Whoa, haven’t posted here in a while. A lot has happened in the two months since I last posted.
Since the Seattle race, I took a short break for a week or two. I reduced my weekly mileage from 25-30 miles to 8-10. I focused on trying to recover from the three races in early/mid June. It was great not having to get up at 7am Wednesday mornings for my long runs! But alas, all breaks must come to an end, and I’ve returned to my normal running routines. It’s time to make the push to the end of the year.
To reiterate, I haven’t posted here in a while, and since my last post I’ve ran two half marathons. I’ll provide a mini-recap on both.
Race Recap: Davis Moo-nlight Half Marathon
#9/13 of the 2013 Half Marathons
My next planned race was Disneyland, scheduled on September 1st. With a doldrum of races looming in July and August, I impulsively registered for the Davis Moo-nlight Race after flying back from Seattle to make sure I kept up with my regimen and so “no upcoming races!” would not be an excuse.
On race day (July 13th), I drove up from Sunnyvale to Davis, a two hour drive. As I left the Bay Area and into the Central Valley, the outdoor temperature increased from a temperate 70 degrees to a scorching 95 degree sunny day.
The Davis Moo-nlight Race is organized by A Change of Pace Foundation, which is an organization focusing on many races in the Sacramento area for a affordable prices. Indeed, this race was cheaper than many of the big city races I’ve attended.
Packet pickup (no expo!) was on race day at the start line, right at the Kaiser Permanente off the 80. This was certainly a change of pace.
I loafed around the start line until 7pm, the start line for all runners intending on finishing below 3 hours. It certainly didn’t cool down at all, and I started at high 80 degree weather.
Other than the bicycle bridges across the I-80 freeway, the course was very flat. It ran through suburban Davis, ran around an entire park and school, and went under several of Davis’s many bicycle tunnels. At around the 8th mile, the course organizers were distributing glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark necklaces, as this was a night time race.
I started at an 8:00 pace, keeping pace with the 1:45 pacer, but the extreme heat slowed me down and I had to walk to prevent myself from getting heat stroke by the 6th mile. There were water stations once every two miles, but they were spaced too far apart for me to stay properly hydrated.
I decided to run/walk the last 7 miles, and finished at dusk, with a time of 02:04:39, or 9:31 / mile. Certainly was not my best, but I wasn’t prepared for such heat. I guess I’m too used to the Bay Area’s mild summers.
After the race, I stopped by the In-N-Out next to UC Davis and devoured burgers, shakes, and fries, and made the trek back down to the South Bay.
I wanted to see the effects of donating blood and my running performance, so sometime in mid-July, I also donated blood for the first time. It was a pleasant experience, and I was able to eat all the cookies and ice cream I wanted afterwards (“I’m replenishing blood sugar!” was my excuse for about a week since I donated).
My running pace also slowed down instantly, from an 8:15 / mile pace to nearly 9:00 when I went on my 10 mile run two days after I donated. So far, I’ve been able to recover back to 8:30 or so on a normal run, but I haven’t been able to get back to my pre-donating blood pace. I’m still working on it!
The Move (new routes!)
The end of July also meant the time to move. Michael and I moved out of our Sunnyvale apartment, where he moved up north to San Francisco and I moved to San Jose, to Kevin and David’s apartment.
The move also signaled a need to create new running routes! It was hard to realize that I would probably never run my Sunnyvale routes ever again, where I’d meet the crossing guards every Wednesday morning, pass by six Starbucks, four Safeways, three CVSs, two McDonald’s, two Chevron’s, and two Valero’s. Yep, chain stores everywhere.
I now have new routes in San Jose, where my routes feature Santana Row as well as a horde of car dealerships. I do notice that my new place is only 5 miles from the San Jose Airport, so I might make a change.
Race Recap: The Giant’s Race San Francisco
#10/13 of the 2013 Half Marathons
Again, after Davis, I had nothing until September, so I impulsively registered for the SF Giants Race.
After moving out of Sunnyvale, I took the Caltrain up and met with Michael, Patrick, and Amy at their place in SoMa the day before the race. With their residence being a two minute walk from AT&T Park, this was the perfect race.
The expo was held in AT&T Park itself, and after a 30 minute line stretching to 2nd St (WTF?), I finally got inside and got my race swag. The Giants provide you a free bobble head to all participants, and I got my Sergio Romo bobble head! The expo also included other races promoting their races, Safeway providing free swag, and an opportunity to take a picture with the World Series trophies!
With a 7am start time, I got up at 6:30am, changed into my running gear, and just took the elevator to the start line. Doesn’t get any better than that.
The SF Giants Race is possibly San Francisco’s flattest half marathon ever. It starts from AT&T Park in SoMa, runs along the Embarcadero through Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square, has a slight hill near Fort Mason and Dateway, and turns around after Crissy Field on the bottom of the Golden Gate Bridge back to AT&T Park. I ran past America’s Cup tents and stands, which didn’t open yet for the day, and noticed the Exploratorium now has a new, much better located, home.
The turn into the field at AT&T Park (mile 13.0) was a great feeling, and I was able to make the sprint to the finish.
I finished at 01:47:01, or 8:10 / mile. As Bender would say, “I’m back, baby!” This was my second best time, with my San Diego race in June only faster by less than a minute. I’ll get there!
After the race, I sat around the field, got some food and recyclable bags courtesy of Safeway, and took some pictures of the field.
If you’re a Giants fan, you should definitely register for this half marathon. In fact, I even overheard a devoted Giants fan call his bobble head and race shirt “sacred Giants gear.” Me? I’m not much of a baseball watcher, and I was just looking for a race in August that wouldn’t be scorching hot. Plus, it was really cool being able to finish on the field itself.
After these summer races, here’s what I have lined up from now until the end of the year:
August 31: Disneyland 5K, Disneyland 10K
Running in the happiest place on Earth. Twice.
September 1: Disneyland Half Marathon
Revisiting the happiest place on Earth, but mostly the streets of Anaheim (that’s just a little detail).
October 6: San Jose Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon
The return to Rock n’ Roll in my backyard after a four month break.
October 13: Long Beach International Half Marathon
Part 2 of the Beach Cities challenge (OC, Long Beach, Huntington Beach)
October 20: Denver Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon
An experiment of my running performance in the mile-high city.
October 27: Los Angeles Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon
A return to LA’s Halloween race. Let’s hope I know how to avoid traffic this time.
November 17: Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon
A revisit to Rock n’ Roll’s heavily advertised race on the strip. Also, my final Rock n’ Roll race.
November 24: Berkeley Half Marathon
Closing out the year with a run at my alma mater, nearly following my very first long route when I started running.
“But wait!” you say, “you’re going to run more than 13 half marathons in a year!”
That’s right. It’s more like 17. In the beginning of the year, I posted a challenge to myself saying that I would run 13 half marathons in 2013. I’ll have hit my 13th coincidentally at the October 13th, 2013 Long Beach race, and still have four more to go. The goal was to run 13, and I certainly didn’t account for the event I run more than 13. So in that regard, I will have completed that goal! Woo hoo!