Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Oaktown Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
Out of the four half marathons I’ve ran since giving birth 8 months ago, not only was the OakTown Half my fastest half marathon, but I also felt the best during this half! After running the OakTown Half, I feel hopeful about my future postpartum running endeavors.
Of course, the first step to preparing for a race is laying out your outfit the morning before. Although my Nike dri-fit shorts are my normal go-to, for the OakTown Half, I decided to wear my Lululemon skirt instead. (A little fun fact… This skirt was my first Lululemon purchase and I bought it during a We Run Social shakeout run in San Francisco on April 6, 2019.)
Since I’m now a mom to a baby, I don’t usually spend the night at a running location unless it is more than a three hour drive away. If it takes me less than three hours to drive to the race, then chances are I’ll be driving there the morning of. Since it takes me about two hours to drive to Oakland, I left my house at 4am and drove there the morning of the race. The Bay Bridge looked so beautiful in the wee hours of the morning!
I made my way to the race starting line after finding a place to park my car (for free) on the street. I snapped a quick pic of the starting line and then looked for the place to pick up my bib. (I paid the $20 fee to pick up my bib the morning of the race. For people such as myself who live two or more hours away, driving down on Saturday to pick up my bib and then driving down again on Sunday to run the race is a little much.) Sadly, when I got to the front of the line to pick up my bib, my bib number could not be found. This was the first time this has ever happened to me. Fortunately, they were able to find a new bib number for me and I was quickly on my way to the starting line. (While waiting in line to pick up my bib, I got to chat with fellow BibRave Pros Rory and Fallon!)
Before I knew it, the race was under way. I was so focused on running and enjoying the course, that I missed the first mile marker hence the picture of me holding up one finger. This does not mean that I was in first place. Instead it means that I had completed one mile.
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to start races too quickly. The OakTown Half was no exception. By mile four, my head was pounding! I haven’t done a lot of research on this, but I think my heart rate gets too high during a race and so my head starts to pound. I think my heart rate gets too high because I’m not in proper shape. It truly is a vicious cycle.
With that being said, once my head started pounding, I decided to slow down my pace and change to Garmin Forerunner 235 to display heart rate zones as opposed to my mileage and pace. I decided that I was going to run until my heart rate was in the mid Maxium (red) zone. I would then walk until my heart rate was in the low to mid Anaerobic (dark orange) zone. As this point I’d run and repeat the process. This worked so well that the miles seemed to just click on by! I was feeling good, no head pounding, and I was able to enjoy the views!
They changed the OakTown course this year and I’m so glad that they did! As mentioned in my Top Reasons to Run the OakTown Half, I love running anywhere in which there is a view of water… a lake, river, ocean, etc. To be able to run about 6 miles of the OakTown course while taking in the views of Lake Merritt were magical!
Since I wasn’t following my mileage and pace as closely as I do in other races, I was so pleasantly pleased to see that I was set to PR when I looked at my total elapsed time as about mile 11. I continued to comfortably pushed my pace all the way to the finish line. I, in fact, beat my time on this course last year by over 20 minutes! I beat my previous postpartum PR by 7 minutes. Still chasing that pre-pregnancy PR, but that’s okay. Overall, I’m thrilled with my performance.
Is there anything quite as nice as a finish line beer?! I love that the OakTown Half hands all finishers a custom mason jar when you cross the finish line so that you can fill it with water, beer, or a little or both! 😉
Isn’t this medal SO way awesome! I love the detail of the lake and that those parts were see-through. I hope to see you out on the OakTown course with me next year!
Until next time,
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