Oakland Running Festival, Half Marathon, 3/27/2011

After realizing that my training milage was not high enough for me to attack the full, I decided to run the half… dressed as the Incredible Hulk.

I’ve been wanting to do it for over a year, run as the hulk I mean. I already had the muscle suit and gloves from a previous Halloween, so it was an easy costume to piece together. Please forgive the absence of face paint, I just wasn’t that committed to the costume to sweat green paint for 2 hours.

The expo this year was much larger than in 2010. A good sign that this race is gaining popularity and support from vendors/sponsors. Organization was great, just as it was last year. Plenty of volunteers to guide you and answer any questions.

Race Start
I met up with four other friends running the half about 45 mins prior to the race. We all started together and eased into our individual paces after a couple miles. I slowed down a bit first, I mean the Hulk is a big dude, so he gets distracted by wanting to smash things.

Crowd Support
The crowd support was phenomenal, like it was last year. I can’t say it enough: the community really comes out to support the runners and more specifically, the city. You can see the city pride on each person. You get used to seeing people come out to cheer on individuals in the race that they know… this isn’t the case in Oakland — complete strangers are cheering on EVERYONE.

Nice Gloves
Dressing in costume is fun. But those hands are heavy. I thought the muscle suit was going to be restricting, but it was the hands that caused the chaos. Once the weight in the gloves kicked in, my natural running arm swing was rendered useless. So I walked more than usual and interacted with the crowd and fellow runners. I had a couple conversations with others walking or people at a similar pace.

Photo Opp
Yes, I posed for all the cameras. Why not? I wasn’t going to win the race, so why not look INCREDIBLE?

Hulk Fist Bump
The cool thing about having giant green hands… FIST BUMPS! With kids, other runners, the crowd, Raider Fans, A’s Fan’s chanting: “Let’s Go Oakland” and the police blocking off streets. There were lots of mom’s saying to their kids: “look, the hulk” then I’d strike a pose, Hulk style. Although there was one kid dressed as batman that was mean muggin’ me. Funny, right?

I came in just under 2:30, about 15 mins slower than I expected and nowhere near my sub 2-hour PR, but I had fun! I got to experience the race at my own desired pace, interacted with people that I wouldn’t have had the chance to if i was running at race pace with music. It’s a different way to experience a race. I had an INCREDIBLE time and looking forward to doing it again in 2012, costume or not.