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 San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:48 pm 

I ran 1:48:33 for the San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon today, a few minutes slower than I'd hoped, but still pretty decent considering my meager preparations. I went out with the 1:45 pace group at first, which proved too fast, and the wheels nearly came off in the first couple of miles. By mile 6, I was slowing more and more, and I thought for sure I was headed for a blow-up. But I was surprisingly able to pull myself together for the second half of the race, keeping about an 8:15 pace the rest of the way. The last mile was my fastest.

This is a really big race! There were about 10000 runners, and they used corrals in the starting area to try to keep things organized. I was in corral 2 of 13. Quite a few people walked the whole distance, I think. The whole thing had the feel of a major event, larger than any other race I've ever done save for Boston.

I started with the 1:45 pace group. My first mile split was exactly 8:00, which was more like 8:45 for the first half mile and 7:15 for the second half mile. The second mile split was 7:55. The pace didn't feel ridiculous, but didn't feel like something I could maintain for 13 miles either. I slid back a little for the third mile, with an 8:10 split. By that point I was already feeling some physical distress. I let the the pace group go entirely, and decided to slow down to whatever pace felt maintainable. The next three miles were 8:10, 8:17, and 8:41 as I struggled to get things under control. I was sure I'd badly miscalculated, and would continue to slide into 9+ minute miles for the rest of the race.

The crowds were still pretty dense even at mile 6. It wasn't too bad, but there were definitely times that I bumped elbows with other runners, or had to weave around people.

I surprised myself a little by turning things around somewhat for the second half of the race. After my 8:41 for mile 6, my next two mile splits were 8:12 and 8:13. I just concentrated on keeping pace with the people around me, and tried not to think about much else. Miles 9-11 were 8:25, 8:33, 8:16. I felt like I was mostly hanging together, except whenever I went through a water stop and grabbed a cup, I slowed way down and found it hard to get back up to speed.

Mile 12 was 8:41, and I must have really been slow during the first half mile, since I started pushing harder for the second half. After the 12 mile marker, I opened up with what little energy I had left, and resolved to give it my best possible effort from there to the end. I went into a 2-1 breathing pattern and overall started to feel pretty awful, but I figured I could hold it together long enough to get the job done. Mile 13 was 7:55. I drove through the last bit as hard as I reasonably could, and I think I passed a few people, but more were passing me. After the finish I staggered around feeling dizzy and sick for a minute, but afterwards I was OK.

I think I finished around 1400 out of 10000. It sounds better than it is, when you consider how many people walked!

Not a bad race for me overall-- I was a little slower than I'd hoped, but still about where I'd guessed I would be. It's still hard to mentally come to grips with being more than a minute per mile slower than I used to be! But if you compare my recent weeks of 20-ish easy miles to the more strenuous 50+ mile weeks I used to do, it's not hard to understand why.

Here's a GPS log of the race:

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