Oakland Running Festival – Race Report

I learned a big lesson from this race. Without support, you cannot succeed.

You may have read about my blister. Or maybe you saw my post about my flu-turned-cough? Ya. One of those turned out to affect me a whole lot more than expected. Had I not started the race with a group of teammates, and been found by another teammate, I probably would have written this as soon as possible and literally left it at “I am never running again” – oh ya, that good.

I was soooo ready. And then the race started.
I was soooo ready. And then the race started.

Pre-Race

This year, runners had the option to attend an Erdinger-hosted Happy Hour on Friday for packet pickup. Since I live in Oakland, I decided that I’d run to the Expo as a tune up on Saturday. That worked out really well! Nice 2.5 mile jog (that’s a soft ‘j’), picked up my packet, strolled through the vendors, and caught the bus home. Uneventful, easy, well-planned. Corrigan knows what they’re doing.

Race Day

I think the Snapchat text has it covered.
I think the Snapchat text has it covered.

One of the best parts about the half marathon in the Oakland Running Festival is the start time – 9:10 am. Well, ok, maybe that’s a tough part on hot days in March, but this year it was going to be cool outside so no complaints. This also means that there’s an option to tackle the “Run the Town” Challenge and run the 5k at 7:30 am and then head back to the start for the half marathon. I am crazy, but I am not totally crazy, so no, I did not participate in this challenge. But! I was able to warm up before my own race by heading down the hill to Peet’s, grabbing a coffee, laugh at cheer for the marathoners at mile 3, and make my way to the start with plenty of time!

And here comes the first pack!
And here comes the first pack!

After the flu and blister setbacks, I decided I’d push my pace back a little bit. I didn’t want to blow up at the start and have to walk in the second half of the race. I lined up with the 11:10 min/mile pace alongside a bunch of OTC teammates – it was one of their birthdays!

We heard words from the Oakland Mayor, Libby Schaff, the National Anthem, and the race started. I was very happy joining my teammates through the streets of downtown Oakland – they were following a run-walk plan and I was just cooling my pace down a bit while they were walking. Another teammate found us (we’re pretty recognizable) right around mile two, when the ladies ducked into Taco Bell for a pit stop. I could not stop laughing, but *spoiler alert* they had the right idea.

My teammate and I continued on our way, pretty solidly on pace. I felt great as we looped back toward downtown and passed my mom. We were really doing pretty solid! Then my buddy broke off for a pit stop, and I continued on, starting to feel really really warm. I took my long sleeves off around mile five and tied the shirt around my waist.

Then I hit mile six.

Out of nowhere – place your bets on blister or flu here – I could not breathe. It felt like I was having an asthma attack, which hasn’t happened to me since I was swimming at Tufts in Hamilton Pool. So, I walked. Felt a little better, started running, and then couldn’t breathe. So I walked again.

If you wanted to read a post inspired by a broken record, I could outline the rest of the course for you. Instead, here are some highlights:

  • First, this glorious shot:

    What. A. Face.
    What. A. Face.
  • My buddy caught back up to me at mile six. Unfortunately for him, his calf was starting to really act up, because he had raced the 5k that morning. Fortunately for me, he had raced the 5k that morning and his calf was acting up – otherwise I would have been left in his dust. This also meant that he was 100% in support of run-walking.
  • The birthday crew caught back up to us shortly after, and carried us in their wake to the Crucible – definitely a highlight of the Oakland Running Festival. Sorry to my teammate who I totally blocked in the pictures…
  • At West Oakland BART, a bunch of people were handing out daffodils to the runners. It was cute and a nice gesture, but I can’t imagine running with a flower! I’m sure the photos were awesome.
  • There’s a long straight stretch on Mandela Parkway, and at the end someone had set up a giant mister to cool all the runners off. It was definitely warm for me at that point, so that was very welcome.
  • THERE WAS ALSO A MINIATURE PIG on Mandela Parkway. Yelling “PIG ON A LEASH” will definitely get your competitors attention!
  • Lots of churches had people outside handing out water – that was also really nice of them, since we ran by during a probably fairly inconvenient time on a Sunday morning!
  • At mile twelve, the sky opened up and it POURED. It was like an East Coast rain storm! We got to run in the rain for the next 1.1 miles.
  • My buddy and I managed to run up the last hill to the finish – at least we didn’t have to walk over the finish line.

Post Race

Like I said, I learned a lot this race. Had I not had a teammate next to me for the last seven miles, I would have DNFd. There’s no shame in a DNF – and I should have taken one. How do I know that? I got to take my first trip to the medical tent after the race because of…well, dizziness? And maybe some return of liquids that I didn’t think I’d see again.

I really wanted to stick around and enjoy the party, but I couldn’t. I knew I needed to get home and warm up, get in bed, and let my body calm back down.

Was I sore? No. Was I tired after my nap? Not really. So that tells me I was pretty prepared for my race – my lungs just couldn’t handle it after that flu.

Lesson Learned 1: Listen to your body. I refused to believe my body when I was sick. I kept going in to work (new job and all) and kept having to leave early. If I had taken care of myself day one of feeling crappy, I may have had a shorter cycle of the flu.

Lesson Learned 2: Race with what you’ve gotIf there were a 10k in the ORF, I think I would have dropped down to that. But that wasn’t an option. So I should have either deferred or dropped to the 5k. But I was (unreasonably) determined and pushed too hard.

Lesson Learned 3: Look at the bigger picture. So despite being sick and walking the second half of the race, I came out of it only four minutes slower than my first attempt. That first attempt had me walking, too, and I could barely walk the next day. This year? Stayed on pace, walked, had dealt with the flu, and I could walk the next day. I’m pretty happy with where my fitness is, but now this race will just be looming as something I need to conquer (still)!

 

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This week in training: January 24 – 30

January 24 – 30: Well, a new job is hard work

I’m thrilled to have started a new job this week! It’s been a little crazy, especially considering that I am also moving on Wednesday of next week.

Sunday, January 31 Long run, 6 miles (check, most excellent) // Monday, February 1 Master’s swim in the morning (we’ll see how this goes) // Tuesday, February 2 Pace run, 4 miles – looking for a 9:45 min/mile pace // Wednesday, February 3 Short run, 2 miles – love having a foundation route literally around the block // Thursday, February 4 Pace run, 4 miles, and hopefully a master’s swim in the morning or evening  // Friday, February 5 Rest day! // Saturday, February 6 Master’s swim and a chill run afterwards

Previous week: So much for the groove. Looking forward to that next week.  Working on it.

Gorgeous day around Lake Merritt!! Can’t complain about six miles in my Topos 🙂

Sunday, January 24 Long run, 5 miles (yuuupp) // Monday, January 25 Master’s swim in the morning (nooooope) // Tuesday, January 26 Pace run, 4 miles – looking for a 9:45 min/mile pace  (noooope) // Wednesday, January 27 Short run, 2 miles (nooope) // Thursday, January 28 Pace run, 4 miles (not quite) // Friday, January 29 Rest day! (psh got it) // Saturday, January 30 Master’s and bike (Noope)

 

This week in training: January 24 – 30

January 24 – 30: Let’s make some moves

First day back to Master’s practices? Check. New (huge) opportunity tomorrow? Double check. Let’s make this happen.

Sunday, January 24 Long run, 5 miles // Monday, January 25 Master’s swim in the morning // Tuesday, January 26 Pace run, 4 miles – looking for a 9:45 min/mile pace // Wednesday, January 27 Short run, 2 miles – love having a foundation route literally around the block // Thursday, January 28 Pace run, 4 miles, and hopefully a master’s swim in the morning or evening  // Friday, January 29 Rest day! // Saturday, January 30 Probably going to Master’s and bike (weather-dependent). May throw a run in too. DO ALL THE THINGS.

Previous week: Alright. Getting in the groove! Still not perfectly consistent but ready for a new routine!!!

On top of all the other good news, I am a 2016 TOPO AMBASSADOR!! I love these shoes and I love what they do for me.
On top of all the other good news, I am a 2016 TOPO AMBASSADOR!! I love these shoes and I love what they do for me.

Sunday, January 17 Long run, 4 miles Nope, friend was in town. // Monday, January 18 Long run, 4 miles and recover after a friend weekend // Tuesday, January 19 Rest day partly because I’m exhausted, partly because my apartment flooded, and partly because I am lazy // Wednesday, January 20 Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:45 min/miles still dealing with flooding, just had to go home and wait it out // Thursday, January 21 Swim in the morning and pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:55 min/mile; core strength training – ran with Sports Basement Berkeley and attended a foot strengthening clinic – so far, very painful but helpful  // Friday, January 22 Easy 2 miler Last day of old job, needed to just decompress // Saturday, January 23 Mixing it up with swimming, headed back to Cal Aquatic Masters!!!! So excited. Ran a 2 mile brick after for good measure!

This week in training: January 17 – 23

January 17 – 23: What’s happening?

Sorry sorry sorry sorry!! My best friend was in town this weekend so I was a little all over the place. Two days late…grr. I’m the worst.

Sunday, January 17 Long run, 4 miles // Monday, January 18 Long run, 4 miles + Streeeetccchhhh and recover after a friend weekend // Tuesday, January 19 Rest day partly because I’m exhausted, partly because my apartment flooded, and partly because I am lazy // Wednesday, January 20 Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:45 min/miles // Thursday, January 21 Swim in the morning and pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:55 min/mile; core strength training  // Friday, January 22 Easy 2 miler // Saturday, January 23 Mixing it up with swimming, headed back to Cal Aquatic Masters!!!! So excited.

Previous week: Meh. Much better socially than athletically. Moved some training days around (rain).

She's the best. And I feel so special to have taken her across the Golden Gate for the first time (on foot)!
She’s the best. And I feel so special to have taken her across the Golden Gate for the first time (on foot)!

Sunday, January 10 Long run, 4 miles; rolling session (run was miserable, and the rolling didn’t really happen…whoops) // Monday, January 11 Stretching session, swim // Tuesday, January 12 Rescheduled for Wednesday: Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:45 min/mile // Wednesday, January 13 Pace run + Massage (heavenly)  // Thursday, January 14 Short run, 2 miles // Friday, January 15 Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:55 min/mile; bodyweight strength training // Saturday, January 16 Bike day, at least an hour Ran instead and then my BFF came to town!

This week in training: January 10 – 16

January 10 – 16: What’s happening?

Ok, new week! Lots going on in my little world, so I’m happy to have once again hit all my training days – though they may have been shuffled a bit.

How was your week in training? Did you have any milestones? Any great runs / rides / swims?

Sunday, January 10 Long run, 4 miles; rolling session and an OAKLAND TRIATHLON CLUB meeting(!!!) // Monday, January 11 Stretching session, possibly swim // Tuesday, January 12 Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:45 min/mile // Wednesday, January 13 Short run, 2 miles // Thursday, January 14 Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:55 min/mile; bodyweight strength training  // Friday, January 15 Rest day-literally! Day off from work 🙂  // Saturday, January 16 Bike day, at least an hour, and then my BFF comes to town!

Previous week: Great success. Moved some training days around (rain).

Staple of my ‘hood.

Sunday, January 3 Long run, 4 miles; rolling session // Monday, January 4 30 minute spin at the gym; stretching session // Tuesday, January 5 Pace run, 3 miles at 9:45 9:11 min/mile (!!!) // Wednesday, January 6 Run moved to Friday due to crazy rain and light traffic // Thursday, January 7 Pace run, 3 miles at 9:55 min/mile; bodyweight strength training // Friday, January 8 Short run, 2 miles  // Saturday, January 9 Bike day, at least an hour

This week in training: January 3 – 9

January 3 – 9: Here’s the plan.

Let’s think of this as a series. The goal is to share the training plan for the week every Sunday, with a recap of the previous week as well!

I’m starting week two of the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Half Marathon program. Even though I’ve completed two half marathons (Oakland and Berkeley), I was not impressed with my performance. I think I overestimated my fitness and mental strength, and I’m ready to re-commit. Plus, establishing a running base of fitness will be crucial for my 2016 triathlon season!

Sunday, January 3 Long run, 4 miles; rolling session // Monday, January 4 30 minute spin at the gym; stretching session // Tuesday, January 5 Pace run, 3 miles at 9:45 min/mile // Wednesday, January 6 Short run, 2 miles // Thursday, January 7 Pace run, 3 miles at 9:55 min/mile; bodyweight strength training (now is not the time to start a strength training program! Too late!) // Friday, January 8 Rest day (what am I going to do with myself?!) // Saturday, January 9 Bike day, at least an hour

Previous week: Great success. Hit all my training days and felt good while doing it!

Sunday, December 27 Rest day // Monday, December 28 Stretching session // Tuesday, December 29 Pace run, 3 miles at 10:00 min/mile // Wednesday, December 30 Short run, 2 miles at 9:15 min/mile // Thursday, December 31 Pace run, 3 miles at 10:00 min/mile // Friday, January 1 Bike Day; 14 miles on the Bay Bridge // Saturday, January 2 Swim day! 2,000 yards in the pool.

Big news this week: I am one of the 2016 Topo Athletic Ambassadors! I'm thrilled and honored and can't wait to share more :)
Big news this week: I am one of the 2016 Topo Athletic Ambassadors! I’m thrilled and honored and can’t wait to share more 🙂