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oakland running festival

We did the Oakland Half Marathon today. You can tell it was a special event for us just by looking at all of the posts. I carried a pace sign for the 2:15 group today and the turn out was tremendous. At first, we thought there were about 30 people in our group. Looking back at the pictures, it was more like 50 people. I could feel the excitement just by walking around the start/finish area. People saw my sign and ask if they could join and just talked about distance running logistics. Quite a few people saw my sign and used it as a gauge to where they should start the run. Out of the small group on the original plan, only Michael stayed with me after mile 1. The rest of the group were people who saw the sign and joined us.

The excitement from the group was wonderful. A lot of people came up to ask my name. I had it written on the front of my shirt but the people who were following were behind me. I will put my name on both sides of my shirt next year. It got really hot at mile 6 or 7 and I ditched the shirt anyway. Our pace was precise and a lot of people fell off the pace but stuck with sign as long as possible. People came up to me after the run and told me they dropped off the pace at mile 8 and did whatever they could to stay within sight of the sign. When you are at the end of your emotional rope, every little bit of motivation helps.

Now that I had fun with a pace group in the inaugural Oakland Running Festival, I wonder what is going to be next. It is a flat and fast course that I could hammer out pretty well. Will I have as much fun running a 1:30 half as I did leading a pace group at 2:15? I highly doubt it. That means pacing again next year. Maybe I will recruit some volunteers for the ORF 2. I start some training runs too. A lot of people trained for a 2:10 to 2:20 pace who either fell off the pace or finished totally distressed. I was concerned about the vacant looks in a few runners eyes over the last few hundred meters.

Michael finished strongly because he trained to run at this pace. He could have went 5 minutes faster but to what end. Save the speed work and misery for training. Enjoy the day and the company when you are in a big event. If you can place in your age group or are a PR junkie then by all means, go flat out.

The Oakland Running festival will have at least one half marathon pace group next year. Hopefully, we will have more. Standing at the start line holding a sign and being a guide to so many people is a great feeling.

1 Comment so far »

  1. by Stephen Fay, on April 11 2010 @ 1:54 pm


    Glad to see you are still running and of course, still very literate. How wonderful it also must be for you to have your son running by your side. Take care.

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