Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon Recap

Wow, this post is long overdue - where did the last 2 weeks go!

This was the 30th annual Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon run in Golden Gate Park. The run is presented by Pamakid Runners Club. The Pamakid Runners pride themselves on their participation in the local running community. They are runners who put on a race for other runners.

In the few weeks leading up to the race, I found training runs that were being hosted by Pamakids and the Sports Basement. I thought this would be a great way to meet some runners and get in my long runs. I met so many great people on the runs, that I decided to join the Pamakid Runners Club. Go Green!

The day before the race, the Pamakids volunteered for race setup. We met in Golden Gate Park and got in a quick 3 mile run and then got to work. Most of us were put to work stuffing the race goodie bags, it was a good time. (However, slightly disappointed in the thousands of plastic bags being used - so not green!)

All my racing gear laid out

Start time for the race was 8:00AM. The Pamakids group was meeting for warm up and group picture around 6:45. San Francisco is a small city, but getting to Golden Gate Park from my apartment takes about an hour via public transportation - so I talked my favorite brother-in-law to renting a ZipCar and driving me to the park. 

It was a brisk morning, and by brisk I mean, I was really cold hanging out in shorts and a tank top. I checked my gear at the sweat check shortly after 7, so I was bouncing around trying to stay warm for almost an hour.

Kind of a dorky pre-race pic

In the few minutes leading up to the race, the race director made a little speech, the national anthem was sung and to start the race, the cable car bells were rung. The race started on time and I crossed the start line a few minutes after 8. This is the largest race I've participated in so far, so there was a little congestion at the beginning. 

My goal for this race was to PR (which would be anything under 2:13, but I was really hoping for 2:05). The running coach game us some advice seeing as the club had been running this race for the last 30 years. Be conservative miles 1-4, pick up speed down hill mile 5-7 and let the race begin on the Great Highway. I did pretty good following this, my first mile was a slow 10 minutes since there were so many people and I managed to stay fairly conservative until mile 5. 

This course wasn't just beautiful, it was wonderfully flat. I couldn't believe I knocked out 3 sub 8-minute miles in the middle of the race. Even looking at miles 9-12 I was holding pretty steady - I don't think I've run so many consistent consecutive miles before - I was feeling good! 

When I hit mile 12 and saw I was around 1:53ish minutes, I couldn't believe how close I was to the 2 hour mark. I wasn't only going to beat my goal, I was going to crush it! I pushed hard with a 2 hour finish on my mind. About 2/10 of a mile before the finish line I saw my sister and husband there cheering me on (they are my biggest fans). This gave me that extra burst of energy and I took off giving it everything I had. I officially crossed the finish line at 2:01:08! I beat my previous PR by 12 minutes and I was 69 seconds away from a sub 2-hour half! I almost shed a tear. 

I was super proud when I saw that mile 13 was my fastest mile of the race. Pretty sure I was near crawling mile 13 at my race in November. I've come a long way with my training since, I finished feeling a great sense of accomplishment! 

It was also great feeling part of a team. There were 30+ Pamakid Runners and throughout the course, it was great to see someone wearing the same name as you. Occasionally I would pass someone and hear a "Go Green" or "Go Pamakid" and the encouragement always came just when I was looking for a pick-me-up. It was an amazing experience and I'm looking forward to racing more with my new team mates. 

Post race stretch

A little Pro Compression for recovery! 

There was a great post-race expo set up - I snagged some fruit and a delicious bottle of chocolate milk. However, with so many runners and family members it was really crowded and knowing we had to sit on the bus for the next hour we hurried through the expo - so I don't have anything too exciting to note. I did hear lots of great things about the expo though. My friend wore her Mizuno's for the race and ended up scoring some free socks at their booth post race. 

On the walk to the bus, we passed this creepy house 

The bus ride was kind of long. It's funny how in confined spaces you become aware of how much you stink. I mean, really it was quite unpleasant. Thankfully I wasn't the only stinker on the bus and that several runners were choosing public transportation to get home. 

Showing off my rad new medal

So this is it. A third half marathon under my belt in just 5 months! This was by far my favorite course of the 3. The Rock n Roll half marathon in April is going to be a little challenging, lots of hills coming my way. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fun race! Also, your group sounds like a blast! I would love to find some sort of a club like that! We have a few running clubs around here, but I don't think they have that kind of a team-like feel. I would love having teammates on a long race because it would be great to have that added encouragement. Congrats on your big-time PR!