Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose

This past Sunday (Oct 3rd), I ran in the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon.  It was my 3rd half marathon, and it felt good!  I ran in my 1st and 2nd race in July.  With a couple half marathons already under my belt, I was feeling pretty confident about this event.  But since I didn’t put in as much effort as I did in training for previous races, I had no expectations of my finishing time.  My main objective was to enjoy this event.

I arrived at the downtown San Jose around 7:15 am and the place was already rocking.  Music was blasting in all directions.  Some runners congregated in their corrals in anticipation of the race while others wait in the long lines for the portable potties.

I have learned from previously events to take care business at home, so as to avoid the long wait right before the race.

By 8am, I was warmed up and ready to run, but not before the national anthem and the introduction of local celebrities.  The announcer mentioned that Brandy Chastain was running in the race and that the flat course was ideal for new personal records (PRs).  I hadn’t given it much thoughts till then whether I was going to try and improve on my existing PR of 2:16:15 from the SF Half Marathon.

By the time I reached the 1 mile marker, I knew this was going to be a fast race.  Following the crowd from the starting line, we reached the 1 mile marker under 10 minutes.  That’s a much faster pace than I typically run, especially at the beginning of the race.  In the first 4 miles, it felt like there was a band playing on every street corner, and my adrenaline was definitely flowing.

I was flying through the streets of downtown San Jose, and no temptation was going to slow me down.  Besides, there was no bacon.  What’s up with the false advertising?

Around miles 5 and 6, I found my rhythm fueled on by the rocking bands and cheered on by the cheerleaders from local schools.  I started pacing myself a bit, running behind a group of runners and a gal carrying the 2:10 sign.  At that moment, a 2:10 finishing time felt achievable, so I decided then that was my target for the race.  Meanwhile I saw Meb Keflezighi, the winner of the man’s half marathon zoomed past us in the opposite direction.  He was somewhere near the 12 mile marker, on his way to another victory with a final time of 1 hour, 1 minute and 45 seconds.  WOW, that is superman speed!

Turning on to University after mile 6, we entered the affluent Rose Garden neighborhoods.  Many home owners were outside watching the race from the comfort of their front yard.  Some were enjoying their morning coffee and donuts.  But where was the “free donuts” sign?  By then, I was a little bit tired and feeling a little bit hungry too.  Note to the course planners for next year, please move the Gu Gel Station up by a couple miles.

I pushed forward knowing that my wife and daughter were waiting for me around mile 8.  When I finally turned the corner from Monroe onto Hedding, I was greeted by the most beautiful smiles.  I stopped to give my daughter a hug and a kiss for my wife.  It was uplifting and the boost that I needed.  Despite loosing over a minute in time, I enjoyed every moment of it.  My daughter even offered me a bagel, but I decided to hold out for the Gu Gel near mile 10.

When I finally resumed running, the 2:10 pace group was more than 2 blocks ahead of me.  I can barely make out the sign held by the lead runner.  I try to increase my pace, but it was an arduous task of closing the gap.  The next 3 miles was the most quiet stretch (maybe I was tuned out) of the race and provided little inspiration.  I didn’t wear my head phone for this race, and by this point I was wishing I did.  The Gu Gel at mile 10 helped a bit.  When I finally reached The Alameda and saw the 2:10 pace group just 1/2 blocks ahead, I was both happy and somewhat exhausted.

I eventually caught up to the 2:10 pace group around the 12 mile marker.  I trailed the group for a 1/4 mile, before deciding to push ahead of the group.  The final mile was tough!  My mind was filled with determination, but my legs and feet were screaming for mercy.  A guy ran past me singing out loud (run with a guitar next time and you’ll be a superstar) , so I decided to follow him.  Eventually, I reached the final stretch where the crowd cheered on my every stride.  My feet was heavy, but I finished strong.  I was so happy to cross the finish line, knowing that I ran a good race and successfully set a new PR.

After the race, I was greeted by my daughter and wife.  It was a nice surprise, since they originally weren’t planning to meet me at the finish line.  My daughter gave me a thumbs up for my accomplishments.

I also had opportunity to meet the Endorphin Dude in person.  This was his 25th half marathon in 1 year, and he earned his Rock Legend metal for running 7 Rock ‘n’ Roll events.  Congratulations!

Overall, I enjoyed the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon tremendously.  I cannot wait to return next year.  My goal will be to complete the race under 2 hours.

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One Response to Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose

  1. You can totally run a half in under 2 hours. 2:08 is an awesome time. Good job, and I’m glad we were able to meet up afterwards. You rock!

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