Kristin and I, loved my new Lululemon outfit
Yesterday was my 2nd half marathon and 5th running race of the year. I raced one in February that had some rolling terrain and I felt awesome up ’til mile 10. This time around I was much more prepared BUT this course was SUPER HILLY! We climbed and climbed, then descended and pounded the pavement, then climbed and CLIMBED so more. It was the hilliest course I have run for a half so far. As usual I was super stoked to start the race and had so many friends around and it was in my hometown which made it that much SWEETER!
One of my best friends, Kristin, drove up from Santa Cruz to race with me. This was such a great treat, as I love hanging out with her. We have so much fun always! We started the race at the front with a couple of friends who I knew would pace pretty smart. I am all about building into the race, I’m not a fan of going out too hard anymore ) The first mile of the course is a slight downhill which makes it easy to go out too fast. I looked at my garmin to make sure I was holding back enough, I saw 6.15s and 6.22s, so I decided to slow it back just a bit. At one point one of my athletes flew by me and I had to yell at him “Jon, remember be smart.” He thought about it for a few seconds, then slowed down. As soon as we hit mile 1, we made a sharp right turn up a super steep hill. This hill went on for a good 1/2 mile, I was feeling great, nice and light on my feet. Again another down hill and some major pounding, I again held back a bit. I know from experience that the pounding of the downhills, if I let myself go, will come back to haunt me later in the race. Onto the next section of the course, a nice 2-3% grade for a couple of miles. This was a tough part of the race and it was so great to have one of my long run training partners (Ralph) next to me and to see another training partner up ahead. We kept each other in check and made sure we were on pace, 6.40-6.50s, since it was slightly uphill.
The hardest part of the course was still to come and this was up Crow Canyon rode, a 3 mile climb with some long steep sections and some good downhills too. At mile 5, Ralph fell back and I moved up to stay with a pack of guys. I tried to hold onto them on the first steep section but noticed that I was laboring a bit too much and my legs were starting to burn a bit much for this mile in the race. I made myself calm down, dropped my shoulders, relaxed my arms and face, and started to feel better. By mile 7-8, was a different story, I started to hurt and freak out a bit that my race was done, the hills were getting to me. This time I thought about all of my friends and competitors out there experiencing the exact same feelings, if not worse. Then I started to think of what my friend Desiree always says when she is hurting, “if it’s hurting me, it’s killing them.” I really needed this thought at that moment, and off I went and started negative splitting. I was feeling great again and moving up and down the hills feeling light again. Cool! I was still in the lead for women and was hoping to hang on.
Miles 10-12 was an out and back section and windy. We ran down a slight grade and onto a flat section and then had to come back up that grade and to make things even more interesting, we passed by my neighborhood. Thoughts of Belle sleeping on our bed all warm and snuggly crossed my mind, but I knew I had to finish first then I would get to relax This section is where you could see your competition. I finally saw some friends in both directions and was so stoked to see them doing so great! I also saw Kristin and she looked great, I couldn’t tell how far back she was, but I knew she could catch me if I slowed a bit. I picked up the pace these last 3 miles and realized I had some left in the tank which is a GREAT sign! YES!! And nothing was SWEETER than crossing the finish line with family and friends cheering me on in my hometown of San Ramon on a beautiful sunny day!! It was an awesome feeling to come in 1st and to PR on a course that had ~1500 ft of climbing. Most people said they were 3-4 minutes slower than their usual half marathon times. I averaged 6.48s/mile on this tough course. I am more than happy and stoked for great things to come… Thanks to all of my training partners and Reid of course for always motivating me to push harder to reach new heights!
Track kids I coach were there cheering me on…..