On October 6th I completed my fifth half marathon; the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half. This was my first non-runDisney half and honestly I was a little nervous about branching out. I knew that if I wanted to get more that two or three half marathons in a year I had to go out of my comfort zone that is runDisney.
In early Spring my Twitter feed was full of tweets about the Rock ‘n’ Roll races and I started doing some research. I discovered that most of my runner friends had run a Rock ‘n’ Roll event and had nothing but good things to say about their experience; furthermore it was pointed out to me that RnR San Jose was a fast, flat course and if I love hearing one thing about a course it’s the word flat. It was decided then and there, I had to run this race. Luckily my birthday was a few weeks away and my sister gave me my entry as my gift, yeah I know, awesome gift!!!
I live approximately three hours from San Jose so I booked a room at the host hotel, The Hilton San Jose. The hotel was a no brainer since it is attached to the San Jose Convention Center and that’s where the expo was being held. Tony decided to run with me, so we met at the convention center on Saturday afternoon to pick up our packets. We had printed our waivers before we arrived so the process was quick and easy. We presented our waivers as we entered the convention center where we were given our bibs, t-shirts and gear bag. We had to go through the rather small expo in order to exit the convention center, that took us just about 20 minutes start to finish….easy peasy. After the expo we wandered around Downtown San Jose and wrapped up our night with dinner at Morton’s which is starting to become a pre-race dinner tradition.
On race morning I was up at 5:30 and headed down to have a light breakfast in the hotel restaurant before heading out to the corrals just two blocks away. It was sunny and brisk when we lined up in our corral just about an hour before race time. The corrals were much smaller than I was used to, I actually enjoyed that they were a lot less crowded than I had experienced in my past races. There was music playing and the air was full of excitement as we were waiting for the race to kick off. The race started right on time with each corral starting about every three minutes, before I knew it we were on our way.
Tony runs just about a minute faster mile than I do so when we run together I push myself more and we meet somewhere in the middle of his pace and mine. Knowing how running with Tony pushes me and that this was a flat course I was hoping for a PR. The first 4 miles flew by as we ran through the Downtown area. We passed through residential neighborhoods, the spectators were amazing. There were people set up on their front lawns playing instruments, others were having a block party of sorts enjoying their coffee and cheering us on. I loved this. What I also loved about the course was it was wide open, no crowding issues what so ever. When we came up on water stations they were set up on both sides of the road and if you chose not to stop you could continue running through the middle.
Shortly after passing the mile 4 marker I started getting dizzy and a bit nauseous, but I continued to run thinking it may just be the heat as it warmed up quickly after the start and the sun was beating down (San Jose did hit a high of 86 degrees that day). I made it a point to drink at the next two water stops, the dizziness went away but as soon as we made it to mile 7 I started getting calf cramps. I tried to stretch them out, walked a bit but every time I tried to run I couldn’t go more that a tenth of a mile before the cramping began again. We passed by a corner market and Tony went in and bought me some salt and an electrolyte drink hoping this would help. After walking a bit more we tried to run again and I was still cramping up, looked like we would be walking the rest of the race.
To say I was upset and disappointed would be an understatement. I had been so looking forward to this race and WANTED that PR. I tried to take it all in as we continued along the course, the bands, the spectators and the beautiful city that San Jose is. It was hard I don’t know how many times I told Tony that we hit the 10k mark right at 1:15, if we had kept going at that pace I would have met my goal. I had also dedicated this run to my Grandmother and my Aunt who are breast cancer survivors and I felt like I let them down, basically I spent the last six miles of the race feeling very much like I failed. After what seemed like hours we came up on mile 13 and ran the rest of the way in to the finish, where we received our medals and post race refreshments. I had been looking forward to enjoying the post race Atlas Genius concert but after the race I just wanted to get back to the hotel, clean up and have some lunch before the drive home. We stopped for our post-race photo and headed back to the hotel.
It took me a few days to accept that I had just had a bad run. It’s happened on training runs before, I know we all have them, I just wasn’t prepared for it to happen on race day. I do want to be clear, I had a bad race, me alone. Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose was an extremely well run event with a fantastic course and amazing spectators. I will be running other Rock ‘n’ Roll races in the future and watch out San Jose I’m coming for you again in 2014!