Well that was unexpected…

It was a long weekend. A long, packed full weekend. Friday afternoon I rushed to San Jose to grab my race packet before driving off to Big Basin for an evening of camping activities. I forgot how much fun it could be to cook over an open fire and tell stories late into the night. I also seemed to forget how uncomfortable I get when attempting to sleep in the great outdoors with people I don’t know all that well.

Needless to say I didn’t accumulate much rest on Friday evening which led me to passing out sleeping on the car ride home. And then napping… Although I wanted to be social on Saturday, I knew it was in my best interest to get some rest. After two and a half quarters of the Stanford/UCLA football game, I snuggled up in bed to get my first full nights sleep in a while.

When I woke up it was race day. Physically I didn’t think I was prepared. Did I mention my longest run since April was 8 miles? Only 8 stinkin’ miles!! Not quite the training I had hoped to get before this half marathon. Mentally I knew that I would finish, but I didn’t have high expectations for my finishing time.

So I suited up in pink from head to ankle (Hey Brooks, let’s discuss a pink shoe for me, okay?) and got on my way. I lined up in my corral and as we shuffled to the start line I reminded myself to start slow. It wasn’t about impressing anyone, it was about keeping my body happy for the entire 13.1 without failing.

And then we were off. I felt good for the first mile, but kept noticing that I was going faster than expected. I didn’t want to push my luck, I made a decision to slow down and then managed not to stick with it. By the half way point I noticed that I was keeping pace with my PR from last October. I didn’t think it was possible since my 8 miler last weekend was 30 seconds per mile slower. I had started the morning out hoping to finish in 2:30, but now it was looking as if I could go faster.

Mile 9 passed by and my right ankle thought about giving me trouble. It started aching slightly and I had to remind it to suck it up. I wasn’t going to let my clumsy injury from April ruin this race for me. I pushed through and near mile 10 my left knee decided to get in on the action. Fortunately I wasn’t having it. By mile 11 all random pain was gone.  I kept reminding myself of a fitness mantra I saw on Carly’s blog, “You don’t stop when it hurts, you stop when it’s over.” This phrase was so helpful in pushing through the final few miles.

There were moments when I didn’t think I’d keep up the pace. Times when I thought slowing down was necessary, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Crossing that finish line I knew I had done much better than I could have ever dreamed. Had I trained better I would have PRed, but I’ll settle with having an awesome race day. Final clock time – 2:23:32, just thirty seconds from my PR. (Note: I hate talking about time because I think I’m miserably slow. Perhaps it is time for me get over this fear.)

The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose was by far my best half marathon. No negative thoughts passed through my mind and I was able to pace myself without dropping off. I ran the entirety of the race (except through water stations) and never considered walking for any reason. I am overjoyed.

Afterward I was invited out to meet some other lovely runners over brunch. It was inspiring to hear how well some of the other folks did. Renee managed to set a PR by several minutes! (Can you say rock star?) And, even though she was hungover, Courtney managed to have a great race (although she may not think so). This was my second blogger meetup in the Bay Area and I had a great time, looking forward to getting to know these folks more!

Have you had an unexpected exercise victory in your life? How did you feel on your best race day?



About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on October 3, 2011, in Life, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Way to go!! Glad you had such a good experience with this race! So impressed you were so close to your PR without many long runs – way to kick some butt out there!

    • Thanks ladies! I really didn’t think I could do that well, but now it is making me think there are bigger and better things in my future. Quite an exciting revelation!

  2. Michelle, that is so awesome! Don’t ever be down about your time; you’re doing great!

    • Thanks Mandy! I wish I could run with you again sometime in the future, feels like you are so far away now that you are in South Carolina! I hope you are sticking with the running, I’m sure it is gorgeous down there.

  3. Whee! I am so proud of you!

    And goodness, if you’re slow then what am I? :P Remember, running is all about you & how it makes you feel good. If speed were somehow tied into that then all of the fast runners would be the happiest people out there – and we know that’s not true (I mean some of them are but I think I’m just as happy as a slow poke)!

    You did such an awesome job! Shout that time with pride!! :D

    • And I’m so proud of you Carly! You have awesome things in your future, I just know it.

      I don’t know if I’ll shout the time with pride but I’ve definitely be beaming about it for the past two days.

  4. Congratulations on your race; I’m glad you were able to join us at brunch!

  5. Congratulations! I ran that race as well and it was my first 1/2 marathon. So exciting!

    • Way to go! Looks like you had an absolutely amazing race. If you can accomplish your first half in that time, I’m sure you have awesome races in your future. :)

  6. Congrats!! That’s an awesome time!! I’ve ran both my half marathons in the exact same time so I’m hoping the Haunted Hustle at the end of the month will be a PR for me.

    • Thanks Jessica!
      My first two half marathons were the exact same time as well, took a little shuffling of my routine to finally improve. Good luck at the Haunted Hustle, I seriously hope you are going to wear a costume!

  7. I think that’s a great time, not slow at all! Congrats on doing better than expected!*

  8. Michelle, you are so awesome! Although, sometimes when you call yourself slow I want to laugh at you considering your half is about 40 minutes faster than mine.

  9. WOOOOOOO!!! You TOTALLY rocked it. So glad I got to see you yesterday. Come run with us sometime!

  10. You are amazing! What a rockstar. Proud of you girlie! xoxo

  11. Congratulations you amazing woman!! Inspiration like whoah.

  12. strawberryjamntoast

    Wow, that is very cool – well done! I’m extremely new to racing, having only done two timed 5ks so far, but I’m learning that my body has various (good) ways of surprising me.

  13. Well done! Love the fitness mantra!!

  14. You, my friend, are not slow! I want to be like you when I grow up!! ;) And, I love that mantra. I am going to remember it for Goofy. Congrats on your race! I love unexpected results, and you look pretty in your pictures!

    P.S. – I want to go camping too! That sounds like so much fun before a race. :)

    • I’d like to be bad ass like you when I grow up. Hope you had a fantastic Columbus half this morning, I’m sure you rocked it. Maybe we’ll run together when I’m back in Ohio in less than two weeks!

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