Friday, January 6, 2012

Walnut Creek Half Marathon - 12/10/11

I'm going to make this entry short and sweet since it's been over a month since I ran it. I found out that Walnut Creek was having it's inaugural half marathon over a year ago, and I knew I would run it. The timing of it ended up not being ideal. Annelyse and I were leaving for Tahoe on a week long trip with my entire family the next day, and that afternoon we were going to be doing santacon. I knew with all the drinking and eating I had coming up, getting in this race before it began would make me feel much better about it.

We must have woken up at 4:30a on Saturday morning to make sure we made it to Walnut Creek with enough time to find parking, pick up our bibs, and walk the mile to the start of the race. As soon as we exited the car, we were freezing. The temperature was in the mid-30s, and neither Annelyse and I were dressed that appropriately. Living in San Francisco, I often forget that it can get really cold early in the mornings in the East Bay. Since we were early, we had to wait around for 20 minutes for the race to start. When we finally had to give our sweats up, I said my goodbye to Annelyse and made my way to the start.

The race course itself was pretty boring. We started off running through downtown and then immediately turned onto Ygnacio Valley Rd. We ran out all the way past Cowell Street before turning around and retracing our steps back to the finish. This was not an easy course. In fact, some of the hills were some of the toughest I've seen, with the worst one being about a mile long. You couldn't tell where it ended because you kept curving around turns, and around each turn there was yet more uphill ahead. I'd say total there were four significant hills throughout the course, but that one was by far the worst. I handled it surprisingly well, and while that mile was my slowest split by far, it was still just under a 9 minute mile.

As I was heading out on Ygnacio Valley Blvd, they had a lot of cheer groups on the side. You had your usual group from Sports Basement (they have a location in WC apparently), and then there was another that I couldn't tell who it was until I heard someone call out my name. Low and behold, my good friend Maura was standing there cheering me on with the rest of the Lululemon group. It's always fun to see someone you know that you weren't expecting to during a race.

At some point on the way back I realized that my pace was quite good. In part, because what goes up must come down, and there were some good downhills to make up some time. I knew I was a bit off from a PR, but that I could still break a 1:40. My official time ended up being 1:39:04. My watch clocked the course to be a bit long, probably from weaving in and out of people at the start, and I did the calculation, and while not officially, it was actually my second fastest half marathon time. I was pleased.

The post race treats were great. Chocolate milk, fruit, and coffee, amongst other things. Coffee...nothing sounded better at that moment since it was still extremely cold out. When Annelyse finished we grabbed some more coffee at a local coffee shop, and then headed back to the city to get dressed in our santa suits to spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around the city drinking beer and getting in the Christmas spirit.

Race stats:
Overall female: 16 of 703
Age Group: 8 of 247
Chip Time: 1:39:03 (pace 7:34)
GPS Time: 1:39:03 (pace 7:31 - course .10 miles long)

To explain my lack of upcoming posts, I've decided that I'm going to take a break from racing this winter and let my body recover from a year that was full of them. I'm still running, but I'm decreasing my mileage and then slowly going to start to bring it back up to marathon training level again. I'll likely start racing again in late March.