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Monday, March 24, 2014

Oakland Marathon 2014

Oakland Running Festival
Oakland, California
Mileage - 26.2
Time - 2:43:58
AEG - 964ft
Pace - 6:15
Place - 4th Overall

The Oakland Marathon, so many highs and only a handful of lows.  I mean that literally and figuratively.  Let's start with the lows and get them out of the way first.  Registration at the expo is something I would like to forget, my advice is to sign up in advance!  Questionable turns and poor course marking late in a race is a huge pet peeve of mine and it shouldn't happen.  Now on to the good.

The first high I want to mention is the top of the hill.  You know, the one that started at mile 2 and went up to mile 11...yeah, that one. (Wait, maybe it should have gone in the lows.)  Anyways, if anything was going to make this race challenging it had to be that, right?  Actually no, it was the quad shredding, hip jarring downhill immediately after you reach the 11-mile mark that generated most of the leg fatigue later on. Basically what took nine miles to go up came down in about three.  In comparison to other marathons, I honestly didn't mind the hills because we all knew what we were in for and I prepared myself well. 

The people were great!  Volunteers, spectators, Raiders Cheerleaders; thanks to you this race was a blast. As difficult as the course appears on paper, it was really fun to run.  There were a few other details that I noticed that took some special planning to avoid a clustered finish for the marathoners.  Thanks for that.  The shirts and medals were nice and the gear check for commuters is a fantastic idea.  Post race food, space blankets and massages were well appreciated.

Lastly, my race.  I usually come down on myself for things I could improve upon, though not today. A personal best was out of the question with almost a thousand feet of elevation gain, I was just pleased with my ability to climb the hills and not allowing my mile splits to go above the 6:40's and the late miles never went over 6:20.  About every six miles I would get a fresh batch of marathon relay runners to contend with and somehow I always ended up right behind the first female.  So any time we passed an intersection everyone would cheer for her because they thought she was winning the marathon.  Then when I would roll through approximately five seconds later, no one seemed to care making me look like a chump.  Not a big deal, I was running for time.  My validation finally came around mile 24 when some big guy said out loud "That dude's not in the relay, he's flying!"  Thanks buddy. 


Results page:    http://www.oaklandmarathon.com/Results.htm

News recap: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_25404731/oakland-running-festival-enjoys-good-weather-tough-competition

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail

Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail
HMB to El Granada, CA
Mileage -14.0
Time 1:40
AEG - 684

When it comes to variety, this trail has it all (except hills).  Well, if you extend the route beyond the 2.6-mile coastal trail and go all the way from Half Moon Bay State Park to Pillar Point in El Granada, it certainly does.  From the campground on the coast the trail goes North through some moderately populated beachfront access areas, past the dunes, boardwalks, marinas, marshes and eventually dead ends on the beach at Pillar Point.  Yeah, there's a lot to see, which made those 14 miles feel like a 30 minute run.

The nice part for those running or riding, there are at least a half dozen water and/or bathroom stops along the way, and for me that meant cruising along hands free!  Today I was treated to cool temperatures and the excitement of 50-plus surfers on the water and double that number of spectators pointing and taking pictures. Myself included.  This run was a great finish to end the week of training as I dial everything in for the Oakland Marathon next Sunday.  Now let's see if that monster hill is as tough as it looks...


     


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The San Jose 408K - Race to the Row

Race to the Row 408K
San Jose, California
Mileage - 4.93 (8K)
Time - 26:19
AEG - 299ft
Pace - 5:18
Place - 12th Overall

A month ago when I moved to California, I had no idea what my race calendar would look like this year.  That changed quickly after signing up for the 408K and Bay to Breakers, as well as a few marathons (Oakland, San Luis Obispo, & San Francisco).  Let the training commence!

I met some of my Baysport co-workers prior to the event for a photo opp, I warmed up and did a few strides.  I couldn't help but notice the guys getting loosened up around me and thought, "man, this looks serious" and then I saw Brett Gotcher.  Enough said.  Anyways, the row refers to the finish area, Santana Row.  The course is point to point, starting from the SAP center downtown, then twisting and turning through the neighborhoods of San Jose, past the Mariachi Mile to its end at the row.  I must say, it was a fun route to run! 

Ahh, the 8K, such an interesting distance to race.  Not as conservative as the 10K, yet more challenging than anything shorter when it comes to dealing with all that lactate build up.  Running hard for 5 miles is...hard.  Given the amount of turns, wet surface, wind and subtle elevation gain, I am happy with the time and effort. I did go out a bit fast the first two miles (close to my previous 5K pace), it was necessary in order to achieve my goal time of 26:00.  Angelyn and John, great job out there today you guys!