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Monday, March 28, 2011

1st Race of the 2011 Season

To find out what kind of shape I'm in, I ran in the 2011 Oakland Half Marathon.  This is a failrly small race with less than 10,000 runners for both the Half and Full Marathon.  The event was well organized and I recommend it for all levels of runners. There is even a moonlight 5K that goes around Jack London Square. The expo was at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Oakland and it was fast and efficient with loads of booths for products and other races.

The start of the Half was set for 9:00 a.m on 3/27/11.  I drove to Oakland, arriving at Franklin and 14th Street around 6:45. I walked around the start, noting that all the runners had to sort of funnel through a inflatable staring gate. I decided to get in front to avoid any crashes in the iron gates near the start. I watched the start of the marathon at 7:30, saw that there was no problem getting through the starting gate and went back to the Jeep for my warmup. I stretched for a bit, then did a 10 minute per mile jog around the lake for about 3 miles.

At the start, I lined up at the front and got off all right. The pace felt quick, but I wanted to see what the split was at the first mile. It was 6:25, so I turned it down a bit, my goal being 6:50-7:00 per mile. From then on, I was able to keep a consistent pace, skipping the water startions because I felt pretty hydrated and it was very cool. If the sun had been out, I would have drank water after the halfway point. Around mile 10, the course wound around some muddy and curved trails at Lake Merritt. I lost some time here going around walkers and people hanging around the park. This is the only section of the race course I would change. Other than that, I liked the course.

Throughout the race, I was able to keep my pace consistent, but there was no speed. Not surprising because I haven't done any speed work so far this season. I was strong enough to have run the marathon if I had wanted to, probably in the 3:35-3:40 range. Instead of sprinting at the finish, I cruised in and my time was 1:31:45,  good for 2nd place in my age group and 62 overall. 

I'm happy with my level of fitness, but I need to focus on speed (intervals and surges) between now and May 15th, 2011 when I run in the Bay to Breakers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On the Comeback Trail

Yes, it's been a long time between posts.  Life, as they say, got in the way.  That said, racing season is here. On March 27, 2011, I'll be racing the Oakland Half Marathon to see what kind of shape I am in. Then in May, I'll be running in the 100th Bay to Breakers. I was able to get in the first corral, so I don't have to spend the first mile weaving in and out of traffic. Then, there will be 2, maybe 3 trail races in the summer. The most important race for me this year is the Portland Marathon in October.  

So, that's my season. I'll do better with the postings, with photos etc.