Monday, February 02, 2009

San Francisco Kaiser Half-Marathon

Whew, man that was hard! Send me back to the long ultra's where I can put other race skills into play that I don't get to use in these short fast road races. This half-marathon felt like one long track interval. I don't even remember the year I last ran a half-marathon, must have been 8 or 9 years ago but I remember the time was around 1:38. These days I only get to run the distance as the run part of a half-ironman triathlon and those numbers have been hovering around 1:45-48. So the goal for the day was to get to 1:30 or below.

The rest during the week worked, I recovered from my mini burnout and the rest also served as my taper. On Thursday and Friday, on my short 4-mile runs, the legs still felt sluggish and leaden but by Saturday they had come back to life. It's like they were sick but made a successful timely recovery. Besides resting them I had spent time in the sauna stretching and sat in the tub for a couple of ice baths. I went to bed Saturday with a smile on my face knowing that I would have a decent race in the morning.

I warmed up a bit before the race, caught up with some friends and ran like a thief with nowhere to hide when the gun went off. The first two miles were a bit fast but I let it go then backed off a bit the next two miles. Soon as I recovered from the faster than usual start I put the pedal to the metal for good. My heart rate monitor was pegged at maximum for the entire duration of the run from that point forward. I even saw numbers I hadn't seen before on that watch, crazy.

Ran into a lot of friends. Ultra running folk were out participating or spectating, so were the triathlete types. Quite a festive event especially with the good weather. Met up with a good friend, Stephen Goldmann, who ran a great race with a 1:21. I'm trying to convince him to come down to San Diego in June for the San Diego 100. Some have come up to me before and after the race saying that relative to the distances that I usually run this must have been a walk in the park. Well it was certainly short but by no means easy. It was hard and painful in it's own unique way. I can tell you that by mile 11 when it really started to hurt I stopped thinking about the possibility of running more of these road events in the future:) Hmm... considering the result maybe I quit ultra for awhile and dedicate myself to some marathon specific training to see if I can qualify for Boston...right, right, sure that will happen. Not sure if I can qualify anyway, I'd have to run a 3:10 and I wouldn't know where to fit the training for that in my future trail running plans. I would like to run Boston one day though, something magical about that damn unicorn logo on their finisher shirts and jackets, so select and prestigious. Unlike the Ironman brand, you can't go to a store and buy gear with the logo stamped on it. Maybe I suffer in another hard and fast road race to dispel all notions of running another marathon. Yes I think that will do the trick!

I gave it everything yesterday but when I finished I felt like I was capable of more. It was a good feeling to have. I don't think I could have run harder and faster yesterday but I know I have it in me and I'm capable of more. Anyway this was my first time running the event. I've never been ready in the past to run a fast race so soon after the holidays. This year I was ready and we were all fortunate with the weather; sunny, cool temps and no wind. The last two years it was cold, windy and rainy. I couldn't have picked a better year to join in on the fun. If I'm in the same shape next year I'll be sure to sign up again.

San Francisco Kaiser Half-Marathon

I got my goal of coming in at 1:30 but bemoaned for most of the day that I wasn't able to run just a bit faster to come under it. So close! That was quickly displaced however by the disappointment of the Cardinals falling short in the Super Bowl after a great 4th quarter rally. Again, so close!

Looking much better from the back. You can't see me drooling and breathing hard. Photo courtesy of Lisa Abrons.

Hanging with Steve Goldmann post race.

Cosmo, Rachel and Andrew. Rachel and Andrew are personal trainers at Club One and Rachel has been the one who has helped me with my workouts.

Veronica and Sandrine. Hanging with the triathlon club post race.

With Jan and Jen. Jan ran a great race with a 1:24. At the cafe, post race brunch.

My new race bike. Just have to figure where to put the water bottle holders. At the cafe, post race brunch.

More Photos


  1. That's a pretty sweet time for just jumping into the race with minimal speed training. You could qualify for Boston with no problem if you set aside a few months of specific training for it. Just a thought for later.

    I've done that race in some of the cold, windy years you mentioned, and it pretty much sucked. I did it once in a nice year that was fantastic. Glad you got a good weather year.

  2. Super fast time there speedy legs!!! Congrats! I really like your new race wheels...I think a basket would hold your water bottles just fine!

  3. Wow, 1:30 is moving for a half marathon, Rick! Nicely done! Sure looks and sounds like that was a beautiful day. Nice pictures...and your new bike is sweet! :)

    Great race, Rick!

  4. Nice race, Rick! I'd like to run Boston one of these days as well. It's hard to put aside the trails though.

  5. If I ever need a(nother) belly laugh, all I need to do is picture you on that bike. Oh, that's funny. 1:30 for a half-marathon? I will NEVER run with you. You are a freakin' speedy boy! Lord! Great job.

  6. Andy Black12:24 AM

    Hi Rick,

    I didn't see you at the race, but I finished just a bit ahead of you...unlike the Quad, where you were a half hour in front of me! I'm sure you can qualify for Boston...

  7. dam that bike is stylin' :-)

    and ya that is too much running fast fo' me but congrats on that half m Bro, now get ur ass back on the trails we got 100's to run -lol

  8. I hate you. But I told you that already:)

  9. Donald: You know, when you put it that way, I don't feel so bad about missing going under 1.5 hours by 45 seconds. Yeah I would definitely have to do some marathon specific training if I want to go that route. One day perhaps.

    J~Mom: Thanks, thanks. A basket is the solution. If I lived in a regular neighborhood I would collect bikes, different ones for my different moods to cruise the streets with.

    Jean: Thanks. It was a good day.

    Rob: I hear you. My speed is such that shooting for Boston may be doable but only if I set aside the trails for a bit, something I'm not willing to do at the moment.

    Jo Lynn: Haha, I would like a beach cruiser painted like that but I have no more room in my apartment and it wouldn't ride well in San Francisco's hills, well downhill surely but not uphill:)

    Andy: Well they don't call you Fast Andy Black for nothing. That was great weather to race in too. Congrats on your great time. Ah yes Quad 08, that's a great memory, my best one yet. If all goes according to plan this year I won't be anywhere near that time. I plan to go back to Arizona and participate in Javelina and if I run that race well I'm sure I won't be in any shape to run a fast Quad again. That is my favorite race though and will participate if I am able, at tip-top shape or not.

    Bobby: I'll get you one for your bday. How's your training going? Do I need to send you pictures of more hills to get your butt inspired:)

    Olga: I love it when you are hating my faster time. Too late you already said you were proud of me. Maybe it was the cough medicine talking but I'm taking it.

  10. You know, it might not be particularly aero, but adding some streamers to that ride would make us for the lost time in AWESOME. Maybe add streamers and a basket, but then compensate by throwing on some zips? Think of all the gus you could store in the basket!

    Also, that is a great shot of you running (first pic). Everyone else in the shot kinda has that randomly "plodding along" look, whereas you are looking speedy!

  11. Rick,
    your a getting fast...1.5 hour 1/2 half is really good. congrats on being a trail runner holding his own on the road. :)

  12. I just love reading your race reports. Makes me want to fly out there next year to join every race you wrote about. :)

    Congrats on the great time! You are FAST! Boston Boston Boston!

    By the way, thanks for the tips on the ITB. I'll email you soon :)

  13. Good seeing you out there! I was out for a month so I'm coming back and slowing regaining endurance. 1:30 half is pretty good, sure you don't want to focus on the road this year? :)

  14. Dances with Corgis:'re a genuis, streamers and in club colors. I like it. I don't think they make Zips that small though but they do with discs. Thanks for saying I look speedy.

    Dave: Thanks man, I'd like to do more of these. They are fun even though painful.

    Jaymie: Well you know, that's all part of the plan - make you guys want to come out and do it too. No sweat on the ITB tips.

    Adidas: Hey it was good to see you out there. I hope you were just taking a break and not on injury time out. Maybe I run a few more halfs, tough to balance though with all the ultra training.