Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Kaiser Half Marathon 2/2: Against All Odds

My only hope for this race was to come in Sub - 2 hours since that's what my Sub-4:30 Marathon Training plan said should be my goal.  Who am I to argue?  My head/heart wasn't really in it all week.  I was traveling for work and my training took a hit.  To make up for that I did a nine miler on Thurs and a spin class on Saturday.  Probably not the smartest thing to do the day before a race.  I went out late on Saturday night, had a few drinks and way too much pizza.  Around 9pm I realized I didn't have a plan for getting there, hadn't looked at the weather, didn't know what I was going to wear etc.... needless to say I was incredibly unprepared.  I even considered calling it at one point but a quick text from JW who was still planning to go, made me suck it up - sort of.

Race morning I woke up at 4:30 AM to something pounding on our window.  Is it raining? You've got to be f'ing kidding me.  It's been clear and 60's for weeks - hello, CA drought.  Not only was it raining it was down pouring.  I got up to get coffee and Nuun around 5:30 AM and got back in bed. I texted JW to see if she had reconsidered.  She was still planning to go.  Damn!  I finally got up around 6:30 and ran around trying to figure out what to wear, what to eat etc...  After yelling at my phone because Uber wasn't working, I threw a map at MFR and said here's the race route, plan on being at the finish around 10. His response was, is it raining?  I growled at him and ran out the door.

Walking to the start -well this is a horrible idea

JW picked me up in an Uber (b/c her app was actually working) and off we went to GG Park.  Once we finally got there and walked to the start line, I began calculating just how poorly this race would go.  It was pouring rain, my legs were so stiff and I had just finally eaten my breakfast 5 min before the start.  I should have been trying to warm up but couldn't fathom doing anything because I was so cold and wet.  Instead se stood shaking under a tree, that also doubled for a mens restroom, until we were forced to get in corrals.  I was so mentally checked out.  I was cold, wet and really wanted to go home and get back in bed.  Days like this are a good reminder why I left Oregon.  I really do hate cold rain.

The start line - about 50 rows back I did not look nearly this eager to start running
Mile 1 - 9:42
Mile 2 - 8:36
Mile 3 - 9:00
 Mile 4 - 8:47 

The race started almost right on time and off we all went through the park. The first two miles were brutal.  It was nice and flat but I couldn't feel my feet, my hip and knee hurt with every step, my stomach was cramping and I could already feel chafing under my very wet sports bra.  I tried hard to pull myself out of the funk and appreciate that we were all in this together and a rainy race is better than no race but to be honest my mood didn't change until around mile 5.  It was then where I started to regain some feeling in my hands and feet and the rain let up a bit.  I realized I felt okay and should still be able to sub-2.  It was bizarre, I felt like I had been in a weird haze the first 4 miles and then all of a sudden I woke up and realized I was in a race and should start acting like it.  Miles 6-7 felt good, we ran through the park and by the Buffalo.  Fun fact I learned - there are Buffalo in GG Park.  Who knew?  Then a lovely downhill slope out to the ocean.

Mile 5 - 8:44
Mile 6 - 8:06
  Mile 7 - 8:56  

After mile 7 we were out on the coastal highway with no protection from the elements.  Luckily I had mentally checked in prior to reaching this point because it ended up being the most brutal part.  The rain picked up and there were nasty head and side-winds.  I run VERY hot and I kept my arm warmers and Flyer Jacket on the entire time.  I put my head down and just tried to  click through the miles and avoid the massive puddles.  I was passing a lot of people and the thought of a Sub 2 was getting me through.

Mile 8 - 8:27
Mile 9 - 8:41
Mile 10 - 8:39

After the turnaround at Mile 10 I felt fairly confident that I would achieve my goal but tried to keep pushing as hard as possible.  I was breathing very hard when I crossed the finish but ended with the fastest  and most consistent last three miles I've ever had at the end of a half. 

Mile 11 - 8:30
Mile 12 - 8:30
Mile 13 - 8:23

My official time was 1:55:10 which I am pretty happy with. I am thankful I was able to turn the race around to achieve my 2nd fastest time ever.  Less then 2 min off my PR which I probably could have gotten had I not stopped to mess with the flashlight function on my phone (I could not get it to turn off) or chatted with the guy about the Buffalo.  Regardless, I will happily take an 8:48 average.  After crossing the finish I found MFR immediately, changed into dry clothes which lasted for about 2 min on our 30 min scooter ride home.  I couldn't stop shaking but finally after a very hot shower I felt better and immediately went to eat and drink with friends, oh and to watch the worlds most boring Superbowl.  The company made up for it.

Despite the rain, I recommend this race.  It's the perfect thing to do on SB Sunday morning, the course is very scenic and the terrain is flat and downhill except the last .3 miles.  It's very well organized and staffed.  Less then 5,000 people ran the half and it's only $60 to register.  Having said that, the shirt is cotton and there wasn't a medal but somehow I survived.  I'll be making it an annual event as long as the weather gets better.

Sleeping shirt
Sweat Tracker was doing a PR challenge for this race.  If you PR'ed your half marathon time you got this medal.  Since I fell short I ended up with the conciliation dogtag pictured above.

They do this for a few races around the city and it's free to sign up
Final results:
Time: 1:55:10
Overall: 1,765th of 4,372
Female: 558th of 2,172
F30-34: 119th of 405


  1. Way to go, sweetcakes. You sort of blew that sub-2 out of the water. Ha! That was almost funny. Sort of like me.

  2. Nice work there! I (knock on wood) haven't had any long races in the rain. I guess you wanted it to be over and done with so you finished faster!

  3. Most impressive part of this story is that MFR was able to get out of bed before noon. Great work on that sub-2, Bird Legs!

  4. Congrats on a great race! You did a great job starting slower and finishing faster. Way to kick your goal's but! xoxo