My second half marathon for the month, the Berkeley Half Marathon was an inaugural race for the city. With a net downhill and a mostly flat course, I figured this was going to be a fun, fast run. My wife and I also decided to make this a family trip to hang out in Berkeley for the weekend and explore the city. I carbo-loaded with an amazing Vegan Wild Mushroom Jambalaya at Angeline’s Kitchen the night before and crashed at the Hotel Shattuck’s Plaza, just a couple of blocks from the starting line. The trouble started when I woke up hearing loud voices and it got worse after that. Motorcycles, trucks, cargo being loaded, more loud voices – this continued on most of the night. Wish the hotel had double paned windows!
Berkeley Half Marathon
I tossed and turned most of the night barely getting any sleep. Woke up when the alarm went off, got ready and groggily staggered onto the starting line. I was in wave 2, since I put down 1:35 as my finish time, but was hoping for a sub 1:30. Tim Stahler from Inside Trail Racing was the 1:25 pacer and I made a note to stay in front of him for as long as I could. We took off at 8:00am and I bolted down the first 4 miles of downhill with an average 6 min/mile pace. It was still foggy with the sun climbing over the city buildings. I slowed down a little after we crossed the overpass and headed south along the freeway when Tim’s pacing group passed me.
Approaching the aid station at mile 6.5 after the turnaround, I had to make an emergency stop for a bio break, losing a minute or so. I didn’t bother looking at the splits or times as I was using the pacing groups to guesstimate how I was doing. Ran the next couple of miles barefoot holding my Luna Sandals in my hand when the 1:30 pacer ran past. I was kinda bummed, but kept pushing. Hit gravel, popped my Lunas back on as we looped around Cesar Chavez Park. I was approaching the the last out and back along the freeway when Ruben Espinoza, a second 1:30 pacer (and an ultra runner), caught up with me. Turns out the first one was going way faster! I still had hope, though I could tell I was just a tad bit slower than Ruben.
Then came the final hill (who called for that?) that I had enough strength to run up. I sprinted down the last 100 yards of downhill, saw my wife and kids cheering me on as I crossed the finish line at 1:32, placing 25th in my age group. Didn’t get the PR I was looking for, but still felt good to finish close to 1:30. However, according to Strava, I apparently now have a PR for my best 10K at 39:38. I’m pretty sure it was on the downhill!
Were you at the Berkeley Half Marathon? How did you do?