Zoom Point Pinole Half Marathon Race Recap

8 Sep

On Saturday Sept 2 I ran the Zoom Point Pinole Half Marathon in Richmond, California.  I was in San Francisco for a work trip and decided to tack on an extra day when I found out there was a half marathon nearby. The race was located about 40 minutes from San Francisco. I picked up a rental car at the San Francisco Airport around 7am and arrived at Pointe Pinole Regional Shoreline around 7:45.

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I had plenty of time to pick up my bib and shirt, head back to the car to get everything organized, and walk back towards the start line to use the park restrooms.

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After reviewing the race details on their website, I decided to bring my hand held water bottle so that I could carry water. There were aid stations every two miles or so, but with the heat at the start (it was already in the high 70s – unseasonably warm for the area), I was glad I had my handheld.

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The race director explained the course to us right before 9am and we started right on time. The half marathon was composed of 4 loops that were very clearly marked. Loops 1 and 3 were the “pink” loops (the loop on the left in the photo below), and 2 and 4 (on the right) were “orange.” Loops 1 and 3, and 2 and 4 were the same, and both the pink and orange loops shared the same last mile so basically we ran two figure 8s. I hope that makes sense.

ZoomPointPinole Course

A good portion of the race was along the shoreline, and was pretty scenic. Though you could definitely tell there was smoke in the air from the Northern California wildfires.  Typically you would be able to see across the bay, but you couldn’t.

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There was also a 5k (just the pink loop) and a 10k (the pink loop and orange loop, each once).

The course was called a “trail race” but really it was just crushed gravel trails through the park. Nothing that I would consider a true trail.

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I wasn’t sure how I was going to like repeating where I ran throughout the race, but I actually ended up really enjoying it. I tend to break half marathons up into the first 5k, second 5, last 5k and final push mentally, so this course fit what I do anyhow.

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I spent the first pink and orange loops just taking everything in and enjoying the beautiful coastline, and on my second time around I stopped frequently to walk and take photos. I had no time goal for this race.  Because of the variety of races, and the way the course looped, I didn’t see many runners in the second half, and really had no sense of where I was in the “pack.” I could have been first or I could have been last. It was really kind of freeing and allowed me to not feel pressured to push the pace.

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I was glad that my legs didn’t feel too tired, despite the higher than normal running and walking mileage, and lack of sleep of the previous days.

About half way through the race the temperature continued to rise and I was so glad I had my handheld water bottle. I refilled it every time I passed an aid station, and it was almost empty each time. I just kept feeling like I needed to drink water so I listened to my body. I also took a salt tab and gu 1 hour into the race, and another gu around 1:45.

The race volunteers were great, especially the guys at the aid stations. They always filled my bottle for me and chatted about the race, and offered me a variety of snacks. For the most part I stuck to water, but during my final (orange) loop, they gave me a little dixie cup of coke that tasted AMAZING.

I finished in 2:40:51 (12:17 pace). The course did measure a little short – at 12.85 miles – I had a feeling it would due to the fact that 2 10k loops doesn’t equal 13.1 😉 Nonetheless, I am proud to have experienced a half marathon in California.

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At the finish they gave me a medal and had a variety of awesome snacks.  I had a bottle of water and a sprite that tasted awesome.

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Overall, this was a great race that I am happy to have had the opportunity to participate in. It was well organized, scenic, and relaxed. And hot – but the race director can’t control that. 😉

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Post-race I refueld and explored more of California by visiting Muir Woods and Sonoma Wine Country!

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