RACE RECAP – Rock n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon

I’m a HALF MARATHONER!

I’m 30!

It’s all happening!

Pardon the slight delay of the race recap (and 100th post!)  I wanted to process yesterday’s events and I also needed to work my way through this:

If you understand “Family Love Shauna”, you and I are friends.

Yes, that is a birthday cake that looks like a hamburger.  I joyfully LOST IT when presented with the hamburger cake.  Bold, all-caps, nothing can express my love for this man and this cake.

Anyway, I digress…

If you just want the down and dirty stats:

Chip time: 2:16:45 (10:26/average)

Overall: 4749/9790

Division: 379/983

Gender: 1830/5282

So there that is.

Pre-race went smoothly.  I woke up before my alarm with lots of energy.  It barely registered that it was my birthday because I was mechanically going through my morning routine.  We left around 6:30 to head down to San Jose where we picked up Rachel.  Sweet man dropped us off near the start about a half hour before go time.

Still thumbsing at thirty.

Everything was very well organized and surprisingly not packed, considering there were about 14,000 people running the half and the mini marathon.  Potty lines were long but not insane and the gear check was super-efficient.  Well done, RnR.  After a hug, we parted ways and squeezed into our corrals.

Let’s do this!

I had an emotional moment at the very beginning of the race.  It was finally here!  I was doing it!  I’m sure I had the goofiest grin on my face as I blinked back a few tears.

My strategy was to go slowly for the first 5K (around 10:20) and then allow myself to cruise for the majority of the race.  I expected that cruising pace would be somewhere between 9:45-10mm.  Faster than my long runs but sustainable over a long distance.  According to RunKeeper, I executed this strategy exactly as I planned:

Yep. It felt exactly like that.

The run felt exactly like what the splits reflect.  My body felt strong and capable.  My heart and lungs were easy and responsive.

But my mind…

My mind really challenged me from the first mile.  I was constantly assessing whether or not I was feeling good, going at the right speed, making the right choices.  Even though the answer to every question, every time was YES, I behaved as though the answer was no.  My body felt great and yet, I feared it.  My speed was right on pace (according to RunKeeper – we’ll get to that in a moment) and yet, I second-guessed it constantly.  The best moments of the race were fleeting thoughts I would have of family, friends, the training that got me to the race, and the incredible changes that have occurred.  Unfortunately, those thoughts were brief and infrequent.  It was mostly two hours and sixteen minutes of unrelenting pointless strategizing.

The only other thing that got me out of my head was anticipating seeing my great guy.  He found a spot where I would see him around Mile 5 and Mile 12.  I spent a good mile looking for him and that was a wonderful boost during Mile 4.  I did the thing that you’re absolutely NOT supposed to do and cut across the ENTIRE street to yell hello to him.  We almost missed each other but he heard me at the last second.  Being a professional voice user comes in handy sometimes.

I can’t say that I ever hit one low point.  It sort of all felt like a low point.  I HATE to admit that because I looked forward to this event so much.   I reminded myself several times that it was supposed to be hard.  It was supposed to be harder than a casual long weekend run.  It’s a race and I was there to be challenged.  That helped a lot more in the second half of the race than the first.

Yeah, yeah, it’s a proof. I didn’t want to pay $30. But look, I’m smiling!

Around mile 9, I started to need bathroom time.  That tends to happen to me during periods of prolonged heart rate elevation.  I told myself to slow down a bit and it would be fine.  It wasn’t.   I kept running and began seriously considering a potty stop.  I was into the 10th mile and didn’t like the idea of stopping so I kept going.  I ran two more distracted, annoyed miles before I spied a single potty with no one waiting.  I dashed in, “evacuated” and immediately felt tremendous relief.  I was about 15 degrees cooler and ready to RUN the rest of the race with no fear and no excuses.

At this point, I was way tired so I just kept telling myself “run to Tim, run to Tim.”  I ran to Tim, screamed “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!” and booked it towards the finish.  Sweet crackers,  that last mile felt so long!  I kept willing the finish to reveal itself and it just….wouldn’t.  I kept running, taking pride in all the people slowing and walking around me as I pushed with everything I had.  Finally the finish line came into view and I kicked it in.

I had one more tearful moment realizing that I was about to become a half-marathoner.  And then, I WAS!

YEEEE. UHHHHH.

Rachel found me almost immediately after I crossed the finish.  I grabbed a bottle of water and managed to ask her how her run went.  She didn’t hit her goal but since she’s about to taper for her first full on 11/10 and had trouble sleeping the night before, she wasn’t terribly disappointed.  We had a sweaty finisher picture taken.

Interlocking thumbs up. How I managed that choreography, I’ll never know. And again, this is an ILLEGAL PROOF THAT I STOLE FROM THE INTERNET.

I felt quite nauseated.  I knew I shouldn’t sit down so I drank water, ate a leftover shot blok and stretched.  Then I had to sit.  Each time I tried to get up and walk, I knew I wasn’t ready.  My fueling plan worked well during the race and I clearly used up everything I had to get to the finish.  Surprisingly, my body felt great.  No significant tightness, no pinching or whining.  Just the overall level of fatigue one would expect.   We found Tim and I just curled up next to him for a moment on the ground.  We had left the “secure area” so there was no more free water available but I began to feel better after a few minutes of rest.

So, if you haven’t been able to sense it yet, I was not thrilled with my race.  Based on the pace RunKeeper told me I was keeping, I should have come in between 2:10 and 2:15.  Why, with sub 10mm splits 9 out of 13 miles did I end up with a chip average of 10:26?  Well, because I can’t run in a straight line, evidently.

Um, EXCUSE ME?

How in the F*CK did I manage to add over HALF A MILE to my course?  Well, some of it might be GPS inaccuracy but I also didn’t effectively run the tangents.  In retrospect, I realize that I was on the outside of the course most of the time.  I had more room to breathe which felt great but had I known it was going to completely f my time, I would have stayed in the middle and the inside of the turns.  I don’t regret my bathroom stop at all because it was necessary and allowed me to run the end of the race.  I majorly regret giving up time to something as simple as course positioning.  The dull, slightly bummed feeling I have is reminiscent of the math error I made in my 10k.  If my time reflected my effort, I would be thrilled.  In this case, I ran around a 10mm over 13 miles and my time doesn’t reflect that.  Sigh.

BUT.  (and I’m almost done, I swear.)

I trained for this race.  I ran this race.

My initial goals were to finish strong and get through the training without injury.  Check and check!

I am a strong, healthy, and improved woman as a result of the preparation and execution of this event.

An enormous THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me every literal step of the way.  I love you and I’m grateful.

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14 thoughts on “RACE RECAP – Rock n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon

  1. Julie says:

    I would say don’t be disappointed and tell you how awesome you did, but it’d be completely unhelpful, as you already know all that, clearly. Instead I’ll say YOU DID IT! And the upside of a time you’re not happy with is that the likelihood of stomping your PR on your next race is very high. 🙂 Also, now you know you can run not just a half, but a half+!

    Did I ever tell you my first half involved need to run 3 miles to get to the start line 10 minutes late? Yeah, that happened. Effing traffic for a first time event. Never again.

    You know why this is so amazing? I remember that day we were talking on FB and you were contemplating getting back into a running routine, and talking about doing a couch to 5k. That was less than a year ago I think? And you did the couch to 5k. Then you did a race. Then you signed up for a half and just…did it. Your ability to set your mind to something and do it well is astounding and you should be exceedingly proud of yourself, and then some.

    And happy birthday! Glad your man did it right. Where’d that cake come from? It’s so cute! 🙂

    • Shauna says:

      I love you. You’ve been a tremendous support and source of information over the last several months. Thank you so, so much. I can’t wait until we get to run and eat together!

      The cake is from MERRITT BAKERY! 😀 Oaktown, baby!

      • Julie says:

        *nods head in approval* Merritt Bakery is legit!

        And naw, love you too! At this point I’m the one who would come to you for info – you’ve eclipsed me! Which is so fantastic. I need to run with you before you up your pace too much and you get too fast for me. 😉

        I don’t know when, but a bay area visit is soooo overdue.

  2. Anna says:

    Congratulations! I know how you feel. But you know what`s great? Now that you have this time, the next time you have a chance to actually PR and it will be THAT much better!
    Happy (belated) Birthday, again! I think you trained so well, you really did a great job!

  3. How awesome! Congrats! Is the medal a casette tape? So cute! Can’t wait to hear about future races you do now that you are officially a half marathoner! 🙂

  4. loseitbig says:

    Congrats…this is awesome

  5. Congrats!!!! You did absolutely great. It’s a hard lesson to learn on your first race that you need to run the inside of all turns and take tangents when necessary but also the best part of your first race at any distance is that the best part is just finishing! You will PR next time no problem and that will feel great too! My first half marathon was pre-Garmin for me so I had no real clue what my pace was the whole time (my wave started late so even the gun time was hard to calculate) – sometimes I think about racing like that again but I think I’m too much of a data head!

  6. WOW! It was SO exhilerating to read your recap! You did it!! I am super proud of you and hate that I could not be there to join in the celebrations. Many many belated birthday wishes. X.O.

    • Shauna says:

      XOXOXOXOXOXO! So happy to hear from you, Peanut!

      Are you coming back for any of the holidays? I have a couple of races around Thanksgiving and New Years that I’d love to buddy up for!

  7. Tonia says:

    After we talked yesterday it occurred to me that maybe your mental block against trusting that you were physically fine during the race was your body’s way of signaling you that it was incubating a cold. There was actually a physical “problem”, but without definitive symptoms your brain couldn’t identify it and then decide whether to ignore it and move on.

    In any case, way to push through and finish strong, you gorgeous HALF-MARATHONER!! ❤

  8. Just got to your blog 5 minutes ago, and already loving it!! Congratulations for your 30th birthday, it sure is a milestone that can’t be overlooked (by the way, I turned up 30 years old yesterday!).

    The original comment I wanted to post before starting with that intro is about the finisher’s medal for this race. It’s super cool, definitely want one! Too bad that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series doesn’t have a race here in Argentina.

    Keep posting, keep running and also keep uploading those gorgeous pictures! =)

  9. […] and exceeding the sh*t out of my expectations.  Double digit runs?  Wikiwhaaaaa?  I completed my first half marathon.  It was hard.  It was totally worth […]

  10. […] weekend (10/7), allowing me to celebrate a new age with a huge accomplishment.  Not a bad tradition!  I went public with my intentions several months ago and have completely adjusted to the reality […]

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