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Berkeley Half Marathon - Run

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Berkeley, California
United States
Total Time = 2h 22m 22s
Overall Rank = 2453/3642
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 130/241
Pre-race routine:

I love a race that starts half a mile from my house. I woke up at 7:20, took a leisurely 20 minutes to get ready, then walked up the start with my coffee and Kind bar and still had about 20 minutes to wait for my start time. It helped that I didn't really care if I started with my wave or the one after, so I had another ten minutes of wiggle room. I didn't pack a sweat bag either since it was already 60ish by 8 a.m.
Event warmup:

Let's call the half-mile walk my warmup.
  • 2h 22m 22s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 52s  min/mile

I was at the very very end of my wave because I wasn't paying attention (I thought the people I was standing with were my wave, but it turned out they were the one after mine), which was fine because I'd intended to start back of the pack anyway. It was weird the first couple of blocks, though, when I was literally the last person on the course (since the following wave hadn't started).

My plan was to not race at all, just run an easy pace since I was trained only barely enough to finish. With that in mind, I stopped about a mile in to take a picture of the course where it ran by an apartment I shared with two best friends a million years ago. I stopped a couple of more times for photos later. And I stopped two *more* times to visit with a couple of former coworkers who were cheering along the course. Ha! They were both pleasant surprises.

I felt very good on the hills, which was nice, but realized only about three or four miles in that my right piriformis was acting up, mostly on the downhills. And yeesh, it hurt. There wasn't much I could do about it, though. I stopped at maybe every other aid station to stretch it out as best I could.

Fitness-wise, I mostly felt fine. The last couple of miles sucked, which was part fitness but part heat -- it was about 75 by the time I hit the last long climb to the finish.
What would you do differently?:

Train! No, nothing really. I was just happy to get myself trained up enough to finish.
Post race
Warm down:

The piriformis hit *hard* as soon as I finished. Walking around was torture until I realized that the more I walked, the (somewhat) better it felt. I decided to sign up for a free post-race massage (never done that before) then went to the finish line to cheer some friends in while I waited for my time. I'm not sure the massage helped my leg/ass, but it felt great on my shoulders, which I think were tensed up from holding myself stiff due to the piriformis pain. Ugh. (The pain was much better by the end of the day, and just mildly annoying the day after. I've had this before and I know it goes away quickly enough.)

After my massage I planned to just walk home, but spotted some friends in the beer garden so I stopped and joined them for my free drink. That's another thing I usually skip, since I don't like drinking alcohol so soon after a race (it hits me too hard). But enough time had passed, and I had nowhere I needed to be, and it was sunny and warm, so beer! We ended up closing the place down.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of training. The surprise piriformis issue probably inhibited me but it's hard to say how much. I do wonder what caused the piriformis issue, though. It seems like it hit too early in the race to be a training/fitness issue, especially since I wasn't running fast, or anywhere near out of my comfort zone.

Event comments:

I loved this race. This year's course was awesome. It was super hilly and not fast -- compared to last year's course, which was a net downhill -- but it hit almost all of the best spots of Berkeley. I heard some reports that residents "inside the circle" of the course didn't get enough warning about the race and were stuck all Sunday morning, so it does sound like they can do some better outreach. But I was really impressed with the course support -- both from race volunteers and random Berkeleyites just out cheering -- and the finish in front of City Hall was fun and relaxed (much better than last year's finish in the parking lot of the race track).

Given that these race organizers had some troubles with the SF Marathon this year, I'm glad that this race seemed well run.

Last updated: 2014-11-10 12:00 AM
02:22:22 | 13.1 miles | 10m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 130/241
Overall: 2453/3642
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2014-11-10 10:02 PM

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: Berkeley Half Marathon
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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.