1/2 Marathon Highs & Lows

I’ve been running long enough to know there are days you’re going to have good runs, and days when you’re going to have bad runs. Today, I was thankful to have run well in the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon. It marked my second 1/2 marathon, and I ran it in 1:54:03, averaging an 8:42 pace according to the official race results. Considering it took me 2:09:54 to run my first 1/2 marathon I was really happy. It also helps that this course is über flat, especially compared to the killer hills on the San Francisco 1/2 marathon course. The weather conditions were also about as good as it gets. It was relatively cool and cloudy, with only a little breeze.

After the run, well, truth be told, I’m in pretty rough shape. As I write this, my stomach is making all sorts of foreign, scary sounds, and it feels like a nasty parasite invaded my intestines. I’ll spare the gory details, but suffice it to say I’ve spent just about the same amount of time in the bathroom, as it took me to run 13.1 miles. At least my stomach didn’t start acting up until after I finished the race. Surprisingly, my legs don’t feel too bad. I doubt that will be the case tomorrow, but I can deal with aching legs, knees, and ankles much easier than stomach pains.

Van also ran the half marathon, but that boy has some serious speed, so we both knew going into the race that we wouldn’t be running together. Once we got to San Jose, checked our gear bag, peed one last time, we gave each other a good luck kiss, and headed to our respective corrals. His goal was to run it in 1:45, and he was oh so close to reaching that goal. He finished in 1:46:49, still very impressive, and that included a porta potty pit stop. I am one proud wife, and I was beaming with joy when I saw him at the finish line. I don’t know if I was happier to see him, or be done running. Probably the later.

The run itself wasn’t too bad. Originally I had planned to run with the 2:00 pace group, but I pretty quickly decided it would be too crowded so I passed them. I tend to get pretty claustrophobic, so the less people around me the better. I usually run with my iPod, but since this is a Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 marathon, I decided to forgo my personal playlist for the bands. That would have worked out fine if not for one really annoying runner who happened to keep the same pace as me. This dude would not shut up, so I had to listen to his inane conversation with his friend for about five miles. I finally lost them during a Gu and water pit stop.

I have not mastered drinking while running, and trying to squeeze Gu out of a foil packet further complicates things, so I stopped for a brief time. Gu is exactly what it sounds like, basically a gooey mix of sugar, caffeine, and other unpronounceable ingredients to give athletes a little energy boost. I think it works, but my legs certainly were not happy that I stopped and were barking back at me. They simmered down about a mile later. Miles 7 through 10 seemed to drag on a bit, probably because there weren’t as many bands. Once I hit mile 11 and 12, I was tired.  The last mile felt about four miles, but I knew my time was still pretty good, and unless I collapsed or crawled across the finish line, I was likely to finish in under two hours. For as much pain as I’m in right now, it still feels mighty good to accomplish this goal.

Van’s already talking about doing another 1/2 marathon later this month. I’m plugging my ears while he’s talking. I think one 1/2 marathon a year is good for me. I think it’s like childbirth. Time makes you forget about the pain.

Pre-race photo. Van is sporting his race face.

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