My work at the Free Farm Stand still takes priority on Sundays, but occasionally I will take a day off for a race. We had a hiatus in late December - early January so I did a couple of races then. I already wrote about the 10K. The 5K was on January 11 and went well; though I didn't (quite) set a PR, I came in at 29:28 (9:29 min/mi) which is my fastest DSE 5K to date. I still count the Run Evan In virtual as my 5K PR (28:35) even though it was a solo effort.
So sometime after Beat the Blerch I decided to sign up for another half marathon. I'd last run Kaiser on my 43rd birthday, two years ago. Ziggy was out of town then. This time we decided to run it together. He'd already run another half marathon in the interim as well as a sprint triathlon, eclipsing my own athletic skills quickly.
I'd been suffering from recurring illness and fatigue for a month starting on Christmas, so I barely trained for this race. I almost canceled, but after managing a nine mile run a week before the race, figured I could struggle through it. I certainly wasn't planning on a PR though.
So yesterday (Feb 1) we arrived at Golden Gate Park in plenty of time for the 8 a.m. start. It was a cool morning, mid 50s. I wore a tank top, long-sleeved shirt (from the 2013 Kaiser race), shorts, gloves, and a jacket which I took off just before the start. I set my watch for 5 min/1 min run/walk intervals. My calf was tight and I was tired, but I still managed to run the first mile in 10:40 without a great deal of effort. I knew I couldn't maintain that pace, but still managed to run the next four miles at around 11 min each and mile six in under 10.
I noticed soon that my watch was announcing the mile markers a good distance before I got to them. I figured I was weaving around people on the road too much, and tried to stay closer to the right side. We got out to the Great Highway and I tried to watch for Ziggy coming the other way (knowing he'd be well ahead of me), but eventually gave up and enjoyed the ocean view. The sun had come out by then, but I was not overheating (though glad I had decided to wear shorts rather than long pants). Ziggy did eventually call out to me and I waved.
I was slowing down, and by mile 10 running out of steam, not surprising as I had not trained beyond nine miles. (Normally I prefer to get up to at least the race distance two weeks before the event.) I remembered that I had not eaten any of the dates I brought with me, and had one to try to get my energy up. I was still on pace to set a PR, as incredible as that seemed given my lack of training, but I now have typically-male testosterone levels and I can really tell the difference.
The last mile was the hardest. I knew it would be close. My left leg was hurting and I was really getting tired, but I knew how disappointed I'd be if I missed setting a PR by just a few seconds. I stopped looking at my watch after it sounded mile 13 and just hoped for the best. I did not even have the energy to do my usual finishing sprint, just maintained pace as best I could.
And I did it! I crossed the finish line in 2:22:48, for a pace of 10:55 min/mile, beating my previous PR (set at Beat the Blerch in September) by nearly two minutes. With proper training I bet I could have shaved even more time off, but I was just happy to be finished, as that was the hardest final mile in recent memory. Ziggy also set a PR, coming in at 2:09:40.
We had a delicious dinner at Sanctuary Bistro to celebrate. I'm still tired and sore today, but happy I made the effort.