Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bling-tober! - Rock n Roll San Jose 5K and Half Marathon

Ten months into the year and staying healthy starts paying off in metal. After finishing the last North American Rock n Roll city two weeks ago in Philadelphia and taking a break with the Great Bacon Race 10K last week, we were ready to claim our fourth Rock Idol medals for finishing 10 races on the RNR circuit for the year.

How cool is it that we can do it in our home town?

Rock n Roll San Jose has always been a great race for us. Early October is usually cool, the course is flat and they haven't changed the course much since we first raced in 2008, so it's a great place to try for a PR. This year Competitor Group added a 5K on Saturday to round out the weekend. I remember the days when we would be paranoid about doing anything the day before a race, and try to stay off our feet and not exert ourselves. Things have really changed.

I had my work phone with me but finished most of my weekly clean up early, so I got to the expo when it opened on Friday. Susan actually had a full day of work so was unable to take advantage of CGI letting Tour Pass holders enter a half hour early to pick up bibs and get to the vendors without the lines. I saw fellow RNR Gypsies Beth and Jim early, which was great because we never know when we'll see them with Beth's media schedule (and thanks for the coffee, Beth!). I picked up my bibs for the 5K, the half and the special back bib for the Rock Idol.

In the first year of the Rock Idol, our friend Garrett said he was pretty sure we were the only married couple to both get the Medal in 2011. This makes four years in a row!
I actually had every intention to get in and out before rush hour traffic started, but every time I tried to leave, more friends came in. Joe Harris first, then Michelle, Ted and Sherry, then Al and Caryn. I also took some time to walk a quick mile and a half on the PreCor for a $10 donation to LLS. 

Photo op for the second Running Festival weekend in 3 weeks.

Great to see our Peninsula manager Vanessa for the first time in years. She ran the Half on Sunday in a solid 1:51. Welcome back to the circuit!

Five (!) expo hours later, a trip to Pizza my Heart was just what the pre-5K needed.

The 7:30 AM start for the 5K was warmer than usual for San Jose. We ran into Tawni and Tamie before the 5K. Tamie was celebrating her 50th birthday with perks galore.  

Having badly tweaked my calf at the Bacon 10K, I wanted to test it out before thinking PR for the Half. Alex and the folks at T.E.A.M. Clinic did a great job on getting me prepped with the usual excruciatingly painful ART and the KT tape touch up. Al said to try to hit the PR pace for the short 5K. If it felt easy, give it a shot the next day. But first, let me take a (group) selfie.

Gypsies at the 5K start. Caryn, Susan, Ron, Al, Beth and Jim.

The 5K plan was to take the first mile easy and push the last 2.1. Susan decided not to let me slack at all and pushed us to a 33:34. That's a 10:48 walking pace and a PR by about a minute and a half.  Things looked good. Even the finish line picture of the two of us looked good with our last 0.12 miles coming at a 8:20 pace. I'm waiting on a good deal from MarathonFoto to download a few packages, but we had a few group shots that made it instantly to FaceBook. After a quick trip to the expo to find better fitting hydration belts, we went home, showered, changed and met our friends for dinner at Piati's, the usual yummy Italian fare.

5K Finish. Front (L to R): Marissa, Ron, Michelle, Mae. Back: Joe, Susan, Sherry, Junior, Al, Caryn. 
I know I was told the other folks names, but I can't seem to find them :(.
Half marathon morning was about 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the usual RNR San Jose weather. Starting at 8:00 AM means we would finish in the high 70's. Again, this would have freaked us out a few years ago, but we were taking it all in stride. We can't control the weather. At least it wasn't freezing and raining.

Wendy came down from Vancouver to do the 10K. She wanted a picture of the Rock Idol butt-bibs. 
Tip for future RNR SJ races. If you stand at the corner of Post and San Pedro, not only will you find the shortest porta potty lines, but you'll also run into almost everyone you know. Yvonne was running her longest distance in months and her son Taj was running his first 10K. Susan ran into Tim Yagle in the corrals and finished with Tim and Yvonne. 

I had a pretty good shot at my PR of 2:24:04. Al told me to get to mile 10 and see what I had left and by that point, I was still just over an 11 minute/mile pace. For the last 3 miles, the Garmin was clicking off 10:53, 10:38, and when I got to Almaden I pretty much left it all out on the course. I found out later that my last split was way better than I thought I was capable of walking at the end of a half marathon: 0.14 miles, 10:07 pace. And oh yeah, average 192 heart rate spiking to 197.  I didn't look at my time for a few minutes while I stabilized.

Kevin actually beat me to posting the results. Dang, he's fast.
I missed my PR by 10 seconds. I was a little bummed that my distance was 13.2 miles (leaving some room for improvement on tangents), but considering the temperatures and the fact that my PR was set on a San Diego course with a large net elevation drop, I'm really happy with the results. I first walked sub-2:30 on this course in 2012 and this was the 10th time I'd broken that mark.  I was a bit light headed for a while and I wandered off to get my Heavy Medals. Susan had a momentary panic attack because I always wait for her at the finish and given how I planned to push the race, she was checking every med tent. Fortunately, we hooked up later.

And by the way, Susan finished with her 5th fastest half marathon time ever. This was a woman who up until last year said she didn't need to get faster. She's now walked under 2:40 five times (including RNR San Diego under 2:30) and added 5 run/walks under 2:40 "when she wants to take the race easy." #mywifeisawesome.

So about the title? "Bling-tober"? Let's see the hardware.

Al, Caryn, Tawni and Kamika. In just this group: 3 5K medals, 4 Half marathon medals, 3 Remix, 3 Cali Combo's (for doing San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose), 2 Rock Legend (7 RNRs) and two Rock Stars *5 RNR's).
Gypsy Nation representing well. I think I counted 32 medals in this group, just from the weekend.
Crystal finished her second half in 7 days, qualifying her for Half Fanatics. She is going to do her third Half in three different states/provinces when she joins us in Vancouver BC at the end of October.
I should remember to bring the 5K medal back the next day so I could take my "Mindy Evans" pic :). It would make the picture more convincing, but probably would have put a lot of strain on my neck!
We have five more Rock n Roll races left for the year. Add Avengers runDisney and The Biggest Loser Panama City Beach Half, the already completed 5K's, 10K's and two fulls and a full/ultra on two new continents and 2014 will be out busiest year so far.  I wondered after our Double Live trip if we'd ever be able to top it.

Apparently, I hadn't seen everything yet.


2014 marked the 9th Rock n Roll San Jose. In 2014, there were 8362 finishers in the Half Marathon (median finish time of 2:20), 3172 finishers in the Inaugural 10K (median finish time 1:15:37) and 1866 finishers in the 5K (median 35:17). Three wheelchair participants finished the Half.

The 2014 course starts on Santa Clara Street and South Almaden, heads northwest to 11th before turning back on a loop course along the Alameda where mid-packers can see the elites coming back for the finish.  The back half of the course goes through residential and business district before coming back on the Alameda by about mile 8. Total elevation gain was less than 100 feet. Temperature at race start was 66 degrees and climbed into the high 70's by the end of the race. While there wasn't a lot of shade for the last 5 miles, the low humidity made it more bearable.

This was Susan's 72nd Half and Ron's 69th. We should hit our 100th event at the half/full distances some time mid 2015, about a year and a half ahead of Ron's bucket list schedule of 100 by age 50. We're both now on target to hit 100 half by Ron's 50th birthday. It may be time to raise the bar again.

We have the 2015 Tour Pass. So yeah, signing up for RNR San Jose next year is a no brainer.

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