Happy Birthday to Me – San Jose Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon 2:40:38 … PR

20 10 2008

Happy Birthday to Me – Happy Birthday to Me …

It’s really funny that my original “it would be so cool” for this 1/2 Marathon was 2:44:44 since it’s my 44th birthday. I never mentioned this to Dave … and as I was getting faster I figured … what the heck anything is cool!

I met up with Brandon and Rachael at the San Jose Airport. What a nightmare of an airport! I sincerely recommend having a Clear Card if you’re flying out of there. Coming home, I was able to bypass the nightmarishly long line … and go get a yummy smoothie … bypassing another nightmarishly long line for Starbucks. They got me to the Fairmont – room 405 … the same level as the pool. The room was huge and going to be Home for all of us after the race.

My dear old friend Leo lives in the area. We go all the way back to the days when I was studying UNIX at the College of Marin (or First Unified College of Kentfield – you figure out the initials) … zipping around being the slightly whacked me that I am with a passel of computer guys. Leo said I’ve still got the “Gigsi Trademark Smile” … He’s not a runner … or a walker … and it was fun to take him to the expo. We got there fairly late on Friday, so there weren’t any lines.

The most perplexing thing was the new timing chip. It is like a band that one wears at a show after ‘providing identification’ proving you’re in excess of 21 years of age. I had some serious misgivings about this new plastic thing. Elite Racing was trying it as a disposable chip system. Not having to have someone cut the thing off your foot is a good thing, but if you’ve come with your own chip … or if the damn thing didn’t work … well – that’s wholly another.

My buddy Heather was coming down on Saturday – so I had most of the day to wander around. I’ve had a bit of a cold, so I was concerned with getting chilled, but antsy about wanting to walk. I returned to the expo with the intention of leaving and doing my sprints. It appeared when I was in the convention center, the sky opened up and dumped rain. As I was leaving, however, it was clear but puddles everywhere. By the time I got into my skirt, it was down-pouring again. I went to the ‘fitness cave’ and all the treadmills were occupied. Crap.

Not feeling well, staying for several nights at the Fairmont and wondering about my intestinal fortitude – I brought a lot of my own snacks. I did eat out here and there with buds.

At any rate – Brandon and Rachael came over to Casa de Shep in the morning only to realize they would have to trek back to the car for Brandon’s sunglasses! We four met back up before the race.

One of the bigger things I needed to deal with was moving my corral backward. I didn’t think I could keep up in a group of 10 minute milers that I was somehow placed within. Personally, I like having some movement room so I am not tempted to start out too fast. Heather popped herself backward a little also.

The race went really well. I know I started out a little too fast, and talked myself to slow down. The music along the course was actually really good and it was nice to be in a fairly competitive group of people. My Stitch ears got a lot of comments and I got a bunch of Happy Birthday wishes along the way. I really liked the guys with the Mimosas who were there about every 2 miles toasting … mmmm!!!! There was a great guy at a quickie mart giving out bottles of water at around mile 3. Very cool!

I did have a couple of double strollers (oy) and a gal with 2 dogs on a Y. It was a smidge irritating. What was more than a smidge irritating were the “normal” people who tried to cross the street through the pack of racers! COME ON PEOPLE! You can *see* about 100 people running/walking/ambling/waddling in your general direction and telling them to stop just isn’t going to happen! 

The biggest problem I had was I started out a bit dry. I knew being in the hotel had dried me out a bit. I filled both bottles with Gatorade cocktails, and when I finished – they were empty. At the water stations near mile 5 and 10, it was a cup of water down my back. I knew I needed to cool off, but over the head doesn’t really work as I end up steaming up the specs!

Everything felt pretty good. My knee has been a real problem for the entire year – let’s face facts! I think it started to go right after I got back from Huntington Beach and didn’t really get right.

What was really interesting were the runners who were chasing me through the race: “We’ve been wanting to catch up to you since you passed us at the beginning …” Ok – I had fun with them … but I realized I must not be managing my race well if I’m slowing down toward the end. I always push for that last bit so I think I need to take it a little slower in the beginning and teach myself to ramp up. I’m just such a morning person, that I just like getting a cushion of time.

All I knew was that I wanted to be able to send Disney my sub 2:45:00 document. I already had one in hand after Georgetown, but I’d like it to be a good 4 or so minutes. I donno … just funky that way, hu? I found myself checking my watch a great deal. I slipped it so I could see the funky sticker and remind myself to have fun!

Coming into the last stretch, I heard “WAY TO GO LIS!!!!” I swear I was hearing things, but it turned out that my buddy Heather had already finished and was there yelling for me. She’d never seen me walk and was fairly impressed. She said I turned around and looked … Okey dokey! I remember turning but I had a finish line to get to. The minute I saw that finish line – all bets were off. I jammed. I passed a lot of the folks who had said “We just want to beat you to the finish line.” I really like to pass people at the end.

Crossing the line, I could NOT stop laughing. Doing quick math, I realized I’d missed my goal by :38 seconds. I think Dave’ll give me those seconds … there were a couple of long water stops and checking out the people at the Egypt Museum between mile 10 and 11. The photo is great! I’ll post it when I buy it!

Heather met up with me at the end as I exited. I was spent … spent and soaked actually! We went to our rooms and I was starting to get dazed. There was a little sandwich shop next to the hotel where we grabbed some fruit salad. Just what I needed. I’d eaten some of the snacks I had, but I needed the water and fruit sugars. We toodled over to the park where CCR was playing. A lot of old tunes … hanging with Brandon and Rachael … all is well.

The nice thing for me was after the frustration of being omitted from the Oktoberfest standings and BKB being the non-responsive nightmare that they are … I could use some fun! Brandon talked me in to Tale of Two Cities 1/2 Marathon as I can’t do the San Antonio Rock and Roll 1/2 due to transportation and lodging issues. I wouldn’t mind getting my time just a smidge lower before going along to Racewalking Camp.

Next Race: Denver Marathon

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