Monday, February 05, 2007

Kaiser Permanente Half-Marathon, 1:25:22

half-marathon (13.1 miles)
official time: 1 hour 25 minutes 22 seconds
pace: 6 minutes 30 seconds a mile
15th of 461 in my age group
142 of 4732 overall
New personal record for this distance!

The Kaiser Permanente Half-Marathon is a popular half-marathon held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. I and two friends and about 9,000 other people ran either the half-marathon or the 5K (3.1 miles) yesterday morning. I participated in this race more on a whim and took it less seriously than I do most races. I wasn't even sure I was going to try to run it fast until Friday afternoon because I've had a series of minor injuries lately and had the flu a week ago. I've missed about half of my planned training runs in the last 5 or 6 weeks, so my confidence was not high! But my running friend Vicky convinced me to do this and another friend, Tamara, joined us for the race.

The morning didn't start out very smoothly, but we recovered nicely. I had thought I had set my alarm for 5:30am, but I didn't actually turn it on! Combined with Claire waking up and joining Jennifer and me in bed and then kicking and squirming occasionally, I didn't get a very good night's sleep and probably would've missed the race except Tamara woke me up at 6:13. I'm so grateful that she stayed with us the night before! So, with a mad dash out the door, we were actually on time for the day. Whew!

The sun was rising with the promise of a beautiful day as we met in Pacifica at 6:30 am and set off for Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. After a bit of circling around, we parked on Lincoln Way up around 37th Ave, walked over to the start line and had plenty of time to get our racing bibs and stash our sweats in drop-bags for after the race. It was a cool morning with clear skies and still air -- ideal running weather!

How did it go? It went really well and made me feel that I'm not over the hill yet! I ran this race a year ago and set a personal best at that time of 1:27:10. This year, according to my stopwatch, I ran the 13.1 miles in 1 hour 26 minutes 24 seconds. So, that was a bit of an improvement. What's weird, though, according to the official results my time was about a minute faster, at 1:25:22. That's so strange because the official time should be slower than my own time, because they are supposed to start the clock when the race begins, but it might take me a little bit of time to cross the starting line due to the crowds. (It was announced before the race that there were about 9,000 runners in the two races.) I was up near the front, but it still took me about 15 seconds to reach the start line after the beginning of the race. And I stopped my stopwatch the moment I crossed the finish line. As I neared the finish line, their big race clock showed something like 1:25:11. So, I can't explain what happened. I don't really believe that my own stopwatch was inaccurate, and I'm fairly certain that I didn't start it early or stop it late. So, who knows. I guess I'll accept their time, which is a new personal record for this distance!

Vicky and Tamara both did well, too, and ran strong the entire way. They ran together the entire time and talked and that made the race feel easier. Congratulations, you two! Their times were very respectable at 1:47:50 and 1:47:53, according to the official results.

Thanks as usual to Jennifer for watching Claire while I did this.

My mile splits:
Mile #1 6:56.4 Warming up the first mile and taking it easy. Too easy?
Mile #2 6:31.4
Mile #3 6:42.5
Mile #4 6:41.7
Mile #5 6:26.0
Mile #6 6:18.7
Mile #7 6:24.5
Mile #8 6:17.7
Mile #9 6:23.8
Mile #10 6:27.3
Mile #11 6:20.9 Around this time, I would have really liked to stop running. Was getting exhausted.
Mile #12 6:28.7
Mile #13 7:14.1 There's a long somewhat steep uphill for the last 3/4 miles. I mis-remembered where the end was and put in a burst of speed too soon and burned-out somewhat.
Mile #13.1 1:10.9 This is a pace of 11:49 a mile, which is wrong. I slowed a lot on the last big hill but then I sprinted to the finish when it came in view. Maybe this accounts for the discrepancy with the official results. Even though I attempted to press the button when I crossed the finish line, perhaps I didn't press it hard enough.

Other random notes:
  • I stepped on some gum-like substance around mile 6. I almost stopped to scrape it off, but it eventually smeared into the treads of my shoe. Weird.
  • After finishing, a race official asked me if I was in the "lead pack". I'm not sure what she wanted, but I'm guessing she wanted to know if I was in contention for winning a trophy. (The trophies were at the desk she was at.) I told her "No, I was far back. I finished around 1 hour 25 minutes." I was flattered that she would ask, though!