- To 50 After 40 - whose Kansas City Royals not only beat my A's 9-8 in an epic 12 inning game, but then went on to sweep the Angels in 3 games (and he was there)!
San Jose Rock N Roll half marathon race report:
My most recent half marathon race (SF 2nd half), was a very mixed bag. On one hand, I ended up getting a PR (1:36:57), though I also imploded the last .2 and spent 40 minutes in the medical tent. So while I was proud of how well I ran, I was not proud of ignoring my fueling and hydration plan, and putting myself and others at risk. So I was eager to redeem myself by running a smart race both in terms of fueling/hydration and pace. This training cycle post SF 2nd half didn't go as well as the cycle prior SF 2nd half, mainly because SF knocked me out of running for maybe 2 weeks due to fatigue and blisters. Also, I got sick for 4-5 days in there, so I probably lost about 3 weeks of training. So while I don't think I'm in as good of shape as I was for SF, my fitness was pretty close overall.
Elevation profile and course:
SJ RNR is as easy a course as you will ever find out there. Almost no hills are on the course, except for underpasses/overpasses lol. Looks like the elevation change ranges from a low of 57 feet to a high of 111 feet - so almost nothing. Though this subtle elevation change probably helps us, since we get to use a little bit different muscles due to the slight hills, even though they are very minimal. Due to the flat and fast course - SJ is one of the best half marathon PR courses out there that I know of. Course map and elevation profile.
Generally my opinions have always been mixed on whether or not to be excited to head to a race expo. The day before a race, I like to lie as low as possible and hydrate/fuel in preparation for the race. Driving around to a race expo to pick up my bib number is kind of annoying to me. Though occasionally there is cool stuff at the expo, or even races to register for (for instance at SF 2010 expo I registered for SJ 2010 for a low price and also got a shirt out of it).
side note, but I couldn't seem to find the exit from the expo, felt like I was in a casino lol
The expo was held at San Jose Convention Center, the same place it was held at in 2010
Powerbar seems like a brand from the 90s, that is still trying to re-establish itself as a viable threat in the marketplace today. I used to eat these before races in the early 2000s, now I simply have a Clif Bar or another type of energy bar (though the free samples they gave out here were pretty good, especially the wafer type bar)
The Geico lizard guy was a big hit among the kids
They had a big chocolate milk booth - and I got talking to a girl about chocolate milk. My main question - is chocoalate milk really the best post workout/race fueling plan? There are tons of sugar in chocolate milk. I'm just not sure if it is the best thing to have post race/workout. Anyone have any comments on this?
thought this was a cool poster - especially Roger Craig on the top center square
side note, but I couldn't seem to find the exit from the expo, felt like I was in a casino lol
San Jose Rock N Roll is probably the most convenient big race out there for me - I simply drove the 20 minutes from my house, and parked near the Sharktank downtown. Really easy. I never do gear check at races, so I simply got there at around 730, and then went straight into my Corral (2nd corral) at 750 ish (race started at 8). My general race plan was to shoot for a 1:37 (PR from SF 2nd half). To do this, I was going to do the first 3 miles at 7:38 pace, and the last 10 miles at 7:20 pace. Unfortunately SJ didn't have any pacers except for 1:30 and 1:45, which I thought was kind of weird.
As detailed in my SF 2nd half report - my main downfall at that race was fueling/hydrating (or lack thereof). I was excited that gatorade was the fueling sponsor of RNR SJ, so I actually didn't run the race with a fuel belt. My plan was to eat 3 gels at miles 4, 8 and 12. Along with 4 endurolyte tablets to help with salt. And I was going to stop at every water stop, and alternate gatorade and water. Here is the water stop schedule. Unfortunately mother nature picked this weekend to be one of the hottest weekends in the bay area the entire summer - so I was concerned about the heat.
I got to the race area a little bit later than I usually do for races (maybe around 735 ish) - and first tried to find a port-a-potty. The lines were insanely long, and I didn't want to miss the start of the race, so I decided that I didn't really need to go again. So I just settled into my Corral (2nd) at 750 and waited for the race to start. I ended up not talking to anyone prior to the race or in the corral, which is kind of odd for me - but just didn't seem like anyone came up to talk to at all. Side note, but I saw Roger Craig right by the start line, which was cool - last time I saw him was at RNR SJ in 2011. After the elites corral took off, it was time for us, and the race was underway at 8:01. I honestly didn't know what my body had in me, but I was game to find out on the course.
Mile 1 - 7:03 (161 heartrate)
First mile was the usual chaos - people starting too fast, some starting too slow, etc. Though some people being in front of me may have helped me - since my goal was to gradually increase my heartrate at the start. This mile went east on Santa Clara St away from downtown. My goal was to run this slower, not sure what happened here lol
Mile 2 - 7:20 (172 heartrate)
Just tried to reign my body in a bit and not start running too fast. One of my friends from my running club ran by me (he also did SF 2nd half with me), he was flying by me and running really well. Nice to see him out there. I was curious how well he was going to do the rest of the race. (turns out he ran a 1:31:30 I think, he did awesome) This mile went down Japantown.
Mile 3 - 7:19 (173 heartrate)
a guy had really bright patterned tights that I seemed to be behind during the early miles that spectators loved lol. This mile headed south on 2nd street.
Mile 4 - 7:13 (175 heartrate)
Apparently my 5K time was 23:03 (7:25 pace). Not sure that I buy this, since my watch never showed above this pace at any mile. I did notice that my garmin was beeping that we had completed a mile before the actual mile marker. Maybe it had trouble among the tall buildings.
This mile took us right into downtown again, and into the heart of the spectators - which is always fun to get pumped up running by a bunch of people. Generally I was feeling okay, mainly trying to keep my pace in check and not let my heartrate go too high. (ate gel at this mile)
not a big fan of this pic - mainly because it seems to show me heel striking on my right foot
the next 3 pics are better one's
lol on this pic - no idea what I was looking at
Mile 5 - 7:15 (176 heartrate)
Don't remember much from this mile, it headed west on Santa Clara St away from downtown
one of the best parts about SJ RNR are all the junior high and high school cheerleader squads throughout the course - I bet the course had 25 of them or so. They provide much needed energy to everyone that runs by
Mile 6 - 7:14 (177 heartrate)
We passed the turnaround point for the 10K racers, and the race suddenly got really quiet. I asked a random guy "wow it got super quiet out here", and no response lol. I do a lot of talking to spectators and runners, partly to keep myself occupied, and it is fun to interact with people out on the course - and not everyone responds to me lol. This mile continued west on Santa Clara Street and The Alameda.
Mile 7 - 7:09 (178 heartrate)
My 10K split time was apparently 45:43 (7:18 pace), which was right on schedule. Which is barely slower than my stand-alone 10K time at Eugene 10K from 2012 lol. I was glad to see the mileage of the race tick past the half way point, I was still feeling okay, but I noticed that my heartrate was staying higher now. This mile went down University Ave, nice neighborhoods in Santa Clara.
Mile 8 - 7:08 (178 heartrate)
This was probably the worst mile of the race, it went under interstate 880 - I don't remember this part of the course from 2010 lol. We couldn't have done more laps in the Rose Garden neighborhood instead? I also passed a guy that was running with a flag - impressive work by him, he was running a fast pace - I gave him props on the way by (ate gel at this mile)
Mile 9 - 7:15 (178 heartrate)
I saw Brandi Chastain around mile 9 - I think at her house? Last time I saw her was 2012 London Olympics. I also saw her on the course at SJ RNR 2010 race. This mile was back into the good neighborhoods of Santa Clara. I also was sort of tailing a guy for about 6 miles, and finally caught up to him - I gave him props for running such a consistent race. I think he sped off from me, though I'm not sure. I also gave out a lot of "Go Niners!" to spectators. It is fun for me to talk to people and spectators lol.
Mile 10 - 7:06 (179 heartrate)
Rose Garden at mile 10 is the best part of course - I used to run there from SCU a long time ago, so it is a special place. As for the actual race I was feeling okay, still holding a solid pace but it was getting harder now. I definitely set a 10 mile PR today lol
10 mile split - 1:13:03 (7:14 pace)
Mile 11 - 7:09 (184 heartrate)
This mile went by some of the best neighborhoods of the course. I was really starting to get tired now, but was getting close to the end. I had a moment on course when the local high school cheerleaders were leading a cheer, and just felt awesome that I was running such a great race, all felt right with the world. My heartrate started to skyrocket due to my body struggling a bit, but I tried to hold it together.
Mile 12 - 7:02 (185 heartrate)
This mile finally turns down The Alameda, which means the race is almost over. I tried to keep the pace up and power in. Generally it felt like I was still passing more people as opposed to people passing me. The heat was starting to hit me a little, I tried to find any shade possible on the course.
I think this is right by the Sharktank around mile 12, I really like this pic because it shows me having good form - right foot is perfectly flat with the ground, and left foot is loaded ready to land. I was definitely starting to hurt here lol.
Mile 13 - 6:57 (184 heartrate)
Finally the end is almost in sight - last little underpass hill and just tried to hold it together to the end. Definitely hurt, but finally made the right turn onto Almaden Blvd, which meant it was really close to over. I had no idea what time I was going to get, I was just trying to finish =)
Mile 13.28 - 1:53 (186 heartrate)
(6:49 pace last mile portion)
I maintained my same pace down the finishing stretch - and a welcome surprise was seeing my parents in the finishing chute! Really great to see. I looked down and saw that I got 1:35 on the dot - yea! Though right as I crossed the finish line I almost ran over people who were trying to get their medals. I wanted to sort of keep running to warm down a bit, hard to come to such a sudden stop.
SJ RNR half marathon
13.1 miles (watch said 13.28 miles)
7:16 mile pace
177 average heartrate
287/8219 overall (3.5%)
235/4031 gender (5.8%)
39/736 age group (5.3%)
kind of weird that my age group % is better than my gender % - since usually I'm always in the toughest division in every race (maybe because I'm getting older? lol)
5K split - 23:03 (7:25 pace)
10K split - 45:43 (7:18 pace)
10 mile split - 1:13:03 (7:14 pace)
Shirt was black, which was kind of annoying. I like the design, but in general I like any running shirt that isn't black
the medal was pretty cool
My plan heading into the race was to aim for a 1:37, with running the first 3 miles slower than this pace. My race plan went as perfectly as could possibly be - with running the first 3 miles a little slower, then gradually picking it up each mile, it was almost a perfect negative split race. Only miles that were a little out of whack from this was mile 1 (too fast), and mile 9 (too slow). I honestly had no idea on what exactly my finish time would be, only that I was going to beat my planned 1:37 time with how I was running. Very likely this is my best race (or 2nd best race) of my life post high school. I executed my race and hydration plan perfectly. My fitness this race wasn't as high as going into the SF 2nd half race, mainly because I lost about 2-3 weeks of training after the race due to my body feeling run down and also getting sick. So if I have a solid training plan next year, I think I can cut maybe 2-3 minutes off this time. Maybe a 1:32 is possible, we shall see. Excited that I ran so well this time, and excited that I may have some room to get even faster next race. I was proud that I basically ran a perfect race for me.
And on top of that, I now have PRd in every race I've done this year (5), including some double race PRs. Not sure if counting a 14K PR is even worth it, but I've broken my 5K PR twice, and also established a new 10 mile PR too. So about 7-8 PRs depending on how you count it up. It's been a great running year. Probably my best ever, not sure if it beats senior year high school, but this year has definitely been more enjoyable than senior year high school running since I'm not punishing myself as hard in training as we had to do in high school.
On a side note - but every half marathon I've ran I've somehow finished on the minute mark lol:
- SJ 2014 at 1:35:02
- SF 2014 at 1:36:57
- SJ 2010 at 1:51:00
- SF 2009 at 1:41:02
- Echosmith headlined the post race concert - they are a great band, glad they got to play this event. I saw them at Warped Tour 2013 and they were a very tiny band at the time. Now their song "Cool Kids" has launched them to be absolutely huge, which is kind of crazy - they deserve it.
- I passed on free beer at the finish line, didn't want to run the whole race with a wristband on lol
- Free runner tracking for spectators worked it seems like
- It was hot out, and RNR had misting stations on the course, along with people with hoses which helped a lot. Along with people at the finish line passing out towels, which I had never seen at a race before. They did a good job of dealing with the heat.
- For as much heat that Rock N Roll seems to take since they are very corporate, they run really well put together races. This was another great race experience.
- Great crowd support - tons of local school cheerleaders on hand throughout the course - I bet maybe 25 different sets of cheerleaders or so
- Great snacks at end of race - water, gatorade, chocolate milk, yogurt, bananas, pretzels
even wet towels to put on our heads which was a great touch
they were even handing out full cases of Aussie Yogurt? lol - wouldn't they run out doing this?
- Is recovery really better with chocolate milk? I seem to hear all about chocolate milk (and even talked with a girl at the expo about it), but does it really work? Because looking at the nutrition facts and seeing all that sugar in it seems kind of odd to me.
My own racing thoughts:
- I had a good fueling plan - 2 gels, 4 endurolyte tablets, and stopping at every water stop (alternated between water and gatorade). No fuel belt which was nice. (SF could learn a few things from SJ RNR)
- I tried to pace off some people on course - found 1 guy later to sort of pace off of. Seemed like I was generally passing people, or a few people were passing me going way too fast to tail them
- I talk a lot during races - and sometimes people don't always respond lol. I mentioned to 1 guy that the race got super quiet all of a sudden at mile 6 and there was no response lol. I think to other people I'm the annoying guy that talks way too much lol.
- I wore Asics shorts that had pockets in the back of them that held my 3 gels, as well as my Endurolyte salt tablets too. Very convenient. Though I noticed that my shorts were falling down if I had 3 gels in my pockets lol.
Overall the race was organized almost perfectly, I only had a couple suggestions:
- Distribution of medals should be put farther away from the finish line - even when I finished the finish line was starting to back up almost across the finish line. And I wanted to keep running a bit to slow down instead of having to suddenly stop. I had to go back and get my medal since I ran right by it since I wanted to keep running at the finish line
- I kind of wish the race started at 7 AM (instead of 8) to help cut down on the heat factor a bit. Some of the later corrals don't start the race until 8:30 ish or so. And the slower runners were on course longer than the faster runners, so they had to deal with the heat even more than I did.
- Race only had 1:30 and 1:45 pace groups, kind of odd not to have the 1:35 and 1:40 groups - I guess I could have led the 1:35 group? lol
My previous pair of Newtons seemed to be done about 1-2 weeks ago, so I headed into the running store to pick up a new pair right before the race (another pair of Newton Distance)
I know that is not usually the best thing to do - but my shoes felt so done that I wanted to roll the dice and use a new pair on race day. I got in a 3 mile run on Wednesday, but that was it. Overall the shoes felt good - only thing I noticed at about mile 9 was a blister was forming on the middle of my right foot - which is somewhere that I've never had a blister form before. I didn't have to stop to treat it (and right now it feels inflamed but not too bad) - so overall it went well with using a new pair of shoes on race day lol
After the race my intention was to get a burrito and watch the 49ers vs Chiefs game - and happened upon Mountain View Oktoberfest, which was awesome. And the 49ers barely held off the Chiefs in an exciting game, which was sweet.
Is chocolate milk really the best post running recovery drink?
What is your opinion on Rock N Roll events?