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?