Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Race Report: See Jane Run Half Marathon

Normally, I like to release these in order but since the See Jane Run Half is fresh in my mind (ran it Sunday) - I'm gonna go with that. But if you're dying to hear how Bay to Breakers went, you are welcome to check out some awesome race reports from my super fun run buddies, Roadbunner and Naomi.

So... back to the See Jane Run Half Marathon... it's a girly race (tagline is "I Run for Chocolate and Champagne") and I like girly races and this is the first year I've been able to do it.

To be perfectly honest, I was not properly trained to run a half (due to my typical procrastination) but just went for it because this is sort of a milestone / checkpoint for me on my way to the NYC Marathon after taking almost a year off from running. The race is walker friendly so I knew I didn't have to worry about time.

I skipped the expo and took advantage of their in-store bib and goody bag pick up at their Oakland store earlier in the week as I was already in the area. The race shirt is pretty cute! It's a little bit on the shiny side and when I tried it on, I swear it looked like satin jammies on me (keep in mind I don't actually own any of those). But that might also be because it was a size too big because once I exchanged it for a smaller size, it looked less like sleepwear and more like an actual running shirt.

So cue race morning... race started at 8AM. Race website recommended getting to the start at 6:30AM as the suggested parking lot only had 500 spots and would be closed off early. So being the nerd I am, I got there right at 6:30AM. There were maybe 10 other cars there at the time. No worries, better safe than sorry and I always had my iPhone to entertain me.

From here, it was a little confusing because there were separate start and finish areas but they were located fairly close to each other. So a bunch of us went to the finish area first. Oops! Once I got to the correct area, I picked up my timing chip which was an ankle bracelet. I think the only other time I had to wear one of these was the US Half Marathon. It's a little odd because I thought everyone used D-tags by now, but it was fine. It didn't bother me at all.

I'm on house arrest!
Now I still had over an hour to kill, so I parked myself on a bench and just people watched and played on my iPhone. As I was watching everyone warm up and stretch and stuff, I started cracking up and how unprepared I was for this. I didn't even have any kind of hydration or fuel on me. Definitely winging it!

The one thing I thought I was prepared for was the weather. I had been checking the forecast daily and the night before, it told me to expect this:

But it didn't rain at all that morning. In fact, something weird happened. The sun started peeking out! GAHHH!!! MY NEMESIS!!!

Luckily, I had thrown this in my bag totally last minute. I think I got these from a previous goody bag -  I save everything!
Luckily, it did stay overcast for most of the race with just a little bit of sun here and there. Phew! I had heard the race was a real scorcher in previous years.

Right before the race start, they did some group warmup exercises. This reminded me of Nike.
Sun, sun, go away, come again another day (when I'm not running)
Then we all lined up at the start. I realized this might just be the smallest half marathon I've ever done - I mean, this is the view from the *back* of the start corral:

I'm not sure what they used to signify the start of the race because I didn't hear anything, I just saw everyone start running.

Here's the course:

It reminded me a little bit of the last 10 miles of the Nike full course. You do a long stretch, then a big old loop, and then repeat the first stretch back. Luckily, you couldn't visualize how big the loop was (like you could with seeing Lake Merced) so it wasn't annoying.

The course was mostly flat and had some nice scenery here and there. Apologies for the poor iPhone 3G photos... below pic was taken from the bridge around mile 3 - there's a line of runners in the middle of the photo.
We passed what I *think* is the headquarters for the Oakland Raiders - that's football, right? (KIDDING!!!)
The course got a little more interesting at mile 7:
We got a nice view of SF:
Headed back on the bridge:
With about a mile left to go, I noticed a bunch of little kids running our way. For some reason, I thought they were coming to cheer us on. Uh, no... it was the kids' race merging with the half marathon runners toward the same finish line! Listen, I love kids (I adore my nieces and nephews) and I love kids' races (they're hilarious!) but I really question if this is a good idea. Good thing I wasn't aiming for a PR because some of these kids were all over the place! Not to mention they're not exactly in my line of vision and I was already kind of wobbly legged at this point. Thankfully, their parents tried to keep them in line (haha, ok, not really, but I appreciated their effort).

Finally the scenic finish line!

Chip Time: 2:40:47
Pace: 12:16 min/mi

I know for most people, this is slow as molasses but I actually was pretty pleased with myself! Based on my training run paces, I was expecting a new personal worst (currently ~3 hours). I think it helped that everyone around me was doing the run/walk thing, too, so it encouraged me to keep my walk breaks brief and get back to running. As expected, my legs were dead after mile 10 but I just focused on my playlist music (especially with all my new fun tunes from Alicia!) to keep going.

Once I crossed the finish line, I got my medal, handed my ankle strap to a volunteer (actually someone just grabbed it from me - hope he was a volunteer! lol), and then... well, it was a bit of chaos (but maybe I was too tired to figure it out). I'm used to people handing you water as soon as you finished but I didn't see it anywhere. I actually was completely confused on where to go for anything. After asking a bunch of other runners, I finally figured out where to get water, where to get the food, where to get my gear bag, where to get the champagne glass plus chocolate, and where to get the champagne.  There was a super long line to the water and food table so thankfully, there were volunteers handing them out to us as we waited in line.

My friend came out to meet me at the race which was super nice of her since it was about an hour from where we live. I gave her the impression that I would be closer to 3 hours so she just missed my finish. But that's OK, because I had someone to hang with while I stretched and stuff. Here's a pic she took of me chillaxing while she headed over to meet me. For some reason, I think this is funny. This is actually how I am at most of the races I do since I usually do them by myself. (cue wah wah wahhhhhhhhh music, haha)

Side note: I love iPhone autocorrect. I asked my friend where she was and she texted back, "by the porta porgies". LOL!

Here are the goodies:
I didn't really need the actual champagne but I had to get some, right? I asked for just a little but got a bit more than I needed (I have the tolerance of a 5 year old). I had to drive right afterward! *whispers* I pitched most of it. :-O
Afterward (much much later), my friend and I celebrated with some In N Out. Even got a milkshake, too - yummy!
Once I got home, I realized how teeny tiny the medal is. Here it is compared to my smallest medals:
All in all, it was a fun day. If you're looking for a small, casual race to do with your girlfriends - I would recommend. I think once was enough for me though.

Finally - I have to give a special shout out to my friend who actually WON the See Jane Run Half Marathon with a 1 FRICKIN 25 time! I'm not sure if this is viewable to the public but she has a very interesting race report posted on dailymile.  All I will say is that if you are a man running a woman targeted race and then catch up to the lead woman just to draft off her, YOU ARE A DOUCHEBAG. But maybe that's just me.

Unless you're doing it like this, because then it's just funny.

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