Archives For Race Reports


This past Sunday, I ran the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon.  It was the “Inaugural” under RnR ownership, though the race had previously been titled the US Half Marathon 2 (The Other Half), managed by the US Half Marathon, and followed the same course.  I had not run the “Other Half” before, but many really liked the small-race feel and hopped it wouldn’t be lost.  I think to keep it that way, RnR limited the entrants to under 6,000 – I know there were close to 10,000 at RnR San Jose.  There were 5,803 finishers on Sunday.

The weather was perfect: about 54 degrees at the start and overcast.  There wasn’t too much wind to speak of at the start area, though I wondered what it would be like crossing the Golden Gate.  Heading North across the Bridge, there wasn’t any wind.  Coming back, it was blowing, but not that strong.  When I rounded the first support section over the bay, a gust socked me and the group I was with at the time.  By the time I finished, the cloud cover was breaking and it turned out to be a wonderful day.

courseThe course was beautiful – hey, it’s San Francisco!  It started and ended in the Aquatic Park area, making its way along the Bay front, up into The Presidio, across the Golden Gate and back, along the Bay front again, and then finishing back at Aquatic Park. Most of the course was paved, but it did include a short section of dirt trail (heading from Vista Point, under the Bridge to the South side access road) and sections of crushed rock on parts of the San Francisco Bay Trail.  It was a really great course that was well marked and managed by volunteers and SFPD – both of whom did a great job.  Volunteers at the aid stations were also fantastic, shouting out which side the water and Gatorade were one.  There were (I think) four cheer squads and only a couple of bands.  This isn’t a huge deal for me, but I’ve read that some people missed the numerous squads/bands that are typically on the course of Rock ‘n’ Roll events…I’m good with or without.

The post-race expo was pretty good (food, drink, etc.), but I didn’t stay too long.  I got my SWAG, looked around, and left before the traffic got too heavy.  I totally lucked out on parking – Ghirardelli Square offered $10 parking if you left before 1pm.  I snagged a spot 3 stalls from the Beach Street access and didn’t even need to check a sweats bag I was so close!

A few shots from the day…


My Race


  • Garmin time: 1:48:53 at an 8:17/mile pace (pace diff as Garmin measured course at 13.15)
  • Official chip time: 1:48:51 at an 8:19/mile pace
  • Official gun time: 1:53:29



With Big Sur three weeks away and this day being my last run before “taper”, I planned to race the RnRSF – but not try and set a new PR. Just like with Badger Cove, I DID NOT want to do anything that resulted in an injury.  When I registered, my projected time was 1:48:00, so that was my goal – my stretch on the “plan” was 1:47:16…just for giggles.  I came close to my goal and am happy with my results/run.

One thing for sure, I went out too fast…but there was a reason: I was a victim of “front of pack syndrome.”  Not sure if that is actually a real term, but I’m claiming it.  You see, I was in corral 4…at the back and they were slowly moving everyone up staggering the corral starts by 30-40 seconds (which was a good thing, since the start line was actually more narrow than the street.)  Anyway, I somehow got cut off and placed in corral 5…right at the start line.  GULPI better not tripI better not screw it up for the ~200 people behind/beside me…better kick it at the horn!  So, needless to say, I went out fast – even with the first .18 being a 100′ hill – ending up with a 8:03 pace for mile one and 8:08 for mile two.  I did start to reign it in on mile 3, remembering that I still had to run “up to the deck” of the Bridge at both ends.  I paid for the fast start later, but not too terribly – I still managed an 8:08 for the last 1.15 miles, even running full out down the stretch with a guy I’d been trading spots with for the last few miles.  Funny, when I looked up his name from my race photo, he’s listed as “Vanessa”(?)…mkay.

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.)  On a half, I usually take 3 GUs (at 4, 8, &10.5); but I dropped a packet on the Bridge during mile 8…fumbling it when I was taking it from my pocket.  I glanced back while running, thought for a millisecond, and just kept going – splitting my final one and hopping no one slipped the one I dropped!

After cooling down in the post-race area, I walked around a bit and then headed home.  I even made it home in time to go to church with Karen and her mom…ok, I was a late, but I still made it.


  • Bottom line: Great event!  Beautiful scenery!  A nice way to cap 15 weeks of training and head into my taper…
  • Post-race meal: Wood-Grilled Lobster & Lobster Tacos at Red Lobster!  oh yeah!


Training Journal – 4/9/13:

  • Current plan: Big Sur Marathon Training Plan – W16D2 (Taper week 1)
  • Today’s session: 5 mile easy run @ 8:27-9:28 pace
  • Comments: I did 5.68 @ 8:35


This past Saturday, I ran Brazen Racing’s Badger Cove Half Marathon, held at Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore, CA. As is typical for Brazen events, they had three distances: a 5K, a 10K, and the half marathon and drew a field of 340, 369, and 240 finishers respectively. With Sunday being St. Patrick’s Day, there was a lot of “green” on the course!

The weather was perfect: clear and cool (~46* at the start and probably the mid to upper 50s when I finished) – exactly what one would hope for on race day!

courseThe half marathon course was a lollipop with an added out and back and was great mix of fire trails and single track…with a short, paved portion at the start/finish. Half marathon runners did the loop and O&B twice, so the first pass was a good indication of what lied ahead as the run/endurance levels progressed. Course marking was great and the on-course volunteers were awesome – as usual for Brazen events!

The post-race festivities were great – always a good mix of food, fun, and even a few vendors, including a Skechers tent.

I’m a huge fan of Brazen Racing and recommend them to friends all the time.  Their events (which are mostly held on Saturdays) are great for all levels of runners and are reasonably priced.  If my schedule allowed, I’d run all their races…  One of the many things that sets Brazen events apart from most other events are their race photos. They use volunteers to take pictures and then post them for people to download for free – how cool is that! You do have to scroll through them to find yourself; but, in a time when bigger events who charge more money for runs also charge upwards of $30 for a single photo, this is awesome! As of this morning, there are over 5,000 pictures from the Badger Cove event posted for people to sift through and download. My favorite trail race photo is from a Brazen event volunteer!

A few shots from the day…


My Race


  • Garmin time: 2:05:10 at an 9:42/mile pace
  • Official chip time: 2:05:11 at an 9:43/mile pace
  • Official gun time: 2:05:19



Right now, everything on the running front is geared toward April 28: Big Sur. So, my goal for Badger Cove was a “LSD” – long slow distance run. I DO NOT want to do anything that results in an injury ahead of Big Sur, so I planned to take it easy…within reason, of course…and not do anything silly. Given that it was a trail half, I knew taking it slower on the course would be easier given the hills. I did take it faster than usual on the downhills this time, feeling confident – though taking a chance at slipping at times (weeee). The downhills felt good and actually benefited my overall time: slower on the uphill, make time up on the downhill – kinda the way it’s supposed to be anyway, I guess.

I also worked at conserving energy, taking speed walk breaks earlier. This seemed to benefit my later miles and allowed me to finish strong. This was my third full trail half marathon and my best trail* half time (or PR) by 2.10, so the strategy worked. I’ve decided to track road and trail PRs separately since there are marked differences between these races.  I’ll still have an overall PR, but will also track them be category as well – not sure if this is correct, but that’s what I’m doing.  I ran with the same group of 4 or 5 runners most of the race; but, at about mile 9, I felt good and picked up the pacing.  I know I could have finished under 2 hours if I had pushed it, but that wasn’t the plan…next time.

I did try a new piece of gear this race: calf compression sleeves. I have two brands that I have been testing during my training and wore the CEPs on this run (the other ones I have are Zensahs.) I really liked the way they felt and supported during the race and I didn’t really seem to have any issues with tired legs after either. I think the sleeves are keepers…still deciding on which brand I like best.

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, and 3 GU Gels along the way.) Since it was sunny and warming up in the later part of the race, I hydrated a little more than usual for a 13.1, refiling my handheld at (I think) the mile 8 aid station…which was a good thing.

After cooling down in the post-race area, I felt pretty good. I hung out and waited for the results to be posted and then headed home.


  • Bottom line: Great event! New trail half PR! More lessons learned about trail running and my capabilities/endurance level.
  • Post-race meal: I went for it… Double Quarter Pounder with fries – BOOYAH!!!



Training Journal – 3/19/13:

  • Current plan: Big Sur Marathon Training Plan – W13D2
  • Today’s session: 5 mile easy run @ 8:27-9:28 pace
  • Comments: I did 5.67 @ 8:20…aaaaand oddly enough found myself humming the “There Was a Farmer Who Had a Dog” twice during my run.  Yeah, I’m weird…  B-I-N-G-O!


This past Sunday, I ran in the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon. The event, which was celebrating its 30th anniversary, actually had two distances: a 5K and the half marathon and drew a field of 2,549 and 5,744 finishers respectively.


…glad i didn’t go with face paint

The weather was perfect: cool, clear, and no wind to speak of at all – though a few of us were nervous about what would be found when we reached the coast section of the course. Since it was Super Bowl Sunday and I was in San Francisco, I broke form and wore 49er colors rather than my standard black shorts and usually-blue tech shirt/cool-weather cover (my wife says my kits are boring.) I have to admit, sadly, I was in the minority on this – not too many runners were wearing red, white, and gold or any “official” NFL clothing. I don’t think this says anything about football fans being non-runners/couch potatoes…at least I hope.

courseThe course was a scenic, point-to-point starting in Golden Gate Park near the de Young Museum, out and around the Panhandle, back through the Park, out and back along the Great Highway (coast), and ending just back inside the Park. It was all on pavement and flat, other than a 2 mile section of downhill (~275′ decent.)


The race was well-managed – doing it for 30 years, you know they’ve worked out issues – and the volunteers were amazing. I really liked how they had people at quite a few points along the course that called out gun time splits. I’m sure this was key for the folks at the front of the pack, but to do it for us mid-packers and others was a nice touch.

The post-race festival was excellent. I would say that it was better than the 2012 Bay-to-Breakers’ and even, IMHO, the SF Marathon’s (at least the First Half portion from 2012.) The flow from the finish line, to medals, to shirts, to everything else was superb. SWAG was pretty good too and I got a $10 gift card from Sports Basement for saying, “I bleed red and gold” at their booth! I had read some reviews about the lack of SWAG and food and that wasn’t an issue this year – I got my water and banana and brought two Picky Bars from home to eat anyway.


My Race


  • Garmin time: 1:44:42 at an 8:00/mile pace
  • Official chip time: 1:44:45 at an 8:00/mile pace
  • Official gun time: 1:46:31



So my last two half marathons were within 14 and 17 days of a marathon, so I purposely went easy on them. Going into this race (7 weeks out from the marathon and 6 weeks into my training for Big Sur), I had “new PR” on my mind and planned accordingly. I knew that the 2-mile downhill section would benefit, but with it being so early in the race, I knew that I could crash and burn if I got too aggressive on it. My conservative goal plan was to beat my PR by at least :21 and I had a pacing chart taped to my water bottle to remind myself. Twenty-one seconds wouldn’t “crush” my 1:47:21, but I didn’t want to be greedy or too aggressive. My stretch goal was a PR by :30.

yeah, right…

I lined up between the 8 and 9 minute pace signs and waited for the start. When the bell sounded (this was in SF, so they used a cable car bell), I headed out – trying to stay on pace (read: slower not faster) but still weaving in and out of runner traffic. I thought about using my “on your left” alternative a few times during the first couple of miles, but decided not to.


(yeah, I know the time and distance don’t add up.
I adjusted for the race time/distance.)

As you can see from my splits, I simply went for it. I kept telling myself to focus and conserve, but still went for it. I recall making the turn at the Panhandle and telling myself to slow down and saw some for the last third of the race, so I did slightly…but then the downhill came. Still, I conserved on the downhill – really only benefiting by about :20 over two miles (I kept telling myself, “you not even half way there, dude! CHILL!”) Mile 12 was the tough one, I was tiring and purposely slowed a bit, wanting to finish strong in the last 1.1. Actually, mile 11 was somewhat hard as well and, in reviewing my pacing and cadence for 11 and 12, I noticed that I slowed down/pause six times to between 9:48 and 13:59 pace. The key here was that I watched the lap pace on my Garmin and started running again when it started getting higher…I’ll call it strategic “resting.” I felt pretty good at the end of mile 12, so I kicked it into gear.

That strategy paid off in a new PR by 2:36! BOOYAH!!

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 at -15 minutes, and 21oz of GU Brew and 3 GU Gels along the way.) At mile 2, I realized that I forgot to take a SaltStick and stressed a bit, but quickly forgot about it…or simply repressed my cramping memory from December.

After cooling down in the post-race area, I felt pretty good. Since the lines for the buses back to the start line were getting long, I opted for a nice, 2.5-mile recovery run back to my car. It actually felt pretty good and it also gave me an opportunity to snap a few pictures…



Bottom line: Great event! NEW PR! Some lessons learned as well…

Post-race meal: Funny story… We had decided to go to El Burro for lunch and I was totally primed for a “personal basket of chips!” We got there and they were CLOSED! [insert “WAH, WAH, WAH, WAAAAAAAAH” sound effect] I guess they must have given their staff Super Bowl Sunday off. We ended up going to Boston Market instead and I chowed down a pot pie – yummy!


Training Journal – 2/7/13:

  • Current plan: Big Sur Marathon Training Plan – W7/D4
  • Today’s session: 4 mile easy run @ 8:37-9:37 pace
  • Comments: I did 4.79 @ 8:28


Yesterday, I ran the half marathon distance of the Brazen New Year’s Day runs – the companion event to Saturday’s Brazen New Year’s Eve Run. The run had three distances: a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon and drew a field of 389, 318, and 297 finishers respectively.

The weather was even better than it was for Saturday’s New Year’s Eve run: cool, clear, with a light wind. I still wore shorts (one fellow runner called me “hard core”), but sported a long sleeve tech shirt, my running rain jacket (as a windbreaker), and my lite Lululemon running gloves for warmth. As on Saturday, I stayed toasty throughout the run.

courseThe course was the same as Saturday’s, just in the clockwise direction. Same description: hilly and a mix of paved and dirt trails (30 and 70% respectively) that circled Lake Chabot and Chabot Regional Park. I will say that this direction was not as steep as the counterclockwise direction – mainly on the final third of the course. The downhill took it’s toll on my legs though! Since we had two days of clear weather, the muddy conditions from Saturday had dried in most areas. There were still some soggy areas though, just to make the run “interesting.”

As I mentioned in my New Year’s Eve run race report, Brazen Racing is a class act and put on a wonderful event. This one was no different – it’s always fun to run their events.

My Race


  • Garmin time: 2:07:23 at an 9:39/mile pace
  • Official time: 2:07:21 at an 9:39/mile pace



As with Saturday’s run, my race plan for the New Year’s Day run was to have FUN and just enjoy the morning. I did want to beat my time from Saturday – and I’d be lying if I said that a sub 2-hour wasn’t on my mind. I ended up with a cold/sore throat on Monday, so I didn’t want to push it too much…

That said, I got to thinking about my “new PR” goal for this or other hilly, trail half marathons. I think I’m setting unrealistic goals – at least at my current training level. I am basing my PR goal on a flat and fast course…not a comparable hilly course. DUH…HELLO!! My half PR will always stand and be chased whenever I run, but I probably should revise my goals for hilly trail half marathons (or other distances.) I think i will be less frustrated at the finish line.

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 at -15 minutes, and 21oz of GU Brew along the way.) I also did my new SaltStick course, taking one at -15 min and another at the +1 hour mark, which seemed to work again.


Bottom line: Another great event and a fun way to kick off the 2013 running season!

Post-race meal: Light lunch with a full-blown, turkey-with-all-the-fixin’s, FEAST at Harry’s Hofbrau…followed by a bunch of See’s Bridge Mix later that night!

Oh, and the bling from today was pretty cool. If you ran this event and the one on Saturday, you got a middle medal which created a cool MEGA-MEDAL:



Training Journal – 1/2/13:

  • Current plan: Big Sur Marathon Training Plan – W2/D3
  • Today’s session: Rest or 3-mile easy run
  • Comments: With this cold I’ve got, I opted to rest this morning…


Yesterday, I ran the half marathon distance of the Brazen New Year’s Eve runs. The run had three distances: a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon and drew a field of 353, 311, and 325 finishers respectively. (I know, it wasn’t New Year’s Eve, but it was close enough!)

The weather was great: cool, cloudy, with a chance of rain. I still wore shorts though, but sported a long sleeve tech shirt, my running rain jacket, and my lite Lululemon running gloves for warmth. I stayed pretty toasty throughout the run, which only included about 5 minutes of a real light rain and a slight wind on a few miles.


Wonderful running weather!

2012BNYE_course The course was hilly and a mix of paved and dirt trails (30 and 70% respectively) that circled Lake Chabot and Chabot Regional Park. With the rain that we’d had the previous week, it was pretty muddy in sections and there were three trees down across the trail…all of which made for a great trail run that required that you pay attention to the trail. I managed to not slip – and believe me, there was evidence of fellow runners slippin’ and slidin’ in a number of sections.

As with all their races, Brazen Racing puts on a quality event. All their runs are a great environment for all ages and levels of runners. Sam, Jasmin, their crew, and the tons of volunteers they have make for a great morning of fun. The post-race food and fun was great as always and it’s fun to see people hanging out and re-living their race with each other.

My Race


  • Garmin time: 2:13:18 at an 10:16/mile pace
  • Official time: 2:13:14 at an 10:11/mile pace



[Recap Soundtrack] This is a great one from Dustin O’Halloran titled Runner. Enjoy:

Having just run the ZombieRunner Bay Trail Marathon two weeks ago, my race plan for the New Year’s Eve was to have FUN and just enjoy the morning. I didn’t really have a goal time or pace; though, in all honesty, a sub-2 hour is always on my mind.

I started in the middle of the pack and moved up slightly after the first mile. I think I stayed in pretty much the same area of the pack with much the same runners most of the race as well. A few of us chatted; but, as with most of races, I ended up by myself most of the time.

There were some pretty good hills that most people walked – including me, though I tend to try and speed walk them. I recently read an article about running hills that said to shorten your stride and lean forward so you’re “falling” into the hill. I did this and it seemed to work pretty well. I kept telling myself that I was moving forward at a pace that was easy and faster than simply walking.


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 at -15 minutes, and 21oz of GU Brew along the way.) Based on my calf cramps during the Bay Trail marathon, I added some SaltStick tabs to my fueling, taking one at -15 min and another at the +1 hour mark. I was waiting to see if the SaltStick would upset my stomach, but that never happened.


Bottom line: Great event and a great way to end the 2012 running season! The 2013 season starts on January 1 with the “part 2” race for the New Year’s Eve run on the same course, just clockwise.

Post-race meal. There were two phases to this gastronomical celebration:

  • Lunch – Angus Bacon & Cheese Hamburger and Fries [which was yummy!]
  • Dinner – Denny’s $4, All You Can Eat Pancakes (I downed 5…!)


Training Journal – 12/30/12:

  • Current plan: Big Sur Marathon Training Plan – W1/D7
  • Today’s session:Rest Cross Train: 60 minute bike ride
  • Comments: I thought about resting, but my legs were feeling good and I wanted to stay loose for Tuesday’s run, so I rode 25.43 miles @ 15.9 mph avg.

This past Saturday, I ran the marathon distance of the ZombieRunner Bay Trail Run – MY FIRST FULL MARATHON!!! This was the third edition of this event, put on by Zoom Running Events. The run had three distances: a full marathon, a half, and a five mile and drew a field of 82, 365, and 116 finishers respectively. This was my second Zoom event and simply stated: they know how to put on a fantastic run! (Zoom is a sister org to Coastal Trail Runs, which also does an awesome job on their events – I’ve run one of their events.)

The weather was perfect for a run: cool and partly cloudy. Rain was forecast for about 1200, but I planned to be done by then. I still wore shorts though, but sported my long sleeve tech shirt from the San Francisco Half Marathon and my lite Lululemon running gloves for warmth. There were quite a few runners in long pants and layers. I thought about donning layers, but knew that I’d shed them pretty quickly after the start.

routeThe course was flat and a mix of paved and dirt trails (27 and 73% respectively) that traveled around the Bayland park areas in Palo Alto. Okay, one could say that there was one “hill”, but nothing really to speak of in the scheme of things – it was more of an incline. Those running the marathon simply ran the half route twice. I had never been to this park area before, but do drive by a one mile stretch of the course that parallels Highway 101 every day on the way to work (more on that later.) I tend to zone out while I run, but it did seem like a nice place to go for a run or hike and see the waterfowl and baylands.

This was my “Plan B” race, as I was supposed to have run the Honolulu Marathon for my first full on December 9th. If you’re a regular visitor here, you know that we had to cancel the trip. As I looked for options, this race worked best with my schedule and 2013 training plans (read: gotta get ready for Big Sur in April.) After 18 weeks of training, I was anxious to Giddy Up! At first, I was bummed to be running my first marathon on a small event; but, in the long run, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’m a low-key person and this was just right – it would have been interesting to run my first with ~30,000 people; but, in the end, 82 was better.

My Race


  • Garmin time: 4:05:05 at an 9:19/mile pace
  • Official time: 4:05:05 at an 9:21/mile pace



New “Personal Records” on the Garmin Dash!!!
Since my Garmin measured 26.3, does that make me an ultra-marathoner? HA!


Fair warning: This is my first marathon so this is a verbose post. You only get one “first” and I want to capture everything!

[Recap Soundtrack] Part of my pre-race routine is to listen to my Unbreakable playlist as I drive to the race. This is track one (Outro, by M83), a favorite, and is one of the few songs I hear in my head while I run… I just imagine myself running in slow motion to this music…on the road or on a trail! Click play and read on…

Continue Reading…

On Thanksgiving, I ran 10K race at the eighth presentation of the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. This annual event, is becoming a big draw in the Bay Area on Thanksgiving morning and actually ended up being named the largest timed Turkey Trot in the nation this year by Race Results Weekly. The main events drew 12,023 finishers for the 5k and 7,912 for the 10k. This was my second SVTT and definitely is a annual tradition for me now – a good way to burn some calories before the afternoon feast!

The weather was perfect: clear and cool. I still wore shorts though, but sported my long sleeve tech shirt from this past Sunday’s Big Sur Half Marathon for warmth. I also wore my lite Lululemon running gloves, which are just right for Bay Area “winter” running.

The course was changed slightly from last year due to issues with finish line congestion and the improvements really made a huge difference. The races started further down Santa Clara Street and the organizers used a self-seeding, corral system – though there were still walkers in front of me (I lined up toward the front of the 8-9 minute pace corral.). After weaving around people for about the first mile, things improved. I’m not sure how/if this can be fixed, so it is what it is.

The finish line change allowed people to run the finish, which was not possible last year with the convergence of the 5 and 10k runners and the proximity to the finish line festival area entrance – the change solved the problem. Things still were crowded heading to the festival, but not as bad as last year and volunteers kept people moving.

The festival looked nice and very organized (tons of water, bananas, etc staffed with volunteers), but I didn’t really stay too long. I did stop and check out one tent about an upcoming race and got to meet and talk with Bob Anderson, founder of Runner’s World Magazine for a bit. He is putting on a race called The Double in Pleasanton next month (hmmm.)

I will say that this years SVTT was excellently staged and the volunteers throughout the course and really the whole event were abundant and very energetic. The free parking was an added benefit! Hats off to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation, Applied Materials, and especially to race founders Carl and Leslee Guardino!

My Race


  • Garmin time: 47:57 at an 7:39/mile pace
  • Official time: 47:55 at an 7:43/mile pace


This was an “A-Game” race for me. My goal was to certainly set a new PR (sub-53:30), with a stretch goal of finishing under 50 minutes or a sub-8 minute pace. BOOM – I killed the stretch goal!

I didn’t realize until Monday that this would only be my second 10K, as I’ve been focusing on half marathons for a while – thus the gap between 10K races. I paced myself and finished feeling really good. Even with the “weaving in traffic” aspect of the first mile, I ended up with near negative splits (7:57, 7:41, 7:44, 7:43, 7:41, 7:19, 6:49.) I may have been able to push a little more on miles 4 and 5, but didn’t want to mess things up for the Honolulu Marathon.

Here are some photos I shot:

Lining up!

GOAL: Try to stay in front of as many of these people as I can!

The finish Line. Awesome running weather!

I saw a few costumes, but this one was my favorite. I saw him cross the finish line…dragging the ball, of course!

Pre-race & race-day fuel: With this a short race, I didn’t do any specific, pre-race carb loading. I just followed my normal fat/carb/protein ratio goals and ate a GU before the race and drank 12oz of GU Brew during the race.


Bottom line: Great day. New PR! Proved to myself that I can do sub-8 pacing for shorter distances and feel OK.

Post-race meal: After the race and saying hi to some friends at the festival, I booked to McD’s and brought home some pancakes for my wife and I…that’s my standard, two-order feast!


Training Journal – 11/18/12:

  • Current plan: Honolulu Marathon Training Plan
  • Today’s session: 12 mile long run @ 8:39 – 9:59 pace
  • Comments: I did 12.34 @ 8:32 pace

Weekly mileage: 11/19-25/12:

  • Running: 36.4
  • Bicycling: 0
  • Total: 36.4

This past Sunday, I ran the tenth presentation of the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay. This weekend was also pretty special in that it marked the first anniversary of my running a race. Last year, I did the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K as my very first race – having started running in September 2011. One year later, and I’ve progressed to the half…in three weeks, I take it to the next level and run my first full marathon!

The weather was perfect: clear and cool/mild. The rain that was forecast blew through in the early morning, leaving the entire day with awesome running conditions! I did carry some insurance though, as it was a bit cloudy at start time: I walked to the start line wearing my rain parka and checked it just in case.

The course is an flat run through Monterey and Pacific Grove – with most of the run along the coast. There was one “uphill” portion heading from the coast up to downtown PG, but it really wasn’t much to stress about in the overall scheme of the course. The course is all about the scenery – truly beautiful…even better when the weather is crystal clear! [Sadly, I will admit that I really don’t pay attention to the scenery while I run as I basically zone out. I just know it’s beautiful from visiting the area and driving the course A LOT!] Course management and volunteers were excellent. It was cool to see people from the local area hanging out and cheering runners along the way.

The finish line was very organized and had the usual post-race supplies (water, fruit, etc.), as well as minestrone soup and beer for finishers. I stuck to water and my Picky Bar – I’m just funny that way – plus, I planned to head back to the hotel and eat breakfast with my wife!

My Race


  • Garmin time: 1:48:28 at an 8:15/mile pace
  • Official time: 1:48:30 at an 8:16/mile pace

Bottom line: I went out too fast. Again. I had my pace plan taped to my water bottle (1:47:00 @ 8:10 avg pace), but got caught up in the excitement and simply ignored the plan. I even looked at the plan frequently: “Hey there Plan, how ya doin’. What? Yeah, I know, but I think I can keep this up. C-YA!”.  I actually did pretty good until about mile 10, averaging a 8:06/mile pace. Then I started to pay the price. Even with 10 “pauses” (yup, I know how many), I still managed a decent time and pace. It just smarts to know that if I had followed the plan, I know for sure I could have had a new PR. Oh well, there’s always another day and we often learn from our mistakes…for me, sometimes it’s repeated mistakes.

Anyway, not one to take too many photos during races, here are a few I did take:

At the finish!

Home Stretch!
I always wonder if other people cringe when spectators yell, “You’re almost there!”?

How could anyone pass up running along here?
(TRUTH: I took this later in the day while on a walk with my wife…)

Coastline pano shot!
(Also taken later in the day)

Yes, the medals are ceramic! My wife said I looked like I was going to cry when this hit the
hotel-room floor! I emailed the race organizer and received a replacement medal on Tuesday – how awesome was that!

Pre-race & race-day fuel: Same as usual – 48-hour carb loading period (at +550 calories/day and at a carb level greater than 80% each day) and 5 GUs and 20oz of GU Brew on race day.

One cool part was seeing the elite runners heading back to the finish as I ran toward the turn around. Even cooler was knowing that the lead female was one of the co-founders of Picky Bars (Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce) and that her husband (Ben Bruce) was the lead male. After Ben blew by going the other direction, I kept an eye out for Stephanie. When I saw her, I yelled, “Go Steph – Picky Bars!” and I did see her smile. My wife was watching the race on Canary Row and said that when Ben got to where she was, he did a quick look over his shoulder, saw how much of a lead he had, and gave it his final kick.

By the way, it was pretty cool having my wife along the course. I passed her on the way out and back, so I got some good vibes going and coming!


Bottom line: Good day. Had fun. Learned a lesson (again). I’m still feeling confident for Honolulu!

Post-race meal: After the race, my wife and I went to Johnny Rockets for lunch. I broke form and actually had a hamburger!

I was smiling too!


Training Journal – 11/21/12:

  • Current plan: Honolulu Marathon Training Plan
  • Today’s session: 7 mile easy run @ 8:37-9:37 pace
  • Comments: I did 7.08 at 8:08

This past Sunday, I ran the 2012 Morgan Hill Marathon + Half … the half marathon distance, of course (I’m saving my first marathon experience for something more tropical.) The race was actually three races in one event: a marathon, half marathon, and a 5K; and was the third and final race in the 2012 CA Marathon Series.

The weather was perfect: clear and cool at the start (for the first 2 miles, my hands were COLD!), with the temps gradually rising as the morning went on (I dumped two cups of water at the mile 8 and 10 aid stations on my head to cool off.) I’m sure it warmed up more later in the day for the marathon runners, but I was gone by 1030.

The half marathon course was a loop through several sections of Morgan Hill: town, rural, and residential. As the name indicates, the course was not flat; though it wasn’t like running in the mountains. The min and max elevations were ~327′ and 681′ respectively, with most of the uphill climbs in the first 7 miles. Really, the climbs on the half course were gradual – with the exception of two at the 4.6 and 6.6 marks. After the second climb, runners were “treated” to the downhill portion, which was about a 300′ decent over .6 miles. After that, it was mostly flat with one final “hill” thrown in for good measure. I’m sure the scenery was nice, but I pretty much zone out when I run – though I did take notice of Chesbro Reservoir and some of the nicer parts of the rural portion.

Course volunteers were EXCELLENT! They gave clear directions (which was critical since the marathon runners left and rejoined the half runners twice) and the aid station support was fantastic (it’s always nice to have someone yelling where the water and sports drinks are and even the flavors of GU so runners get what they need/want.) I usually don’t take water at aids, but did this time to co0l off (dumping water on my head) – both “hand-offs” I had were perfect!

The finish line had a great supply of water, sports drink, and food (including breakfast burritos, though I just can’t see myself enjoying one after a half); as well as a few vendors. It was a great venue and there were a lot of friends and families hanging out – basically making a day of it. I didn’t stay for the awards, but it looked like it was set up pretty nice with plenty of chairs for people to sit in and hang out.

The Morgan Hill Half was a great race. As I mentioned above, it is actually part of a three-race series. The cool part was that for completing at least two of the three races, runners got a series medal (I actually ran all three):

My Race


  • Garmin time: 1:48:06 at an 8:11/mile pace
  • Official time: 1:48:10 at an 8:15/mile pace
    (which was my official time for the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll half!)

So, my race plan was all about working toward Honolulu and prepping myself for that race’s goal/plan with regard to pacing strategy. With that in mind, the race goal on my training plan was 1:55:30. I revised the plan to 1:50:00 on Saturday night based on reviewing the course, the terrain, and, quite frankly, my desire to get closer to a new PR (which meant throwing out the base race plan) – 1:50 seemed like a good compromise.

As you can see, I ended up with a decent time that beat my goals. Since my normal training routes include gradual hills similar to those on the Morgan Hill half route, the hills were not as difficult as I’d expected. I’m not saying they were a breeze; but, training and pacing paid off, and I was able to run the hills at a steady pace without stopping. Though I did “pause” a few times after mile 10 – pause meaning stop, immediately walk for about 10 seconds, then resume running. I’ve found that a quick “reset” like this helps me out when I start feeling tired or need to just slow my pace (I can’t seem to simply slow down while “at pace.”)

Not one to take too many photos during races, here are a few from the race:

…hoppin’ those pacers stay behind me!

The finish chute!

Happy to be done!

Finish line expo!

Pre-race & race-day fuel: Same as usual – 48-hour carb loading period (at +550 calories/day and at a carb level greater than 80% each day) and 6 GUs and 20oz of GU Brew on race day.


Bottom line: Great day. Had fun. Ended with very good race results. Pacing strategy is getting better. I am feeling confident for Honolulu!

Post-race meal: After the race, I went to Famous Dave’s for lunch with the Fam. The photo below is the “after” shot from my 6-bone St. Louis-style rib plate with Wilbur Beans, broccoli, and a corn muffin! Of course, I chased it all with a grande, mocha Frappuccino (no whip) later that day…!


Training Journal – 11/1/12:

  • Current plan: Honolulu Marathon Training Plan
  • Today’s session: 5 mile easy run @ 9:09
  • Comments: I did 5.5 at 8:09 – in a light rain…BOOYAH!

This past Sunday, I ran the 2012 edition of the U Can Finish 5 mile & 2 mile race in Orlando, FL. Yes, Orlando. I had to travel there for business and, since I needed to travel on Saturday for a Sunday PM meeting, I checked the web for Sunday morning races in the area and found this one! I thought, “why not!” So, after checking with the organizer to make sure it was open to “out of towners”, I registered.

The race, held at the University of Central Florida and organized by a running store called Track Shack, was actually three races in one event: a 5 mile, a 2 mile, and a combined time of the two called the “Distance Dare.” They timed the 5 & 2 distances so people could run both – the 5, then the 2 mile. Finishers of the “Distance Dare” got a special medal. They also had a few races for kids as well. The overall event drew a good crowd: 1,385 for the 5 mile, 831 for the 2 mile, and 417 runners took the “Distance Dare.”

The weather was nice and clear. The announcer kept saying that the weather was cooler for this race; but, that is relative. Being from California, “cooler” to a Floridian is a lot different than someone from the San Francisco Bay Area! Still, it was good running weather.

I think I cried off at least a pound!

The course was flat and made its way through the central part of the UCF campus. There was a slight breeze on most of the course, though running through several of the quads was pretty stifling because of the close buildings or covered walkways. They had a great amount of volunteers staffing the course making sure people didn’t take wrong turns and, at the same time, cheering everyone on. Because of the course’s layout, I saw many families at multiple points on the course cheering on their runners…which was pretty cool!

The finish line had a great supply of water, bananas, sports drink, and such; as well as a few vendors. They also had a VIP option (for a few extra dollars) that had better food options as well. I hung out for a bit, but left to go back to the hotel…and escape the heat!

The U Can Finish was a great race. It is actually part of a whole series of races put on by the Track Shack and supporting sponsors. From the looks of their website and the draw at the race, they know how to put on a great event.

My Race


I’m happy with my times! Just over an 8 minute pace for the 5 mile and just under 8 for the 2 – I’m not gonna complain! My splits for both distances were negative, so I’m happy with that – since it means I was pacing slower at the start as I need to do better at all around (based on my last two races.)

Not one to take too many photos during races, here are a few from the race:

Start crowd for the 5 mile race

Start line for the 2 mile (“let’s git dis ting started!”)
I didn’t intentionally cover up the “t”… 😉

Finished! (get me to an air-conditioned environ!)

Bib, shirt, & bling!
Did you catch the “UCF” race name & location tie-in?

Pre-race & race-day fuel: Since I was on travel and these were not long distances, I didn’t do any carb load or specific pre-race nutrition. I did eat a pack of GU Chomps and drank 20oz of GU Brew during both races.


Bottom line: It was a blast to run, though I prefer California weather conditions. Having said that, I bet the weather for the Honolulu marathon will be similar…

Post-race meal: After the race, I ended up eating a Panda Bowl and heading back to the hotel…only to then head out for my planned, Monday, long run of 18 miles. I was pretty drained after that (running 25.38 miles total in upwards of 85-degree weather) and ended up having my “fun” post-race meal that evening – the special at Cracker Barrel:


Training Journal – 10/18/12:

  • Current plan: Honolulu Marathon Training Plan
  • Today’s session: 8 mile easy run @ 9:09
  • Comments: I did 8.12 at 8:33