Sunday, July 31, 2011

San Francisco First Half Marathon - July 31, 2011

21:43 km in 2:26:39

I had only done 2 short runs while recovering from injury in the 3 weeks leading up to the race, so my plan was to go out easy for the first 10km and then possibly walk/run the last half if needed. My goal was the finish in 2:30-2:45 if possible, definitely under the cut off of 3 hours.

Erik and I were up at 4:45, got dressed and walked 6 blocks to the race start. We left our extra clothing at the check point, got to our wave (6), and I got in line for the bathroom. After waiting 15 minutes, it was clear I wasn't going to get in before the race started, so I left the line and headed to the starting line with the hope that I could use the porto-potties at the 4km mark. In retrospect, I should have just waited and started in a later wave since it's a chip timed race, that way the bathroom break time wouldn't be a part of my race time. Ah well - live and learn.

We started out slow for the 1st 4km, at about a 6:45 min km (11 min mile), and then I stopped at the bathrooms and lost 4-5 minutes waiting in line there. Erik and I both shed our extra shirts and I tucked mine into the back pocket of my tank top and we were back on our way, headed for the Holden Gate Bridge.

The sun was up by now and I was warmed up, and although it was cloudy/foggy, we could still see the top of the bridge. We kept a steady pace along the flats, then slowed down a little climbing up to and across the bridge. We took quite a few pictures along the way.

When we got to the other side of the bridge, at about the half way point of the race, I decided I was feeling pretty good so we decided to pick up the pace for the last half. We ran about a 6-7 min km (10-11 min mile), depending on the terrain - there are a number of hills in the second half so that slowed me a little. I was running at LT for most of the second half and it was hard work but I felt good. Erik was happy that we were running faster too, but he was great and stayed with me the whole time regardless of my pace.

The race was over all too quickly it seemed, maybe because it was the first time I wasn't running alone, and we crossed the finish line, hand in hand, in 2:26:39. If I hadn't stopped for the bathroom, I would have beaten my Victoria Half marathon time of 2:23, but I wasn't close to my PR in March of 2:12.

No worries - I beat my goal time and was super happy to be able to run strong for the whole race, with no serious walking required. And we had a negative split - 1:16 for the first half and 1:10 for the second half. Not bad considering the 2nd half is a lot harder terrain.

I was REALLY sore for the two days following because I was so out of shape for a long run but I am hopeful that I will be able to do an easy run tomorrow (Thursday) and get back on track for marathon training ASAP.

You can check out my pics on my facebook page

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Osoyoos Desert Half Iron Relay - July 9, 2011

Today Erik, my brother-in-law Yogi, and I did the Osoyoos Desert Half Iron as a relay. My brother-in-law is a cyclist only so he got to do the bike, I was the only one who could swim, and that left Erik with the run. Our team name was Sangria Threea and our combined age was 176 years old!

Although I had a tough start for the two lap swim, I was pretty content with my time, since it was faster than my time at the Oliver Half 5 weeks ago. However, this is really just more proof that the Oliver swim course was long, since I know I swam faster there than I did today.
I had a crappy first lap because I forgot to bring my inhaler with me and it turns out that, yes, I do need my puffer before every race, even if I'm only swimming (in fact, especially if I'm swimming). The minor asthma attack was triggered early on when I got a face full of water when I lifted my head to sight, and inhaled some of it. Once I coughed most of it, my chest still felt really tight and I started feeling panicky to the point that I had to flip onto my back and kick for a few minutes to settle my nerves. I managed to talk myself down and flip back over to start swimming and by the time I passed the first yellow buoy I was feeling better and more confident, although I knew I was very very close to the back of the back. At this point, my goggles were so totally fogged up that I could not see where I was going AT ALL, so again I had to stop to pull them off and clear them, losing more precious time and making me feel more anxious about being so slow.

When I passed the 2nd yellow buoy, I decided to start pushing it a little harder but each time I took a breath, I could hear myself wheezing pretty badly. I was nervous to push too hard in case I had a full blown asthma attack in the water so I went back to a slow, steady swim.
I was pretty unsteady when I got out of the water to run around the cone and start the second lap and my team was a little worried but I actually felt quite a bit better by then. I was pleasantly surprised to see my time at that point was about 24:30 (I had told Erik I'd start the second lap at 25 minutes), so I was hopeful that I'd be able to do the second lap a little faster. I tried to focus on swimming straight and steady and not so fast that I had to breathe too hard, and the second lap was fairly uneventful.

I got out of the water and ran down the beach to cross the timing mat at 49:28, thirty seconds faster than my goal, and a minute faster than Oliver. Still, in the strong field of triathletes at the Desert Half, I was much further back in the pack even with a faster swim time, and there were only about 10 swimmers (out of 230) who were slower than me. :D

I bypassed the wetsuit strippers and ran straight to transition where my brother-in-law, Yogi was waiting to start the bike leg. He took off and had a great bike ride and managed to pass 35+ people who had passed me in the swim, but unfortunately he cramped up just as he was climbing the back of Richter and ended up losing a little time near the end. Still, he finished with a respectable time of 3:35, not bad for a guy who's 64.

Kelownaguy T. (Erik) was the star of the team though, when he came in to save the day and finish up our race with a kick ass half marathon time of 1:58:09, more than 14 minutes faster than his best 21km run to date. Way ta go baby!!!!

Our team came in 3rd place in the relay division with an overall time of 6:24:40. Great fun!!!!
Best part of the day was watching all of our friends out there on the race course including Erin L. , Brent P. , James Y. , Tamara, and a few others who are not on Daily Mile. Great day and congrats to all of these amazing athletes!!

Water temp was about 18C, air temp in the morning was about 16C, and it warmed up to about 28C by the end of the afternoon. The day started off sunny but most of the day had light cloud which kept the temps cooler for the bike and run.

Our team race number. Osoyoos Desert Half Iron.