Tuesday, October 8, 2013

RnR San Jose Half 2013

Another weekend, another trip away. I could get used to this! Some people hate traveling and would prefer to race close to home or somewhere where they can drive to and from. I on the other hand love traveling. I love getting away, leaving reality of work behind and exploring a new place. Ignore the fact that I am generally not in these places very long so there is very little exploring; however, I am still getting to experience new cities and take part in new adventures. 

I had been in talks with Vancouver Master's runner Catherine Watkins since late spring/early summer about this race (Rock n Roll San Jose). The last 5 years I have spent (Canadian) Thanksgiving in Victoria taking part in the Royal Victoria/Goodlife Fitness Victoria half marathon or 8km events. This year, I wanted a change. Don't get me wrong, Victoria is an excellent event and I will definitely go back, I just needed something different. 

Over time, we also heard that a small group from Vancouver was heading down, which included Natasha Wodak, Sabrina Wilkie, Dylan Wykes and Richard Mosely. Plus their coach Richard Lee. While we only were able to see them on race day, it was nice to see some familiar faces down there. 

I headed over to Vancouver on the 10:40am ferry and then took the bus/sky train to YVR. 

One of my cats telling me not to go again

See you Nanaimo

There I met up with Catherine for our 3:25pm flight and we started our adventure. 

Terrible touristy airplane shot!

First up was a short layover in Portland and then onto San Jose were we arrived around 9:30pm. The nice thing about San Jose is the airport is literally a few miles from downtown where the race was being held and where our hotel was. 

Flying into Portland

Mt St Helens I believe

San Jose @ Night

We settled in and called it a night. The next morning we woke up to beautiful sun shine and warmth. We did our pre race shake out and both of us thought "this feels awful." In fact, all week felt lousy for me (and Catherine too apparently). This tends to happen to me when my overall quality and mileage drops. The taper tricks my body into feeling crappy apparently. Pretty sure I am not the only one. After some drills and strides, my legs felt a bit better which was a nice change. 

Pre-race run

Palm Trees!!
The rest of the day we hit up the expo, some groceries, some lunch and then attempted to find a better grocery store as the Safeway didn't have enough options. We became lazy whiny runners when it came to finding the Trader Joe's and everywhere we walked seemed to be so far away. We ended up catching a cab to the store and then also home. In fact, as we waited for the cab for the return trip we were told 5-15 minutes. I swear we waited longer than that and I even began to warn Catherine "I am starting to get crabby" lol. Just as we asked one lady about getting back to town, our cab showed up. Go figure. 


Sharks Suck ;)

After that we relaxed all afternoon and then went out to dinner, which was lousy (Old Spaghetti Factory). The rest of the night, we relaxed while I annoyed Catherine with hockey talk/updates as I watched the game on my phone. The Sharks were playing that night (Canucks game was not on TV) and there were Sharks jersey's everywhere at dinner. The hockey addict in me found it hard to be around! If only we had beaten the Sharks on the Thursday.

We went to bed at a decent time and I spent the night with my usual routine of many trips to the bathroom. I think I fell asleep by 10:30pm and had been up 3 times by 12:30am. The third time I woke up I felt so rested I swore it was almost time for the alarm which was set for 5:45am. Needless to say I was shocked to see 12:30am.

When we did get up, I went to have my breakfast of some bread that I brought from home with Jam only to find a bit of white on the bread. I broke that piece off as it didn't really look like mold so I figured it was just due to flying. I mean I did buy a brand new loaf just before leaving so it should have been good until Monday. I started to take a few bites and I realized that it smelled rather funny. At that point, I threw the bread out. Now what? Well the only thing I had left was a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin, so that is what I had. Not the most ideal breakfast, but it was something. 

Race morning

We headed downstairs to the elite room at about 7am (race start 8am) and shortly after the rest of the crew arrived. A warm up with the girls and I noticed my legs felt pretty decent. Shortly before 8am we were on the line and for once I felt warmed up and ready as I got in most of my drills and strides and did not feel rushed. Today was going to be a good day. 

Race start (I am on the right near Tasha but you can't see me behind some guy)

The race went off and I found myself side by side with Sabrina, in which we have been in pretty much all race since the Sun Run back in April. In fact, I ran most of the race with Sabrina and I will be honest, this was not planned. I had not talked to Sabrina about her plan or goals. I figured we would likely be similar, but I did not know for sure. I knew my plan was to go out at 3:40km's and that would hopefully feel good for the first 10km and then pick it up from there if I could. 


Sabrina and I were pretty much side by side for the first 10km though at one point I looked down at my watch and saw we were running a 3:26km which I said "oh crap" and pulled back. She pressed on slightly in front, but I pulled even again not long later. We hit 5km at 18:27 and then 10km at 36:49. Around 10km I took a gel and for a moment it disagreed with me, so I fell off Sabrina by about 15-20m but thankfully it passed and I pulled her back. 

I missed the 10 mile mat completely and immediately I thought, oh crap, people (my coach and family etc) are going to think I dropped. Sabrina hit the mat right beside me but I was off to the left. So based on her time we crossed 10 miles at 59:11. Shortly after that Sabrina surged a bit and I had another short moment of weakness and fell off again by like 15m. We could see about 3 women ahead (we were in 6th and 7th) who we were slowly creeping back on. I decided to keep it conservative and to stay within striking distance as I didn't want to bring up some mental issues I have had in previous races.

We tracked down a few girls and one of them tried to go with me, but eventually she fell off. I also pulled back Sabrina and was right behind her and another girl named Ramona. We hit what we thought was the final corner and I saw both Sabrina and Ramona start to sprint so I went with them. We rounded the corner and I thought "where the heck is the finish." Turns out we had one more corner. We hit that corner and I heard "You can beat her this time" which happened to be Sabrina's coach Rich. I don't blame him for yelling it as I have out sprinted Sabrina a few times in the last few months. 

I saw the clock for the first time and saw it in the 1:16:3X. I gave it a pretty good kick (my final 200m on my garmin said 2:54/km) and unfortunately watched the clock click over into 1:17 before I could get there. I crossed the line in what I thought was 3rd as my chest crossed the line first, but I saw that Ramona was right there ever so slightly behind me. I was handed the 3rd place award for finishing in 1:17:03 with Ramona right there and then Sabrina in 1:17:06. 

When I saw the results later, I saw Ramona was in some and I was listed 4th in 1:20:03 and then others that didn't list Ramona and listed me in 3rd in 1:17:03. In the end, I was awarded 3rd but was confused what happened to Ramona. I just looked at the results now and see they have put Ramona back in 3rd in 1:17:02. Umm... I thought to myself that I am like 99% sure my chest crossed that line first. Then I remembered, it was a timing tag on the shoe unlike most Canadian bibs where the timing chip is on the bib on your chest. Races are always won by the chest not the foot, so this makes sense. My guess is that I crossed the line with my non timing chipped foot, whereas she must have crossed with her one that had the timing chip. 

Based on the fact that my chest crossed first, I still say and feel as though I finished 3rd, even if the results don't reflect that. Timing chips should be on both feet if that is the case, not one. Come on USA, get with the times. Learn from Racedaytiming.ca and sportstats.ca that chips go on the bib! Chest first! 

The girls and I had a real slow cool down, then Natasha, Sabrina, Dylan, Richard and Rich left for the airport. I stayed for the awards with Catherine before we went back to the hotel and sat pool side later that afternoon. I flew home the next morning and Catherine not until Monday evening. 

Waiting for awards

2nd place Megan Deakins and myself 

Flowers I won that I gifted to a girl at the front desk before I left

Overall it was a great weekend. I am once again 99% happy with the race. I broke my best time of 1:19:57 from last October after a couple of less than ideal half marathons earlier this spring. The only disappointment was being 4 seconds from 1:16:59 where I could have brought home $250. Not to mention 1:16:xx sounds better than 1:17:0x ;) It just makes me hungry for the next one!

Results can be found here! Congrats to Natasha on her win! 

Post race photos

Sabrina, Tasha, Myself, Catherine

Sabrina, Catherine and me

Funny shot of the day. Came out of the hotel and saw this. Being a care aide in a seniors facility, it reminded me of a deceased body.

Various San Jose photos

Morning I left

Flying out of San Jose- BOOOOOO (any idea what that is?)


The pool on the right is the Fairmont. Hello Catherine who was spending the day at the pool!