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Sunday’s US Half Marathon, an event I literally signed up for on a whim on Wednesday and literally decided to race hard the day before, ended up not being about PR’s (though cranking out a 4+ minute PR and a (finally) official sub-2 hour half marathon was nice.)<br><br>
And no, it’s hard to beat the particulars. The sunrise over the Oakland Hills brought light to what would be a postcard-perfect November day in the San Francisco Bay Area. The myriad of people encounters provided their own memories - from the cheery, tattooed, young Chinese woman who I met both pre- and post-race, who was inspired to run from her sister...to the red-haired woman near mile 10 who proved how gam <ahem> she really was with her awfully low-cut (or is that high-cut?) daisy-duke running shorts...to post-race, where I found myself at the massage tent at a table holding the calf aloft of a female HM first-timer and trying to make her feel better after she had experienced the cramp of all cramps (the massage therapist was busy trying to run down an icepack to put on the offending muscle and asked me to help out.) Even the finisher medals are some of the nicer in the business for a non-marathon event.<br><br>
Sure, there were other reasons behind the last minute sign-up. I lost my goal race of the Napa Valley Marathon due to an overseas work assignment to which I’m looking forward. With The Philly HM in two weeks not about fast paces but rather good times with virtual KR friends come to life, I was looking for one more hard race before my assignment start date. And yeah, I admit the San Francisco Marathon 1st Half HM experience this summer when I forgot my timing chip still kinda' bugs me.<br><br>
In terms of the course itself, it’s hard to beat the scenery. However, this scenery somewhat hides the fact that the layout is something of the evil twin sister of the 1st Half Marathon of the San Francisco Marathon. In both races you get to ascend to and cross over and back to the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the steep Fort Mason hill. In the SFM 1st Half HM, you get the Fort Mason hill out of the way early and get about the quickest, runner-friendliest ascent up to the bridge. With today’s race, you get a series of three(!) ascents and two descents leading up to the bridge, and then get one more combo of both as you cross underneath the bridge on the turnaround. And when most people’s legs and lungs are begging for mercy, you must deal with the Fort Mason hill at the end with about half-a-mile to go.<br><br>
But in reality, taking this race on a whim took a back seat to my belief of running as a way to keep my mind and heart refreshed, and as a way to escape from the travails, both big and small, that life sometimes brings. No need to get into details, but I’ve been in a lengthy personal funk. I haven’t really been my joyful, easy-going self lately. During this time, my training runs have been a godsend from a mental standpoint, though from a half-marathon training standpoint, they were hardly ideal as slow-paced as they have been and a total mileage standpoint (9 mile longest run/20 miles per week.) But there was no pressure in this race - only relief in doing something that I loved doing and those forementioned side benefits.<br><br>
This actual run turned out to be something of a microcosm of my life lately, and to be truthful, probably many others’ lives at one time or another . That is probably why it isn’t the first relatively easy 10 miles or so that will stick with me, but the final 3 miles.<br><br>
These were some of the hardest non-hampered-by-serious-injury miles I had run in quite awhile. All my tweaky spots that have lingered over the past few months were aching, and I knew from my heart rate monitor readings that the wheels were close to coming off the proverbial wagon. My mind was telling me to ease back, maybe walk for a few. You’ve got the PR in the bag...what’s 30 seconds or a minute? It would’ve been really easy.<br><br>
But it was this time where I remembered both family and friends (some of whom the virtual runner friends here) who are going or had gone through various recent personal and family crises, funks and just plain tough moments. Plus, one statement that has stuck with me from KR member <b>Korbel</b> came ringing through - sometimes just going the distance is enough.<br><br>
I guess life’s challenges are like that - continually going the distance through the rough patches, no matter their length or severity. Yeah, it's been a lengthy funk for me, but like many funks before, I've gone the distance to put them behind me.<br><br>
Likewise, the PR was beside the point those final miles. I knew for my mental state I needed to go the distance and spend those final miles running, tweaky body parts and Fort Mason hill be damned.<br><br>
I ran all the way to the finish line, no stopping. Small victory yes, but I’ll take it.
 

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Congrats on the PR!! Loved the Race Report - Very well written! You really got thet feeling of the day across. Can't wait to meet you in Philly!
 

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Congrats on the PR! Sometimes I think we can surprise ourselves much easier when we don't go in overthinking everything.<br><br>
It sounds like a very colorful and amazing area for running. I've got to get out to NorCal one day.<br><br>
I really loved what you wrote below, and can relate.<br><br>
Thank you for a thoughtful and thought-provoking report.
 

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Good work, Joe! To PR on a non PR course like US Half shows a lot of guts. You put it all out there, it paid off, and you wrote most eloquently about it.<br><br>
Congratulations to you!<br><br>
hup<br><br>
If your work assignment doesn't interfere, might you consider running the <a href="http://envirosports.com/events/event.php?eventid=2047" target="_blank">Envirosports Angel Island 12 or 25K</a> on Dec 8? Some friends and I are driving up to take part. It would be an honor and a pleasure to meet you.
 

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That's pretty cool. I think I tend to be a bit anal about planning things out, which is probably derivative of handling being a type 1 diabetic, but there are lots of times when I wish I could be more free about running. So this is sweet report to read about, you just going out and running, setting a PR in the process.
 

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Yah Moonie!<br><br>
I hope one day my "planned" HM turns out as well as your impromptu one! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Holy Cripes Joe! Having been there a couple of months ago and having ran on that very terrain, I know how difficult that course would be. You didn't pick a nice flat or easy rolling one to go for a PR on did you?<br><br>
Great job. Outstanding. Congrats. Hope things are getting back on track for you on all fronts.
 

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<b>Moon</b>: Outstanding! You've been percolating this one all year. You really captured what that last 3 feels like too when you are going hard. Well put. Congrats on an excellent run.
 

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Very cool RR and what a way to PR!!! You are one tough and deep cookie <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Excellent report and a nice PR! I can picture the course and it did not sound like fun! Fort Mason hill, indeed! Yikes! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">
 

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What can I say that has not already been said: excellent race and report. Running is indeed great therapy and the results are sometimes surprising! Congrats!
 
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