Saturday, October 15, 2011

(Week 13) Re-Thinking the Trials... and San Jose 1/2 Marathon

Well, one of the fastest half marathon's of the year was at the end of this week. I should have been a little more serious about the last few weeks, but I was just excited to get out to California to race on a flat and fast course at sea level. I decided to take Monday off, as I usually do, and complete a pretty good workout on Wednesday, leaving the rest of the week for recovery leading up to the race.

Wednesday's workout was 2 sets of 3 miles easy - 3 miles at tempo. This was done at the river and some math was needed to figure out how we were going to get a warm up in from the house and complete this thing with enough time to get back home without overdoing the mileage. Well, the splits were (5:35, 5:17, 5:12) then the easy 3 miles and the other tempo was in (5:18, 5:18, 5:10). The first one was done in total darkness and it felt very weird trying to tempo without any idea of what was going on around us. Chris, Kris, Pat and I did this together, so we at least had each other (no homo!). Then the rest of the week was easy miles leading up the race that Kris and I went to.

I flew out to San Jose a few hours before Kris, and got a ride to our shady hotel, which was about 2 miles north of the starting line. Kris got a rental car and arrived a few hours later to pick me up so we could head over to the Expo and get our bibs. Once we arrived at the Expo and received out bibs, we had a chance to check out our comp! I thought, that since these Rock and Roll races bailed out on brining "elite" guys out to race and putting them up in hotels, and only paying 3 deep, that not many guys were competing. Boy was I wrong. Meb was here along with a whole slew of guys were racing! This was a good thing for me, since I figured these guys were going for the Olympic Trials Standard of 1:05:00. I could just hang on to the pack and go for a PR and a ticket to the Trials! So that got me pumped up.

We went out to dinner after my old roommate Robby Nelson came down to hangout with us from San Francisco. My parents also made the trip out to San Jose, so it was a great evening. I had to hit up the Old Spaghetti Factory, as well as the rest of the people racing in the half marathon. We also got a glimpse of Meb at one of the booths eating with his agent, whose also his brother. He was also sporting his new sponsored kicks - Skecters!

Once race morning came, the three of us (Robby, Kris and I) did a little shake out run and got ready to head down to the race. We got lost getting there, of course, but once we did we searched around for the elite VIP area, and posted our gear there. One funny thing happened when I was in line about to use one of the VIP porta-potties... Meb's brother/agent was in front of me, then decided to leave the line, at that moment I saw someone leave a porta-potty, so I approached it, but was called back by the brother/agent of Meb saying he was in line holding a spot for Meb... I just laughed on the inside and watched as Meb walked on by. I guess Olympians have special privileges. I wasn't bothered by it at all, as I thought it was funny, but I decided to turn the awkward situation around and introduce myself to Meb's bother, whose name was Howie. He was a nice dude, and after I told him who I was, he thought he heard of me before and also recognized me from last night at the restaurant. Either way, it was a neat little story I had.

So, one the race started I went out too fast and ended up leading my little pack of guys looking to qualify for the trials. Meb and a few other idiots went out hard, as Meb would be the overall winner. Most of the guys that went out with him died. I on the other hand ran like a fool! Out first mile was hit in 4:48, and the guy next to me, also named Jesse, asked if that was the first mile. I said, "yup", and he stated that he only wanted to run 4:55's and that, that last mile was okay for some "time in the bank". I agreed and decided to run with this guy and hit my goal. I could sense a gaggle of guys behind me, but didn't want to look back. Out next mile was hit in 4:59... much better. The pace was good now and I took water whenever I could. Once we crossed the 3 mile line I clocked off a 4:59 and heard about 20 other guys click off their watch splits. At that moment, I felt a strong clip on my foot as I got tripped up almost making contact with the San Jose pavement! I took a few awful stomps to the ground to regain balance so I didn't have to eat pavement and composed myself. Once that happened I took a fucking 180 look at who the hell did that and found out it was a guy I knew from college training with Meb in Mammoth. I don't think he got the message as he continued to draft off of me. I felt like hanging back and tucking into the pack after the 3 mile mark, but after the trip up, I had a stupid urge to "run away" from the traffic of guys all bunch up together. The 4 mile spilt was hit in 4:56, as well as mile 5. I got a small clip on the bottom of my shoes 2 more times by the same guy, and decided I had enough of this shit. I moved away from the pack to let some other dingleberry lead. And right at that moment, I had a feeling that I was leading for 6 miles and thought that these guys were going to hit their mark because of how stupid I was to lead them through on pace. Well, no one really took over, so I stayed right next to the other Jesse as we hit mile 6 in 4:54, then 4:57 and a 4:54. I started to fade after that, which forced someone else to lead and I attempted to hang on... It didn't work. I kept fading, and fading as I saw the group leave me to qualify for the Olympic Trials. I ended up in 11th place with a time of 1:05:46. 46 seconds from the standard, and it was all in the last 4 miles.

That group ended up hitting 1:04:42 - 1:04:52 with 6 new guys qualifying for the Trials, including the guy who tripped me, and the other Jesse. And, to cap the story off with a heart-warming-dream-come-true, the guy who tripped me proposed to his girlfriend at the finish line... How perfect!

Well, from that race I was expected to gear up for the New York City Marathon. I would have about 5 weeks to peak, but after coming soo close, I've decided to chase another qualifying time in the half marathon, and if need be, run a marathon in December. I've picked the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon in November, and the California International Marathon in December. I think it's a better decision than running New York City, so here goes another 8 weeks of marathon training. Marathon season is here, and has been extended!!!

Week 13

Mon - Off Day
Tue - am. 10 miles easy
Wed - am. (3 miles easy 3 mile tempo)x2 total: 14 miles / pm. 6 miles easy
Thur - am. 10 miles easy
Fri - am 10 miles easy / pm. 5 miles easy w/3x strides
Sat - am. 4 miles easy, travel to San Jose / pm. 4 miles easy w/4x strides
Sun - San Jose Half Marathon, splits (4:48, 4:58, 4:59, 4:56, 4:56, 4:54, 4:57, 4:54, 5:03, 5:11, 5:05, 5:21, ?:??) 1:05:46. 4 mile cool down. total: 20 miles

Total: 83 miles

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