Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Running: 2008 Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon

First, my brief report posted to the forum:

Not the best weather (rained and strong wind by the ocean), but it could have been worse.

Course Map (not to scale). The run mostly goes through SF Golden Gate Park

Butt shot not just happens when climbing. It took the entire time when I ran towards and past Mud for the camera to turn on.

Got a finishers medal.

Now, a not-so-brief report:

I never liked jogging or running. But I started jogging in spring of 2007 hoping to help improve my cardiovascular shape for bicycling. Then I found a welcoming and encouraging group of people at work that run everyday during the lunch break, so I tagged along. For a long time, I did one run a week for 5 miles. Only in the last couple of months, I started adding another run in the week, and sometimes made it a 7 miler. I landed a registration out of blue, 3 weeks before the run. Will I be ready? I went out for a 11 mile run and got back in an hour and forty minutes. It looked like I would be able handle a half marathon.

But I had an even bigger question mark: considering the weather had been crappy for a while, how would the weather turn out on the race day??? I checked the weather forecast everyday in the week leading up to the race.

==> ==>
Thursday’s forecast Friday’s forecast Saturday’s forecast

Nice, exactly what I needed on my first ever half marathon — a bad weather. :roll:On Sunday morning, our arrival at the race was delayed because Hwy 84 between Skyline and 280 was blocked as a result of a downed tree. Thankfully we left home early enough that I was not late, but I didn’t get any time to kick back either. Erik dropped me off at 25th Ave and Fulton St. There was no turning back now. The line for the porta potties looked a mile long but I couldn’t by pass that. It was 2 minutes before 8am when I made to the start, or to be precise, a hundred yards behind the start line. Huge crowd. I stood on my toes, but couldn’t spot anyone I knew. After some supposedly very exciting announcements, finally the bell rang. Nobody moved — at least nobody around me moved. It took a while for the movement to propagate to my part of the crowd. When I crossed the start line 50 seconds after the bell, I started my stopwatch.One decision I had made before the race was I would not be competing with anybody and I would run my own pace. Here is my average mile pace (I don’t think they had all the mile markers out) according to my stop watch:

mile 1 mile 2 mile 3 mile 4 mile 5 mile 6 mile 7-9 mile 10 mile 11-12 mile 13 to finish
8’24” 7’29” 8’02” 7’50” 7’45” 7’29” 7’38” (Avg) 7’39” 7’54” (Avg) 8’49”

The weather was not bad in the first half of the run. Then it started raining off and on. At one point, I thought it was going to hail. The sun broke out for a couple of very brief moments too. As soon as people turned around going north on Great Hwy, everyone was treated with headwind. I had been given the advice to draft — tuck behind some big runners and let them block the wind. It didn’t seem to work for me. I just couldn’t find anyone whose pace matched mine, so most of the time, I was on my own. But it was okay because by that time, I knew the finish was not far any more. I was running at a conservative pace so it never got to a point when I had to labor to make every steps. On the other hand, when I saw the finish line, a wave of energy came out of nowhere, and I fully sprinted passing a few runners on the way. I almost wished the finish line had been a bit further away. When I crossed the finish line, I had 1:42:10 on my watch. The official clock time for me was 1:43:00 (7:52 minute/mile). That was a time I feel very happy about and I went to sleep at night chuckling.


  • 4692 Total Finishers – 2208 Males / 2484 Females

Links and References on the Internet:


It’s been two full days since the run. I’ve felt a shortness of breath from time to time when I tried to take a deep breath. That’s interesting because I thought I didn’t overly exert myself during the run. If anything, my legs were feeling heavy near the end (except for the last hundred yards when I sprinted), and I didn’t think I breathed hard throughout the run. It reminded me that after I returned from my climbing trip to to Temple Crag (11000′-13000′ in elevation), I also experienced shortness of breath for a couple of days. Because it was an unfamiliar feeling, I went to a doctor for it, but nothing came out of it. It’s interesting how elevation and physical exertion have similar effect.

I also have had headaches at night during my sleep the last two nights. One thing I knew I neglected to do was taking in recovery drinks and protein right after the run. As a matter of fact, I did not eat my lunch until 6 hours afterwards. I shall learn the lesson.

More Photos:

The official event photos by Brightroom have been made available. I found following photos of mine:

2 Responses

  1. Norikoon 13 Mar 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Hey Mei,

    I didn’t know you were a runner! I am very impressed with your record!
    And, I didn’t know you remodeled your website! Looks very nice!

  2. mudwormon 14 Mar 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Well, I didn’t know either!

    Thanks for visiting the site. The major make-over kinda gave me the motivation to start writing again. Come back often! And I look forward to climbing with you again soon!