Monday, October 5, 2009

San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon - My best race to-date!

This past Sunday, October 4, 2009, I ran the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon.

So far in my limited running experience, I have only ran three races.  I ran the SJ Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon last year.  In that half Marathon, my training run called for 20 miles so I ran 7 miles before the half marathon.  That was the first time I ever ran 20 miles so the last few miles of the half marathon were very slow and difficult.  I ran the Silicon Valley Marathon last year and hurt my knee in mile three. That left for a very slow and painful 23.2 more miles.  And, then in August, I ran the half marathon in Mountain View. In that half marathon, it was in the 90s, the race started late (9am, I think) and I went out way too fast (about 7 min a mile pace).  I ended up losing all energy by mile 5 and really struggled for the next 5 miles before I finished somewhat strong.  Ended up with a time of about 2:07.

So I had yet to have a good race.  And, really not an enjoyable race.  Which made me wonder if I just like punishment.  :)

My expectations for the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll half were initially simple - come in under 2 hours so that I could keep up some hope of running the marathon in under 4 hours.  However, thinking it through I realized that I really needed to come in better than 2 hours to have a goal of a sub 4 for the marathon.  I decided to try for 1:54 in the half.  According to the McMillan Running Calculator that would put me close to a 4 hour marathon time.  With my Yasso 800s about 3:30, I thought that would give me a shot at a sub 4.

My plan was to not start off too fast.  Keep it around 8:45 pace.  I told myself to run a 8:45 pace the first half and then try to pick it up the second half.  I hoped to approach an avg pace of about 8:40 before I crossed the finish line.  That would get me in under 1:54.

There were about 12K people there.  The streets were packed with runners.  Here is a picture from the main website:



I started off about 45 seconds or so away from the start line.  It was packed with runners and it seemed that every one was going faster than me.  That made it difficult to keep my planned pace.  Thankfully, my good friend, Garmin, was there to always let me know that I needed to slow down. Yet, it was tough.  The first 2 miles, I ran about a 8:35 pace.  Yet, I kept telling myself to slow down, its a long race.  My main concern was to go too fast and then burn out.  I'm still learning how to race and, more importantly, what my body can handle.  I was good at slowing down.  I ran miles 3 and 4 about a 8:41 pace.

Then I ran into a couple other runners from my running group.  I ran with them for a little while.  I noticed my avg pace was creeping back towards 8:30 avg pace.  This was not the plan so I had to slow down and let them go a head.  My mile 4 (when I was running with the runners) was at a 8:17 pace.  So, slowing down might have been a good idea.  I had powerbar gel about mile 6.  Towards the end of mile 6, after the power bar gel, I started to pick up the pace.  I felt good at that time.

I kept a faster pace for mile 8 and ran it at 8:06 pace.  In mile 9, I was able to catch up with the runners from my running group and I was feeling good.  I was actually enjoying the race . . . for the first time.  I felt confident that if I kept a solid pace, then I would be able to reach my goal of 1:54.  I ran miles 9 and 10 a little slower than my mile 8 since I did not want to burn out (about a 8:15 pace).  I also had another power bar gel before getting to mile 10.

My thought was to try to push hard the last three miles and see how my body responds.  For me, I tend to think of three miles as the home stretch (only 3 miles left, no problem).  So I picked it up and my mile 11 was run at a 7:56 pace and mile 12 at a 7:54 pace.  Then, at mile 12, I saw the clock and noticed that with a strong last mile I could come in under 1:50.  I pushed the last 1.1.  I was tried, but felt good.  I ran mile 13 about a 7:21 pace.  What was interesting is that in the beginning of the race when I was telling myself to slow down, I kept getting passed by many runners. Yet, now at the end, I was passing many runners.  So maybe slowing down at the beginning helped.  Or, maybe not.  It does feel great though to be able to finish strong.

In the end, it was a fun race.  Easily my best race ever!  A new PR (easy to do based on my bad experiences before) with an official time of 1:48:52.

Here are my Garmin results:


Split
Time
Distance
Avg Speed
Max Speed
1
0:08:34
1
8:34
7:15
2
0:08:36
1
8:36
8:05
3
0:08:40
1
8:40
7:48
4
0:08:42
1
8:42
7:56
5
0:08:17
1
8:17
6:38
6
0:08:31
1
8:31
7:47
7
0:08:26
1
8:26
7:54
8
0:08:06
1
8:06
7:19
9
0:08:11
1
8:11
7:21
10
0:08:19
1
8:19
7:31
11
0:07:56
1
7:56
6:38
12
0:07:54
1
7:54
7:23
13
0:07:21
1
7:21
5:22
14
0:01:11
0.2
5:57
4:25
 Summary
1:48:50
13.2
8:14
4:25

My friend, Garmin, had to running it 2 seconds faster than the official time and also had my going .1 further.  Still a great race.

And, finally a post-race picture:








I also have to say I was impressed by my wife, who at 27 weeks, walked (and ran the last mile) of the half marthon.  Great job!

2 comments:

Melanie Tait (Mel Tries to Run) said...

Well done! I love your big grin at the end. Well done!

Nicole said...

A truly fantastic race, nicely done. Your wife is stunning ang I am sure encouraged your exceptionally strong finish.