Sunday, March 27, 2011

2011 Oakland Half Marathon Race Report

It was chilly and grey out this morning, i.e. perfect conditions for running.  A little bit of wind, but not too horrible.  The chilly temps had us shivering at the start a little, but I managed to resist the temptation to wear long sleeves or arm warmers.

Gun went off at 9am and we were off.  I lined up at the 8'00" pace marker, and so it took a little while to get across the timing mat.  Once through the arch, though, the field spread out a little, I found a line along the right side curb and zoomed off.  A combination of adrenaline + wanting to warm up contributed to a sub-7'00" first mile, but I managed to cool my jets and settle into a nice 7'26" pace.  Prior to the start, my intention was to aim for 7'45", but I was feeling good and HR was in the zone, so I decided to focus on stride and breathing and hold that pace for as long as I could.

Ran for a little while with a guy who was out from Utah visiting his family and decided to register, and that helped keep the pace nice and even.  I think he started to get a little gassed after we turned off Mandela Parkway, though, because I started to pull away form him once we got into some headwind.  The wind wasn't blowing hard, but it was annoying, slowing my pace down to about 7'36".

One difference from last year was our route around Lake Merritt.  Instead of running down Grand, we actually ran along the path that hugs the lake inside Lakeside Park.  I understand why they did it, but it had some drawbacks: 1) no spectators to cheer you on, 2) narrow pathway making for difficult passing, 3) more elevation change over the segment, 4) MUD!  Those factors contributed to a slightly slower pace through the park, but once out I got back up to 7'29".

Around mile 12, I was starting to feel my legs, but then I looked down at my watch and saw that not only was I totally on track for a PR time, but a sub-1:40:00 was within my reach, so I put my race face on and dug a little deeper.  Ran the final full mile at 7'23", and managed to eke out 7'13" for the final kick.  No sprinting across the finish, but man I felt good!

Just as I crossed the finish line, I saw the gun time clock tick over to 1:40:00, so I knew I had bested that.  My Garmin had me at 1:39:43 over 13.4 miles (because I think the Garmin counts all of your lateral movement across the road as distance, as well).

My official results:
  • Chip time: 1:39:38 (personal best Half Marathon time)
  • Gun time: 1:40:02
  • Overall placing: 180
  • Sex placing: 148
  • Division [M35-39] placing: 30
Splits from my Garmin (over 13.4 miles):
  1. 6:53
  2. 7:23
  3. 7:23
  4. 7:22
  5. 7:26
  6. 7:26
  7. 7:32
  8. 7:36
  9. 7:38
  10. 7:38
  11. 7:29
  12. 7:34
  13. 7:23
  14. 2:54 (7'12")

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