Well, here we are, 4 days to go before the Oakland Half Marathon. Excited to run this race for a couple of reasons.
First of all, the inaugural 2010 Oakland Running Festival was a total blast! The whole city came out to support the participants, even in parts of town where you might not have expected it. There were church choirs singing for the runners going by, lots of unofficial water / orange wedge stations, cowbells galore, flaming steel and bronze arches, you name it. The complimentary beer and massage at the finish line were pretty kick-ass, too.
Second, while running is fun, I want to focus on the bike! This is my second (and last) big running event of my self-imposed short running season this year. Once it's over, I plan on 4-5 days a week on the bike, with at least 3 of them being pretty hard days. Even with just the once-a-week hard interval workout I've added to my regular Wednesday 55+ mile bike commute (that I try to ride at a reasonably fast/hard pace) and Friday group lunch ride (which includes one 4th category climb and a highly-contended sprint on Arastradero Rd.), I have noticed big gains in my fitness and perceived power (I don't have a power meter, so all I can go on here is performance vs. perceived effort). This is getting me pretty excited about being able to lay a good foundation this year for some cyclocross racing in the winter and getting serious about road racing next season. Of course, I'd still like to dabble a bit in road racing this season, but my crash during Early Bird Criterium #2 dealt me a small setback, both in terms of training and my own skittishness. We'll have to see how the calendar works out.
Am I ready for it? Yah, I think so. I have to admit I've been pretty lazy about foot race training this season. I was enjoying all the time on the bike and only really running 2 days a week (a long run on Monday morning, and a 5-miler on Thursday at lunchtime), while Wednesday, Friday, and the occasional Sunday were all about the bike. Well, over the last few weeks, I've been putting in some harder efforts in my running shoes (but still only a couple of days a week). Last Monday, I clocked in a tad over 11 miles at around an 8'00" pace and felt just great. I can definitely push out 13.1 this Sunday, and maybe even at a 7'40" pace. Though, in all seriousness, I just want to finish, have a good time, and not totally suffer like I did at the KP Half in February where got dehydrated out in the sun around mile 8, legs popped, and finished > +00:02:00 over the previous year's run.
Anyway, to any of my readers who live in Oakland, come on out and represent your city too all the runners participating in the Oakland Running Festival this Sunday, March 27! And bring a cowbell!