Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bay to Breakers 12K PR race recap

I realize that I'm losing readers by not being as active on this blog, and also on not commenting on as many blogs as I was before.  If you want to be my personal facebook friend, email me at nellyontherun(at)gmail(dot)com for my facebook link.  I spelled out my email to try to cut down on spam emails lol.  

Bay to Breakers 12K race recap:
Bay to Breakers 12K race was this Sunday, this has always been my favorite race of the year - maybe because of how unique and chaotic the race is, and also because I've now done it 13 times (more than any other race by far).  My 2012 race recap is probably the best for some background on the race, and other useful info.  2011 race recap is here too.  This year I was finally fully healthy (or healthy enough) to race it full out for the first time since 2010, so I was really excited for this race.  

Elevation profile:
Bay to Breakers has a weird elevation profile, with it basically being flat for the first 2 miles, then a huge hill, then flat, then downhill.  My 2010 PR was 54:55 (7:22 pace), and so my basic goal was to have the average pace be 7:22 or lower when I got to the downhill portion at mile 5.2 (because then I would pick up time on the downhill).  I think I had a shot at my PR for sure, but wasn't 100% sure by any means.  

Bay to Breakers used to pass out these timing chips in the older races (07, 08, 09) - I wish they still did this, instead this year your timer thing was embedded into foam with your race number (which was kind of annoying since you sort of felt it against your chest)

it was a gorgeous day for running - not too hot, not too cold - maybe 57 to 58?  Luckily the heat wave that we had on Wed and Thurs went away by Sunday (side note, but San Diego has simply on fire, with infernos near lots of houses, and even firenadoes being seen - and no, this is not the movie Sharknado lol)

I was in Corral A

Corral A was very empty when I first got there at 715 ish - Corral B was jammed

lol on these guys - ostriches?

perfect day out

this were centipede runners - SF Road Warrior cofirmed they are the Impalas.  They were wearing flannel like shirts or something fashionable - the shirts looked good, I have no idea if they could run okay in them lol.  Though I guess that is sort of the costume they were wearing as a centipede?

after stepping out of Corral A to warm up a bit - I saw that the security guarding the elite corral was very weak - so I decided to jump in lol.  I realize that I probably shouldn't have since that should be reserved for the elite, but I tried to stay off to the side, and I guess I just couldn't resist jumping in there.  Really cool to be so close to the elites! (side note, but I did have an sub seeded number in 2011, but I was injured and so couldn't make use of this perk unfortunately.  So maybe this was me making up for that now? lol)

the race was heavily delayed due to something happening on course at Hayes Street Hill (apparently it was due to a metal arch not being stabilized or something, weird) - so I was able to get a shot of the start line - anyone recognize anyone?  I didn't see Ryan Hall.  I also saw an article saying that the start was delayed due to security removing people from the elite starting area, likely the people that were right around me that got hauled out with beers in their hands haha (1 guy did call me out for not having a sub-seeded bib, but he was nice about it and didn't have me tossed - maybe because I looked like a serious runner?)

and the mascot of the race - Ape Hasbury - who actually is a great runner underneath the costume (beating me handily every year) - can't imagine how good he would be running without a costume! lol

the mass of humanity behind me

the race was so delayed that they let the runners warmup again (the race finally started at 825) I've never been to a race that started that far behind schedule (should have started at 8)

a centipede coming into view - finally the gun sounded shortly after this pic was taken

Mile 1 - 6:57 (178 heartrate)
When the gun went off, I immediately tried to get out of people's way on the right side, since technically I was starting up too close to the starting line.  After maybe 20 feet I heard someone from behind me telling me that a centipede was coming through, apparently they have a fast runner clearing traffic up ahead which is a great idea lol.  Random people also seemed to be crossing across the race course, I almost collided with a couple of them - I wanted to say - get the F off the course!  But I didn't say anything other than to be annoyed, because there was no time to react to what they were doing.  I also saw tons of police on bikes on the left and right side of the course - no idea what was happening - maybe they were just riding up ahead to help with crowd control.  It was one of the most chaotic miles of a race that I can ever remember.  I was glad that it was over.  As for my pace, I was trying to settle into a reasonable pace, and apparently that reasonable pace was 6:57 - I'll take it!

Mile 2 - 7:00 (185 heartrate)
The crowds were absolutely massive on both sides of the course - and since I was at the very front of the start, almost no one was on course at this point.  I guess this was what people running Boston feel like?  It was an awesome feeling to see a massive road and almost no one on it.  Mile 2 was way calmer than mile 1, though I still saw people cutting across the course dangerously close to runners (and me).  How hard is it for people to stay on 1 side of the street and wait?  Not saying that I wanted them to get taken out (since that would injure a runner most likely, but hope some karma got them later on).  Mile 2 is just a little bit uphill, and that means Hayes Street Hill is up next.  Like I stated a couple weeks ago, my top speed is clearly better than 2010 (when I set my B2B PR), but my hill work is worse.  Mile 2 felt okay, I maybe could have backed off a little bit, but kept going.  Turned out to be a 7 min pace 2nd mile, I'll take it again.  

Mile 3 - 7:36 (189 heartrate) (Hayes Street Hill)
This is the hill of Bay to Breakers - I'm not sure about the actual grade, but based on the elevation profile, it goes from 70 feet to 270 feet in only 0.80 of a mile.  So the hill is steep.  It does have a flat landing at every block - so it goes flat landing, then steep part, repeat 7-8 times.  The hill hurt a lot, my lack of real hill work cost me some here.  The crowd did help pump me up here - some nice DJ tunes were being pumped in.  I didn't walk, but I wasn't making as good of progress as I thought I would.  Though I looked down and saw 7:36 for that mile, and was pleasantly surprised - I was at 7:58 in 2010 - which seems really weird (since I was in great hill shape that year).  Maybe it is because my pace and cadence is higher now, that it makes up for some lack of hill work.  

Hayes Street Hill time:
One other cool thing - apparently the race also times your Hayes Street Hill time too, and I did better on the hill than I did on the race itself (442 rank on hill, 507 rank on race overall).  So maybe my hill work isn't that bad compared to everyone else.  
Hayes Street Hill time 4:16 - 442/28228 overall rank, 88/2174 division rank

Mile 4 - 7:14 (186 heartrate)
This mile is somewhat deceiving, because after the Hayes Street Hill the course drops down some, then you gradually climb back up again.  So your body is already gassed after the hill, and welcome to a more gradual uphill.  I was hurting here, and my stomach seemed to be feeling weird - I had decided to mix in cytomax into both of my water bottles (for races I normally just have 1 cytomax, 1 water).  So I think my stomach was overloaded with cytomax - luckily I got a bit of water at a water stop and felt okay from there on out.  I didn't drink much the rest of the race because I didn't want to upset my stomach.  I did survive this mile - I was looking forward to mile 5.2, because this is where the race drops down or is flat the rest of the race.  

Mile 5 - 6:56 (186 heartrate)

This mile is sort of flat ish, just tried to keep the legs moving and was just hoping that the downhill would start soon.  You are in the flat part of Golden Gate Park.  I don't remember too much from this mile lol.  There was a skating group that was playing tunes that was pretty entertaining I remember though in Golden Gate Park.  Probably the best race entertainment were these girls.  Also a few punk bands were playing, nice to hear some punk while running.  

Mile 6 - 6:37 (185 heartrate)
Finally got to the downhill at mile 5.2, and fully enjoyed this part of the race course (Golden Gate Park).  The temps were perfect for the race - maybe 58 to 60 with fog.  Can't ask for better running conditions.  I love to talk to people on the course during races, so I started talking to one guy who seemed to be running my exact same pace.  Was nice to get some camaraderie, since I was dying a bit out there. I saw the same President Obama guy this year that I saw in 2011 and 2012, he had a sign that had Monica Lewinsky and Hilary on it lol.  That guy is hilarious.  

when the photographer stand was coming up, I saw that no one was running on the right side, so I figured might as well run on that side lol.  one of my best running pics

Mile 7 - 6:36 (187 heartrate)
The course keeps dropping down, and we were going right through Golden Gate Park - I thought of my run last week there - went past the waterfall, the lakes, Hellman Hollow, Conservancy of Flowers.  Normally I remember seeing vibrant colors from the sun in prior years, but that was not the case today due to the fog.  On this mile a girl in a Boston shirt passed me, I tried to keep up with her - but to no avail.  Just seemed like in this part I was being passed by more people, they seemed to have a gear that I just didn't have.  I've talked about this before, but maybe I need to do some speed workouts or interval workouts to help with getting that extra gear that some people seem to have.  Any thoughts on this?  One side note, but sometimes my legs can't go any faster, but I can still talk to others and not have to slow down - anyone else have this happen to them?  It's like my legs have no more gears in them, but my mouth can yap away lol.  Likely to the annoyance of those runners around me haha.  

Mile 7.45 - 6:23 (189 heartrate)

Since I last did the race in 2012, apparently the course changed.  Because as were getting closer to mile 7.45, we still weren't turning left onto the Great Highway for the final stretch run.  This year they had us make a left turn onto MLK, then a right turn onto MLK to finish right in the park.  (course map)  The right turn into the finish seemed odd, because it was pretty abrupt and tight, and my body didn't want to turn at that point.  There was also a curb there, I bet there were a few accidents at that turn.  I was fully dying at this point, I found my buddy that I seemed to latch onto during the race, and he encouraged me to keep going forward.  I had nothing left coming into the finish, I wish I could have enjoyed the last stretch more, but I just wanted to finish as fast as I could - I knew I had smashed my PR!  It was sort of a mixture of joy at smashing my PR, and also pain because I was running on literal fumes.  The spectators right near the finish must have thought I looked awful lol.  I also thought that in order to run a PR, you need to pay to play, and it is almost hard to fully enjoy the course, since you are so focused on where you are stepping, your pace, and everything else besides the surroundings.  Though at times I tried to look straight ahead to see the course and everything around.  

Finish line area:
As I crossed the line, I saw my running race buddy, and we exchanged high fives and such.  I was just so pumped up and excited about what I just accomplished - the runners high was in full effect.  Moments like that at the finish line make all the miles we put in on the roads and trails worth it.  I also thought about all those early morning tax season miles that I put in while working 75 hours a week - I really worked hard for this.  Days like today are why I love running.  Another reason why I love running is that generally you get back exactly what you put in it - if you work hard, you will see results.  And since I started this blog in Nov 2010, this is exactly the race recap I wanted to write - it only took 3.5 years to get there lol.  I'll also add that this is one of most fun races that I've ever done, and one of my favorite race reports to write as well.  

Bay to Breakers
12K (7.45 miles)
7:01 mile pace
185 average heartrate
507/28228 overall (1.8%)
91/2174 age group (4.2%)
431/12946 gender (3.3%)
Hayes Street Hill time 4:16 - 442/28228 overall rank, 88/2174 division rank
2nd fastest race since July 2000 based on % basis (and it may be my best race since 2000, since the 408K race field probably wasn't as stacked as the B2B field).  I likely say this is my best race since 2000 - I definitely feel the most proud about this race than any race since 2000.  (2010 SF marathon is also in the discussion lol)

Even though this was my best time by far, it is still not my best finish based on pure placing - in 2009 I finished 492nd (56:10).  2010 year was 665th (54:55).  2009 was one of the hottest years ever for B2B, so I think that is why I finished so high even though my time wasn't as good as 2010 or 2014.  This year I was 5 seconds from the top 500, that would have been pretty awesome to be there again - but really I didn't have any more to give out there on course.  

dying at this point (far right side of screen)

lol on this pic (both me and the guy in the bottom right lol)

just a little pumped up

the face of pain - me and the guy behind me lol

all smiles at the finish line

they had red bull at the finish line which was cool
and I got talking to another guy that apparently thought he recognized me from another race, though I didn't recognize him lol - maybe from a prior Bay to Breakers?  

I think this was Asics Aggies centipede - they are always fast (not sure if they won or not)
side note - but I always seem to notice that the centipede runners almost all look exactly the same.  Is this coincidental?  I guess they have the typical elite women runner look.  I guess I'm always intrigued by what the elites are up to

a bear lol

I have no idea what band was going to play, I think I finished too quick for it lol

red bull was everywhere at the finish line

the course is called Bay to Breakers for a reason lol

the windmill is always fun to run by - we didn't get to run by it this year due to the course change

I bought a beer before boarding the post race shuttle - was an awesome idea to celebrate (and I almost crashed a private event by accident haha)

unfortunately they changed the post race shuttle options - in 2012 you could take a shuttle from the finish line to Daly City BART (where my car was parked)
this year you could only take a shuttle back to the start line (where you then had to take BART back to Daly City BART)

post race spoils - the shirt is awesome, by far the best shirt ever.  It is a cool design, and it is also technical fabric, so I will actually wear it to the gym and on runs - I could see this being one of my favorite shirts to wear on the trails now.  The shirt was designed by Under Armour, I hope they stay around for future races as a sponsor (or even become the title sponsor)

the medal was also great - a really good look

Overall it was a great run Bay to Breakers - one of my favorites.  Besides the slight annoyance at the transportation option changes. (and the delayed start time was not good)

Race analysis:
Very similar to what I said in my 408K race recap, I was shocked at how well I did in this race.  That now makes 4 PRs in 3 races, which is pretty nuts. (During 408K race I beat my 5K and 8K PR).  I think I did so well because this year I almost specifically trained for this race, whereas in 2010 I was in marathon training, and so I did most runs at a slower pace.  I also think Newtons played a part, midfoot striking simply has made me a more efficient runner, and thus a faster runner.  Maybe I should be in a Newton commercial? lol.  Going into it I've had somewhat minor injuries over the past month - small right hip discomfort, small left knee pain, and small right ankle pain.  So I had no idea if was going to be able to actually race it all out and not get injured on race day.  I really don't remember feeling anything during the race, and I don't really feel anything now.  I'm going to make sure to foam roll a ton the next few days to make sure the calves are rolled out.  Also, I need to get back to strength training regularly again, I kind of lost the routine due to tax season and not having enough time.  I think my hip strength has been weak recently, likely contributing to my right hip pain and occasional left knee pain (basically on some of my runs I think my left kneecap doesn't align perfectly due to inadequate hip strength, thus causing some inflamation).  I'm also going to back off the running a bit - maybe only run 2 days a week for a couple weeks, and hit the gym hard with yoga and strength training.  I'll do just enough running to maintain my current fitness, but not overdo it.  

Future race plans:
I decided to register for the SF half marathon (2nd half) on 7/27.  While I completed the SF 1st half in 2009, and then the SF full marathon in 2010, for whatever reason I've always wanted to just do the 2nd half since.  I was injured in 2011, wasn't trained up enough in 2012, and injured in 2013.  So now it's finally time to settle some unfinished business on the course.  I was debating about whether to go to San Diego Comic Con, but after not being able to get an actual ticket to Comic Con, I decided that I would have more fun doing SF half marathon.  I realize that I only have 9 weeks to get trained up for the race, so I probably need to start next week (I've done up to 7 miles in training regularly, so I'm probably right on schedule to get trained up for it).  Anyone have a training plan suggestion?  Hal Higdon intermediate plan looks tempting.  Also, I have the Run Less, Run Faster book at home, I may just follow one of those.  

I may also do the SF Giants Race on 9/7/14.  Though that date is awful for an event, since everything happens on that date (US Open final, NFL football starts).  I guess the next main target run way in the future is San Jose RNR half marathon on 10/5/14.  With how my recent races have gone, I think I have a real shot to go for a 7 min ish pace half marathon, since SJ is basically perfectly flat.  

Bay to Breakers photos cost:
I was actually really excited to get the photos from Bay to breakers, because I actually thought they were going to be awesome, since I ran so near the front of a big race.  The photos turned out great, though I can't justify spending $40 for 1 pic, or $80 for all of them.  So I sent sportphoto a rant about it below lol.  

Email sent to them:
I recently ran Bay to Breakers, and this is just a general comment about Sportphoto's pictures.  I actually really like the photos that were taken of me during the race.  But paying $40 for 1 digital image or $60 for 5 or $50 for 3 is all ridiculous to me.  You do realize that the cost to register for the race is $60, so you might pay more than the actual race itself, or just a little bit less than the race fee to simply get digital pictures?  I just don't understand it.  Why isn't the price maybe 1/3 of the what you guys charge - because the more people like me might actually buy your prints.  I can tell you right now that the vast majority of runners out there simply do a print screen of the screen, and then crop it down so that it's just showing the pic itself.  Maybe business wise for you guys it's better to have the price be so high that some people will buy the photos anyways, but it just seems greedy and ridiculous to me (borderline extortion too, because of the high utility that race photos provide to people).  If you lower the price down to maybe 1/3 many more people would buy the prints I believe, and your company would make more money in the process.  I can say for certain that if the price was $20 or $30 for a digital download of the photos, I would have bought them all.  Now, I likely will not buy any.  

Anyone have any half marathon training plans that they like? (I only have 9 weeks left apparently to SF half) 
Would you have jumped in the elite corral given the chance?
Any thoughts on my sportphoto race photo email rant?  Should I buy them anyways?  


  1. i can't applaud you enough on that email to sportphoto!!! lol! I ran The Giant Race in 2013 and finishing on the field is actually pretty damn cool. I remember that there were a few things going on that day as well (America's Cup, most notably), but it didn't have too much of an impact. congrats on a great B2B.

  2. Nice--congrats on the PR, AND so glad to hear you are running and doing well!! I have wanted to run B2B for years & it's just never worked out with my race schedule/life schedule/being injured schedule. One of these years!

    Oh, and yes, the centipede is the Impalas--they do it every year.

    Perhaps I will see you at SFM 2nd Half!

  3. GREAT JOB! It seems like since I've been following you, you've had a string of bad luck with injury - man, I'm so happy for you. You ran a great race, and I hope you're still on that runner's high! I don't think your rant was out of line at all, that's why I have no problem at all putting them on my blog. The prices are absolutely unacceptable. Great job on your race again ... and more bear pictures please!

  4. You really are running some nice PRs lately! I'm so happy for you that your knee injury seems behind you. Keep it up.
    I never buy race photos. My husband sometimes takes a few if he isn't running, and our small local races take their own. Even in Rock n Roll events, I usually have a friend with a camera on the course!

  5. Congrats on the PR! I know this return-to-speed has been a while in the making and I am so happy for you!!!! But where were the naked runners? This is like the third recap I've read of B2B with no mention of this...#sodisappointing.

  6. Great run well done, and the shout out of the week goes to YOU!!!

    do love the pictures, have a look at that foort strike of yours, it is really good and that must be one of the reasons you are running so well...

    Also hate the cost of pictures... I feel that the organisers should pay the guys a fee to take pictures and they should be free to all runners!!!

  7. Must echo the comment above. You deserve a shoutout for kicking so much butt! Congrats on the PR and solid race. That course is tough and you did amazing. I love all your photos! Brings back the memories of when I ran it in 2009 :) I'm so happy you are running strong and feeling good.

    Thanks for the kind comments on my posts. Sorry to take a while to respond- the blog has been put on the back burner for a while. The more I research , the more I doubt it's peroneal tendonitis since my pain is on the other side of my ankle bone. I've floundered a while in getting it checked because I'm not too keen on spending a boatload on being told to rest. If I find a good place for an assessment of my gait/etx I'll check that out. I keep reminding myself I was good for 1.5 years before this popped up again. So I'm hoping it's just overuse. I'll have to see if there are more dates for that running clinic you sent me the link to. I'm always interested in small changes that can lead to better performance, injury prevention etx. I got a lot out of a newton one I went to last year. I think you had gone to a similar one. :)

    The cost of photos is nuts. I would think they would sell more if the price was say $10 a photo instead of $40+! I did actually buy all of my Knoxville photos because they were all so awesome. :) and running alone for stretches in that race was good and not so good at times. Made for great photos, but definitely got lonely in the later parts when I didn't even see anyone ahead of me to catch up to!

    Good luck with your SF half training!

  8. Congrats on the PR!!! Fast fast! Very happy for you! I wish I could run SF half! Maybe next year...,I am headed to SF next week for much needed family vacation!

  9. Finally read this RR all the way through. Whew! Great read.

    Congrats on the PR!! So awesomely fast.
    I don't get why you think you faded?....I guess the downhill covered this up as your paces were still good?

    Good race!