Tag Archives: Bay Breeze Half-Marathon

Bay Breeze Half-Marathon

I’m too lazy to write a proper report, so here’s what happened in list style:

1. The Bay Area has been having monsoon-like rain for days and I obsessively checked my Weather.com app for the race day forecast. It changed every few hours.

2. After work on Friday I went to Lululemon to get a waterproof jacket to wear and walked out with the Willpower Pullover (on sale) and the Cross Training Cap. Both in black; both held up very well.

3. Carb-loaded on sushi and ramen and was in bed by 10 pm. Checked the weather one last time and it read partly sunny skies.

4. The rain woke me up at 5 am, 30-minutes before my alarm.

5. Ate my regular breakfast (oatmeal with blueberries, almond butter and sliced almonds), dressed in tights, a long-sleeved t-shirt, the pullover and cap.

6. Packed an extra bag of dry clothes, slippers, Gatorade and banana.

7. Grabbed my iPod (with my newly updated Burn List), and new iFitness hydration fitness belt filled with Ultima drink and 3 Hammer gels.

8. I received an email from iFitness announcing their new belt a couple of weeks ago. I ordered it immediately after last Saturday’s run and it arrived a couple of days ago.

9. Walked out the door, only have to run back in to grab my Garmin (foreshadowing).

10. Clearing skies in San Mateo, looming dark clouds over the East Bay, and heavy rainfall at the San Mateo Bridge.

11. When I arrived at Marina in San Leandro, it was P-O-U-R-I-N-G. I sat in my car contemplating downgrading to the 10K. I was not in the mood to run in this weather for 2+hours.

12. Met Tara and picked-up our bibs, timing chips, goody bag and shirts. At this point, we were already soaked from the rain.

13. Tried to put on my timing chip, but my fingers were already frozen and it was so wet, the adhesive wouldn’t stick so I had to loop it through my shoelaces.

14. Met Mark, Ron and Katie, Tara rejoined us and we chatted for a bit. Then with 10-minutes left Mark and I headed to the port-a-potties for one last bio break.

15. I dropped the Hammer Gel I was going to eat before the race start in the port-a-potty.

16. Half-marathoners assembled at the start line. I turned on my Garmin only to see “Low Battery” flashing.

17. Half-marathon starts, Garmin dies less than half a mile into the race.

18. THANK GOODNESS Mark ran with me the whole time. Without his Garmin, I might’ve just walked off the course and quit. He paced me and kept me from going out too fast. Every time I started to speed up, he’d signal to slow down (we both ran with music).

19. Stopped at Aid Station #1 (1.55 miles) for water.

20. Stopped at Aid Station #2 (3 miles) for sport drink. Passed the 10K turnaround point and wished I had downgraded. Although I noticed that the rain had stopped, but it was still windy.

21. The terrain turned to gravel, which is REALLY unpleasant (I’m being kind here) to run on. And I even wore my trail shoes. I really had to watch every step.

22. Walking break at 5-miles to eat Hammer gel #1 (chocolate).

23. The fast people are on their way back so we have to run in a single file on the narrow bridges. Got stuck behind the lady in purple several times.

24. Finally reached the turnaround at 6.5 miles. Stopped at Aid Station #3 for a sport drink and a handful of pretzels.

25. Felt REALLY good for miles 6.5-8.5 (despite the gravel). There was even a downhill where I didn’t remember an uphill.

26. Walk break at Mile 8.5 because that’s usually where an aid station would have been. Took the first drink from the iFitness belt. The bottles and pouch are on the front, which is opposite from how I wear the Nathan belt. This was a little weird for me. And the bottles are also narrower, but other than that, the belt was great! Minimal bounce age and no pulling on the back.

{Somewhere around here it started pouring again.}

27. Stopped at Aid Station #4 (same station as #2) at Mile 10 for sport drink. Ripped open my Hammer Gel (orange) but couldn’t get anything to come out of it. Dumped it and grabbed a handful of gummy bears instead. Mark announced that Mile 9 was at a 9:25 min/mile, a full minute faster than the previous walk-break mile. I tell him that I usually fall apart during the last 3 miles so we slow down.

28. Somewhere on Mile 11 Mark needs a walk break because both his knees are killing him.

29. Another walk break somewhere at the beginning of Mile 12. His knees were really hurting.

30. We can see the finish line so I don’t mind people telling me, “You’re almost there” because we really were. We crossed the Finish Line at 2:15:05 – 2+ minutes faster than last year. We grab our medals and were greeted by Ron and Katie.

31. In my car, I press the clutch and feel a potential cramp coming on so I wait a few minutes, and change to dry clothes and slippers.

32. On the drive home it really starts to downpour and I contemplate what to eat for lunch.

33. I find myself at the In ‘n Out drive thru ordering 2 double doubles – dry with no sauce or cheese, cut in half – with fries.

34. At home I decide to take an ice bath, using tips from Aron. Except I’m teeth-chattering cold so I sit, fully clothed, in waist deep ice-cold water (just couldn’t bring myself to add ice). I can only handle it for 6 minutes – my feet felt like they were developing frostbite.

35. I park myself on my couch for the next 5 hours, eating 1.5 double doubles and watching 3 episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Modern Family, Who Do You Think You Are and Blue Blood.

Summary:

• This was my 3rd weekend in a row of running with other people, and the first time in ages I’d run an entire race with someone else (the other person being Veronica at my first half-marathon).

• Mark was the perfect running partner. Not only did he SAVE me from the Garmin debacle, but he also paced me really well, preventing me from starting out too fast.

• I have to admit, I liked not having the Garmin to look at every .62 miles.

• I hate running on gravel, yet this is the 3rd time I’ve run this course. The next time I am tempted to do so, please remind me of how much I hate it. At the very least, limit me to only running the 10K, which isn’t as harsh (gravel-wise) as the half.

• Confession: This morning I taped my left foot arch. I’ve been having hints of plantar fasciitis pain for the past 2 weeks but have been in denial about it. In fact yesterday was the first time I even said the words out loud. I blame wearing pointy-toed shoes and unsupportive flats. Gonna have to go back to wearing sneakers and sleeping with the boot on for a while.

• Other than my left foot arch, and slight piriformis aches, the rest of me felt fine and I didn’t feel like death at the end of the race; in fact, I felt really good the whole time!

• I am sad that I missed seeing Jess, who ran the 10K and placed in her Age Group again! Congrats Jess!

• I love seeing friends at races, which is probably why I’m signed up for so many of them.

Next one is the Run for Ryan House Half-Marathon in Scottsdale, AZ in 2 weeks – Spring Training baby!

Smoke On the Water

This is my first Wordless Wednesday post, but let’s be honest…I can’t just post something without any words.

This is a Robb Nen autograph baseball that my friend Ron got for me a couple of weeks ago. Robb Nen was a closer for my team, the San Francisco Giants. He had over 300 saves and is one of my all time favorites. I miss the Nenth inning.

…and these are the medals from last year’s Bay Breeze Half-Marathon that I’m running again this Saturday. Last year it was half-marathon #4, and this Saturday it will be #10.

Today’s Workout

Wednesday mornings are my strength training workout with Trainer Dave, but he was under the weather so I took the opportunity to sleep in – which means being able to sleep to 6 am.

After work I spent about 20 minutes stretching at the gym before Spin. The Wednesday night Spin instructor, also named Dave, is the most intense group exercise instructor I’ve ever taken a class from. The guy pushes himself to the limit and still manages to speak and lead the class. I’d been spinning on my own for the past couple of weeks and forgot how intense an actual class can be, let alone one taught by this guy. We did a full 55 minutes of hill climbing and speed drills with no breaks. Intense stuff.

Tomorrow I have one last workout scheduled (a run), then nothing till Saturday’s race.

A Half-Marathon and Change

A recap of the Bay Breeze Half-Marathon:

It was a perfect morning for running. Temps were in the low 50s and overcast. Being that the course was along the Bay, I was a little worried about wind, but there was nothing but a slight breeze.

As I drove to the race, it dawned on me that this was the first local half-marathon I participated in. It was also the smallest one. Usually there’s an expo a day or two prior to the race to pick up your bib, timing chip and swag bag; so showing up to get this stuff just before the race was definitely a new experience. I wasn’t sure how many people were going to be there, so I got there early, about an hour before race time. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was no wait time; I was able to pick up my stuff immediately.

The previous half’s I’ve participated in were very large races, we’re talking thousands of runners. This was by far, the smallest one I’ve ever seen. There were less than 200 people running the half. I have to say, I really liked it. A lot! It was very casual and relaxed.

When it was time to start, they called for the half-marathoners to come to the starting line. This is when I realized that the start of the race would be on grass. Although we weren’t on grass for very along, I’d never run on grass before and was nervous about it. All I could think about was, “I really hope there aren’t any holes in this grass.” Thankfully, there weren’t.

We were told that the first 3 miles of the race would be road, then the last 3 miles would be dirt, and then we turned around.

Liars.

Running on road is fine, running on dirt is even better, but running on gravel? This was NOT dirt.

As soon as we got off the grass, there was road for about 20 steps, then gravel. And it wasn’t tiny gravel, it was big chunks of gravel. I kept praying not to have any end up in my shoes. The gravel eventually turned to road – for 2.85 miles – then gravel again. It was hard, but I guess I got used to it, although if there was ever a race to justify my new shoe purchase, this was it. This was definitely the last run in my ol’ New Balance 1224’s.

During the first 2 miles I kept reminding myself that this was just another training run for me. I wasn’t here to race or try to accomplish anything special. It was supposed to be just another LSD (long slow distance) run. Yeah, that thought didn’t last long at all. I got caught up in the hype of the race. Now I am not genetically predisposed for this running thing by any means, but the more people I passed, the faster I started to run. The plan went out the window. I kept telling myself was, “Just keep going and see how long you keep up this pace!”

I found a couple of people that I used as pacers. As long as I could stay a few steps behind them, I knew I could sustain the pace. Hydrating every 2 miles and a GU at 4.5 miles helped too. This race also justified my running with a fuel belt (or as friends like to tease, a fanny pack). There was an aid station at 1.5 miles (half way for the 5K), one at 3 miles (half way for the 10K) and then nothing until the half way point at 7 miles (yes, 7 miles). If I didn’t have my fuel belt with me, I would have died from dehydration.

After the turnaround, I must have got at second wind because I went on a tear, passing my own private pacers, and a bunch of other runners too. I think I was just so happy that it was half way over! The second half definitely went by a lot faster than the first, and I was able to keep up a pretty good pace – that is until Mile 10.

I hit the inevitable brick wall.

That GU I took at 9 miles didn’t last very long. Thankfully at Mile 10 was the 10K aid station. Being too tired to reach down to my own fuel belt to grab a drink, I walked into the aid station and downed one of theirs. I walked for 30 seconds, then continued on. I found a new person to pace myself with. She was dying too and we took turns passing each other.

She ended up walking into the Mile 11.5 aid station, so I did too. I walked for another 30 seconds, then continued on. I promised myself that with only 1.6 miles left, I wasn’t going to walk anymore. I told myself, “You can do this!”

Surprisingly, my legs, hamstrings and glutes (typical problem areas for me) were all feeling relatively okay; it was my feet that were killing me. It was numb; I felt like there was no cushion left in the shoes.

I picked up my pace (or tried to) on the last mile, passed the girl I was pacing against and just told myself, “You’re almost there, just hang in there.” I took a glance at my Garmin, did a quick calculation in my head and realized that I could potentially have a PR! So much for no time aspirations, huh?

I willed myself to reach 13.1 as fast as I could! When I got there, the Garmin said 2:14, which was a PR! Only problem was, there was no Finish Line. Let me repeat – at 13.1 miles, there was NO FINISH LINE! I thought I was going to cry. Every curse word passed through my mind. I wanted to throttle the volunteers who stood on the corner and told me, “You’re almost there.” I was THERE people, the Finish Line just wasn’t there to meet me!

The Finish Line ended up being at 13.35 miles – an extra quarter of a mile. The first person I saw at the Finish was Punk Rock Runner and the first thing I said was, “That wasn’t 13.1!” My Garmin didn’t malfunction, his read the same thing.

At least I can now say I’ve run my first “Half-marathon and Change.”

Course

Splits

Shirt / Bib / Medal

Official Results

I get to do this all over again in 13 days! I can’t wait! :)