My Profile

@kyrah

Hercules, CA Raving since 2015 Running On Ayers active 8 months, 3 weeks ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Black Men Run

  • Rave race:
  • Race that's calling my name:

    Whispers…Boston

  • I run because:

    Why not?

My races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (3)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 3, 2017 3:28:13
Marathon Relay Oakland, CA Mar 20, 2016 4:31:02
Half Marathon San Francisco, CA Feb 5, 2017 1:28:46

Future Races (13)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
10K Atlanta, GA TBD
Marathon Chicago, IL TBD
Marathon Hopkinton, MA TBD
Half Marathon Charleston, SC TBD
Half Marathon North Myrtle Beach, SC TBD
Marathon Snoqualmie Pass, WA TBD
Half Marathon Napa, CA TBD
Marathon Staten Island, NY TBD
Half Marathon Columbia, SC TBD
Marathon Greenville, CA TBD
Marathon San Francisco, CA TBD
10K Orinda, CA TBD
5K Richmond, CA TBD

Past Races (13)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
5K Oakland, CA Mar 24, 2019
Half Marathon San Francisco, CA Feb 4, 2018
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 3, 2017 3:28:13
Half Marathon Oakland, CA Aug 12, 2017 1:30:13
Half Marathon Oakland, CA Apr 2, 2017 1:35:53
Half Marathon San Francisco, CA Feb 5, 2017 1:28:46
Half Marathon Oakland, CA Aug 13, 2016 1:32:17
Marathon Relay Oakland, CA Mar 20, 2016 4:31:02
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Nov 21, 2015 1:29:43
Half Marathon San Francisco, CA Nov 8, 2015 1:31:40
Half Marathon Oakland, CA Aug 15, 2015 1:43:03
Half Marathon Livermore, CA Mar 28, 2015 1:36:38
Half Marathon Oakland, CA Aug 16, 2014 1:38:34

My Raves

Oakland Running Festival

Oakland Running Festival

First, I want to point out that I’ve run some race distance at every ORF for the past 4 years. In celebration for their 10yr anniversary this year the course … MORE

First, I want to point out that I’ve run some race distance at every ORF for the past 4 years. In celebration for their 10yr anniversary this year the course was altered to cross the SF Bay Bridge, but we’ll get to that later.
Let’s start at the expo: I’m not sure what happened, but the amount of vendors was drastically reduced. I went midday on Saturday and it was 30% ghost town. Not a big problem for me. I’m usually in & out expos in sub-10 minutes anyway.

Getting to the starting line: I left home at 5:30 for a 20 mile drive and didn’t find a park until 6:30 that was about a mile away from the starting line. The amount of street closures and the lack of detour signs had several people stuck, confused and frustrated.

The race itself: I only ran a few miles around Lake Merritt. This part for me was beautiful. Relatively flat and fast course. Only complaint was that my gps as well as several others I spoke with measured the course long. Just something to look into.

Post race: beer lines are short at 8am for some reason. Bag check didn’t lose my stuff (score!). One plus/minus: in prior years there was a massive area for post race photos. It created a crazy line. This year the organizers opted to do a simple 3 backdrop on a fence setup. Functional but a tad cheesy to the vets. If we can meet in the middle somewhere that would be awesome.

Get outta here: after walking a mile back to my vehicle, the true nightmare began. The marathon was still going strong and several streets were still closed. It took me an hour and a half, talking to four police officers and running over two cones to travel about two miles away. I’m sure this will improve over time but the officers and volunteers were catching hell from people just trying to get home or in my case, to work.

Definitely glad I ran and looking forward to returning next year.

DIFFICULTY
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California International Marathon (CIM)

California International Marathon (CIM)

Like most things that are worth it in life, the journey started way before race day. I chickened out of my first marathon attempt in July 2017 and almost immediately … MORE

Like most things that are worth it in life, the journey started way before race day. I chickened out of my first marathon attempt in July 2017 and almost immediately jumped back on the horse training for another one. The race of choice was the 35th Annual California International Marathon. My training leading up to the race was moving along well at first, but it wasn’t long until similar patterns of missed weeks began to surface. I clawed myself back into shape repeatedly only to have it stripped from me time and time again. Dropping out of the race, although this race does offer deferrals for the next year, wasn’t an option for me. I missed my opportunity in San Francisco and watched thousands of runners pass by; I couldn’t bare to watch another chance do the same. I decided to line up and take the grade that I earned.

Leading Up to the Race
Long before race day I had accepted that this wouldn’t be my long sought after Boston Qualifying race. With helpful advice from several experienced marathoners, I was able to put together a plan and set goals. For those who have never run a marathon, I can now tell you from experience that there is nothing or no one that can prepare you for what you go through in a marathon. I don’t say these words to discourage, but instead to prepare you. Common advice that I received in the months leading up to the race would include:

“respect the distance”
“your mind will be tested”
“it’s going to hurt”
After hearing such advice repeatedly I began to think that marathoners are pessimistic people who don’t want new people joining their exclusive club. I nodded, smiled and usually left these conversations unscathed by their hurtful words.
In hindsight, I now see that these words weren’t hurtful or malicious. They were intended to prepare me for the reality that I was going to face. As my wife and I sat in the hotel room on the night before the race she voiced an analogy that continues to resonate with me and my first marathon attempt. She said that she was nervous for me, and that it reminded her of how I probably felt while she was in labor with our son. She was right in more ways than one.

Race Day Morning
At about 4:30 am, I woke up, showered and began to put on the clothes that I had carefully laid out the night before. Unlike most races, CIM does not recommend drop offs at the starting line nor do they encourage spectators to watch the start of the race. Instead they provide shuttle buses that take you to the starting line. Our hotel of choice was at the halfway point between the starting line in Folsom, CA and the finish line in Sacramento. It had rained the night before. The air was cool, but the wind was still. As we pulled up to one of many bus pick up locations I was shocked to see the parade of school buses that circled the entire Whole Foods parking lot efficiently loading thousands of runners in a manner of minutes. The line was extremely long, but in no time I was seated on a bus that obviously wasn’t intended for anyone over the height of 5’1.
Some runners slept while others talked to old or new friends. I was seated next to an older gentleman from the Folsom area. He too would be running his first marathon today. We talked the whole way about our journeys that led us to this day. I was candid in admitting that I hadn’t trained like I wanted to and about my aspirations for Boston. We laughed and joked for most of the trip which helped ease some of the nerves I was wrestling with. The bus parked amongst hundreds of its identical twins,each carrying 40 plus people all hoping to complete a marathon today. CIM allows you to stay on the bus to stay warm for as long as you’d like. A convenient offer being that the outside temperature was approximately 43 degrees and the sun was yet to show its face. While some got off immediately, I sat and enjoyed this luxury for about 20 minutes while enjoying a light breakfast that I had prepared the night before. Once done, I decided to venture out to see what all the fuss was about.
The streets were packed with runners. It was now one hour before the race was scheduled to begin; too early to warm up so I figured I could go for some coffee. Near the starting line was a gas station. The place was bursting with runners all trying to stay warm, grab a bite to eat or to use the facilities. After paying for my coffee, I made my way back outside to meet up with my friend and running mentor, Onyanga. After several text messages and roaming around in circles we were able to find each other. It was now thirty minutes before the race. We shared our morning stories and plans of action over a brief warm-up jog. Following the warm-up, I went to bag check, made a brief stop by the porta-potty and lined up with the thousands of other runners. It’s game time!
The Early Miles
My plan of attack was pretty simple. I’d line up with the 3hr 30min pace group and run with them for the first half of the race. At this point I could assess how I felt and determine whether to push the pace or not. As the horn sounded I started my watch and began the longest race that I had ever attempted. I was warned by many that the first mile of the race is downhill and that it’s important not to get ahead of your pace goals. I listened. I monitored my watch closely for the first mile hoping to preserve all the energy I could for the many miles ahead. Mile 2 began with a slight incline which was helpful in maintaining a conservative pace. The consensus that I heard about this course was that the first half of the race is riddled with “rolling hills”. If you live in an area that has hills, you probably won’t even notice them. If anything, they were helpful in varying up the muscle groups used to conquer the distance.
I grabbed a cup of water and a cup of nuun at every aid station I passed in hopes to stay hydrated. My focus was mostly on keeping my pace conservative and fueling. By the time I looked up, I was 10 miles into the race and feeling great! The crowd support was phenomenal. When I first looked at the logistics of the race it appeared as if we’d be running through some pretty peaceful and serene wooded areas, but I was gladly mistaken. This was CIM’s 35th anniversary and the people in the area showed up to celebrate. Every intersection was packed with faces and cheers. Almost every house we passed had residents out front watching, cheering and spurring us on. My favorite sign that I saw made me laugh as I passed it. I wish I had a picture, but it read something like: “Don’t poop on anything but the miles behind you”. Well said.
The Middle Miles
As a first time marathoner, my longest race leading up to this point was 13.1 miles. As I approached the halfway point of this race I began to feel some anxiety towards the unknown. My mile times remained consistent and I was smack dab in-between the 3:27 and the 3:30 pace groups. Everything was going as planned (surprisingly).
By mile 14 I decided to push the pace a little. By mile 15, I had changed my mind. This back and forth went on through mile 19 where I took my first walking break as I went through a water station. I wanted to ensure that I was fueled up enough to make it through “The (infamous) Wall” that every marathon runner dreads. This race took it literally and physically built a wall that the runners actually go through at about mile 20.
I had some aches and pains at this point in the race, but I had been running now for over two and a half hours. Of course my body hurts! I crossed the H St. bridge that many had warned me about at mile 22 still feeling nostalgic. The woman on the bullhorn said that this was the last “hill” of the race and the countdown begins now!!!!
The Countdown aka The Meltdown
A running friend of mine, Ron, who has run CIM several times told me that not long after the bridge you’ll begin to see that the streets are numbered. The counting starts on 57th and the race ends on 8th. When he told me this, I felt that this would be helpful. I could mentally count down the numbers and initiate my final kick home!!! The reality was on the contrary. It made me completely underestimate how tired I actually was after 3 plus hours of running. 57th St. starts in the middle of mile 23. Mile 24 begins at 49th. “WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT!”, my legs screamed.
By mile 25 (35th St.) my calf muscles had begun to lock up and I was forced to take my first unscheduled walking break. My pace had slowed significantly turning my sub 8min/mi pace to barely under 9min/mi. The shuffle had begun. I clung to the shoulder of the road to stay out of the way of faster runners. A gentleman who I had been trading the lead with for miles ran past me as I walked/hobbled past 26th St. He tapped me on the back and encouraged me to keep going. It truly helped and I appreciate him for it.
I mustered up enough energy to move in a way that somewhat resembled running. I couldn’t bring myself to look up at the street signs anymore at this point. “Just watch your feet and make sure they’re still moving!”, I told myself.
The crowd size began to swell. I could hear the announcer, the music! Bands lined the intersections playing emphatically marching us towards our goal. As I turned onto 8th St. I saw my family cheering. It gave me strength. I gave everything I had to those last 15 steps and crossed the finish line of my first marathon in 3:28:13.

The Aftermath
After I crossed the finish line I felt like I was on the top of the world. I had completed my first marathon! I could now run for president of the United States, cure world hunger and with the grace of God, make it to the car. The moment of euphoria was swiftly washed away by all of the pain I had been running from for the past hours. My knees could no longer hold the weight of the accomplishment or my body. My wife lovingly helped me to and into the car after a brief photo shoot (shown below). Forming coherent sentences was like putting together a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Needless to say, I was tired.
After a couple days of walking around like a penguin, I think I’m ready to get back to business. While I’m ecstatic that I was able to complete my first marathon, I’ve realized that I have a lot of work to do in order to earn the opportunity to ring the Boston Qualifier bell, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

Thanks for reading this word marathon & stay tuned. The journey continues…

DIFFICULTY
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My Report
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SWAG
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Oaktown Half Marathon

Oaktown Half Marathon

I've run The Town's Half Marathon every year since it's inaugural 2014 race. This year I ran my fastest time on this course. The crowd support and swag were excellent … MORE

I’ve run The Town’s Half Marathon every year since it’s inaugural 2014 race. This year I ran my fastest time on this course. The crowd support and swag were excellent this year. The medal is great and I like the t-shirt design.
As in last year’s post, I had issues with the lack of mile markers. They also changed the way runners enter and leave the Lake Merritt loop. This was somewhat confusing because there wasn’t a lot of signage to guide us. At one point I even asked another runner if we were still on course.
The after race celebration was great and I look forward to running this race again.
Thank you volunteers and organizers for your hard work.

DIFFICULTY
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My Report
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Oakland Running Festival

Oakland Running Festival

Last year I did the marathon relay. This year I did the half. The half course is beautiful and relatively flat, but does have a merry-go-round feel to it at … MORE

Last year I did the marathon relay. This year I did the half.
The half course is beautiful and relatively flat, but does have a merry-go-round feel to it at times. Definitely one of the most organized races that I’ve participated in. I look forward to coming back again next year.

DIFFICULTY
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Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon (Kaiser Half)

Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon (Kaiser Half)

This was my first time running this race. The moral of the story is that I enjoyed running it, but there were some logistic issues that could have been better. … MORE

This was my first time running this race. The moral of the story is that I enjoyed running it, but there were some logistic issues that could have been better. The medal was amazing, the course was beautiful and the volunteers and the police force did an amazing job making things seamless for the runners.
Pre-race parking was a tad difficult for most. I’ve never been a fan of shuttles which they widely used and the traffic in the paid parking garage was almost a guaranteed way to miss the start of the race. My wife and I elected to try our luck with street parking, which actually worked out well. We arrived early and managed to secure a spot just a couple blocks from the starting line. Unfortunately, the walk in between the start and finish line is about two miles with no shuttle for spectators. After the start of the race my wife moved the car closer to the finish line, but by this point parking was scarce. Maybe a shuttle from start to finish would alleviate this issue.

The race itself was fun. It’s a net downhill course that weaves through Golden Gate Park with a 5+ mile out and back stretch along the Great Highway. I was slightly disappointed that you couldn’t see the ocean for a large part of this section due to sand dunes, but there was a lot of crowd support during this stretch.

This is definitely a race I’d run again. Now that I’ve been there, I can plan better in the future. There’s not a lot of information available on the race website so do your homework prior to going. Get ready to PR because the course is one of the fastest I’ve run or bring a camera because the park is breathtaking. ENJOY!

DIFFICULTY
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My Report
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Oaktown Half Marathon

Oaktown Half Marathon

RunOAK was my first ever half marathon and road race. I returned this year as a legacy runner, which means a three time competitor. I was also honored to have … MORE

RunOAK was my first ever half marathon and road race. I returned this year as a legacy runner, which means a three time competitor. I was also honored to have been made one of the race ambassadors which allowed me to extend a 10% discount to other runners to encourage them to compete as well.
This race was my sixth half marathon. I say this so that you can put my perspective in perspective.
In 2014, this race made me fall in love with the half marathon. The sense of community. The atmosphere. The medal..etc all played a part.
In 2015, I found myself not enjoying myself as much but due to my own poor race day planning I chalked this up as my own fault.
This year’s race (2016) I returned excited to prove my doubts wrong. I love the city of Oakland and want to see this race grow to be an international draw. Unfortunately I left unimpressed. Some of the reasons are detailed below. Before continuing to read this I implore you to understand that this race was still a lot of fun and I will definitely be back to run it again.
1. They changed the course! Every race has the right to change from year to year but I don’t see the changes made as an improvement. The starting line was moved from the plaza breezeway to 14th St. I’m not sure the reasoning but the 14th St. start was less eventful and appeasing to the eye. This change seemed to dominoe effect other aspects of the race. The smooth cruise through the “Jack London Square” area in the first few miles of the course felt more like a maze. There were a few added turns that added nothing visually to the runners but instead wore out our hips from constant turning. I as well as other runners I spoke with did not enjoy this change. Idea: while I do understand that the active train tracks prevent taking the race to the actual Jack London Square area, the tour of closed factories and China Town is not how I’d prefer to spend my first 5k. Oakland is beautiful. Please reroute.
2. Where are the mile markers?!?! Several of the mile markers for this race were missing. After mile 2 I verbally asked other runners if they had seen them, hoping I had just missed them. No, they too were scratching their heads. For runners the first few mile markers can be crucial. This is the point in the race where you’re establishing tempo for the duration. Without GPS I surely would have suffered.
3. Less neighborhood support: I’ve looked up the numbers of participants year to year. While the field seems to be growing the community support seems to have dwindled. I’m not sure if this was lack of notification, the date, coincidence or just my own perception but I can honestly say that I wasn’t offered a single high 5 all race AND I LOVE THE HIGH 5!
4. Medal Swag: personally, I love the half marathon medal. This gripe is for the 30+ 5k runners who asked me to trade my Oakland Tree for their 24hr fitness medal (no thanks). 2015 gave everyone the same medal. I do understand things change but I personally saw no notifications that 5kers were receiving a different medal and on top of that IT WAS WACK!

As previously mentioned, this is my favorite race. I write this not to discourage you from signing up. I hope to see you there in 2017. I write this to encourage the organizers to keep this race on a path towards improvement. There’s too many other options and I want to see them choose RunOAK as their go-to race. A beautiful growing city surrounded by thousands of runners equals a recipe for success. Remember to cater to the runners instead of the sponsors. If the runners come the sponsors will beg you for a slot. Just my thoughts.

DIFFICULTY
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Oakland Running Festival

Oakland Running Festival

I ran the anchor leg of the Oakland Running Festival's Marathon Relay. I begin by stating that so you understand the perspective you're reading. This was my first time ever … MORE

I ran the anchor leg of the Oakland Running Festival’s Marathon Relay. I begin by stating that so you understand the perspective you’re reading. This was my first time ever running a marathon relay which granted me quite a few “first time” experiences. I was able to see 2nd and 3rd leg load up to be bussed to their starting locations. I saw the first leg take off from the starting line. I meandered around the starting line festivities with my family for about 3 hours. This was certainly the first time I saw how boring it was to wait for a race to be over from their perspective. I applaud them and their patience. My team and I communicated via group text. When the first leg handed off the baton he let all of us know. When I received word from the 2nd leg that he had passed the baton I took BART over to the location where the hand off would take place. The BART ticket was included in the packet provided at the expo. As the marathon and half marathon runners passed by, we all cheered. The location for the hand off was in a unique location. We were stationed on MLK blvd in between a liquor store and an apartment complex. The residents looked confused.

The hand off location was well organized and the people running were very friendly. As I received the baton I began my journey through the streets of Oakland. The course was for the most part through residential neighborhoods. Although Oakland has several sights in this surrounding area, the first few miles of the anchor leg provided very little scenery.

For the first time in a race, I was told by a police officer to stop to allow the flow of traffic by. It felt more like I was on a group run with stop lights. Once we reached Lake Merritt, we were greeted by a roaring crowd of supporters as well as some who had no idea that a race was happening. While I do understand that Lake Merritt is an iconic site for the city of Oakland, my opinion is that having competitive races run along the same path as thousands of people walking their dogs or out for a morning stroll is hazardous. I weaved through crowds of people and finally made it across the finish line with the baton in hand.

A fun experience to say the least that I would definitely relive.

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USA Half Marathon Invitational

USA Half Marathon Invitational

Beautiful scenery, great competition, well organized. Can't wait to come back next year. The weather was perfect and the course was challenging and amazing. MORE

Beautiful scenery, great competition, well organized. Can’t wait to come back next year. The weather was perfect and the course was challenging and amazing.

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Golden Gate Half Marathon & 5K

Golden Gate Half Marathon & 5K

The course starts and ends uphill, but these are the least of your worries. Steep climbs leading up to the bridge and again in Sausilito are some of the toughest … MORE

The course starts and ends uphill, but these are the least of your worries. Steep climbs leading up to the bridge and again in Sausilito are some of the toughest climbs I’ve experienced in a race. If you pace yourself and stay calm, it’s all doable. I even PR’d!

The scenery softens the agony a bit, so just go out and have fun.

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Oaktown Half Marathon

Oaktown Half Marathon

As a second time runner of this course, I should have known better. I arrived late, took off too fast and ran out of gas. The tour of Oakland is … MORE

As a second time runner of this course, I should have known better. I arrived late, took off too fast and ran out of gas.
The tour of Oakland is beautiful. They didn’t seem as organized as they were during the inaugural race, but as long as I don’t get hit by a car, I call it a success. I’ll definitely be back.

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Livermore Valley Half Marathon

Livermore Valley Half Marathon

Maybe it's my personal preference, but I enjoy boisterous crowds holding signs, cowbells ringing and maybe a "woohoo!" every now and then. This wasn't the case in this race. I … MORE

Maybe it’s my personal preference, but I enjoy boisterous crowds holding signs, cowbells ringing and maybe a “woohoo!” every now and then. This wasn’t the case in this race. I felt like me singing along with Spotify was disturbing the grazing cattle. Very beautiful course, just not my style.

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Oaktown Half Marathon

Oaktown Half Marathon

This was my first ever road race. The course was flat for the most part, except the hills around miles 7-8. When you hit the lake, you're almost home. The … MORE

This was my first ever road race. The course was flat for the most part, except the hills around miles 7-8. When you hit the lake, you’re almost home. The city of Oakland residents set up in front of their homes with signs and applause making this one of my favorite races of all time.

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