This morning's Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon was my inaugural race for the season. I went into the race with my coach's voice ringing in my ear, "Don't race." In the training plan right now, there isn't a lot of room for down time (i.e., recovery time), so pushing the pace too hard right now was not advised. I went in planning to keep my heart rate in zone 2 (156-167 beats per minute) with some zone 3 (168-176) on the hills.
We had some rain in the forecast but it was just cloudy, and not too cold (around 50 degrees) at the start. As soon as I dropped off my warm-up clothes, there was a brief cloud-burst, enough to get us all a little damp. The Kaiser Half is my favorite half marathon because it is a fast, scenic course on my home turf. In fact, it may be the only race in San Francisco with no significant uphills and a net negative change in elevation (but not by too much).
My blood sugars did their usual pre-race freak-out (high) which was compounded by my inadvertent under-bolusing of breakfast. You can see the gory details on my SugarStats page if you'd like--I've also included mile splits and average and max heart rate for each mile. I was happy with the pace and I felt fairly comfortable throughout the race. As much as I tried to hold back, I couldn't resist speeding up a bit on the downhill section through Golden Gate Park, and then letting go a little for the last 3-4 miles. I didn't go all out and feel fine now, so I'm hoping that I'll be okay. My average heart rate was barely in above zone 2, in zone 3 ("I think this counts as a hill" went through my mind more than once) but my average heart rate for about 6 miles was in zone 2 (I tried!). This is the race where I reached my half-marathon PR (1:42) and I'd still like to beat that someday. But this was not the year to attempt that.
I wore my Triabetes shirt, which generated a few comments, one with a nice guy from the San Francisco Road Runners. We met early on and then again as we were trying to find someone tall to draft off of on the very windy last stretch along the ocean. I also tried out the SPI belt (donated by the manufacturer for the Triabetes project), which held an amazing amount of gels, as well as my Ultra mini. Thanks!
Oh in case you are wondering, my time was 1:52:29. I think I was about 1:10 behind the official start time, so my official time will probably be 1:53:40. There was some debate as to whether the race was more than 13.1 miles. My watch showed 15.49 but, according to the mile splits, my foot pod (pedometer) was about 0.03 miles off per mile, which would add up to an error of 0.39 and a total distance of 13.1. So I think it was probably pretty accurate at 13.1 miles.