Sunday, March 23, 2014

Oakland Marathon pacing stint #3

Oakland Marathon, 3:40 Pace Group
Sunday 24 March 2013

When I asked the new coordinator about pace-group leading this year's Oakland Marathon, she really wanted someone to lead the 3:10 pace group.  I wasn't quite sure I could handle that a week after Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile.  On top of that, I am on call for work race day, and told her there was a small chance I would have to bail.  So I am not pacing this year's race.  But here is my report from leading a pace group last year that I hadn't bothered to publish.

My friend from medical school, Berenice, an Emergency Medicine attending at Alameda County Medical Center, asked me if I was pacing the Oakland Marathon again this year.

I had emailed Melissa Ownsby, the pacing coordinator since the marathon's inaugural year in 2010, but never heard back from her.  I wondered if it was because I barely made it to the start last year.  As it turns out, I just had an outdated email address for her.  So I came on board relatively late.

Berenice told me she might try to run 3:40-- she wasn't real sure since this was only the 2nd marathon in her life.  She needed foot surgery the previous year, so had missed running for months. So not only would I help pace the 3:40 group for her, but we could carpool both the pre-race packet pickup and the race itself.

There was a themed school fundraiser the evening before, so I thought I might be stuffed with too much Mexican food and a little hungover, and so 3:40 wouldn't seem too slow.

Use your Freedom of Choice!
Rest in peace, Devo Guitarist and Keyboardist, Bob Casale.
This year's theme was Hawaian-- much easier.
My Devo energy domed hat took a ridiculously long amount of time to construct.
I knew there would only be one sign per group, and last year's sign survived our move, despite my wife throwing it in the trash at least once.  I replaced the screwed in "3:30:" laminated card with a larger, two-ply box for Trader Joes tempura.  I could feel the extra drag through the whole race, and really felt the extra weight  the last several miles especially.

In addition, I had a sign for my back, with my Wasp pack to stash my phone and take pics.

I think I wore my discontinued La Sportiva Skylite 2.0s-- work great on the roads.

Ultrarunner and writer/blogger Sarah Lavender Smith was in my pace group.

Sarah on my left.  I forget who was on my right
I thought this pacing stint would be a good chance to chat for 3 hours 40 minutes, but Sarah kept shooting ahead by a minute or so, maybe because she wanted some insurance.

Sarah, who has been injured much of the previous year,
 earlier this morning
about 7 1/2 hours before this year's (2014) Oakland Marathon,
finishing 2nd place overall female
in a nocturnal trail marathon by Pacific Coast Trail Runs
I considered accelerating my pace to keep up with her, but felt obligated to stay as close to the splits on my pacing wristband, so that people having a harder time to keep pace could always see my sign and would not become too frustrated or run too fast.  But it wasn't like I was lonely, and I could concentrate more on taking pics.

Berenice is near the center of the pic, just right of the road lines.
There was enough to see on the course even after I lost her.
My chip time was 3:39:44, my clock time (what I was going by, since I didn't record how long after the start I cross the start line mat) was 3:39:56, and 130th place overall.  Sarah, meanwhile, could grab an age-group award finishing a minute ahead.

Check this out!  (not the Raiderettes, but my clock time-- precision!)
By the way, the NFL's nonprofit status is total BS.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made $44.2M in 2012.
Meanwhile the cheerleaders are getting pissed off!
Is the middle cheerleader plaintiff #2? (click link)

2nd Raiderette joins suit over wages, expenses

I ran into several ultrarunning friends also pacing post-race
Raveev Patel, Keith Blom, Melissa and I
I didn't feel exploited (free entry, free training run), but I'm imagining it was a lot of work for Melissa

Berenice caught up with me past the finish line. Her family showed up, and we headed toward the beer tent, where I got separated from her.  After a massage in the tent, I still couldn't find her, and the crowds really made me appreciate the more laid back and friendly atmosphere of ultra finish areas (where at least in the Bay Area I know a lot of people).  But luckily for my 3:30 sign, they spotted me.

Berenice qualified for Boston and is registered this year's (2014) race!

GPS recorded run
official Oakland Running Festival websited


notthatlucas said...

First, love the Devo hat (and your skills at making it). Second, that other runner with you is Penny, who I think finished in the top 20 overall that year (but I might be off by a year). Third, I'm always amazed at how you pacers manage to be so on time - that's a great skill. (Maybe not Devo-hat worthy, but close.)

Julia Clements said...

Berenice rocks! xoxox Julia

Julia Clements said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Julia, sorry it took me so long to see and approve your comment. Thanks for reading and commenting. Berenice indeed rocks!