Disclaimer: I received a free entry into RNR San Jose as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Last weekend I ran my first half marathon in OVER A YEAR!! This was huge for me because I am used to running multiple halfs in a year, along with 1-2 marathons. Without going into details (if you really wanna know you can search through my old blog posts) 2015 – the beginning of 2017 was not good to me as far as running goes. I’ve taken a break from anything longer than 10 miles and have taken time to heal (physically, and mentally). When I decided I finally wanted to get back to the half marathon distance I chose Rock N Roll San Jose because it is pretty close to where I live, I have never run a race in San Jose before and I had also never run a Rock N Roll race that was longer than a 5k. RNR is known for putting on great races, so all of those factors helped me choose this as my comeback half 😉
I began the weekend working the expo at the San Jose Convention Center. Cool place (bonus that it was across the street from where I was staying), and it was a fun expo. The music was a little loud and I lost my voice by the end of the first day, but it was back for day 2.
Day 2 of the expo I got up early and ran a little shake out run around the city. I have never been to San Jose as and adult and it was nice to check out the area I was staying. I came across the world’s largest permanent Monopoly Board – I don’t know about you but I thought that was pretty cool.
After my shake out run I headed to the expo for the day. It may not seem like a lot of work, but talking to people all day about running can be tiring!! These ladies really helped me out at the expo, and on race day…
…So, onto race day. My plan was to be pretty conservative since this was my first half in over a year. I was going to break the race up in 4 mile chunks. Miles 1-4, 9:30 pace, miles 5-8, 9:00 pace, 9-12 8:30 pace then mile 13 I was going to run as fast as I could. That plan flew out the window once I met up with my friends at the start. Long story short, their plans also changed and they decided to run a steady 8:30 thorough out the race. I thought, fuck it, I feel good, I’ll hang with them for as long as I can.
The race starts near Hotel De Anza in Downtown San Jose. There was music, a marching band, people with the race handing out water and salt (it was going to be a hot day), photographers…it was a great start. Everything was super organized, and I am happy to say there wasn’t really anyone in our corral that shouldn’t have been – something that is a huge pet peeve of mine (you know, walkers starting out up front when they should be in back). We started in the Downtown are and then headed towards some cute neighborhoods. At mile 1, when my Garmin read 8:32 I thought to myself, “Alright, I’m doing this!” 1 minute faster than I had originally planned, but I thought if I could just hang with my friends and stay positive I could do this in under 2 hours. A sub 2 was my goal because I hadn’t run a half in under 2 hours since October 2016 when I ran a 1:47 at Urban Cow, and hadn’t PR’d a half since October 2015 when I ran a 1:43 at Urban Cow. So a sub 2 was going to be a huge deal for me.
I am not familiar with San Jose, so all I can recall is running through the city and neighborhoods, but I couldn’t tell you exactly where (if ya really want to know, check out RNR’s website). I LOVED the community support that was out on the course. RNR had their official bands and there were also people out there with their own bands just because they are fucking awesome and wanted to cheer us on. As we got close to mile 6ish we knew we were going to be seeing the leaders of the race pass by, one of them being a local Sacramento runner who placed 4th in Boston this year! As he came speeding by us we all cheered for him, along with the other elites. It was a fun experience watching them run by, it gave us a ton of energy and we realized we needed to slow it down to get back to our goal of holding an 8:30 pace.
As we were heading back to the Downtown area, I was feeling really good and thought we were probably close to mile 7. I looked at my watch and we were at 8.65! I was shocked to see we were almost 2 miles further into the race than I thought. I guess I was just feeling that good. Two of my friends were also feeling really good and they were leading the other three of us most of the way. Around mile 9 or so they sped up, but were still in eyesight. Meanwhile I was hanging with the rest of the group, still at about an 8:30 pace. At mile 10 we all picked it up a bit and I ran an 8:19, mile 11 was 8:15 and mile 12 is where I started to struggle. I ran mile 12 in an 8:21. Still good, but I wanted to keep that trend of picking up my speed towards the end. When I got to mile 13 I pushed as hard as I could. At that point it was getting pretty warm and my legs were starting to get tired. I was getting a little discouraged because I’ve run halfs much faster than this, but I reminded myself this was my first half in over year, and the longest run I’ve had in all of 2017. So I put the negative thoughts aside and pushed the last 1.1 miles, which was my fastest mile of the race! Holding steady for 9 miles then just about negative splits for the last 3 miles is pretty fucking good for my “comeback” race.
I feel like I have to give my friends credit for running such a great race. As soon as I crossed the finish I told them I couldn’t have done it without them. Being the awesome people that they are, they told me I totally could have. Who knows. Maybe I could have, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun.
I had a really great experience at this race. From the expo to the post race party, all of it was a good time. You can read my full race review at BibRave.com – which gets into more of the on course details, and less about the feels I had during the race 😉