Otherwise known as the one where I wore cotton.
Disclaimer: I received entry to Oakland Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Ambassador. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Ambassador, and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!
It’s not like this is my first race. It’s not like this is my first race in the rain. Heck it’s not like this is my first race in Oakland!
I headed up there on Saturday with my brother and my mother. We turned it into a family experience. My brothers first ever 50 miler had been canceled due to weather the weekend before so he decided to run the Oakland marathon instead. Which all sounds great until you take into account we shared a hotel room – all three of us adults. Never doing that again.
Packet pick up was in Snow Park and it was a much bigger expo expo than last year. I was just picking up my shirt as I had my bib mailed to me earlier. They didn’t have my size I had to get a men’s size. Not sure what would have been left if I had waited until race day. The swag tent from with swag from previous years was there, I picked up a couple of long sleeves for a great price.
Race morning dawned early, at least early for my brother, who was running the marathon which started at 7. Running the half I did not start until 9 AM, but when everybody’s awake in the hotel room everybody’s awake in the hotel room . I could already tell that it was going to be a wet one and this silly Slacker didn’t try on her 3/4 zip before she packed for the trip and it didn’t fit. So I made it work. I put on my blue cotton hoodie from the day before and put a plastic poncho on over it. How bad could it be?
My mother and I headed down to the start line together. With a 9 AM start for me it wouldn’t be long before my brother was coming across the finish line for the marathon. He was aiming for another sub 3. Not going to lie, waiting for the start was so cold. The wind was so strong I was a little afraid of what was going to come. The race started more or less at nine just taking longer for the slower folks like me to get across the start line and we were off running around Oakland.
Miles 1 through 3 take you around Lake Merritt and back into town. Sometimes it’s my favorite part and sometimes it’s my most hated part depends on what mood I’m in that day. This day I was feeling the lake. It was raining and wet but I was still looking forward to everything that was about to come.
Miles 4 through 6 took us through town and then out towards Jack London Square. I gotta learn how to look at a map. For some reason I didn’t think we went to Jack London this year but I was wrong. This is also where I first landed my foot in a puddle. So not only was it raining on me, I now had one very soaking wet left foot. However, on the upshot, I was almost halfway through half marathon and still feeling pretty great. Granted, I run really slow these days.
7 through 10 saw us coming back into town and heading up Broadway. I knew there was an out and back on Broadway-I had looked at the map for that part. I honestly didn’t think it was as long as it was going to feel. It felt like forever. 7 through 10 also contained a really long slow incline for about 2 miles, you can see the people in front of you for miles. It’s just slowly going up and it’s raining on you and this is where I started to get a little cranky. I also landed my right foot in a puddle, and now I had a wet right foot.
Just before mile 10 we looped through Oakland Tech school. Not gonna lie, that part was a little weird, there were kids playing on the track. Then we finally turned around and headed back down Broadway. The slight downhill and the temp was making me so happy but I was starting to tire out and we were running into a headwind. We ran down Broadway and then down the street next to it and we were headed back towards the park. I knew we had to go farther down than the park then turn around and come back up; which is a cruel trick race organizers. Please stop doing this. A couple blocks from the finish line, my brother and mom were waiting on the sidelines for me so they jumped in and ran with me a bit.
Ran might be an overstatement. At that point I was tired and I was walking and my feet were wet and I might have been whining. Also, I was beginning to realize that my goal of breaking three hours was probably not going to happen even though I have been stalking the overall pace on my watch for 10 miles. I forgot about the tangents and I got irritated. Finally, I could see the finish line up a small hill, and I tried to run it in. It was more of a jog.
I was slow, yes, but still finished with a better pace than where I was at this time the last 2 years. I also felt pretty good. Well, other than being wet and cold. I kept the plastic poncho on until the last mile of the race and even though my sweatshirt was extremely damp- there was no chafing!
I still love this race. All the artwork you get to see while you run, the people who come out to cheer, the cool buildings around downtown, the shirts and the medal. There’s a reason this is my third time running Oakland.
Oh and my brother? 2:59:53