Oakland Half Marathon, March 20, 2016
I had planned on running the full marathon, but to my surprise, I was mortal and unable to get in the training necessary in three months, so I switched races down to the Half three weeks before race day.
Leading up to race day, I was extremely apprehensive. I suffered from an earache, which luckily, wasn’t infected, but was quite painful. It still is, although it is getting better. I don’t have a cold, so I think it might be allergy or hay fever-related. Every time I chew too hard or talk too much, it hurts. But, life continues…
I made plans to stay at the Marriott in Oakland. They had a great group rate and it was close enough to the start/finish. What a beautiful hotel! The rooms are lovely, a little small, but perfect for me. The staff was outstanding and the amenities were superb.
I was able to check in early which is always a HUGE bonus! I dropped off my bag and scurried down to the Race Expo in the hall on the ground floor. It was pretty good, not the largest I’ve ever seen, but it was cool.
The Half started at 9:10am Sunday. Everything happened at Snow Park close to Lake Merritt. I walked to the start, about a half mile from the hotel and passed some of the marathon runners already on their course. I cheered and clapped and encouraged them. There were a few spectators, but it was pretty quiet. In fact, on most of the course it was very quiet, one of the quieter races I’ve done, spectator-wise. Oakland just doesn’t get up early, I suppose.
Snow Park is a nice urban green refuge in a financial neighborhood of Oakland. There were lots of vendor booths, refreshments, sponsors, bag drop-offs and other things as well as lots and lots of porto-bathrooms.
The 13.1-mile course is flat, with only a couple very small and short uphills and most of it was well-marked, except for one bit after the third mile. There was some confusion that caused around 30 of us to run too far in the wrong direction. I lost about .3 miles because of it. Other than that, though, I like the course. I enjoyed the Taiko drummers, the Capoeira experts and the blues band. I especially liked the burning arch The Crucible created.
My favorite part, even though it was my most difficult part, was running around Lake Merritt. It really is beautiful. Around miles Eight through 10, my right IT band started bugging me and I had to walk a couple times. And then, as we had about a mile and a half left to run, it started pouring! It rained like it never rained before! The weirdest part is it only lasted about five minutes and stopped as soon as it started. As I turned into the last mile, I gathered up all my reserved energy, what little there was and pushed myself to finish running and running just a little bit faster. That was fun!
I gave it all on that course. It wasn’t my best race, but it was a great time. I’m thinking I will do the full Oakland Marathon next year. Why not?