are not in the mood for the longer distance. See you on Feb 1.”

This race has 10,000 runners. If only more races could be so accommodating.

Day Before Race Day

I had to skip Tuesday’s run because it hurt just to put on socks. But I managed to get in some miles on Thursday. I tried to go out for my shake out run on Saturday but I couldn’t even walk to the end of my street without limping. At this point I was questioning even being able to run the 5k. But I really wanted the race medal of Kezar Stadium. So I scrapped the shakeout run and hoped for the best on Sunday.

Race Day

My foot still hurt on Sunday morning. So I wrapped my foot in athletic tape and put on some knee high socks (ankle socks were still painful). I had to rig my left shoe so that it was only laced halfway down. That seemed to relieve some of the pressure on the bruise.

I drove to the City and parked in my friend’s neighborhood in the Sunset. The beauty of having runner friends who have babies is that they are up early! My friend was kind enough to drop me off near the start.

The weather was perfect, in the low 50s. I ate half a banana, used the port-a-potties, then lined up with the 5kers.

The Race

Mile 1:

So. Much. Weaving. This race doesn’t have any corrals. In fact, the only instructions given at the Start were “half marathoners on the left, 5kers on the right.” I thought I had positioned myself closer to the front to avoid the walkers. But that first mile was all about maneuvering myself around walkers – people who should have been further back.

Mile 2:

I have no idea how to run a 5k. I rarely run them. I had my Garmin set to display only the distance so I didn’t know what pace I was running. Was it too fast or a 5k? Too slow? No clue. I felt like I was working hard but not at puke level. My half-tied shoe also felt like it was going to fly off at any moment. So it was surprising to see 8:51 when my Garmin beeped at Mile 2 . The last time I ran a mile that started with 8:xx during a race was five years ago.

Mile 3:

By now I switched my Garmin to show lap pace and distance. I had less than a mile left but couldn’t hang. My foot was on fire so I walked a bit and tugged on the tongue. I had been holding the same pace as Mile 2 but lost about 20 seconds doing that.

Official Finish Time was 29:10. Not close to a PR but much better than I expected. With the way my foot felt that morning I thought I would have to walk most of it and hoped to finish in under 40 min. Seriously.

Thoughts:

This is my favorite race. Its a hometown race. Both courses are PR-friendly. Its has a larger-ish race feel with 10,000 runners (though given this size they should have corrals at the start).

Besides the start, the rest of it is so well-organized. They give you the option of having your bib mailed to you so you don’t have to waste time going to an expo the day before the race. The finish area/expo is spacious enough so that so no one is crushing into each other. There are useful vendors at the Finish Line expo. I learned about two new races in the area! Its also spectator-friendly.

RhodyCo Productions does a great job putting on a fun and simple community event. I hope to run this every year.

On a personal note, I surprised myself and enjoyed the 5k experience. I’m revamping my race plans for the year and plan to spend more time on this distance for the next few months.

Weekly Workout Recap: Jan 12-18

A photo posted by Naomi (@njnsf) on

{the above photo is part of the race course taken three months ago on a routine run}

I debated writing a race recap for the Foster 10-mile Race. The race didn’t go well for me. But since I’ve decided to resume these weekly workout recap series, I’ll use this post for my race recap.

Pre-Race

The days leading up to it were a little stressful. When I saw my doctor last week she confirmed what I had suspected. I was showing signs of increased cortisol (stress) levels. My IBS symptoms had returned. It was likely due to the stress of marathon training and indulging in sugar during the holidays. With my gut health taking a step back, I’ve decided to do the Low FODMAPS diet for the next 4-6 weeks. Its the best thing to do when having an IBS flareup.

I also need to be cognizant of how much stress I put on my body and that includes workouts. I discussed my upcoming races with my doctor. She felt it would be okay to proceed as planned, provided I didn’t run or do hard workouts on consecutive days.

The workouts leading up to race day were easy or complete rest days:

Mon, 01/12: Rest
Tues, 01/13: 5-mile Run + 40-min Foam Roller Yoga (online video at home)
Wed, 01/14: Nothing – Pilates instructor had the flu
Thurs, 01/15: 5-mile Run – alternating speeds in 2 and 3-min increments
Fri, 01/16: Rest
Sat, 01/17: 2-mile Shakeout Run + strides

While Saturday’s shakeout run felt good, later in the day I spent four hours on my feet at the doggie meet-up. By the time I got home from that I felt exhausted, hungry and dehydrated.

Alone the Low FODMAPS diet is a difficult program to follow. But add in the fact that I also can’t eat soy, dairy, corn, grain or nightshade foods and it feels maddening.

I didn’t have anything to eat during the day on Saturday and that evening I had a mostly veggie with some protein dinner. In hindsight I realize that I didn’t eat a lot of carbs because there’s not a lot of carb options that I can eat right now.

Race Day

I woke up, got ready, then took Coco Pop out for her morning walk. As soon as we got home I put her in her crate. It would be the longest block of time she was left home alone (and she did fabulous!).

My only carb-related option for breakfast was a banana, but at the time I wasn’t hungry. There were four aid stations on the course which would be plenty for a 10-mile race so I opted not to bring a water bottle and carried the banana instead.

I ran 1.35 miles to the Start Line at Leo Ryan Park. It was the perfect distance for a warm-up.

When I got there I picked up my bib and then used the restroom in the community center. Real bathrooms with no lines! A few people from my neighborhood had signed up for the 5K so I walked around looking for them but never found them (I think they no-showed). It was a warm morning so I hung around outside and did some dynamic stretches.

Since I still wasn’t hungry and I decided to use the banana as my mid-race fuel (since my usual Honey Stinger gels aren’t Low FODMAPS compliant).

The race was small. Everyone (5K and 10-milers) gathered at the Start Line and started together. They gave some instructions before we started but everyone around me was talking so I didn’t hear a word of it.

The race started with little fanfare. The first couple of miles had us running across Foster City toward the Bay Trail. I felt great during the first three miles.

Once we got to the Bay Trail things went south. I knew this part of the course (the bulk of it) would be a mental struggle because I hate running there. Its exposed, usually crowded and quite boring. And I’ve run here for YEARS.

What I didn’t expect was my legs to give out on me. I underestimated the toll that Saturday’s excursion took on my body. While my lungs felt great my legs failed me. Its a good thing the Finish Line was closer than my house was because I would have just made a beeline home.

And while I did eat that banana over the course of Miles 4-8, I think the lack of pre-race fuel was also a contributing factor. The rest of the race was just one long slog with lots of walk breaks.

As for the race itself, it was well-organized. The volunteers at the aid stations were supportive and fantastic. The course was well-marked with signs, course marshalls and policemen directing us where to go.

But the race lacked personality. There was nothing exciting about it. As little fanfare there was at the start, there was none at the finish. When I crossed the line, I walked over to the table to get a water bottle (they did have snacks but I didn’t take any). Then I walked to the volunteer table to get my Finishers Shirt (no medal). And then I slogged the 1.35-mile journey home. I was home within 15-20 minutes. It was all anti-climactic. There’s more excitement at a $5 DSE race.

The bulk of the race course is where I do most of my running – for free. So while I’m glad I experienced this race once, it goes on my list of “races I don’t feel the need to run again.”

CIM Training Update — It Didn’t Happen

Since I attempted to do a series of posts on CIM training, and since CIM has long come and gone, I thought I’d write one last post to wrap it up.

Ironically, like my incomplete training posts, I also did not complete this race.

In fact, I never even got to the Start Line.

Let’s rewind back to November 13th, three and a half weeks before CIM.

My workout called for 6-7 hill surges. I felt strong running the first six intervals. But on the seventh one I felt my good ‘ol hammy pull. The same hammy that gives me problems once a year. Over the next week I took great care to ice and use my TENS machine on it, and by the following Sunday, it felt good enough for another long run.

I had been doing all my long runs in Golden Gate Park because 1) hills and 2) foggy weather. I felt great from the start of the run and forgot all about my hammy problem. I decided to run up the steep hill from Ocean Beach to the Cliff House so I could get a photo of Lands End.

This photo wasn't worth the pulled hammy I got running up the hill to take it.

A photo posted by Naomi (@njnsf) on

As I ran up that hill I felt my hammy pull again. But I was stubborn and kept running on it. The longer I ran, the more my body compensated for the injury and soon I felt pain in my opposite hip. The longer I ran the more intense the pain and I only managed 13 miles that day.

So once again, I spent the next week icing and using my TENS machine and by the next Sunday felt good enough for another long run. This time, the hammy held up fine (in fact, it never gave me problems again), but my hip still hurt.

I only managed 13 miles again that day, a day that should have been my peak week long run. But stubborn as I am, I was still convinced that I could run CIM.

But my hip kept getting worse to the point where it hurt just walking my dog.

I attempted a final “long” run the Sunday before race day but had to cut that one short as well. By then my Achilles started to hurt while running and that’s when I knew CIM wasn’t going to happen for me. The Achilles is something I will just not mess with.

I had two reasons for running this race:

1. Redemption from my DNF in 2011.
2. To celebrate a milestone birthday.

Although disappointed, I also felt okay with my decision to DNS. There’s a lot of things I will risk to run a race, but an Achilles injury is not one of them. In the grand scheme of things, it just wasn’t worth it. This was so unlike me, but I guess with age comes wisdom (?) – at least that’s what I keep telling myself :)

So instead of running, I decided to still make the trip to Sacramento and cheer on my coach and other friends who were running it.

We made it to three different points along the race course and got to see for everyone that I planned to at least once.

It was a fun day and in my own private way, I also found closure about having to DNS in 2011.

Since then I’ve taken two weeks off from running to rest my hip. I can finally walk without feeling any hip pain and plan to start running again this week.

My chiropractor pointed out that I am a notoriously slow healer. So for now I’ve decided to train for shorter distanced races. In hindsight I under-estimated my body’s ability to bounce back from an extended period of rest (almost a year!).

Once again, the CIM Finish Line eluded me, but I’m confident that I’ll meet it one day.

I’m not sure I’ll post weekly training recaps for the next few races I’m targeting. There are some other topics that I’m burning to blog about, but I’m sure I’ll share training updates along the way.

As always, thanks for reading!