Flat, fast and fun. Put this race on your list.
This expo was good – not great but not bad either. I expected a bit more since it was a Rock n Roll race but I was also glad that it was not overwhelming. Parking was easy and we were able to get the $10 rate card validated at a nearby restaurant.
It was crowded and many runners did not line up in their assigned corral. I was in corral 4 but was surrounded by runners who were assigned to corral 10+. If I run this race in the future, I would definitely register with a faster predicted time.
It’s not necessarily scenic but I love everything about the course. From growing up around San Jose, I loved running through the neighborhoods such as downtown, Japantown and Santa Clara University, where I did my undergrad. The course is completely flat and had spectators along parts of the course. It did get a little hot with the last few stretches being completely in the sun but I’m not complaining.. I still ran a PR! Runners then finish in downtown San Jose, where there is a large finish line festival waiting for them.
ONE WEEKEND. TWO RACES. FOUR MEDALS.
This year Meb Keflezighi teamed up with Represent Running to revive the Silicon Valley Half Marathon. And it was EPIC.
The weekend events included a 5k and sunset yoga on Saturday, and a 10k and half marathon on Sunday. This is definitely a race to put on your calendar for next year, here’s why.
The expo was more of an outdoor food truck festival – which is AWESOME! There was live music, food trucks and vendors. There was not an overwhelming number of vendors but enough to walk around and check out the tents, if that is your thing. The expo was also held in downtown San Jose so it was nice to check out some of the restaurants and bars in walking distance.
It was hot, like 80+ degrees in the sun hot. The 5k was at 3:00 pm on Saturday and that is probably the only thing that I would change. The course was flat (it’s San Jose, duh) and ran along the Guadalupe River paved trail. The trail was not crowded at all and I surprisingly came close to a PR. Also, free race photos! #winning
Race: Half Marathon
Similar to the 5k, the half marathon course was flat and fast. Had I not run seven miles before starting the half marathon, I probably would have smashed my PR. I enjoyed the course having grown up in the area and getting to run through downtown San Jose to Santa Clara but I have to admit, it is not the most scenic race. Yet despite it lacking the scenery, the race made up for it with live music along the course and awesome volunteers. And more free race photos!!
Aside from the free race photos, I brought home a lot of swag from this race. First, 5k runners receive a short sleeve tech shirt and finisher medal. Then half marathon finishers receive a bag, quarter zip long sleeve and medal. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! By completing both the Silicon Valley Half and the San Jose 408k Race to the Row, you receive a challenge medal. And by completing both the 5k and half marathon, you get an additional challenge medal.
It’s a year away but I’m already pretty stoked to run this race again!
What: Berkeley Half Marathon
When: November 19, 2017
Where: Berkeley, CA
Distance: Half marathon
Runners were given the option to either pick up bibs in person or pay a small fee to receive bibs in the mail. I chose to go to the expo but would definitely recommend paying for the mail option in the future. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to race expos but the stress of dealing with parking was not worth it. The expo was at the Berkeley Sports Basement where there is unfortunately little to no parking. I drove around the blocks a few times and eventually waited in the parking lot for about 10-15 minutes until someone left.
Parking was easier than bib pickup was but make sure to get there early. Berkeley High School charged $20 for parking (yikes!) but hey, you get to park right next to the start line. It was a cold morning but perfect weather for a run. The porta potties were plentiful, the corrals were well-organized and the race started on time – couldn’t have asked for a better race start!
There were definitely more hills than I planned for, hence my soreness. The good thing was that with every uphill, there was a pretty significant downhill that followed. My legs hate me for going hard on the downhills but I wouldn’t have made the PR if I hadn’t. Other than the hills, the course was cool and you get to experience all of Berkeley.
Earned my race medal AND my challenge medal for running both the San Francisco Marathon and the Berkeley Half Marathon. BLING BLING! I have to say the medals were definitely worth it. I skipped most of the other post-race stuff to cheer on friends instead but definitely made sure to grab my post-race beer!
Pro tip: Berkeley also has a ton of great restaurants so make sure to do your research before hand.
With a little over 72 hours to go until the Berkeley Half Marathon this weekend, it is almost countdown time! These are some of my favorite tips to follow but more importantly, always follow the golden rule: do not try anything new on race day.
Thursday – 72 hours to go!
- Go for a run but don’t push it too hard by trying to cram in last minute runs.
- Check the forecast for Sunday, read through the race guide and start to finalize your race day plans.
Friday – 48 hours to go!
- Choose to take the extra rest if you need it or try for a short, easy effort run.
- Start adding in small amounts of extra carbs to your meals. For me personally, I also start adding more salt to my meals.
- Might want to check the forecast for Sunday again, especially if there is a chance for rain. I’m crossing my fingers that Sunday will be dry!
- Rest up for a good night’s sleep – the nights leading up to the race are crucial!
Saturday – 24 hours to go!
- Sometimes I prefer the extra rest day and sometimes I prefer a shakeout run the day before a race – up to you!
- Go for a higher-carb diet today but be careful not to overdo it. The last thing you want is to show up to the start line feeling sluggish and full.
- Pro tip: Choose foods that have worked in the past, remember nothing new!
- Avoid spending unnecessary time on your feet, meaning try to avoid spending too much time at the expo.
- Pack your bag and lay out your outfit, plus any additional items that you need on race day. This will help to cut down the stress and nerves that you might be feeling the next morning.
Sunday – RACE DAY!
- Eat something small unless you normally run without eating anything – it is not the time to try something new.
- Arrive early to find parking, chill out and even make a trip to the bathroom before the lines form.
- Warm up with some jogging and dynamic stretches.
- Have fun!!!
Also, make sure you check in next week for our Runner Holiday Guide!! (Discounts will be included!)
Many of my friends have asked me for advice in training for their first half marathon and I could not be happier and more excited to share my thoughts!
The first question to ask – do you have a goal race? If so, when is it? How much are you currently running?
- It is so important to make sure that you give yourself enough time to train and prepare for your first race. This will ensure that you are prepared and confident when you get to the start line.
- Take a look at these training plans from Hal Higdon for some help!
Planning your race and training schedule can sometimes be overwhelming, but it helps to make it fun! I look at my training log almost daily and write down notes about my run to keep me motivated.
Other training tips
- Practice proper nutrition and hydration, you will need it to run 13.1 miles.
- Visit your local running store and make sure you are wearing good shoes for running. This is one that many first time runners overlook because any exercise shoe can be used for running, right? Wrong.
- Listen to your body to avoid running through pain and thus potentially injuring yourself further.
- Don’t worry about time! If you have a goal time then that is fantastic, otherwise I would not suggest stressing out over your first race.
- There will be times that you may feel like quitting but remember why you started.
- Running is a mental sport and can be different for everyone. Test out different training methods and see what works best for you!
- Overall rule: trust the process and have fun!
What are some of your best half marathon training tips?
Stay tuned for race day tips!
Maybe you have never heard of it. Maybe you never venture out to Berkeley, CA. Or maybe you just need some extra words of encouragement to register. Whatever the reason, here are my top 5 reasons why you should register for The Berkeley Half Marathon today (or the 10k and 5k).
- Run Berkeley – I don’t know about you but I have never run through Berkeley. A race is my favorite way to run through the best parts of a city. As the race site says, “experience iconic Telegraph Avenue, vibrant Shattuck Avenue, serene North Berkeley streets, the picturesque waterfront, and more in this loop course“.
- Explore Berkeley – I don’t make the trip up to Berkeley often but when I do, it is usually either for food or a football game. So why not take the opportunity to get to run and eat? Most people know Berkeley as home to the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s, but what they may not know is that it is also home to some amazing restaurants. I highly recommend taking a look on Yelp or Trip Advisor’s Berkeley 2017: Best of Berkeley to make the most of your trip.
- A Distance for Everyone – Make this your first half marathon or maybe even your 50th half marathon. Maybe you don’t even feel like running a half marathon – try out the 10k! Bring your family, friends and coworkers to join you. You can even form a team and compete in the Team Challenge.
- The SF/Berkeley Challenge – I ran The San Francisco Marathon in July so by running The Berkeley Half, I will complete The SF/Berkeley Challenge and earn a third medal! If you ran TSFM, definitely sign up for this race and complete the challenge. If you didn’t run TSFM this year, don’t worry! You can run The Berkeley Half in November and still earn the challenge medal when you run TSFM next July. Find more details here.
- Discount Code – Yup, that’s right. You can get $10 OFF using the discount code: KELLI for the half or 10k events and $5 OFF with discount code: KELLI5K. So what are you waiting for? Sign up and run with us in November!
Hope to see you all out there on the course!