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Berkeley Half Marathon - Run

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Berkeley, California
United States
Total Time = 2h 14m 45s
Overall Rank = 3051/4664
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 208/396
Pre-race routine:

I signed up for this race in July, within days of hearing about it. A half marathon in my hometown! Half the route on roads/trails I do all my long runs on! So awesome! I didn't care that the race was just three weeks after the NYC Marathon. Or that I ended up injured after a race in July. Of course I was doing this one.

I slept about five hours the night before, which is pretty good for me. Ate half a peanut butter sandwich and had a cup of coffee at home, then left with Shizu, who was spectating, and Karen, who was running, to head to the start a mile away. I would've walked, but Shizu was driving by my house anyway. We met Michael there and hung around chatting and saying hi to some other folks we knew in the race. And then it was start time!
Event warmup:

Michael and I headed to our corral, which was *packed* five minutes before the start. We just hung around off to the side and waited for the crowds to drift forward before joining the masses.
  • 2h 14m 45s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 17s  min/mile

I knew going in that this was another race I wouldn't be able to "race." Fitness wise I was in fine shape; I felt good three weeks post-marathon. But my training had all been super slow, low-intensity runs to stave off injury, so a PR was impossible. And if I couldn't PR, I wasn't going to beat myself up trying to go hard. Michael decided to run the whole thing with me even though he's much faster, since he wasn't planning to PR either, so we were just going to enjoy the run together.

The course started on a small uphill and wrapped around downtown Berkeley, skating along the west edge of the campus. Then there was the long run down University toward San Francisco Bay. We were maintaining a low-9 pace, which felt fine. There weren't many spectators, but it was fun running on all of these familiar streets.

We crossed the freeway overpass and hit the long out-and-back on the bay trail, all the way down to Emeryville. I run this pretty much every single weekend. The out-and-back was fun, since we got to cheer on the race leaders, and then see all of the others runners coming back at us. On the way back Michael and I both kept our eyes out for Karen but never did see her. We passed Shizu -- the world's best cheerleader! -- twice, since she'd stationed herself at the bottom of the overpass. We could hear her cheering for all of the runners long before we actually saw her. Love that lady!

Then we turned up University and headed over toward Cesar Chavez park -- another route I run every weekend. We ran the perimeters of the park, and on the far west side saw a woman go down hard on the pavement. I stopped briefly to make sure she was OK, but she was surrounded by other runners helping so I didn't stick around.

At about mile 9 I decided to take a bathroom break -- nothing pressing, and I wouldn't have stopped if I was racing, but I figured I'd be more comfortable if I took care of business. When I got out I couldn't find Michael! I hung around for four or five minutes, calling out his name and looking for him up and down the path. I eventually decided he was either somewhere behind me, in which case he'd easily catch up, or he was up ahead, in which case he was long gone (and that was fine). I took off on the dirt path leading back to the bay trail.

The last three miles were a crazy stretch of out-and-backs and twists and turns (which made it easy to spot Michael, who was indeed ahead of me -- we stopped to hug and then I sent him on his way). There was a difficult half-mile section around mile 11 where the route ran on a hard gravel path that killed my feet and made for pretty slow-going. Then we were back on the street heading toward the racetrack and the finish. Right before the last big hill, the course did this nuts snaking twist, presumably to add some distance to the course. It reminded me of the twisting lines at Disneyland, but it was kind of fun.

Then it was the big hill. You could see it from way far away -- heck, even from mile 9, out at the park. It's less than a quarter mile long but it's steeper than it looks and there were a lot of people walking it. I shuffled my way up and then started looking for the finish at the top. It turned out there was one last downhill to reach the finish. And done!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I could have done this faster, *maybe* even come in under 2 hours (although unlikely), but I didn't see the point. As it is, I'm fine with this time, given my training limitations. I plan to do this race next year and I expect it'd be a great course to attempt a PR, given the net downhill and my familiarity with the route.
Post race
Warm down:

I found Michael right after I finished and we hugged and laughed about what idiots we are for having lost each other at a bathroom stop. We still don't know what happened. Then we walked around a bit looking for my sister and brother-in-law, who we later learned had missed us due to our bathroom breakup. (It's a long story.) We quickly found Shizu and Karen, and then my sister and BIL. I managed to see my friend/coworker finished and even ran out on the course to give her a hug. Then we all left for lunch.

Somewhere during all that walking I got a sharp pain on the top of my left foot -- that was new! It felt like a cramp, but I've never had a cramp on the *top* of my foot. It's still achy, many hours later. Hopefully it's no big deal.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

A mid-season injury forced me to scale back my training.

Event comments:

Loved this race! Given it was their first year, there was some chaos at the start and finish, and the start was delayed a few minutes (I listed it as "on time" because I don't think a few minutes is a big deal), but overall I was really impressed with how many volunteers they had and how smoothly things went. It would have been nice to have some more spectators, but after the insanity of NYC I was perfectly happy with a low-key event. I actually really liked all the twists and turns in this race, since it kept the course from ever getting boring, and I always like seeing all of the other runners out there (especially since there were also 10-mile and 10K races that shared much of the course).

This is definitely a race I plan to do every year if I can.

Last updated: 2013-11-23 12:00 AM
02:14:45 | 13.1 miles | 10m 17s  min/mile
Age Group: 208/396
Overall: 3051/4664
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-11-25 3:14 AM

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: Berkeley Half Marathon
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General Discussion Race Reports! » Berkeley Half Marathon Rss Feed  

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date : May 24, 2010
author : Coach AJ
comments : 0
My question is am I playing with fire entering the half marathon this close to my primary goal for this season which is the HIM?
date : June 15, 2009
author : Ali Winslow
comments : 0
I just ran the Boston Marathon under nine minute miles, can I run eight minute miles for my half Ironman training runs? Or should I go slower?
date : November 17, 2008
author : mat steinmetz
comments : 7
I just started doing tris this summer and I have two under my belt, both sprints. Is it reasonable to build up for a Oly in early ‘09, with a HIM in Oct of ‘09
date : June 10, 2008
author : kns57
comments : 0
Steady is our walk. Ignoring the pain that is radiating from my feet, I continue to place one foot in front of the other. Again I wonder, “Why am I doing this?”
date : July 10, 2007
author : Ontherun
comments : 0
Having three seasons under my belt I thought I knew what I was doing. That all changed with a few new challenges and a bunch of new friends.
date : October 24, 2005
author : mikericci
comments : 0
This program should be used for an athlete whose goal is to run a marathon in the 1:30-2:30 range and has a good running base in the past 8-12 weeks.
date : October 2, 2005
author : smeeko
comments : 2
I will assume you have not run consistently more than 6 miles and have never completed a half-marathon. I believe running your first half-marathon is a big task which requires dedication and work.
date : January 10, 2005
author : ewkfit
comments : 0
My training was taking off. I had never felt stronger. I was making bigger strides than I ever had. I was stronger and faster than I had imagined myself ever being.