Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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San Jose, California
United States
Elite Racing Inc.
Total Time = 1h 55m 50s
Overall Rank = 2323/9892
Age Group = 35-30
Age Group Rank = 120/993
Pre-race routine:

Shizu spent the night and we both got up around 5 a.m. after four and a half hours of sleep. Got dressed, made some coffee and we were out the door in 10 minutes. I ate half a peanut butter sandwich on the drive down. We got there early and spent about an hour wandering around trying to keep warm. At about 7:30 I turned in my sweat bag, and I got into the corral around 7:45. Ate a gel and had some water. Found runningwoof! He was great and we chatted a while, then Shizu came up to the corral fence and we all talked a bit. Before I knew it the race was starting. I wasn't even paying attention when I suddenly heard the gun go off.
Event warmup:

None, really. I probably should've run a mile or two but I'm not sure it would've made much difference since I warmed up pretty fast in the race.
  • 1h 55m 50s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 50s  min/mile

I was shooting for under 1:54 so I planned to stick with 8:30-8:40 for the first 10 miles and then see if I could speed it up for the last three. For the first eight or so miles it wasn't too hard to keep close to that pace, but I never really felt great either. I was having a tough time mentally and never got into a good groove where the miles just flew by, which is what usually happens to me in a half mary (that's why I like this distance). I did perk up a little at the 10k mark when I realized I was running comfortably at a pace close to my 10k PR.

At mile eight I had a gel, which I'd timed to take right before a water station. After forcing down the gel (I just never enjoy those) I walked the water station -- I'd been running the other stations -- so I could take a few seconds to rinse out my mouth and swallow two big gulps of water. This turned out to be a mistake. First, I wish I hadn't walked because I had a hard time getting back up to speed. Second, the water and gel felt super heavy in my stomach and I felt sick and gross for a good half mile after.

I was starting to slow down but I got close to my goal pace for the next couple of miles, and then at mile 11 it all fell apart. I felt like I was pushing so hard and just coming up with 9s. It was very disheartening, and I so wanted to just be done with the race. Mentally, the last two miles were kind of awful.

As I finally hit the finish chute, about 50 yards from the end I saw a guy on the ground surrounded by medics. I figured the poor guy fell in the last push and I felt bad for him, then I ran right by and saw the medics doing chest compressions. Yikes. I don't know what happened to him.

Stuff like that does put things in perspective, of course. Still, this was another tough, disappointing race for me. This year of racing has sort of sucked ass so far.

One highlight: seeing Meb Keflezighi scream by around mile five or six. He set a U.S. record for 20k! And won the race in 1:01! Yeesh.

Another highlight: the ever-awesome Shizu cheering me on at three spots on the course. She is the most amazing one-woman support crew ever. She even wore her running gear so she could sprint from one cheering section to another. Everyone needs a Shizu!
What would you do differently?:

Man, I don't even know. I'm running more than ever and my times aren't improving at all. I don't feel over-trained -- I don't feel sluggish or weak or tired or whatever -- I just don't seem to have it in me to run faster. I did this exact same race last year and while technically I was a minute faster this year, I had a nutrition problem in 2008 that led to a bathroom detour, which added about 1:30 to my time. And I'm a full minute slower than my PR, which was on a tougher, hillier course last year.

Is it a mental thing? Have I "peaked" after, like, two years of running? I guess I just need to put more time/miles in, but it's hard to get motivated when I'm not seeing a real payoff. Oh well, I'll keep at it and see what happens with the marathon in December.
Post race
Warm down:

I walked the looooooooooooooooong finisher's area. Picked up my medal, two bottles of water and a couple of orange slices -- wasn't hungry for anything else. Found Shizu at the appointed spot. Looked for BTers but couldn't find any. Spent forever trying to find the checked bag area (same place where we dropped it off, duh). The short walk back to my car felt great on the legs.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Seriously, I just don't know.

Event comments:

The Rock 'n' Roll folks really know how to put on a race. Everything is crazy-well organized, especially considering how big it is. The bands are good, the crowd support is *excellent*, the volunteers are many and friendly and well-trained. No complaints here.

Last updated: 2009-09-19 12:00 AM
01:55:50 | 13.1 miles | 08m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 120/993
Overall: 2323/9892
Performance: Average
Miles: 8:28, 8:34, 8:36, 8:42, 8:38, 8:37, 8:45, 8:38, 8:58, 8:47, 8:46, 9:05, 9:00, 2:21
Course: Loopy course through downtown San Jose and lots of residential neighborhoods. Very flat with a couple of tiny hills.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? No
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5