This past Saturday, I ran the half marathon distance of Brazen Racing’s Summer Breeze run in San Leandro. Brazen Racing is another fantastic, local organizer that always puts on a quality events. Summer Breeze was their largest event so far this year and had 5K, 10K and half marathon distance options that drew a field of 558, 520, and 511 finishers respectively. If you are reading this and live in the SF Bay Area, give Brazen a try…you won’t regret it. Their events are great for runners of all levels.
The weather was great: overcast, about 59 at the start, and a slight wind coming off the bay at a few sections. It probably warmed up to the low sixties at the finish, but not too much warmer. Again, great weather for a run!
The half marathon course was an out-and-back that began in San Leandro’s Marina Park, proceeded south along the shoreline, into the Hayward Regional Shoreline area, and the back to the Marina Park. It was a mix of gravel and paved trails and was nice and flat. As with all Brazen events, course management and marking was great and the volunteers were excellent! Brazen recruits volunteer photographers as well for their events, so the free photos taken along the course are an awesome thing. As of today at lunch, there are over 17,000 photos from Saturday’s event posted online for free download!
The finish area had a great spread of food and drink and offered a great environment to recover and chat with other runners. Brazen events have grown in popularity and, with the large group of participants, are starting to draw vendors with SWAG at the post-event finish area. Very cool for Brazen and us runners!
- Garmin time: 1:47:43 at an 8:17/mile pace [delta due to gps distance]
- Official time: 1:47:42 at an 8:14/mile pace.
This race came about three weeks into religiously using a foam roller on my IT band and two weeks into a return to continuous running. With that, my goal was to finish under two hours; knowing that, based on two weeks of sub-9:00 min/mile average paces (and two sessions of sub-8:00) it was achievable. 1:59:59 = success and a good race.
My strategy was:
- Wear my cushy Hoka One One Stinson EVOs, since it was a mix of gravel and paved trail. I thought about wearing my Bondi Speeds, but stuck with the trail shoe.
- Start out slow and steady and walk if any cramps or IT band issues started. I also kept the 3:1 run/walk ratio reminder set-up and cycling on my 910, just in case.
- I didn’t use KT Tape. I’ve been sans tape for two weeks and decided to leave it off for this one.
As we lined up, I placed myself in the middle of the pack. That said, when everyone moved up, I was probably closer to the front quarter of the pack. With 500 runners, I thought that was probably a good thing anyway.
At 0801, we were off. I kept it to an 8:40 pace for the first mile; then, felling OK, let myself speed up. Miles 2 through 10 were at an average pace of 8:12, with 7 though 10 the sweet spot for the race at an average of 8:04. I probably should have kept it at a slower pace for the first three, but it felt good!
At about the 10.6 mile mark, my right calf cramped ever so slightly, so I walked about a tenth of a mile to give it a rest – ending up with an 8:51 pace. I felt the same hint of cramping start again at 11.5 and 12.6 and this time fast walked the tenth of a mile sections since I was close to the finish (read: embrace the suck.) Even with two weeks of great workouts, I guess my continuous running endurance was still being built back to where it was in April.
Even so, I still finished with my third fastest half marathon time:
- 2013 KP SF half: 1:44:45 [PR]
- 2012 Pleasanton half: 1:47:21 [+2:36]
- 2013 Summer Breeze: 1:47:42 [+2:57]
2012 RnR San Jose: 1:47:46 [+3:01]
2012 NorCal Half: 1:48:14 [+3:29]
I followed my normal pre-race carb loading plan (36 hours of >80% carbs and +500 calories above my normal day) and my usual race fueling plan (bagel at -3 hours, GU at -45 min, GU & salt tab at -15 minutes, and 21oz of GU Brew, an additional salt tab a 1:00:00, and GU Gels along the way [starting at mile 6 and then every 3].)
Here are some photos from the day:
- Bottom line: I finished with a BIG smile and my third fastest half marathon time!
- Post-race meal: I raced homeward and met my wife and mother-in-law for lunch, doing my “slouch down in the car, wipe down with a towel and a few Wrips, and change in to the tech shirt I just earned” thing. I broke form and skipped pancakes this time, going with a bacon, cheeseburger and fries!
- Takeaways: Glad to be back to continuously running. I need to build the base endurance level back up. The foam roller is working!
Training Journal – 8/5/13:
- Current plan: Mix of running and biking
- Today’s session: Rest
- Comments: Rest