170.3 miles raced in 2011
Race: Oakland Running Festival Half Marathon
Place: Oakland, CA
Miles from home: 736 miles
Weather: 50 degrees; Slightly humid.
This race was part four in a four-part plan during the month of March to try and find some fast twitch muscle fibers in these old legs of mine. In case you hadn't read some of my most recent recaps, in the middle of the humid and windy 13.1 Miami Beach race I decided to change both my Georgia Marathon and Oakland Marathon racing plans. Instead of doing the marathon at both, I would be doing the half instead, realizing now was not the time to simply be adding marathons to my notched belt. Rather, I would try to speed up my turnover in lieu of upcoming short-distance triathlons and races like the Fit for Business 5k and 10k in May!
After a warm 1:25 in Miami, a much cooler Sarasota Half Marathon the next week allowed me to tie for my second fastest time ever in a half. Last week in Georgia was a step-down race to rest just a touch before tackling Oakland here. I did not necessarily feel that best in the world but as I have told so many, rarely do we feel great on race day. But you can't get to the finish line unless you toe the start line.
At the expo I spent almost as much time talking about my fueling habits as I did about the 52 Marathons in 2006. People were extremely interested in learning what exactly I eat in order to keep going. I told them there is no magic pill or elixir out there. A simple and healthy diet is key. For me, rather than trying to figure out where I will get all the nutrients I need on a daily basis, I simplify it all by eating as much lean beef as possible. There are plenty of ways to fuel your body but I can think of no better, or tastier way, to fuel mine.
From my vantage point at the expo I could see outside and saw the dreary and dismal weather from the past few days was continuing outside. Technically, it was more or less perfect running weather if the rain would stop falling. But it sure did not make for a pretty day. I was ready for the day to dissolve into night so I could help myself to my traditional steak dinner and head off to bed.
With a 9 AM start, one of the latest race times I have ever had (and one I was not even aware of until fellow attorney and runner and new friend Caitlin made me aware of it the evening prior to the race at the expo itself) I actually got to sleep in some. Without a doubt, I appreciated every bit of this - waking around 8:00 AM to slowly go through the motions of readying myself. Soon I found myself standing near the starting line, speaking with gentleman named Sam. Sam was shooting for a 1:17 and was standing all alone near the starting line. I sauntered up to him and we chatted for a bit, laughing at how no one else would come close to the front. Or those who would were still getting in some last minute sprints out in front of the timing mat. It is a half-marathon - I am sure you will find some time to work out the kinks, guys!
A fantastic rendition of the National Anthem was sung and we stood rather spellbound. Soon it was time to inch up toward the starting line.