October 8, 2013

SJ RNR 6 miler

Yeah, you read that correctly.  6 miler.

Yes, I had registered for and half-assedly trained for the half.  But it was not to be.

I decided the night before that the weather was not on my side, so I'd just take it easy and do a nice easy half.  Given the Zoom Point Pinole half time of 2:09, I'd previously thought I could target an attempt to beat last year's time of 2:06:25. It's a fast course, whereas Zoom Point Pinole had some hills and gravel, so I figured it was possible.  But, after a long week of work, a predicted high in the 80s, and the knowledge that no matter what I wasn't in close to PR shape, I decided to just start a corral behind my assigned location and go for an easy long run.

The last 2 weeks before the race were pretty lame on the training front. My last long run was supposed to be 10-12 miles, but I settled for 8 with F at a 10:30 pace on Friday before a weekend off in Santa Cruz.  The last week was simply 8 miles total, all easy jogging or walking except 10X1 min fartlek in one run and 3 miles containing 1.75 miles of speed/strength work at 8:49; 8:34; and 8:06/mile paces.  I took the last 2 days completely off before the race due to work and a quick visit to my hometown to see my mom, a friend, and to go to dinner with my bro and niece and to watch her soccer game.

In other words, I was *very* tapered.

Saturday -- I just made it back to San Jose in time to pick up my bib.  I was supremely annoyed with myself because I'd gone to family court in downtown San Jose on Friday before I'd left town, but I'd completely forgotten about the expo that was one block away from the court.

Obviously, if you forget about the expo and bib pick up, you're not exactly excited to race.  And I wasn't.  But I'd paid the registration fee and trained without a GPS watch, so I was committed.

On Sunday, I got up, parked in my usual spot, used the bathrooms in the convention center (so much better than the porta-potties), and walked to the corrals.  It wasn't as hot as I expected, and I headed out at a nice easy effort.

I was shocked to hit the one-mile marker at 9:12 -- due to my broken watch I had no idea what pace I was running, but it *felt* like a 10ish pace.  No complaints here.

I kept my effort nice and easy and hit the 5K at 29:24 and re-assessed.  Perhaps I *could* beat my time from last year.  That would be nice.

At some point right around this time, I saw Paulette up ahead in her Oiselle tank, so I sped up a bit to chat with her.  I lost her at the aid station, but that was fine.  I walked through nice and slow taking in gatorade and water and got back into my easy groove.

Somehow, I missed the 4 mile marker, but hit mile 5 at an average pace of 9:35.  Thanks to walking through the aid stations, I was slowing, slightly, but, I was surprised at how great I felt and still thought that it was very possible I may be able to dig deep and just squeak past last year's time. 

My favorite part of this course is the out and back where you get to see the leaders.  As soon as they started to approach us, I checked out and cheered and ran, inspired, during this portion.  Fast runners are so cool to see.

Unfortunately, something happened while I was checked out.  I'm not really sure what it was, but when I hit the 6 mile marker, I hit the lap button on my watch (9:56/mile -- apparently cheering slows me down) and realized that I had a sharp pain in my left quad and hip flexor with every step.  This had happened at the end of the SLO marathon and Point Pinole as well -- in both races I'd had searing pain the last couple of miles and had obviously pulled my hip flexor and quad.  But in those races it had set in at mile 10 and mile 22 respectively.  Here, it was setting in at mile 6.  And I was running away from the start line.  There was no way this was going to end well if I continued.

Could I have finished?  Absolutely.  Did I want to?  Nope. Not if it meant I would injure myself or be in pain for the next 7.1 miles.

So, I decided to throw in the towel.  I stepped across the opposing traffic of speedy folks and hit the sidewalk for a nice 2 mile cooldown walk back to the start.  I stretched later in the day and met up with a friend I hadn't seen in years for brunch after her 2:01 finish.

The next day my leg was slightly sore, but obviously just fine.  So, I'll take the 6.1ish miles at 9:40ish pace as a good solid effort.  My only regret is that I didn't realize there was a 10K mat.  It would have been nice to have an *unofficial* time for the distance, but since they seem to have erased all evidence of my participation in the race due to my DNF, it really would have only been for my own short-term enjoyment on Sunday when my 5K result was briefly available with a "Runner may have stopped running?" qualifier.

Take home on running without a GPS watch?  Meh.  There are some benefits.  I slowed down more than I realized on my long runs and it didn't seem to negatively affect my race paces too much, so perhaps that's the benefit I'll take away.  Easy runs should be crazy easy.  I can do that.

Even so, I'll likely buy a replacement GPS watch this week.  I just like data too much... 



Arvay said...

Discretion is the better part of valor!

Biting Tongue said...

@Arvay -- Exactly my thoughts!

Jen said...

Smart move to DNF, but bummer about missing the 10K mat. Have fun on your trip!

L.A. Runner said...

Sometimes it's hard to drop out of a race, feels like the pride is on the line. However, when regarding injury, it's the SMARTEST thing to do. Excellent job on making the best decision and listening to your body.

Biting Tongue said...

@L.A. Runner and @Jen -- thanks for the support.

Paulette said...

I'm so sorry I lost you at the water stop! I tried looking but also didn't want to slow down too much. So fun to see you out there, I hope your hip gets better fast. Good to listen to the body.