Originally I wasn’t supposed to be running the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon this year. Although it is one of my favorite local races, I have ran it the past 4 years and was not looking to repeat too many events. But when I saw that twitter friend @DiaryAvgRunner was hosting a raffle for a free entry, I entered my name and won. Yay me.
I arrived at the race fairly early, which isn’t typical for me. I decided to duck into the Hilton (a block from the start line) to use the restroom. Trade secret: most hotels close to the event start line are typically filled with runners staying there and hanging out in the lobby. You can easily blend in and use their bathroom… it sure beats a porta-potty. Since I was so early, I also decided to get some stretching done there as well. Again, stretching on the carpet vs. a cold sidewalk or grass.
About a half-hour before the start, I made my way to the corral. I was aiming for coming in under 2hrs and felt pretty good about it. Prior to the gun @SarahStanley spotted me and we shared some PRE-race chatter, took a photo and rocked a high-five as we started. She’s attempting to run all 2011 Rock n Roll Marathon Series races… yep, all of them. That’s a lot of hardware.
I also ran with a buddy of mine, Drew, who I also train with. He’s much faster, but similar to the Giants race he decided to pace me and help me reach for a sub-2 finish. We chatted most of the way and kept a 9-minute pace. I knew I could hold it until about 10 miles… after that I knew my legs would begin to tire. I typically train at a 9:30-10 min. pace, so I was “reaching” at a 9:09 pace.
Mile 10 came and legs started to feel fatigued. A friend of mine, Paige from FB, gave me some great PRE-race advice and told me to “run the mile you are in” and it really stuck. I kept that in mind and just thought “run this mile in 9 minutes” and deal with the next mile when I got there. It worked and definitely got me through miles 11 and 12.
When we got to mile 13, I asked Drew what our overall time was. He had us at 1:51 which meant I was exactly on pace and had 1.1 mile to see what I had in me. I threw on my iPod for the first time during the race and gave it all I had. When I crossed the finish line I thought I was either going to puke or pass out. Neither happened, but I did receive a medal. LOL. I much prefer the latter.
I always hope that a race will go as planned and they rarely do, but this one did. I ran at a very consistent pace and I have Drew to thank for that. I wouldn’t have been able to hold that pace as long as I did without him.
In case you were wondering how the elites did, check out the photo below. You may recognize the names of the winners.
At the finish line area I was able to meet fellow Twunner (her new word, Twitter + runner) @Janac, she had just finished with a PR herself. Luckily our conversation wasn’t limited to 140 characters and it was fun to finally meet someone outside of the twitter universe.
I was happy to end my San Jose experiences on a positive note. I’ve dealt with injuries at this race before and to be able to run a successful 13.1 healthy, injury-free and set a PR was great. I now have an official sub 2-hr half marathon that I can point to and say “See, I did that.”
Thank you to everyone on FB and twitter that gave me inspirational phrases and motivation to run strong. It was definitely needed in the later miles.