A Sleepless Run At The 2013 Berkeley Half Marathon

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 Elevation

Berkeley Half Marathon

Berkeley Half Marathon StartI 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.


Berkeley Half Marathon FinishApproaching 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?

[sc:follow_me ]