This past weekend, I joined 16,000 other crazy running friends and ran the Rock N Roll San Jose half marathon. I was super excited as I have never run in a Rock N Roll race series before… and I was curious to see how my marathon training was paying off.
As luck would have it, a few days before the race (Thursday), I began feeling uber tired and came down with a head/sinus cold. I was really hoping to push it off and heal. However, Saturday night the cold dropped to my chest which caused a productive cough, hoarse voice and limited airway. Exciting news for a runner the night before a race!!?? Wrong.
Even though I wasn’t feeling well, I enjoyed my girls weekend with my friends Christina and Jenni. We went shopping, enjoyed yummy pizza at The Golden Mushroom, and lots of fun girl talk.
Race morning came and I wasn’t feeling any better… but the show must go on. I was torn between pushing myself to my fullest ability and running the race like any normal long slow training run… not pushing myself too hard for risk of prolonging my sickness.
I ran the first 6 miles with my running partner, Christina. We started off fast. We knew it. But it felt good and we felt strong. We cheered on the bands as we passed. We even saw the elite runners making a dash for the finish line (as we were only 10K out).
Our splits for the first few miles were: 9:12, 9:23, 9:30, 9:31. We stopped to take in fuel around mile 4. We walked a bit to readjust our belts and get everything organized. We also realized we needed to slow down our pace a bit. Still run strong and steady… but slow it down.
The next few miles (5-8) were 9:50, 9:54, 10:15, 10:08. I let Christina run ahead of me. I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace for the duration. I was beginning to have coughing fits and I just didn’t have the energy to push myself. I decided from that point to just run a comfortable race… as if I were running a training run. Slow and steady.
Mile 9 was my slowest mile. It was 12:14. I refilled my water bottle, walked as I ate a honey stinger, and struggled with finding the right tunes on my play list. It was at this point in the race where I began to get frustrated. I knew I could run faster. But I was getting disappointed in myself. Bummed that I wasn’t performing my fullest, fearful that my friend wouldn’t want to run the full with me in December because I was too slow and wondering what my chest cold was going to do to my training. Ya know the negative self talk that happens at this point in the race.
Miles 10-12 I decided to just run the race at a comfortable pace. Steady and comfortable. I didn’t push myself. My legs felt heavy. Yet my lungs were relatively clear (when I wasn’t coughing). My heart was great and not taxed too hard. Again, the biggest issue during this part of the race was I was fiddling with my headphones to find a good song more than concentrating on running. I fueled, drank water at each station and willed myself to the finish line. My splits were 11:14, 10:51, 10:47.
When I saw that I only had a little over a mile to go, I knew I could do it. I settled into a comfortable pace of 9:40 and then finished strong to the finish line. It wasn’t an all out sprint but a comfortable stride (the last .26 in 1:47).
I could have kept running a few more miles past the finish line. Which tells me that I didn’t push myself too hard, and running a 10 min mile is my happy pace. This realization doesn’t bode well for a personal best on the half marathon…but it is a great thing to realize for marathon training.
I did not run my personal best. But I ran a strong race given the circumstances. I ran 13.26 (according to my garmin) in 2:13:16 which gave me an average pace 0f 10:08.
After the race, I was able to catch up with my Ragnar So Cal teammate Lauren and fellow FitFluential Ambassador PavementRunner. I was also able to enjoy a post-race beverage with my girls… before driving back to Sacramento home to our family.
The Rock N Roll San Jose was a quick flat and fast race course. It was crowded, as there were 16,000 other runners on the course. However, the roads were wide and there really wasn’t a whole lot of congestion on the course. It was a great race, and had I been feeling better I think I would be a great race to set a personal best on! Maybe that is something I can shoot for next year?
For now, I am focusing on hydrating, stretching and taking care of me. I have 9 weeks until my first full marathon to focus on. I need to kick this chest cold and get into the exciting stuff of higher mileage training runs!