Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kaiser Half Marathon 2013

Aw crap.  I waited too long to do this recap.  Let's see, what do I remember....

This race experience is a little familiar.  It goes something like, "things went okay" but "damn I had this PAIN I was dealing with the whole time" and "I wish I could just race all out with a pain-free set of legs."

Only the pain wasn't the kind I was expecting....it wasn't the kind I was prepared for.

In hindsight, of course, I should have seen the signs.  Earlier in the week, I noticed a couple aches in my right foot, but I am so focused on paying attention to how my buttcrease/leg-lock feels that I brushed it away without thinking about it at all.

The race:

I had a pain in my right foot that began at mile 3 (note: chronic buttcrease/leg-lock issue is the left leg).  I'm going to go ahead and guess it is plantar fasciitis.  First it stiffened my foot up, kind of crawled up to my calf, and I couldn't shake it off, but tried my best to run through it.

Luckily I was gifted the downhill miles of 6-7, which gave me a sweet reprieve from my prior inclination to drop out and shake my foot back to life.

From miles 8-11, the foot went totally numb.  Then the inner ankle began to throb because who knows why.  I guess the whole dang foot wanted to have a fit?

I have been golf-balling the outside-bottom of my right foot since the race. It felt fine right after the race, feels fine when I walk, and today felt fine while on an easy run.

I really want to stick with the Brooks Pure Cadence.  I should obviously worry about the shoes I was wearing since this was a big old FOOT problem, but I really don't want to blame them.  I like them so much.  What to wear for the Napa marathon in 3 weeks!?

As for the dreaded leg-lock, I really only remember it causing me despair during mile 3.  We had turned around the Golden Gate Park panhandle and started going up an incline, and the leg-lock feeling reared it's head (along with the foot pain).  It was demoralizing.  I slowed down and thought about how I didn't want to run 10 more miles like this.  Then I decided, "shut it down you fergy ferguson, just keep running until you CAN'T".  So I kept running, and suddenly it was already mile 7, and there's no quitting when you're already halfway done!

Besides my foot and the mile 3 leg-lock scare, I felt solid and strong, the weather was just GORGEOUS, the course is my new favorite find for a race (more on that below), and, drumroll, I GOT A PERSONAL RECORD Y'ALL!

My Garmin tweaked to a screen that was unfamiliar to me, so I never knew what time I was on track for until I started steaming towards the finish line.  Darn it would have been nice to get under 1:26:00!

Official: 1:26:21, 6:35 pace, 4/565 place in age group, 22/2994 place woman.

Garmin: 1:26:21 for 13.24 miles (I likely did not run the tangents well because the crowds were pretty thick), 6:31 pace.


Mile 1: 6:20
Mile 2: 6:15
Mile 3: 6:38  (The mile in which I start to give up because...I hurt)

Mile 4: 6:29
Mile 5: 6:34
Mile 6: 6:13
Mile 7: 6:05  (The point where I gain momentum from downhill miles and decide not to quit)

Mile 8: 6:41
Mile 9: 6:55  (The mile where I think "no problem, that mile was uphill, I'll make this up later" only to learn every mile along a boring highway feels uphill).

Mile 10: 6:41
Mile 11: 6:43
Mile 12: 6:38
Mile 13:  6:28 (The mile where I thought "pick it UP YOU'RE ALMOST DONE.")

0.24: 1:29



I went with compression socks that I got from a secret santa this year.  

FINALLY I meet someone with calves bigger than mine

I ran 3.4 miles before the race and 5.4 miles after, which was the distance from my car parked in the Civic Center to the start, and then the distance from the finish back to my car.  For a total of 22 miles.

The 3.4 miles before hand was not as leisurely as I had planned.  I ran my guts up the big climb from Civic Center to Golden Gate Park (if you've run Bay to Breakers, you know the one) to try and make it to the start on time.  The parking lot I had banked on using was CLOSED when I got there at 7:15 a.m., so I scrambled to find somewhere else to park (STREET PARKING ISN'T FREE IN SAN FRANCISCO ON SUNDAYS DAMMIT) then shot out of my car and ran the 3+ hilly miles to the start with exactly 2 minutes before the starting gun.  No time for a bathroom stop, barely shoved my timing chip on my shoe, tried to stretch after cramming myself in about 12 rows deep to the front.

The 5.4 miles back to my car were slowwww, as I juggled a swag bag of chocolate milk and bananas.

Let me swoon over this race for a minute here.  I cannot wait to run it again next year!

It felt like one big gathering of Bay Area superstars.  I mean, I spotted a lot of my local heros (Devon Crosby-Helms, Caitlin Smith), which I was not expecting because I was under the false assumption that this was a pretty small race.  I think there were at least 5,000 half marathoners! Perfect balance of mass energy but manageable crowds!  Other than that, I just remember tailing several strong, beautiful women in their spandex shorts (men, it isn't only you who can't look away) and being inspired by how many bad-ass runners live in this half of California.

The first half of the course is through Golden Gate Park, which bless the Tenderloin's urine smelling heart, is the one thing about living in San Francisco that I miss with a passion.  I loved those first 7 miles through the park, with the the museums, the greenery, the ups and the downs, I just love it.  Reminder to myself to BART into the city on the weekends and run around GG Park when I have a free day.

The course is then followed by 6 miles along the beach highway.  I was warned this part would be tough, and it is, but because the toughness was almost entirely MENTAL (staring down a straight never-ending highway for 3 miles, begging the whole while for any hint of the turnaround) I actually enjoyed it in a masochistic kind of way.  I found myself hating it (see: my mile 9 pace) but because I purposely chose NOT to run with music, I had the time to talk to myself and remember things like "pain is temporary, you will regret not running harder here," and thinking, "foot, ow, foot, what is wrong with my foot, not cool, not cool at all."

I can't wait to face those tedious last 6 miles again year after year of this race, and laugh in the face of the beach wind, the monotony, and the phantom turnarounds.  +1 San Francisco. 

55 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the PR, what an amazing time! Wow! I did Kaiser last year and loved it as well...I didn't even mind the Great Highway miles because I had music and turned it up loud!

    Hope the PF gets better - I fixed mine last year with a cheap insole from Ebay - the Pro Foot PF insole. I'm quite evangelical about it because it worked so well!!! And it was cheap :)

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    1. Sounds like there's nothing to lose in giving the Pro Foot PF insole a try if its affordable! Thanks for the tip.

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  2. That's a killer PR! Congrats! Now go check that foot out. Word of warning: I tore my LEFT hamstring by racing on a RIGHT medial tibial stress syndrom spot!

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  3. Woohoo! Congrats on the PR! Sorry about the foot issue--that sounds rough--but it looks like it was totally worth it to stick it out.

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  4. Nice work!! Only you could PR like it's no big deal. Now heal up 100% because you have a 2:5? marathon in the works!

    Also I really wanted to love Brooks shoes too but they always hurt me. Something about the medial arch felt like I was running on a brick. It was disappointing considering how much every one else raves about them.

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    1. Because I slacked in runner school, I don't know what a medial arch means. I wonder if that's part of the problem for me with the Brooks? Definitely doesn't feel like a brick though, feels mostly great, until this race! I feel like I'll never find the right shoe.....ugly cryyyy :( :( :(

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  5. Congrats on the PR!! I like the Cadences and the Connects but when I wear the Flows my ankle has started to hurt every time. it's weird. Maybe try one of the other ones in the line if you like the feel of the shoes.

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  6. congrats on the PR, especially given the unexpected foot pain. Way to fight through it!! :)

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  7. Congratulations!!!

    Great Highway is AWFUL. Totally know what you mean about it feeling uphill the whole time!

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  8. Congrats! That's an awesome PR - you're really running strong. Way to rock it!

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  9. Nice! Way to go on the PR - and I looove me some procompression.

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    1. true story? Are they better than other compression socks? I like them okay, not sure I've noticed a big difference but I do feel like my legs stay "fresh" longer during long runs with them on.

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  10. Woohoo! Congrats lady on your shiny new PR!! Sorry to hear about the PF though. Funny - I just read a post from Olympic Marathoner Camille Herron about PF and shoes. I think the stiffness of the sole that Kristen refers to might be an issue. Here's the blog post: http://camilleherron.com/2013/01/21/treating-plantar-fasciitis-with-minimalist-shoes/

    Sounds like it's not super serious, since you haven't been plagued with pain since the race. I'd probably ditch the shoes.

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    1. AGREE. Shoes not good for you. Luring you in with some bewitchment. Or build up mileage in them more slowly...which you are not going to do :)

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    2. I agree. You run so fast, you're not the average runner to be tooling around 100 miles in a minimalist shoe. I'm only a smidge fast, and minimalist shoes broke my tib and led to PF too. I would see a sports medicine doc because you're not like every other casual runner. You NEED to be in the best shoe for your pace, build, stride, etc.

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    3. I would LOVE the best shoe. I was so hopeful this would be the one.....I'm not convinced the shoes are to blame yet...the short reason is because I noticed some stiffness/crunchies in that part of my foot AFTER (not during) the CIM marathon, back when I was wearing the Nike Pegasus. This may have been a developing issue regardless of shoe...

      Can you tell I'm hopelessly trying to defend the Brooks? I don't really have a back up shoe right now for the Napa marathon...so I'm clinging to hope that I can golf-ball my foot and get back on track with the Brooks.

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  11. Congrats on the PR, hopefully the PF will go away quickly and you'll be back at it.

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  12. Congratulations on the PR!!

    WTF, right foot.

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  13. Congrats on the PR!!! Glad you were able to make it through!

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    1. You're officially in on the runner nerd lingo! Love it.

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  14. You are a total badass!! I guess your legs were warmed up from the 3+ mile warmup. I think it's great you live in an area with serious running talent. It must have been a professionaly loaded field for you to have placed 4th in your age group with a time like that. I'm so happy for your PR too. Hope you recover quickly.

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    1. Thank you my dear! Can you believe 1st in my age group (and first all around) was a 1:15:xx! Wowza.

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  15. I am so glad you enjoyed the Great Highway experience ...how 'bout that last little hill?

    You are such a superstar :)

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    1. I'm sorry you didn't get to run it this year :( The hill hit me like a ton of bricks, and all of a sudden it was over and the finish line was behind me. Definitely less than a quarter mile, thank goodness.

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  16. That's weird about your foot. But, oh well, worked out?

    I think you were up ahead of me the whole time, btw. And, they said the half had 3,000 people in it and the 5K had 7,000, but it seemed more crowded than that on the half course.

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    1. There had to be more than 3000 halfers...there were almost 3000 women finishers...?

      I still think we were in shouting distance! "Hi sunny runner!!!"

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  17. You ran a PR half with possible PF? Well, if that isn't a case of FML I don't know what is - when I had it I ran a terrible half, almost a personal worst. I wish I had the drive and determination to push through pain the way you can instead of being such a wuss.

    Amazing time though - there's a half very similar in sructure (loooong highway for 5 miles) in the Northern UK where I live, and I dread doing it but usually have a go anyway. It's flat as a pancake so it should be an easy PR but I've never come close - the boredom of the highway does me in. So you're mentally *and* physically strong!

    Hope the PF clears up - night splints might be helpful if you can get hold of some?

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    1. No FML! You're giving me too much credit, I know you share that drive! We'll practice some mantras together to prepare for these boring highway stretches during races.

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  18. Awesome job on the race and the PR! Bummer about your left leg lock and right foot pain. I'm with XLMIC, maybe it is the shoes? GG Park is indeed gorgeous, that is the main reason I get excited to do Bay to Breakers again every year.

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  19. Congrats on the PR!! Well deserved!!! I hope you figure out the foot and buttcrease/leg things... lingering on so long!

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  20. Weren't you just saying you were on a plateau?:)

    You are a Bad Ass!

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  21. Fashion Police here. WTF are you wearing? It looks like a sparkly skirt but without the sparkle. You need new shorts. I will buy you some. I'm not kidding.

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    1. hahahaha. Okay, fashion milf police. I got 'em for Christmas from my mom, and totally heart them because they have 5 POCKETS and are lightweight. And are long enough that my thighs don't chafe. Instead my inner knees chafed.

      Plus, the more material, the more places to staple on some sparkles...

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  22. I love how you buried the lead (sorry, retired journalist here) and basically said, "Ugh, PF and messed up Garmin -- oh yeah, I PR'ed." Hahaha. You are awesome. And fast. And determined. A warm-up run is one thing, but a fast "Oh shit, I'm going to be late" run? Also crazy. Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS on the PR!

    As for the foot, I'd compare your Pure Cadences with some other shoes that haven't hurt your foot to find the differences. Maybe there's a middle ground; maybe it's the style, or maybe a different one of the Pure models would work. I know I'm giving advice to someone who runs more than twice my mileage, but oh well. :-)

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    1. I need and value your advice! I am ignorant about shoes...and feet...

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  23. Holy shit, you're fast!!! Congrats!
    I really hope you don't have PF but if you do, I have a myriad of suggestions for you. Good luck with the shoe situation! I have yet to find the perfect shoe for me and it's been extremely frustrating.

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    1. If it keeps up, I will definitely hunt you down for these suggestions. Goodness, let's FIND that perfect shoe!

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  24. Congrats on the PR! Badass.

    So, the Pure Cadence... now, I might be just a hypochondriac jump to conclusions self-diagnosing crazy person, but I say "Beware of the low-drop shoes and lower leg problems".

    Basically, in April 2012 I started running in the Kinvaras (4mm drop) and the Cadence (6mm), not every day, but I worked my way up to like 40-50% of my weekly mileage in those shoes. Since about July 2012, my left achilles and calf has been cranky, my tibilis anterior is super angry, I sometimes get numbness on the top of my left foot (and occasionally my right), and I've had a bump (which I think is muscular because it tends to reduce in size with rest) on my shin on the anterior side (near the tibilias muscle) for like, geez, 5-6 months now? It started about 2 months into the low drop shoes.

    I have completely dropped them out of my rotation since September. Haven't shaken the shin problem completely but it seems to be improving very slowly.

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    1. shit! I didn't realize the cadence had such a minimal drop. They feel pretty cushy to me, just a shade lighter than the shoes I usually wear, but I guess that doesn't relate to the "drop." Get your shins feeling good, that sounds like a rough injury to deal with

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    2. Chacha - can you recommend a lightweight shoe (as light as the Kinvara - which broke my leg) with more of a drop? Every other shoe feels so clunky, and makes me feel like I can't lift my legs. But, on the flipside I just don't think the minimalist shoes were meant for running in excess of 40-50 miles per week. I think they're ok for racing, but not for several hours of pounding hard pavement.

      I think I'm going to try the Saucony Triumph next. I like the width on the Saucony shoes for my feet.

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  25. congrats!! You totally psyched me out with that intro info about your foot, leg lock, etc....and then what a wonderful swoop with the great news about the PR. Just think about what your PR's going to look like when you don't have any nagging issues, le sigh :)

    By the way, I'm enjoying the new layout here.

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    1. I'm not enjoying it! I was playing with layouts, but somehow got stuck with hummingbirds. It will change soon...

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  26. HOLY COW!!! You amaze me woman. Incredible pr and get that foot healed!

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  27. RoseRunner, I found your blog recently and am in love (in a total girl crush way). I feel like 98.967% of running blogs in existence are by these super girly girls that don't have a "real" job. You are so down to earth and just let everything out there. I read one (or two or seven)of your blog posts each day to cheer me up. I will soon be all finished your old posts (que end of harry potter emotions) and only have the new ones to look forward to. I feel like we have such similar personalities (blankies, cailtin-isms, feminism, liberalism, etc) except I am a sucker for SF...I left my heart there.

    Keep doing what you're doing, you rock!

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    1. Thank you for making my day with this comment! I am thankful that the archives here didn't scare you away, and I can't believe somewhere in there I talked about my blankie and caitlin-isms! I've got to bring the caitlin-isms back, they are a near daily occurrence.

      Please email me at roserunnerblog@gmail.com if you want to chat some more, and so I can learn things like why you left San Francisco and when you will come back! I think with our similarities I will crush on you right back.

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  28. this is just so fast...seriously..bravo to you!
    PF...I had that....and I changed my shoes and now it is all better...I now run with Brooks Ghost 5. love them.

    hmmmm where is the Bachelor post????!!! come on now...

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  29. Congrats! Awesome job! So how about that "this pace feels hard in training". You showed 'em, ha!
    On a different note, I would be so frustrated with the long course....6:31 pace is a sub 1:25 or v close. In my book, that's what you ran (not that a 1:26 is not super impressive)! What is UP with the long course?
    I hope the foot behaves. I have been running through many foot issues by taping my feet...

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  30. CONRATS ON THE PR! So proud of you. Can't wait to hear how the Napa race goes. Miss you! When is that marriage celebrating you keep talking about???

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  31. That PR is badass! Congrats! I agree with other that those shoes are not for you. I have a normal foot (slightly high arch) and have always worn neutral shoes (Nike Pegasus, New Balance 890s)- all 12mm drop shoes. I thought I'd be fine running in a 6 or 8mm - so I bought a pair of Brooks Green Silence on a whim (they were super cheap too). Bad idea - within 3 days, massive foot pain. I think you are just too high mileage for an even moderately minimalist shoe!

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  32. I am so behind on blog (and life) that I just wanted to say congrats on Kaiser & the PR! I was there too & I wish I knew that you were... blahh. Anyway, have you seen my calves?!??!?!!?!??!?!?!

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  33. Stretch calves to help with PF, it is a very likely cause.

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  34. "Blah blah blah, running, foot ouch, details, details...PS I PR'D." Dude. Awesome! Congratulations! That's about as wordy as I'm feeling today. So psyched to read this. 2013 is looking good on you!

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  35. Congrats on an awesome race! But first, before you think I am some crazy commenter - I read your blog and rarely if ever comment because I just don't have time to comment - but I enjoy the reading! Anyway, I had to comment on this because I am a HUGE over the moon fan of the brooks pure line (and they don't even give me free shoes or chocolate eggs to say that). The best shoe that happened to me. I was just thinking - is it possible the shoe salesperson that probably doesn't really know everything there is to know about shoes was wrong about your "pronation"? If you don't pronate, a supportive shoe could cause you problems. I train in the flows, race in the connects and love love love them both. I was also told I slightly pronate in the left, but because the flows work for me, stick to them. Just a thought for the next pair! Good luck at your marathon!!

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