Ok here is my race report...I hope I can make it somewhat concise!
Oakland Half Marathon - 2nd annual.
I felt that I could have used maybe 3-4 more weeks of training time. I feel better now than I ever have running, but I worked so hard over the winter just building a good base (getting my 5k time down) that by the time I woke up and realized I had a race to train for, I did not have enough time left on the calendar. However, for those who know me, y'all know I run slow
I could not imagine NOT beating my time from last year, but still...I was not overconfident. For this training cycle I only ran up to 10 miles. I would have liked to get one 12-13 miler in there before tapering but it was what it was.
On to the race....this was FUN. It was fun last year, even though I was hurting with shin splints pretty good. The race grew this year, so I was hoping it would still be fun and not too crowded, and it was. There were 4500 or so half marathoners - we started at 9am, a good 1.5 hours behind the marathoners. I put myself in the back, where I belong - ha!- but I did spend a lot of that first mile feeling a little stunted by everyone's slow pace and walking etc.
About mile 3 my legs started to ache, and I thought "oh boy, this is going to be a long race!" I don't know why I felt fatigued so early, but I was confident I would find my groove eventually. I did, but it came and went.
The best part of this race is just the random diversity of people along the route. If anyone knows Oakland, you know that we get kind of a bad rap. There are good reasons for that, but this course fearlessly takes you through the whole diverse landscape of Oakland, no sugar coating here. I think that's what makes it have such a good vibe. The police dept were out to keep everything safe and they were really into it, cheering on the runners. The other highlight was the Oakland Fire Dept. One firehouse had their guys lined up, maybe 8 strong, for a high-five line (pretty much only the ladies participated - me included). Anytime I saw a OPD or OFD that had their hand up for a high-five, I weaved my way over there and high-fived them all.
When we went through Chinatown, it was surreal. I could smell the chinese incense burning and also saw a group of elders doing tai chi in a park, completely oblivious to the all the race hustle going on around them.
After that, we went through a lower income area and there were four women standing on a corner singing gospel a capella and clapping. It took everything I had not to just stop and clap for a few minutes! Next up was another lower income area but one that is being redeveloped, so more renovated homes/buildings. There were two great aid stations along this stretch both with music playing. My favorite was near a restaurant called Brown Sugar Kitchen. They coupled with a low rider bike frame company and put up a tent with a DJ spinning music while they handed out, I kid you not, the BEST blonde brownie I think I have ever had. In this
pic, they are handing out granola bars, but that was before the slow people trotted through and by then it was brownies!
So, as I approached the brownie plate the DJ was spinning some funky music so I danced a little bit while picking up my brownie. I mean, I NEEDed that brownie, but I was having so much fun, that I thought the extra burst of energy was worth it
Moving on...I was running alongside a tall, athletic african-american man who was kind of giving random shout outs and encouraging words to people around him. Like, if a woman passed him and had on a pink shirt, he'd be like "Alright - pink shirt lady, IN the HOUSE" I thought he was kind of fun to hang with for a bit (approaching mile 8) and boy was I glad to hit the Oakland Raider Nation fans with that guy! They also had music playing and it was something funky like "Brick House" so as he and I lined up to give them high-fives, we kind of slowed down to boogie a little bit with them as we passed. One of the fans was in a big old gorilla suit, so we danced with him for a few seconds. LOL
As I turned the corner near the lake in the center of our city, I saw my husband and kids - it was like a burst of energy. I literally threw my hands up in the air and shouted "WOOO!" and then did an airplane weaving thing as I ran up to them. (That burst of energy also cost me later). I gave the kids the other half of my brownie that I didn't eat, because I thought I might hurl if I ate it all, and kissed/hugged them all and went on my way.
As we all went into the lake area, there is a band shell there where a 12 piece brass band was playing with a rather fabulous male baton twirler out in front! As I passed I saw the sign "San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Band
" They were so great!
Alrighty then, heading for the home stretch, feeling some pain, I finally bring myself to look at my garmin at mile 11. Sh-t - I have to run the next two miles in 20 minutes, something I can't even do under normal circumstances, surely not after running 11 miles right prior! Ah well, the big burly motorcycle cop with Lady Gaga blaring from his bike and the woman holding the sign that said "WINNING" made me laugh and think - "just do it already!"
I did not make it in 2:30 like i had hoped, but rather 2:34:57. By my watch, though, I ran 13.34 miles in that amount of time! Ha - too much fun running around and dancing I suppose.
The massage tent, (conveniently run by my new chiro/ART person) was like HEAVEN. You could also get two free drinks: beer, wine or champagne. I had to pass because I needed to drive to my kids' track meet right after, but I really wanted a mimosa!
So, I ended up shaving 11 minutes off my last time at the Oakland Half. Happy with that!
Thanks for the inspiration, ladies! Dingos rock!Edited by poppywise - 3/28/11 at 7:01pm