This was my first race and therefore my first race report, so cut ol' Jake
some slack, eh? :)
Sunday January 26, 8:00am start time.
It was a fine morning, just about perfect for running, a bit on the chilly
side without being cold.
Good lord, look at all these $#%& people!,....turns out, according to the
race announcer, that this was the largest crowd in the event's long history,
with over 5,000. There was a 5K event starting simultaneously, but the
overwhelming majority of the crowd was in it for the 1/2M.
I guess Jeff Galoway was in town, as he was beifly introduced and prodded to
say a few words. Either the words were of no interest, or my mind was too
occupied drinking in the sights and atmosphere to recall what was even said.
I probably sabotaged my race time a little by running a 12.5 mile too fast
(too close to full effort) a week prior, during my group's long run on a
tougher course, but I felt quite good pre-race, so I planned to try to go
just a little faster than last week, and hope that the race atmosphere
and/or my add adrenaline might pull me along a bit faster still.
I figured a 7:45 average pace seemed like a pretty good (and easy to compute
target splits) goal to try to get close to, preferably just a touch faster
if I felt good. I happened to be lined up relatively close to the front next
to another runner in my group who tends to run a little faster than me on
hard weekly long runs. I guessed she would most likely keep a pace very
close to my target, so I'll at least start by running alongside her.
I wasn't too afraid of starting a little too fast, so long as it was within
reason, of course.
So, the cable car bell was finally rung (ain't that cute?) and we're off!
Being pretty close to the front, it only took me 10-12 seconds or so to
cross the start line, cool...
So there I was running along in my first race, feeling more like a wild
buffalo than I ever have before. Glanced back over my shoulder after about
100 yards, and whoa....cast of 1000's, literally...the human stampede was a
pretty cool sight to this newbie runner.
After a while, there's the first mile marker. A volunteer is calling out
the times, and I hear "7:16" being yelled at my little
group,...D'oh,...quite a bit faster than I wanted,..hoping it wouldn't come
back to haunt me (much) later in the race.
Mile 1 -2 is almost all gently down hill and I let gravity help me as much
as I can. The marker comes up pretty quick and somebody yells "7:06" as I
pass by, with seemingly little effort! Yikes, all the talk of people
getting amped up at the start of a race certainly seems to be true...again,
all I can do now is try to slow it up a bit and hope some more that I'm not
using up all my mojo prematurely.
Mile 3 is gently rolling, I let my running partner scamper off in front of
me. split time ends up being 7:40, that's more like it.
Miles 4 - 8 are beautiful, along the great highway in San Franciso, just
along the beach / Pacific Ocean. I know from the course map that miles 9 -
12 come after a turnaround point, where these miles are run along the same
highway, in the opposite direction. I notice a ways through this mile 4-8
section that there seems to be a substantial breeze at my back, and a quick
glance at the local shrubery shows everything leaning pretty good to the
direction I'm running in now, but as for the next section coming back, miles
9-12,....I have a very bad feeling about this :(
Mile #4 : 7:42 nice
Mile #5 : 7:37 nice again
Mile #6 : 7:26 hrmm,...not too bad, but...
Mile #7 : 7:36 that's better, I hope I'm not burning out...
Mile #8 : 8:02 no real problem, first slow down for water and ate a Gu
Then we turn around and prepare for 4 miles of pain, against a strong and
Mile #9 : 7:37 man, that was a lot of effort, *no* way I can hold this
effort to the end
Mile #10 : 7:54 yep, headwind's suck all right
Mile #11: 7:59 see above, ugh, I think running uphill would be easier
Mile #12: 8:40 rough mile, walked for about 15 seconds, working to get some
water in me
Whew,...now we finally get to turn away from that 4 mile wind tunnel of
Naturally, after the wind, we turn onto a long gradual uphill section (ugh),
right when it's time to dig in for a strong finish...
I didn't see a marker for mile #13, but I dug pretty deep and I think I
pulled out a pretty gutsy (for me) 8:04 for the final 1.1 miles, the .1
portion (approx) being a perfectly sloped downhill to "sprint" to the finish
I watched the clock tick 1:40:50 right as I passed the line, so I'm guessing
that my "real" (but unofficial) time is 1:40:40, due to the 10 seconds I
spent getting to the starting line (no chips in this race).
I was hoping to finish somewhere between 1:41 and 1:43, so I was happy about
my time in general, however I'm a little bummed about that long tough battle
against the wind. So much energy "wasted" there,...I bet I could have gone
sub 1:40 had it not been for that unfortunate section,...Oh well, I guess
that can be said for lots of races...woulda, coulda, shoulda, etc...
I never actually asked myself "what the $%&* are you doing here",
though...hrmmm, and at the same time I really can't imagine myself running
that course any faster, under the same conditions,...that's really what I
wanted to be able to say to myself at the end.
Luckily, I felt no pain whatsoever at any moment before, during, or after
the race, aside from the expected feeling of "generally wooped" in my legs
Anyway, overall, a great time was had by all, and I am definitely looking
forward to competing in more races as my running career matures.
Napa Valley Marathon, March 2
Time to start working seriously with some of those race time predictors I
Thanks for reading...