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 Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon Race Report
Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon Race Report Posted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:44 pm 

Whooo! I had a great race this morning at the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon in San Francisco. I only decided to do this race at the last minute, but I'm really glad I did. I am pumped!

Early this morning, I met with a friend and drove up to the city with him in the pre-dawn darkness. Getting slightly lost on our way from the car to the starting area, we ended up doing about a 2 mile warmup jog. The start was incredibly crowded. This was my third time running this race, but I don't remember seeing so many people in previous years. The announcer said there were about 5000 people between the half-marathon and the 5K. Quite a crowd for an event that generally only attracts local runners.

I wasn't sure what time to expect for the race. Based on the marathons I did last fall, I should theoretically be able to run around 1:33 for a half-marathon. But I was in much better shape last fall than now, and my disappointing 5K from a few weeks ago seemed to show I'd lost some fitness since then. My actual half-marathon PR is 1:34:44, which was the first half split from CIM. I decided anything under 1:35 would be great.

This race has a beautiful course. Roughly the first half loops around Golden Gate Park, with some moderate uphill and downhill grades, but nothing you'd really call a hill. The second half goes right along Ocean Beach, with the waves crashing seemingly right at your feet. That section is pancake flat. The only nasty bit is the last half mile, which is a short uphill getting back into the park for the finish.

The first mile was pretty mobbed, and it took me a while before I could open up and run at my pace. In retrospect, that probably helped me from going out too fast. Even at 8AM on a Sunday morning, there were a decent amount of people out to cheer us on. I averaged about 7:20 for the first couple of miles. Starting about mile three, the course rolled up and down some slight hills, but was mostly a long gradual descent down to sea level. I went flying through this section, averaging around 6:45. Several times I consciously slowed myself down, remembering there were still plenty of miles left to go.

At mile 7 the course broke out onto the Great Highway on Ocean Beach, a beautiful sight with the sun, waves, and sand. It was honestly the perfect running weather, just a great day to be outdoors and to be alive. It was right about there that I really started to feel it, though. It was that familiar feeling of pain and despair, of wanting nothing more than to crawl over to the side of the road and lie down in a ditch. I kept up the next three miles, jockeying back and forth with a gray-shirted woman. She'd disappear for a while, but we always seemed to keep finding each other again. I tried to pace off her for a bit.

At mile 10 we turned around and came back up the Great Highway. It was here that I realized we'd been running downwind the past 3 miles, and now it was another 3 miles into the wind. I weaved around, looking for any tall people I could hide behind, with mixed success. I was starting to fade a bit, but still keeping it mostly together. Gray-shirt kept popping in and out of sight. After the fourth or fifth time, she remarked how we kept bumping into each other, but all I could manage was a kind of groan and wheeze in reply. Finally somewhere around mile 11, I couldn't keep up anymore, and had to let her go.

At mile 12 I was really feeling it badly, and my breathing was hard and forced, but I picked it up as much as I could in anticipation of the finish. Coming up the last hill into the park, I found I had a little more gas left in the tank, and pushed it as hard as I could. I was breathing so loudly, people were turning around to see what was behind them. With maybe a quarter mile to go, I caught and passed gray shirt, and pressed on as hard as I could. I probably passed a couple dozen people in the last stretch before I hit the finish, weak and wobbly, but happy that I'd given it my best effort.

Here are the splits from the race:

1. ?
2. 14:41 (7:20/mi)
3. 7:11
4. 7:04
5. 6:45 (starting cranking downhill here)
6. 6:36
7. 6:50 (reached the beach at the end of this mile)
8. 6:54 (dueling with gray shirt)
9. 7:06
10. 7:02
11. 7:16 (running into the wind now)
12. 7:26
13.11 7:48 (7:02/mi, uphill back into the park)
TOTAL - 1:32:44 (7:04/mi average)

Woot! I stomped all over my previous half marathon PR. And after the urge to fall over and die had passed, I felt great too. I'll have to wait until the official results are posted, but I hopefully placed pretty well in my age group. And adjusting for distance, this was my best race performance of any length ever! What a day! The only downer was the 40 blocks we had to walk back to the car. Argh, the cruelty.

If you're curious, here are graphs of my pace and heart rate over the race. My heart rate averaged 179, and topped 200 in the last mile. That's about max HR for me.

Ah, now to relax with some beer and munchies, and enjoy the Superbowl...


OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon Race Report Posted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 2:14 pm 

Nice race, buddy, and nice race report, too! Way to hang on through the tough parts at the end!

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon Race Report Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 10:04 am 

Thanks! Results are out now, and I was 311th of 3404 in the half marathon. While I'm pretty happy with that, I was actually a little surprised it wasn't higher. Last summer I ran a different half marathon five minutes slower than yesterday's race, but finished much higher in the overall standings. Either yesterday's course was a lot easier than that one, or the runners were much more competitive.

RoadieMike


Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Posts: 1

Re: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon Race Report Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:41 pm 

Congrats on the great finish! I ran too, albeit at a much slower pace (1:43). I'm curious where did you find the results?

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon Race Report Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 2:20 pm 

Congratulations to you as well. I ran 1:45 in this race last year, so you would have beat me then.

Yeah, I really had to hunt around to find the results online. They are at http://www.doitsports.com/groups/results/timers-calendar.tcl?group_id=105


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon Race Report Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:54 pm 

Congrats! Way to suck it up and keep pushing..especially into the finish. Wow...you really smashed your previous time. If you consider the racing season goes from January to December like I do then you're off to a great season. Just don't get cocky and increase your training intensity so much that you get hurt.

Nice race report too. Did you happen to see "gray shirt" after the finish. After a race I usually try to seek out the person(s) helped pace me (whether they know it or not) and thank them. They usually remark about how they noticed me, and I think they appreciate being recognized for the help.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon Race Report Posted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:57 am 

Thanks. Actually I did see gray shirt in the finish chute. I said "great race" and shook her hand, and she congratulated me too.

The 1:45 last year was a bit of an anomoly, since I was coming off a long period of near zero training. I ran the same race two years ago in 1:38, so my improvement isn't as much as it might look. It was still pretty good though. If I could go sub-1:30, now THAT would be something!


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