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  • Brazen Bay Breeze Half Marathon Pacing Write-up

    Posted on February 14th, 2014 Michele Sun No comments

    Setting alarm for 5:10am wake-up is something that hasn’t happened for a very long time, and here I am getting up early for a race again — the Brazen Bay Breeze Half Marathon on Sat 2/16. This would be my first race since last Aug, and my longest run in distance and time as well. I would be pacing the 2:30 time slot, and frankly I was quite nervous about not able to hit the clock; distance-wise I knew I could totally do the 13.1ml with no problem at all. The last race that I have participated in was Cinderella Trail Race in Aug last year, the one that I was having lots of problem breathing and almost passed out at the end. Now those physical conditions & problems all made sense to me, and scary to think how they had gone unnoticed back then.

    Sat morning was cold and gloomy, and I had only few hours of sleep because of my being nervous. Good thing that my friend was doing the driving, but I did jokingly question if I needed a helmet with his race car driving style πŸ™‚ We haven’t been to a race together like this for a very long time, and he reminded me that Cinderella wasn’t our last one. We talked about his training and goal for Napa and I was feeling very comfortable that totally forgot about the pacing pressure and illness..etc. I just wanted to do a good pacing job at this race, for it held a very special meaning to me — I ran my first sub-2 Half Marathon at this course. Memory of Lester ran me in the last two miles still brought smile to my face and I am forever grateful for his supports.

    The race was held at the San Leandro Marina Park and it’s so gloomy and chilly when we arrived; we waited few minutes while I finished an apple as my pre-race breakfast. Then we went to look for other running friends at the Pacer table. Michael and Marcia had arrived already, and our pacer shirts, bibs, time-slot signs, pins… were all nicely laid-out on a picnic table; thanks to the forever detail oriented project manager — Michael. Marcia has gone to get a banner for our running club, and it’s exciting for everyone as this would be our first pacing gig this year. We put on the nice pace shirt, pinned the time at our back, couple group photos and we set out for a quick & short warm-up run.


    Around 7:50am we walked toward the start area and lined up under the arch by time slots, from the fastest 1:30 to the slowest 2:30. No matter how many races I have been to, race start always gives me sheer energy from excitement. I had my iPhone at my back pocket and pacer wrist band and watch on my right hand and I was ready to go. I chatted with runners around me and asked about their goals; some said they wanted to run a 2:30 Half Marathon, some just wanted to finish, and some of them were doing their very first race. I told them to stick with me and their 2:30 goal would happen.


    The course was an out and back fairly flat route into the marine wetland with very scenic view; with the fog and overcast I got a glimpse of the Bridge and it’s kind of romantic. And I spotted a white crane standing in the water, I wondered what it thought of us? Running around on an early Sat morning instead of sleeping in πŸ™‚ By mile 3 some runners started to slow down and could not keep up, but I continued talking and encouraging the few that were still with me. Every aid-station came up, I would encourage them to take a GU Gel and have some electrolyte fluid.


    After the half-way point turn-around, I passed a guy in very colorful costume and he asked “excuse me, what does that 2:30 mean?” I turned around and explained “It means I will finish this race at 2 hour and 30 minutes.” Then he decided to run pass me, and from there we played the “catch me if you can” game for the next few miles. But eventually he slowed down and just could not keep up. Starting from mile 11, some runners realized the 2:30 pacer was passing them so they tried to speed up and keep up with me. I was really glad that I was providing the last push two miles to the Finish as I shouted to those nearby “run pass me, you will be under 2:30.” I saw Mike & Jessica around mile 12 and half, and I told them “You two will make sub 2:30 today, just keep up the pace.” When approaching the arch I moved to the side and stayed behind them, I wanted the two have a cute couple picture without me in it πŸ˜›

    Pacing is completely different than running my own race, because my own personal time isn’t the goal. Making sure I help others to finish at their target time is the goal and it brings great joy knowing I helped fellow runners and made my run purposeful! After getting the medal, I went to congrats the blue hair guy for sticking with me at the end, and a girl that’s doing this as her “birthday run.” They made my day!!


    All the pacers have finished and came back to the pacer table, and I wanted to chat and hang out with them but I was shivering in cold while nibbling on half a bagel. Chad said “you look sick, Michele” so I went back to the car and changed out the wet running cloth. My body was indeed very tired; running 13.1 miles wasn’t hard for me, but doing it for 2 and half hour was tiring. Like my friend reminded me “you are not used to on your feet for this long now,” so my feet hurt also. I didn’t need a mirror to tell me that I must look terrible. I silently decided that instead of going to lunch with others, it’s better that I just go home for shower and nap. But seeing these running friends that I haven’t seen for a long time was really nice, and heard them saying “good job Michele” and giving me high-five Β during the race was so empowering!! I miss our running circle.

    On our way home I couldn’t help but thinking — wow, I am back running half marathon in 4 months; got to be some kind of miracle πŸ™‚


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