Monday, February 01, 2016

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon

This race was not a planned race but rather a last minute "Hey, I think I want to run that, too!".  Having moved to a new area just a few months ago, I hadn't planned any local races because I wanted to get my bearings.  I was also waiting to hear news about the Boston Marathon so I wasn't really looking for a race.  However, I get antsy if I don't have a race to look forward to.  So many in my new running group were signed up for the San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon this year.  I ran the RnR in San Diego a few years ago and though it was fun, it was just too big and too expensive for me.  SJ RnR was not on my list.  But everyone kept talking about it and I needed something so I signed up about two weeks before the race.  I had told one friend that I wasn't going to sign up (price was close to $120 for this half marathon!?) unless I found a promo/discount code.  I found one that made the race half price so that seemed like a good deal.

Anyway, the days leading up to the race were warm and the forecast for race morning was more of the same.  With an 8am start, I knew I'd be melting in the sun halfway through.  I started thinking about a costume and just running it for fun.  The day before the race, I put together an Elvis costume that I wore for the race.

I have to admit, RnR is not all terrible.  They do a lot of things really well in a race, esp for such a large race.  When I registered I had a momentary lapse of reason and thought maybe I could pull off a new PR so I entered 1:39 as my estimated finish time.  This put me in Wave 2 which was a pretty nice place to be when there are 20 or so waves, each starting 1 minute apart.  I think it was 1 minute apart, maybe 2.  There were still waves waiting to start when I passed the start line after the first loop.  That had to have been several miles into the race...

Race morning, my friend Cheryl picked me up and we drove the 15 minutes to the race start.  This is another thing I loved about this race: it's close to home!  With an 8am start, she picked me up at 6:30am and we had more than enough time to park, use a hotel restroom, snap photos, etc.  I didn't get out of bed until 6am.  I love that.

I saw Deena Kastor at the start line.  She was also in Wave 2 but a few people back.  She's a very tiny woman -- if it weren't for her DEENA sign, I may not have even seen her.  She was pacing the 1:45 group with another runner.  The day before, she ran a blistering 5k in under 16 minutes.  She's my age.  I yelled to her and waved.  She looked a little confused but smiled.  Maybe she wasn't expecting a strange female Elvis?

The race began fast.  It always does.  Cheryl had moved into Wave 2 so we started together.  We have similar running strategy and have for years: start fast, hang on to finish.  Secretly, my only goal really was to beat her (!!!) and since she had just run the Big Cottonwood Marathon two weeks earlier, that wasn't going to be a problem.  That marathon sounds like a nightmare for those of us who don't enjoy running downhill.  The descent and elevation of that race is insane.

Cheryl and I parted ways just a few blocks in.  I started fast and she was more conservative, for once!  Around mile 3 or 4 I caught up to a guy from the local running group.  He was representing Race Guards so he was easy to pick out.  He and another Race Guard were holding what appeared to be a very steady 8:00 pace.  I never got up to him, but kept him within 30 yards for miles.  What a treat to have someone to pace off of!  That was really my goal for the race, aside from beating a friend who had just run a brutal marathon: maintain a 8:00 pace. 

It was around mile 9 that we came to a narrow section due to cheerleaders and other spectators.  This caused me to fall behind my pacer but a mile later I came up on another guy from my running group and followed him all the way to the finish.  Finish line goodness: saw a friend from SF so we waited together for Cheryl to finish, lots of good eats and drinks, cold beer at the running group meetup spot, a fancy brunch afterwards with Cheryl and her family, and really just a fun morning.  I was so very pleasantly surprised. 

Good about this race: location, flat course, lots of cheering sections along the course, route takes you through some beautiful San Jose neighborhoods, finish line party in the park, the fun of dressing up for a race...  I could see this being a huge PR race if I had trained for that.  Maybe next year!

Bad: nothing.  I've already signed up again for 2017!

Mile Splits:
1-   7:41
2-   7:45
3-   7:49
4-   7:51
5-   7:55
6-   8:05
7-   8:13
8-   8:05
9-   8:20
10- 8:07
11- 8:17
12- 8:31
13- 8:14
Official Finish: 1:47:35

My watch, of course, had the course at 13.6 miles and my pace an average of 8:05.  Of course, that doesn't matter since it was a timed event with a marked course, but it makes me happy to know my effort was a little better than what the official time says.  Though, I'm happy with a 1:47, too!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015