San Diego Rock and Roll Half Marathon- 1:10:14

Joanna called me last Monday and told me to try to get into the RnR Half in San Diego the following Sunday.  I e-mailed Matt Turnbull of Competitior who promplty put me into the Elite Wave of the race.  I have never raced as an Elite runner, but I was psyched to see what I could do.

I never know how to approach a running race.  I tell myself to stick to a pace and close hard at the end, but when it’s race time, I just go.  I guess I treat running races as if they were time trials on the bike.  I go hard, and see what I got.

So, let’s fast forward to the start of the race.  I was standing at the start line, waiting for the gun to go off, surrounded by miniature people.  All of these elite runners are about half my size.  I felt like the Incredible Hulk.  I could have smashed any of these guys with my foot.  There were several Olympic medalists in the field, and some really big names who have won some really big races.  The gun goes off, and I go.  I start at a hard pace that feels comfortable.  I don’t look at my watch to see my pace, but I know that the only two other runners with me at the front are Olympic Silver medalist Meb Keflezigihi and London Marathon winner Martin Lei.  We cruise through the first two miles.  There were camera motorcycles on either side, as well as, a truck with 25 camera men directly infront of us.  It was amazing.  I wish triathlon had this much publicity.  We hit the two mile mark, and this is the first glimpse I had of my pace.  The race clock at the two mile marker was around 9 minutes 50 seconds.  HOLY CRAP!  I went out way too hard.  Meb looked smooth and I felt good, but I knew I wouldn’t last.  I had to back off, so I did.  I have been reading all of these race recaps and they all mention Meb and Martin, but none of them mention ME.  What the heck, check the pics, it was the three of us.  Martin dropped out around mile 5, at least I finished (Sorry about going off, but give me a little credit, I am a triathlete for God Sake).  So I backed off to around a 5:20/mile pace.

Now, before the race, people were saying this is a flat course.  I can tell you, this was not a flat course.  I don’t think there was a flat portion of the course.  We dropped down on this huge freeway and began a 1 1/2 to 2 mile climb, and it was a good one.  I had run up for a while, when a spetator said, “The top is at the second bridge.”  I couldn’t even see the first bridge!

No matter the terrain, I kept telling myself, “Push the pace!’  I did not let off the gas the entire race.  I drove the uphills, worked the downhills, diligently ran the tangents, and always tried to keep a high turnover.  It hurt, but that’s how you get better, right?  Around mile 11 there was a turn around where you could see who was close.  I saw a few elites closely behind, so I knew the next few miles would be tough.  I pushed the pace and tried to get as much out of my legs as I could.  I held those dudes off, and finished in a new PR of 1:10:14.

That’s 4 PRs in 4 half marathons this season.  It was exactly a minute better than my time in Palm Springs.  Post race I felt great.  I finished 9th overall.  I am psyched, top ten in a race this big.  Meb finished in 1:02, so I have some work to do to catch him (And I need to lose about 60lbs.).

I waited a few minutes and saw Joanna finish in a new PR as well, she came in second overall female.  We were pumped.  Both of us had outstanding days.  I love running races, but God they hurt.  Things are coming together.  More good things to come.  I put my splits below.  The Garmin is a touch different than the race miles, but it all adds up to 13.1 in the end.  RACE HARD!


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