I caught the racing bug two years ago, but unfortunately between a chronic back injury and foot issues, I’ve never been able to maintain a strict training schedule. But I don’t let either of those issues get in the way of my love of running, or the fun I have signing up for and tackling half marathon races.
For my first race of 2018 I decided on the Kaiser Half Marathon, which I ran last February as well. I enjoyed my first attempt at this course so it seemed like a good choice.
As it turned out, I found that I had to psych myself up for the race in a way that I have never had to before. Why? I got a PR last year on this course – Breaking my goal to get under 1:50 – And going into the race this year, I knew that I couldn’t push myself quite as hard. While I understood intellectually and rationally that my body wasn’t up for the same level of punishment, I had trouble taking my ego out of the equation.
Perhaps it’s my nature, perhaps it’s a byproduct of starting competitive athletics at a young age – But I am in it to win it. And my favorite opponent? Myself! I live for breaking my own records and shattering milestones that I’ve put in place for myself.
So I headed into this race with my mind in a war with itself. On one hand, I wanted a new PR! On the other hand, I really wanted to be able to walk after the race.
- Course: This course was just as beautiful as I remembered. I love the Golden Gate bridge views from the San Francisco Half and the Golden Gate Half, but this jaunt through the park and along the Great Highway/Highway 1 is simply stunning.
- Organization: I had my bib delivered so I didn’t get a chance to see the race expo. Race day was quite organized though, with plenty of volunteers, a giant field full of porta potty facilities, and lots of water stations along the course. This race also starts on the late side – 8:10am – So it’s fully light and everything is easy to find.
- Race Day Vibes: It might be the location or the late start, but there is always a MASSIVE crowd for this race. Families stand outside their apartments on the panhandle cheering with signs and bowls of orange slices. People are walking their dogs in the park and cheering from the paths near the race. And there are crowds lined up along the Great Highway jumping up and down and keeping everyone motivated and moving forward.
- Personal Performance: Here’s where I have to separate out, as best I can, an objective overview of my performance versus my secret hopes for the race. My number one goal, as always, was to finish. Done. Next, I really wanted to try to listen to my body throughout the race and adjust as needed to ensure that I didn’t injure myself. Done. Finally, I really wanted to run the race in under 2 hours after hitting 02:02 at the SF Half over the Summer. Done. So, in terms of those goals, I succeeded. Also, I really enjoyed the race. So I’m going to chalk this up as a win!
Are YOU a runner? Would you sign up for a half marathon?