Tuesday, October 7, 2008

San Jose 1/2 Marathon - New PR

What a great experience, again!  The weather was amazing and it seemed like the weeks leading up to the event were quality workouts and miles.  I got into San Jose on saturday went for a second run,  had some dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory, hopped some fences to get into BevMo! for some water, relaxed and slept great on my buddy Chris O'Neal's couch.  Once I woke up at 5:30am, we went on a little shake out run to the local high school and back, just a mile or so, nothing crazy, but just enough to wake up the body.  We got ready, made a makeshift bib number for Chris and drove to the race. Once we parked I got a phone call from Kris Houghton asking us where we were so we could get a warm up in. I looked at my watch and saw that we only had an hour before the race. So we ran over to the VIP section to get my bib and warm up with Kris. But lo and behold he was gone with some of the Moroccans. Typical of Kris, so Chris O'Neal and I went for an easy run around the streets.

Its amazing seeing all these people walking around, warming up, chatting to friends and family. This sport is truly blowing up! I love it!  So, I get in about 17 minutes, its a lucky number of mine, and start stretching by the VIP tent. I didn't want to go in and get my stuff, since there were just too many runners and other elites in there. Adam Goucher, Josh Rohantinsky, Bolota Asmeron, and number of 1:01:00 Kenyans & Moroccans. I finally see Kris and we talk about race strategies. As we run over to the starting line with the other elites, Kris and I agree that we are going to go out conservative. I'm thinking 5:05-5:10 per mile, for at least the first 4 should be conservative.  So we get in a couple of strides and drills in, a brief chit-chat with fellow runners like Brooks-Hanson's Nick Arciniaga on what pace they are going to go out in. He was aiming for a sub 1:04 half marathon time. A little too quick for me.

So we are finally corralled over to the start. I was fortunate enough to find one photo thus far from the race. I am tucked away like a dear in headlights behind Rohantinsky and Bolota
was to his right.  Once the gun went off, everyone took off like a bat out of hell.  The first group already established themselves with about 15 guys including the 3 top Americans.  Kris and I were behind in another group of about 7 guys.  It seemed like a good place to be.  Three runners that come to mine in our chase pack were: Charlie Serrano (a McMillan elite runner), Miguel Nuci (a 2:15 marathoner) and Cristian Hesch.  All top caliber runners.  So I just figured I should stay with these guys and I might get a PR.  Our first mile was 4:57. Not bad, a little worried that we might have gone out too fast, but oh well, its too late to slow down now.  
As we come up to mile two I click off my watch and its 4:59. Ok, thats good. Now the first water station is coming up, not too many runners went for water or the Cytomax they had. But this being my third marathon I figure I better get some and "practice" my fuel intake...again.  So we come up to mile three and Hesch runs off the course and heads for the bathroom. That doesn't surprise me, since Hesch does all sorts of crazy things.  Three miles comes up pretty quick and we hit it in 4:56, and the 5k in 15:26.  Wow, if I keep this up I am sure to PR.  Now I just have to keep this pace, or I could even drop back to 5:10s and still PR. This is all going through my head as we pass tons of spectators and bands jamming at 8:15 in the morning.  The course now takes us back through the start and a whole crowd of people cheering their brains out.  Its really a great sensation, nothing like the previous two halves I've done.

So by mile four I hit 5:02, which is now expected of me to fade a little, as well as the other runners in our pack.  Its now myself, Nuci and Serrano pressing on.  Mile five comes in 4:55. Nuci holds pace while the next mile is hit in 5:10.  Serrano and I are trying to maintain pace and keep Nuci in our sights.  Now, Nuci runs 200 miles a week three times a day, and tapers down to 140 mpw.  I am told he doesn't have a job, except for running.  He is a 2:15 marathoner and I know I can stick with him!  But he is creeping away as I press forward. Mile six is hit in 5:10...now I know why and how he got away, we also go through the 10k in 30:51.  I like the pace we are at, it isn't the most comfortable pace in the world but it feels rhythmic.  Mile seven is hit in 4:54, the fastest mile yet. And now Serrano has a lead on me but starts to veer to his right and stops.  I pass by him calling his name to follow me, but he just looks at me with his hands on his head and a sign of pain from his side.  At this point in the neighborhood an older women cheers me on and comments on how she likes my shoes!  I immediately think to myself, "hell yeah! I love these shoes!".  They are the adidas adizero pro, but the significantly bright blue and red heel cup are what gets the attention. 

Mile eight comes up in 5:01, and within 800 meters there is one of many 90 degree turns. But this turn has a quaint little family on the corner and a small girl yells with her 9 year old voice "I love your shoes!"  As I turn the corner I look back to make eye contact and pump my fist with a smile in agreement. The whole family looks happy and cheerful at that point, and I will soon feel that way once I get to the finish line with hopefully a new PR.  Mile nine comes a little slower than the rest in 5:12, followed by ten miles in 5:10 (50:21).  Mile ten....just 5k to go. I seem to always think of it as a long 5k, which it tends to be.  No one is around me, and Kenyans and Moroccans are finally fading back due to the insanely fast pace they started off at. 

5k to go, 5k to go. Anything can happen in the next few miles.  My watch read 50:21 for ten miles. I need to run 15:38 or faster to break 1:06:00.  I never thought I would be in the vicinity of 1:06:00, but now its in my hands to push through the pain or stay at a comfortable pace.
Comfortable pace....at this point I didn't even know what that meant. Mile eleven was hit in 5:00. Ok, that's right on pace. It seems as if Nuci was coming back on me, but he wasn't.  Mile twelve comes up at the slowest time of the day - 5:14.  Oh man, "its over", thats what I was thinking.  But there was still hope, I was still pressing forward around the long turn.  Then as I make eye contact with one of the spectators, he yells at me, "COME ON! ADAM IS RIGHT THERE!"  Holy shit! Adam Goucher is right there?!?! I started pressing even more around that long turn and once it straighten out I saw Adam about 300 or 400 meters away. Dude, there is no way I can catch him, or is there? I just start breathing and start pumping my arms and legs. Thirteen miles comes up in 4:54, and Adam already finished. With about 100 meters to go I see the clock tick away from 1:05:55 inching its way closer to 1:06 and I finish in 1:06:06.

I could not be happier with that time and that performance. The crowds were amazing, and the bands helped out in soo many ways.  If anyone is considering doing an event like this, I highly suggest it!  And the medal was pretty cool too!
One last picture with all the Moroccans including Khalid Khannouchi.   

Splits: [4:57, 4:59, 4:56 (5k-15:26) 5:02, 4:55, 5:10 (10k-30:51) 4:54, 5:01, 5:12, 5:10 (10miles-50:21) 5:00, 5:14, 4:54 (.1-35sec)] Total time: 1:06:06 


mfranks said...

awesome recap man. That is truely a great race. Good job with the PR.

Jesse A. said...


Roberto said...

Man, while I was reading this post, I felt like I was right in the mix of things.Dude are you a sports commentator? Maybe when you retire, you might want to consider the biz.