Monday, April 04, 2011

The Oakland Marathon

On April 27 I went to Oakland to run the Second Oakland marathon. It has been a while since I ran a road marathon… and I had forgotten how hard they are... ugh!

The day before Rujeko, Jim and I went to get our packets. The drive was hard since Mexico and some other Latin American country were having a soccer match at the Oakland Coliseum, what usually would take about 30 minutes to drive. It actually took around 1 ½ hours. By the time we got to the expo we were already tired and moody. We got out packets, walked around the expo, bought some nutrition and, took a look at some shoes and then we were in our way out. I say we spent about ½ hour at the expo, no more than that. By this time we were already hungry and ready to get something to eat…

We drove back to the city and went to this really cool Italian restaurant. It is a family style... each small plate will serve 3-5 and a large plate will serve 8-10. Can you imagine the size of those suckers? Well, Jim, Rujeko and I decided to get some spaghetti and gnocchi (small servings), but between the three of us, it was pretty much gone pretty fast. We even had room for dessert, cannoli… awesome.

Rujeko and I waiting for our table at the restaurant... ready to carboload.

After a great meal and a good desert, we were ready to get going. We drove to the marina with the idea to take some pictures. You see, I bought a SLR camera a while ago and I have wanted to learn how to take pictures… so having Jim as a teacher was pretty nice. He is a superb picture taker guy.

Learning to use my camera... Look at one of my first attempts. Thank you Jim.

The following day, both Jim and Oliver came to my house at around 5:45 am. We packed my car and were on our way to Oakland. We found parking pretty easy and were ready to start running in no time. It was amazing that I actually found parking pretty nice. This is definitely a good thing about the Oakland marathon; it was easy to find parking. Easy to get to the starting line since there were not that many participants.

The San Carlos Crossfit Endurance Team ready to tackle 26.2 miles of running.. From left to rigth, me, Rujeko, Oliver and Jim

The starting line was fun, the announcer was exciting and then the national anthem, then the countdown and we were off.

And here we goooooo..

I came there with idea of pacing Rujeko to a Boston qualifying marathon of 3:45. Well within the first mile we both agree that it was not going to happen as she was having issues with her tummy. Nevertheless, we actually found a good rhythm and ran without much problem. Interestingly, I found many familiar faces at the run. People that I usually would see at ultras, so it was a real treat to say hello to friends that I only see at ultras

What I like about the Oakland marathon was the fact that I got to see a different part of Oakland. This place is really nice and most importantly, people were really nice too. They were genuinely happy to see us there. And I have never seen so many police officers in one race, and they were very friendly and cheering people too. It was simply awesome; I came out with a different vibe about Oakland. I think I will make this marathon an every year affair from now on...

The first half of this marathon is pretty hilly, the hilly part ended in a pretty steep hill. I mean pretty steep for a regular marathon. The last downhill was pretty murderous, kind of remind me of some ultras I have run, but in an ultra, those are expected… in a regular marathon? No bueno… And when you are trying to maintain a pace, that freaking downhill trashed my quads. I just kept going, hoping that I will not go facedown, as it was pretty easy to do. After this murderous downhill about mile 10, -11, the course leveled up and it was mostly flat.

The weather was glorious; I truly believed that the weather wasn’t that bad, it was just perfect to run 26.2 miles. I was feeling pretty good, Rujeko on the other hand was having some stomach issues thus we fell out of pace within the first mile. She is a trooper regardless and I felt I did my work as she kept saying, “If you were not here, I would have stop by now”. So I did my job, I kept her positive and most importantly, kept her moving. This is our first marathon together and we did not kill each other… So that is a good thing.

Obligatory finisher picture...

After the race we met with fellow runners, Oliver and Jim and headed out to San Francisco to enjoy a very “healthy” breakfast... It was awesome...

This was by far one of the best marathons I have run, not because I did it in certain time, or because I felt good or anything. It was great because of the company. Rujeko, despite her stomach issues, did great and I am glad she convinced me to do this with her. We are definitely coming back to Oakland next year.

My dear friends and SCCF team members, Oliver and Jim did great as well.. Our next marathon will be at the end of a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride... yay!! Bring on the Pain!! ..


JimQuick said...

Great write up Luis! I guess we have to do Oakland every year.

Luis Velasquez said...

That is right Jim... we have to do Oakland every year.. :)

Celeste said...

YAY! You did a marathon in my hometown! It makes me want to schedule a trip home for next year. I grew up in those hills. :) Glad you enjoyed it!