I thought I give a quick update before too many days/weeks go by. With working, teaching, running and playing with Brooklyn, there seems to not be enough time in the day.
This past Sunday I ran the San Jose Rock & Roll half marathon. This would be my fourth year in a row running it. My first year, 2008, I did it as part of my 20 mile training run (as I trained for my first marathon). That was the first time I ever ran 20 miles. I ran 7 miles prior to the start of the half. I had only started running a few months earlier (building up from 1 mile). Thus, the last few miles of the half in 2008 were tough. I still remember having to walk portions of it because I was so tired. I finish about 2:13 or so.
In 2009, I was training for my second marathon (after coming back from a 5-6 month injury that occurred in my first marathon). I PR'd with a time of 1:48:52. In this race, I tried to not go too fast early in the race to save something for the end. It worked as I avg'd about 7:30 pace the last three miles.
In 2010, I ran a marathon in June, slowed my training down and then was picking it back up for the Morgan Hill Marathon that was about 5/6 weeks away. I tried to watch my speed early and then pick it up at the end. But, this time, I was not able to pick up my pace and finished at a 1:51:xx time.
For 2011, I was not sure what to expect. Since the SF marathon in July, I have not been "training". I've been running (10-15 mile long runs, well mostly 10-12 mile long runs with 1 slow 15 mile run) but not doing any speed or tempo runs. I did run the Ragnar relay and ran hard in it. But, with CIM coming up, I know that I need to get back to "training". So I viewed the SJ R&R half as a way to kick start my training. I thought was not sure what time I could do. My goal A was 1:45, goal B was a PR and goal C was to break 1:50. After 1:50, then it would be to just somehow have fun and finish.
I now work in downtown SJ so I was able to park in my building and walk over. Which meant I also was able to use the bathrooms in my office. No porta-potties.
My great running friends were there. I tried to not "find" them because I knew they were all going for sub 1:40s (and they all did that). I did not feel I was in shape for that and did not want to keep up with them and then burn out early in the race.
I started close to the 1:45 pace group. I, like I always seem to, started off a bit too fast - about 7:30 pace the first mile. I decided to back off as I did not think I could keep that pace. I was going okay. My pace was solid the first few miles, but I had a lot of trouble finding a grove. Toward the middle of the race miles 5-8 I slowed down a little and my avg pace was dropping back to about 8:15 (based on my Garmin - which was showing the course as a little long). I wondered whether a PR would be possible since I was right on the edge. Due to my slower mid-miles, I gave up on goal A, but wanted to get a PR.
I decided to just get try to keep my pace at 8:15 until mile 10 and then push to get under my PR (I assumed I need an avg pace about 8:13 - based on my garmin). I was able to keep up the pace until mile 10 and then slowly picked up the pace. I felt good when my Garmin showed an 8:14 then 8:13 avg pace. The weather was nice (not hot) and there were a lot of people which gave me energy. I came in at an 8:10 avg pace (by Garmin - which showed me running 13.3 miles, which was similar to my 2009 distance on the course). I was able to PR with 1:48 and change. I finished almost three minutes faster than my time last year.
I did not get a sub 1:45, but I believe if I actually train hard for a half that I can get that goal and maybe close to 1:40. I do now need to pick out a half and train for it. I've never trained for a specific half.
I ran into some of my running friends and they also PR'd. Some of them had times at the 1:37 and 1:38 level. It gives me times to strive to reach.
Best of all, my wife brought Brooklyn out to the finish and they found me! They missed my cross the finish but found me among the 10K or so people.