San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon 2011

My Life as a Runner > races > San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon 2011
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My second half-marathon since US Half in 2006, which got me into this distance running. I ran it with my friend Chris Ryan and finished it in 1:53:39. Since then, I’ve run five full marathons, so my goal was not complete the race but running it fast. I wanted to run this half marathon to qualify for New York City Marathon next year. Usually, I don’t run half-marathons, because I run the distance as a part of marathon training and I don’t feel like paying $50 or more to run the distance that I often run free of charge, any time. But this was an exception, because I wanted to get NYQ and also heard good things about Rock ‘n’ Roll series.

My friend Gary and Stephanie were walking this half-marathon, so I stayed at Stephanie’s house the night before and got to the race 30 minutes before the race. Total of 9,831 people ran/walked, so it was not an overwhelmingly large race. I dropped my bag, jogged for 10 minutes or so, and did a light stretch. Apparently, Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor ran this race. I had seen Meb at the Expo but not 100% sure that was him. I would have taken a photo of him (maybe with me) if I knew that was him for sure. Anyway, I waited for the race to start in the Coral #1 group. After the national anthem, the race started shortly after 8:00 am.

Though I wanted to make 1:30:00 to qualify for NYC Marathon, I was not sure if I could make it, because I did not think I had enough training. I injured my right ankle at the beginning of September and I caught a cold two weeks before the race. I felt like the injury and sickness decreased my fitness that I built up over the summer. So, the strategy was to pace it at 6:52/mile and see how far I could hold the pace. I wore SFFR uniform and Mizuno Wave Universe 3. No CEP compression shorts this time.

As advertised, there were different bands playing almost every other mile, which made the race fun. Mostly, pop and rock music but I might have heard jazzy music somewhere. Also, there were several cheer-leading groups from local schools along the course. It was sort of like girls near Wellesley College on the Boston Marathon course, except those girls in San Jose were younger and sober. The residence along the course showed some enthusiasm but not too impressive.

The course was pretty flat. The only ups and downs were when we went under the freeways and there were three or four of those. The firstĀ  four miles came and went really quickly, and I was able to maintain the pace. The course took us to some upscale neighborhood with huge houses with beautiful front yard. About around Mile Eight or Nine, I started to feel some discomfort on the back of my right knee, which I have not experienced before. That immediately made me think I was going to miss out on NYQ. I slowed down a bit, hoping that would go away and tried not to think about it too much. I focused on my somewhat slower pace. The discomfort turned into pain in the next mile or so, but it was not severe enough to slow down completely or stop. At Mile 12, I knew I could keep the pace and finish in a good time. There was a decent size of crowd waiting at the finishing area, with a band playing really loud music. No Dancing Queen, though!

I finished 1:28:01, which is a PR and a NYQ! I am going to New York next year! Yay! My official and unofficial splits are as below:

Official splits:
split time
5K 20:49
10K 41:50
10M 1:07:25
13.1M 1:28:01
Unofficial splits per Runkeeper:
split time
1M 6:29
2M 6:38
3M 6:35
4M 6:41
5M 6:31
6M 6:43
7M 6:45
8M 6:42
9M 6:41
10M 6:51
11M 6:21
12M 6:39
13M 6:43
13.1M 6:29

It seems Runkeeper on my iPhone is more accurate than Timex’s reading, so I used lap from Runkeeper.

Overall, it was a successful race, though the pain/discomfort is still there behind my right knee after a week. Hmm… Placement was 186 out of 9,831 total, 15 out of 509 in my age group, and 154 out of 4,415 in all male. Meb Keflezighi won the race in 1:02:17 and Deena Kastor won women’s division in 1:12:23.

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