Monday, February 4, 2013

Kaiser San Francisco Half Marathon

Event #7 of 10

Sunday morning (Feb. 3, 2013) was a bright, sunny cool morning in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Nearly 10,000 runners & walkers gathered for the Half Marathon and also a 5 Km distance -- but with all 10,000 starting at the same time. A colorful bit of mayhem, but in good spirits, well-mannered, with eager anticipation for the official start.

At 8:02 the masses headed to and past the starting line. It took me nearly 2 minutes to pass the start and then actually begin jogging, but quickly enough, the field thinned out enough to get going as desired.

The course circled through the beautiful, lush green Golden Gate Park, past gardens, fields, the museum row (both the de Young and California Museum of Science), a scenic waterfall, the idyllic Windmill and then out to the Great Highway that ran along the ocean -- with incredible views of the beach and waves.

On the Great Highway, it was an out and back, so we got to see the race leaders (both men and women) pass to our left, already on their return to the finish. Fun and exciting to watch, especially while you're still running your own race (also a humbling 'diversion').

My hope was to run the half marathon distance in under 2 hours -- and not get injured. I ran it at a good steady pace, but not all-out, at what is often called a 'tempo' pace.

My first lap was slow due to the masses, but subsequent 1-mile laps ranged from a slow of 9:04 to an 8:29, with the average of 8:55 per mile for the  entire 13.1 mile distance. My last mile I picked it up to an 8:32 and was grateful to pass many scores of runners at the end.

My 1:57 finish translates to a predicted full marathon finish time of 4 hours and 4 minutes -- which is OK for now, and would be just fine for Event #8.

And therein lies the 'big stretch', the unknown, the next event #8 -- just 6 weeks away, with a paltry 5 weeks of training left.

What I enjoyed greatly was my 2 days off for tapering for the half-marathon. No training, nothing on last Friday and Saturday, and even some extra sleep.

But that's over -- and until the week prior to the Ironman (event #8), every day must count. Running, biking, swimming, biking spin class, and even some stretching and weights. Every day at least one sport, and on several days even 2 workouts. But above all, not getting injured.

The Ironman consists of swimming 2.4 miles in the ocean (which will take me around 2 hours, depending on currents and waves), then a 112 mile bike ride (probably 8 hours, if I manage to average 14 MPH), and finally followed by a full 26.2 mile road marathon.

More to come in a future post, but you get the picture -- and why the 'big stretch' and unknown.

There's no way anyone can finish an Ironman without training, let alone at age 65 (which is a whole other matter). But for those interested, I'm keeping a daily log -- and can be viewed by clicking here.

Stay tuned. Event #8 is coming -- and way too soon.