Races · Running

Berkeley Half Marathon – Race Recap!!

I have to say, it never ceases to amaze me how awesome and supportive the blog community is. I cannot thank y’all enough for your well wishes! You guys rock and I used every bit of support you gave to me on Sunday.

FYI, I also wanted to title this post, “Endorphins, man they’re a beautiful thing” or “The dreaded mile 6 curse” but I stuck with the ole conventional title.

So I’m finally going to give you my race recap from my second half marathon! Sorry it took so long, but I find these posts to be the hardest to write!

The race started at 8 AM Sunday morning. So obviously I told the family that our departure time was 5:30 AM…we live 25 min away. Not surprisingly, I was probably the first race contestant there.

Berkeley Half Marathon

I used the restrooms when we got there. May I add that porta-potties are hard to use in the dark and gave me a whole new set of nightmares.

I then anxiously waited to meet up with my new friend Michelle, of Blessed with Thunder Thighs! This was our first meeting and I must say she is the sweetest girl ever! She ran in the San Jose RNR half marathon (the same one that I ran in) and majorly PR’ed it with I think something like 1:38:xx?? We both knew that we would be running in the Berkeley Half and wanted to meet up! She generously offered to pace me, which turned out becoming one of the reasons I didn’t quit this race…but more on that in a bit.

Our first photo
Our first photo!

We chatted for a bit and then joined the group stretch provided by the Berkeley Half people. My BFF Shanna finally showed up (and by finally, I meant she showed up when “normal” people start showing up)

Group Shot! [Photo cred- Michelle]
Group Shot! [Photo cred- Michelle]

And of course the obligatory runner race shoes group shot. Mizuno love!
And of course the obligatory runner race shoes group shot. Mizuno love!

And before you knew it, it was time to get into our corrals! This time, I was really excited. At the start of my first half, I was filled with nerves and actually kind of scared, so this was a nice change. Within, what seemed like a few minutes, we were off!

Berkeley Half Marathon
We apparently like to run in order of height

The first few miles flew by. Once you ran the first mile, it was basically downhill until you reached the water

berkeley half marathon

I had to throw this one in there to show you how awkward a runner I am (I'm way off on the right)
I had to throw this one in there to show you how much of an awkward runner I am (I’m way off on the right, hopefully waving to someone I know πŸ˜‰ )

I was having so much fun for these first miles! I think at around mile 4, we saw my parents and Kyle up on a bridge cheering us on.

berkeley half marathon berkeley half marathon

I was making good time- my awesome pacer Michelle had even written on her arm, certain check points and the time we had to be at to make it under 2 hours. <–how awesome is she?? My first 6 miles looked like this:

berkeley half marathon

I was so ready to run this half in under 2 hours.

Photo Cred- Michelle
Photo Cred- Michelle

And then I hit mile 6.

At some point during mile 6, my back started to seize up. I felt a tightness and then all of a sudden, sharp pain in my lower spine (you can read more about my bad back here). Crap on a cracker.

I started to freak out in my head. There was no way I could finish this race with this kind of pain. I called to Michelle and told her I had to stop for a quick sec to stretch out my hamstrings. We pulled over for maybe 15 seconds and then we hit the pavement again.

I think I told her that I was okay, hoping to trick myself. Mind over matter, right? Ha. Ha.

I saw Kyle and my parents again around mile 7-8. I mouthed to Kyle, “my back.” I was later told that they could tell I was in pain. I wonder how…and look how cute Michelle looks lol.

berkeley half marathon berkeley half marathon

From mile 6 on, all I could do was try to distract myself from the back pain. You know that rule where if you pump your arms, your legs will follow? Yeah…doesn’t work so well with lower back pain. I focused my attention on keeping up with Michelle, listening to patterns of pounding feet on pavement, and telling myself that I had to finish. I no longer cared about time. I just wanted to finish.

I definitely slowed down.

berkeley half marathon

And then I finally asked Michelle about our pace (I had told myself that I wouldn’t look at my watch). She said I was definitely on track to PR. WTF?

And then I asked her about finishing in under 2 hours. She said that I was about 2 minutes (total) off. Seriously?? After she said that I powered through the pain. I was going to leave it all out there. I wanted to finish without regrets.

The last few miles were hard. Super hard. A lot of it was on a gravel trail, and then there was the final hill. Who puts a freaking hill at the finish line? Honestly?! According to my Garmin, the hill was around 12.75 miles and had 40 ft of elevation gain until mile 13. Felt like freaking Mt. Everest.

We reached the summit and then we could see the finish line at the bottom of the hill. Time to sprint.

Berkeley Half Marathonberkeley half marathon

After I crossed the finish line and stopped running, my back pain immediately got worse. It hurt so bad to move on my own. And in a few minutes, I would be unable to walk on my own.

Look how funny these photos are- there’s Shanna looking all happy and then there’s me (P.S. hello massive thigh)…FYI Shanna did an amazing job and PR’ed with a time of 2:00:34!

berkeley half marathon berkeley half marathon

And then here’s another super funny (to me) pic. My family and I laughed that Shanna and I actually looked like we had just run 13.1 miles. And then there’s Michelle…

Looking all cute and like she just went for a leisurely jog.
Looking all cute and like she just went for a leisurely jog.

Michelle was awesome. You can tell she’s paced people before. A few times she told me to relax my jaw and shake out my arms. She told me our pace, but only at good points when it wouldn’t be discouraging. She told me when to ease up, and when to push it. She’s the reason I finished. I cannot thank her enough.

And what you’ve been waiting for, my results! I finished with a new PR of 2:02:03!

I know, it shocked me too. Here are my splits (on the left) compared to my first half marathon. Funny how even with the back pain, I ran a lot faster.

berkeley half marathonΒ  Β  Β  Β sj rnr

The finishers!
The finishers! (and my waist looks weird because I have an ice pack saran wrapped around it haha)

And some more people I have to thank! My awesome parents and Kyle for waking up at the crack of nothing to watch me run around in circles. They’re another reason that I finished. I didn’t want to disappoint them by quitting.

berkeley half marathon berkeley half marathon

I was supposed to go out to a celebratory brunch with coworkers who also ran the race, but Kyle and Shanna talked me out of it because, well, I couldn’t walk without help.

berkeley half marathon
When we got home.

At least I had this awesome sandwich from my favorite deli, a magnet for my car that I’ve always wanted (from Kyle’s mama), and my awesome medal πŸ™‚

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And yes, Kyle. Running did suck on Sunday.

berkeley half marathon

So I know y’all are sick of listening to me gab, but some of my final thoughts:

  1. I was in incredible pain (and still am, but getting better), but I still cannot wait until my next half. I told my mom about a month ago that I don’t think I love running, I just love the challenge. Now I think I love running.
  2. Yes, I am incredibly disappointed that I did not finish in under 2 hours. I trained for that. I knew know I can do it. It just wasn’t in the cards for me that day.
  3. Again, a huge thank you to Michelle. I know I would not have finished it if you weren’t there.
  4. Again, a huge thank you to my parents and Kyle. Kyle, BTW, had (still has) a bad cold and still came out to cheer me on.

Thanks for listening to me y’all! You rock!

37 thoughts on “Berkeley Half Marathon – Race Recap!!

  1. WOW! Congratulations on your run…awesome. Sure hope your back pain doesn’t last long.
    PS – I was secretly stocking your blog since I don’t have instagram (yet) and was getting a little worried since you hadn’t posted. I almost tried to find you on facebook to make sure everything was a-okay. (funny, how you get used to reading some blogs and get concerned for the person you’ve never met in person.
    Well done, again. Hard work pays off! Now, go rest πŸ™‚

    1. Aww you’re too sweet!!! Thank you! Lol sorry I didn’t post sooner! I just kept sitting down to write and nothing came out. Plus today is the first day that I could actually sit down at a computer! But I totally know what you mean, I’ve definitely been a stalker when my blog friends go missing πŸ˜‰

  2. Congrats on the PR nonetheless, still awesome and think how speedy you would have been without the pain. I felt the same bittersweet feeling after my second half- I KNEW I could do better and could not wait to make it happen but still happen to have another under my belt πŸ™‚ That’s awesome that you had Michelle to help you, what a great motivation. Also, the picture of you and the boy is super cute πŸ™‚

  3. YOU DID AMAZING! Seriously, pressing through like that with a painful back and PRing like that, you should be so beyond proud of yourself, which I’m sure your family and Kyle are! I hope you’re feeling better now and recovering slowly.
    Well done you!!!

  4. Way to go! I hope you can get your back fixed. I’m glad that you love running – I really love it too, and I know people think we’re crazy for it!
    Don’t worry about taking too long to post the recap…I still haven’t done my marathon recap from January!!! I need to get on that.
    Again, congrats!!!!

  5. WOW! Congrats on your race and PR! I know how it feels to be JUST over a goal time, but you can totally rock that next time. Sounds like you did a fabuous job, especially with the back pain. And the picture of Kyle (+ shirt) with you (clearly a runner) is so funny!

  6. So proud of you kiddo! Just remember this experience – you can do anything!
    Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your adventures – makes me wish I could run again!

  7. You earned every ounce of that PR. You are seriously a rockstar and it was an honor to meet you and pace you!
    Can’t believe how bad your back pain was (that you couldn’t walk on your own later o__O). I’m glad it hasn’t scared you off from running! Even without the perfect circumstances you fought hard and got a huge PR. Your next race… we’ll get you that sub-2:00 ;). Your training and everything was spot on πŸ˜€

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