Sunday, October 3, 2010

San Jose Half Marathon – October 3rd 2010

This was my second official race, ever. My last one was on July 25, 2010. Thomas convinced me to sign up for this Half Marathon when we went to pick up the bib for San Francisco Half Marathon. As expected this was another highly organized event. My preparation for this event was better than the earlier one. This is what worked for me. I had couple of over 10 milers run, during my training. I ran only three days a week; Tuesday (30-45 minutes), Thursday (30-40 minutes) and then long run on Sunday (8-13 miles). Long runs were run at 9 min/mile pace or slower. Besides that I was hiking on Saturday (Mission Peak mostly) for 2 hours.

2 months before when I ran Half Marathon, my timings were 1:50:58. However, I ran 2nd Half of San Francisco Half Marathon; which means there was an elevation drop of over 300 ft; so I was always skeptical about this performance. San Jose Marathon was flat and it was a loop, so I was looking forward to see how would I do here. I was feeling lot more stronger than before. I thought if I could do 1:50, I would take that.

When race started, as expected, I forgot all about my pace and started running at a pace which I thought was comfortable; when I looked at my GPS, I was doing 7 minutes/mile. I finished 5K in 22:51. Though Thomas was ahead of me just by few seconds at this time, I did not see him. I finished 10K in 47:48. Till I finished 8 miles, I was still doing sub 8 min/miles. After that I started losing gas, and started walking through water tables (which were at every two miles). I knew that my cruise speed is somewhere near 8:35; so I did not mind slowing down. However, after running a big portion of the race at sub 8, it seemed to me that I was crawling. I finished my race in 1:47:01, behind Thomas 1:41:47.

I am happy with my progress in last two months of training. If you are a runner, you can appreciate as how difficult it is to shave off minutes from your last performance. Last mile I tried to run faster, however, my legs sent a signal that they might cramp; so I just kept my cruising speed. Promila called me at finishing line, she took my photo. Promila and Prem were waiting for me for all those 2 hours. I did not know that she took photos at 4th mile and she was able to capture Thomas, me and Radhika. Promila’s friend, Malai, just finished after me at 1:51:49; followed by Rajesh at 2:05:20, then Lindsey (my running counsel at office) at 2:07; Sudhakar at 2:16:09, and then Radhika at 2:40:56. We waited for Meenal for a long time, called her, did not know what happened. I just came to know she finished too. In one of the running book, it was mentioned that runner who run the marathon in 5 hours or more, compare to one who finish under 3; exert twice the effort, since they were running much longer, on their feet much longer. I have utmost respect for the people who in spite of knowing how hard it would be, came to run and finished it. By that logic, I would think that Thomas is the laziest of the bunch, did not want to put too much effort.

What’s next à Like I mentioned in my earlier blogs, that running is much harder than it seems. Hiking comes easier to me and much more enjoyable. I did not like the pressure of bettering my timings in running. Just like hiking, I want to enjoy my run, and it is difficult to do that in such a race. May be ultra running at lower pace might suite me. I have been doing my long runs with Dave (ultra-runner) and Norm; once in two weeks. We go to Ed Levin Park and Alum Rock Park; and do trail running which is much more fun and since lot of hills are involved, you do not worry about timings and enjoy the run. So till I have big improvement on my time, I do not think I would be enrolling for another Half Marathon, anytime soon. However, before I participate in any ultra-run, I might think of a full Marathon; not sure.