Today I ran my third half marathon, the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon. For the past couple months, I had been eagerly awaiting this race for several reasons. One, Kevin’s dad ran it with me. Two, it’s a Rock n Roll event. Three, the course is flat and even, perfect for a PR (personal record).
The weekend started off perfectly. We drove up to the expo yesterday, picked up our goodie bag and numbers. Then we spent the day in Santa Cruz with Kevin’s parents and his aunt and finished with a good dinner. I had a hard time sleeping, I kept waking up thinking I had overslept. But we left Santa Cruz and got into San Jose with about an hour to spare before the race – ideal. We parked close, but not too close to the starting line, stretched and just relaxed a little before the start. This is the biggest race I’ve run in, so I also watched the thousands of people fill the area. We jumped into our designated corrals and waited to get going.
I had trained well for this run. I ran some big runs the weeks leading up to the race and responsibly tapered off this week. However, school started this past week and I had enrolled in a dance class – the first one in over 7 years! I am really glad I’m dancing again but it has taken a toll on my legs. I took Friday off to let my legs rest a little more and of course, didn’t run yesterday.
Before continuing with how I did on the race, I have to say that the Rock n Roll races are great for several reasons. They have live music a little over every mile of the course. And this course also had cheerleaders throughout. All that cheering definitely brings a smile to your face. The race overall is well-organized and planned out. From the roped corrals to the finisher’s area, the organizers have it all covered.
Back to my run. I felt very strong for the first 8 or 9 miles. I was staying with the pace to PR (approximately 8:10). I loved hearing the music and the thousands of feet hitting the pavement with me. Then I hit mile 10. My legs started to feel heavy and my thighs ached. My legs rarely hurt when I run. Usually I slow down because I have a hard time breathing or get a side cramp. So, I tried to focus on what I knew I am capable of running, reminding myself that I only had 3 miles left (a measly 5k). I could not get my mind to control my legs and I slowed down. I kept telling myself, I can’t walk – what if Kevin and his mom and aunt see me?!? I’m so close! I can do this! But I took a few steps. Then I ran, and it hurt. Just before mile 13, Kevin, his mom, and his aunt cheered me on. I yelled back “I’m dying!” But I ran. I then gave in and walked a few more steps. Just then someone in the crowd yelled, “Only a quarter of a mile left!” And I thought, I can run this!! And I did.
I crossed the finish line with an official time of 1:50:20, just shy of a full minute longer
than my best half marathon time. I really could have beat that time, or at least met it if I had taken those brief walking steps. Frustrating! I really felt down and disappointed when I saw that time. But everyone cheered me up and reminded me that I did well and I ran 13.1 miles – that’s a long way!!!
I have another chance to PR in two weeks, but that race has more hills and even more people. I am realistic and know that this scenario will make a PR more difficult. However, you have to give yourself goals, right?