I didn't have a good sense of what I could do with this race, since I was just training through it on my way to a December marathon. But I was basically shooting for an 8:30-8:40/mile pace, which would be a little bit faster than my PR. The race start was pretty painless -- the corrals were well organized and I crossed the start line at a good run less than a minute after the clock start.
I went out a little too fast, as per usual, but was still pleased that I managed to rein myself in all right, and by mile 2 I'd settled into the 8:30ish pace I was hoping for. I say "settled in," but in truth I never really found a comfy stride in this race. It always seems to take me three or four miles to warm up in a half mary, and this one was no different, but even after that, while I did feel more comfortable it wasn't like previous races where the middle miles just flew by.
At mile three or four (I think? I can't remember where), the course looped back past the starting line through downtown and the spectator support was awesome. People were lining the streets for blocks, yelling and ringing cowbells and it was just so much fun. I'd never experienced that kind of enthusiasm at a race before. The funny thing is after running that section I glanced at my watch and saw that I'd slowed down to almost a 9:00/mile pace. Ha! Apparently I wanted to bask in it for a while.
Shortly after the downtown section we heard someone announcing that the wheelchair leader was passing us on the return route, and we all cheered. A few minutes later the men's leader ran past and we cheered some more. Man, that dude was scary fast (I think he finished in 1:01).
I skipped the first aid station, then had a few Sports Beans at mile 4 or 5, which I washed down with some water. I got some bad-ish stomach cramps shortly after that -- and sadly, I can't remember if that was before or after stopping for some Cytomax. The cramps were uncomfortable but they weren't anything I haven't experienced on a run before. I was annoyed, but not particularly troubled. The stomach problems went away at about mile 6 or so.
At mile 8 I had some more Sports Beans and water (I ended up dropping about half the beans -- they're so slippery). And by mile 10 or so the cramps had returned and I was in trouble. Ugh. I was forced to make a pit stop just before mile 11, which added more than a minute to my overall time (plus the fact that I'd had to slow down quite a bit).
The plus side was that I felt great after stopping. I picked up my pace for miles 12 and 13 and was able to finish pretty strong. I was going hard enough that I reached the point of mild nausea, which always slows me down; someday I'd like to get past that. But I passed lots of people in the last half mile.
What would you do differently?:
I'm not sure. I need to work on my nutrition plan. I feel like I could've run about 1:54, maybe even under, if I hadn't had the stomach issues. That would've shaved a bit off my PR. If I go by Garmin time alone -- which takes into account distance discrepancies and the minute I had to stop -- I was a little faster than my previous half mary. But that doesn't really mean much.
I started tightening up right away. I picked up one of the free wet towels they were handing out (so nice!!) and found Michael. He'd run a 1:34! For his first half mary! He said he'd busted up a little by going out way too fast (his splits ranged from about 6:15 to 8:00/miles). We stopped to talk a bit and I told him I needed to keep moving. We walked through the buffet line, which was frustrating -- there was so much good food, but I'm never hungry right after a race so I skipped it all, except for a few orange wedges. I saw people filling up trays, though. Heh. We both stretched a bit when we finally got out of the finishers' area and wandered around the booths, but neither of us felt like waiting around so we picked up our bags and walked back to the car. There were still a lot of people running and we both said how glad we were to not be on the course still.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Mostly the stomach problems. I also wasn't at all tapered for this race.
I'd been a little turned off by the "rock and roll" aspect of this race, since sometimes I find distractions annoying when I'm running (the bands really bugged me at Bay to Breakers; then again, maybe they were just annoying bands). But I ended up really liking the music and looking forward to the bands. It was a great mix of music, and I liked that they were all cover bands so it was recognizable stuff. (Look, I love original music, but I'm not interested in discovering new bands when I'm running a half mary.) The spectator support in general was awesome for this race. I loved the bands and the cheerleaders and the local residents camped out on lawn chairs in front of their houses.
The race was very well organized, especially considering its size. It started on time, there was very little bunching on the course, the volunteers were excellent and there was a ton of stuff available at the finish line (though I was disappointed there were no flip flops -- I'd been told there'd be flip flops!). I'd definitely recommend this race to anyone.
Last updated: 2008-07-23 12:00 AM
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I slept about five hours, which is actually pretty good for me the night before a race. I got up about 5:20 a.m. and Michael came by to pick me up at 5:45 a.m. On the hourlong drive to San Jose I lubed the hot spots in my shoes (inner heels) since I'd decided to go with the newer pair, which had only been tested on a seven-mile "long" run. The older shoes are starting to make my knees ache. I also ate a Clif Bar and had a little bit of Gatorade and some water.
We parked at HP Pavilion and walked about 10 minutes to the start area. There was a lot going on and so many people! Both of us were in early corrals -- Michael in the first corral, me in the third -- which was nice because there were a hell of a lot of people and the back of the pack was almost a full block away. We dropped off our bags at about 7:30 a.m., Michael did a bit of stretching, I bounced around a little to keep warm. At 7:45 a.m. I ate a gel and drank a little more water, then Michael and I split up and headed to our corrals.
None. I'm still new enough at this running thing that I don't feel like I need a warmup for a half marathon -- that's what the first three miles are for!