Oakland Half Marathon

Short version: 1:46:28; almost no hip pain! My running friends are the best.

Long version: For the past 3 weeks, my nagging hip pain meant I was kind of thinking this race wouldn’t happen. Or it would happen but it would involve lots of walking. When the weather on Saturday was rainy and cold and the forecast for Sunday wasn’t much different I realized I had pretty much no desire to start a race I probably wouldn’t be able to finish.

Buuuuut there were some socks, purchased specifically for this race, that all my friends had bought too.

I didn’t want to waste an opportunity to wear the socks. I also figured that since that 4-mile run on Thursday went pretty well, I could probably run at least half the race.

Saturday night and Sunday morning I was not in race mode AT ALL. I had no nerves, very little interest in getting my stuff together, and really wasn’t excited about getting up early, taking the train to Oakland by myself, and then running/walking in the pouring rain. BUT! It turned out that it wasn’t raining when I woke up Sunday morning, which meant my two favorite spectators were coming with me to the race.

I decided to go Garminless since I knew there was no way I was going to PR and I didn’t want to get depressed seeing my average pace quickly climb as soon as I had to walk. I made my way to the start, and this is what I look like when I really am not into the race idea at all:

I found a couple friends just before the gun went off, which gave me a little boost. I decided I would try and run around marathon pace (by feel) and not push myself too hard.

The first couple miles, the one thing I noticed was how out of shape I felt. Not really surprising, since I’d run exactly three times over the previous 3 weeks, but not exactly confidence-building either. But as we kept going and turning (this race had SO MANY TURNS!) I found my groove. I had absolutely no idea what my pace was except at mile 2, when I heard a guy just behind me tell his friend they were running right around 8 minute mile pace.

From there we ran all over Oakland, and apparently not everyone was happy about this race. There was a big group of girls cheering at one point, and you could hear a guy across the street yelling “SHUT THE F$*& UP!” out his window. Charming. A few miles later a guy in a truck was screaming his head off about how we’d ruined his morning and we were all a bunch of @#$% idiots.

Other than that, the spectators (although there weren’t too many) were really great. I have only been to Oakland a few times so I don’t know much about the city. The course didn’t go through the most inspiring neighborhoods, so I don’t feel like I really got a good feel for it and that was kind of disappointing.

Anyway, the miles kept ticking by, and it was great to see friends like Aron out on the course. My hip was feeling pretty good, which was an awesome surprise. I also saw Beth around mile 10 (where she took that picture – thanks!, which was right when I sort of started to fall apart mentally. I was frustrated by how out of shape I felt, even though I wasn’t trying to push the pace too much.

We finally ended up back near Lake Merritt with about two miles to go. At this point my legs were getting really tired and I could tell I was slowing down a lot. I could feel a slight, dull ache in my hip the last mile or so, but nowhere near actual pain, so I didn’t stop to walk.

The last couple blocks to the finish were UP HILL (cruel!) but I finished as strong as I could. I had absolutely no idea what my time would be, so I was a little surprised to see the clock around 1:47. Nowhere near a PR, but definitely not as bad as I was expecting!

As soon as I finished, I got in line for a free massage. I’ve never done that after a race before and it was really nice.

Now I’m pretty confident that I will be able to finish the Big Sur Marathon (in, um, 5 weeks), but I’m going to be extremely careful with my mileage and will continue to foam roll, strengthen my hips, and stretch like it’s my job.


11 Responses to “Oakland Half Marathon”

  1. 1 Rene March 26, 2012 at 7:21 am

    That’s a great time for feeling “out of shape”. Way to go!

  2. 2 Aron March 26, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I was so excited when I saw you at mile 13 because I knew that meant your hip wasn’t being a B πŸ™‚ nice job on a VERY strong half after a few rough weeks!!

  3. 3 Layla March 26, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Great job out there! No pain = success! That’s so funny that the race apparently woke up some grumpy guy — I missed that, but probably because he was already wide awake by the time I passed him.

  4. 4 Page March 26, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Big Sur here you come!!! So glad everything went swimmingly for you!

  5. 5 Alyssa March 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I am so glad your hip cooperated & I’m impressed at how much ass you kicked!! Way to go! (I totally ALOL’d at your ‘before the race’ photo, haha.)

  6. 6 Kate March 27, 2012 at 8:28 am

    So glad you were able to do it – even without a PR. It never ceases to surprise me how even a brief running break can make you feel so out of shape.

  7. 7 Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen March 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Congrats and good luck leading up to Big Sur! That race is on my marathon bucket list πŸ™‚

    I recently nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. I’m so glad to have found your blog…as a triathlete, and fellow runner, I love reading about your training & races, and of course I love all of the awesome recipes you share. You can find more info here – http://thecornerkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/03/award.html

  8. 8 Amber March 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

    So I’ve discovered the foam roller but what else are you dong to help your hip? I need to make sure I’m keeping mine strong too, it can get pretty grumpy.

    Great job btw pushing through. I hope to run a 1/2 by the end of next season….we shall see.

    • 9 Cate March 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      I stretch a lot and have been working on strengthening my hips (lots of leg lifts!) I also do a bunch of one-legged squats and try to stand on one leg at a time periodically through the day. My students think I’m completely nuts!

  9. 10 RoseRunner March 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I’m so happy to hear your hip worked out too! I knew you wouldn’t be walking…rain or shine. I guess all the stretching and strengthening actually works!

  10. 11 Renee March 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I want my legs to look like yours. I’d like my speed to look like yours too! πŸ™‚

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