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Rock N Roll San Jose was my very first time…running a half marathon!

  • Jul 18 2014
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It is race weekend for Chicago Rock N Roll runners and I can't help but remember my first ever half marathon, which was the Inaugural Rock N Roll San Jose Half. My first ever half marathon was in 2006, a few months after I was finished competing in NCAA Track and Field as a 400M hurdler. My last race was in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships, so this race environment was completely different to me. There was the familiar sights and sounds of people running around and stretching, getting their last sips of hydration and pinning their race bibs on. The corrals and vast numbers of runners were new to me, but I had trained properly and couldn't be more ready.

The first couple of miles my adrenaline was going in full gear. I had trained around 8:00 minute mile pace and was running 6:45 pace and feeling normal. My sister and I had to mentally be cautious about our speed because we knew we were just excited but couldn't slow down without thinking about it. We stayed under 7:30 pace for the first five miles. I didn't really have a race plan and had absolutely no strategy or goal for a finish time besides finishing under 2 hours and 15 minutes, I was well under 2:15 pace at this point. My sister, my dad, and I stayed together for the first 8 miles for so and my sister and I stayed together until mile 10, when she told me "just go!". I finished the last three miles picking up my speed. Around mile 12.5 I was about to pass a blonde guy, younger than me, wearing burgundy. Was it burgundy shorts or shirt? I don't remember, I just remember the color vividly in my brain. I told him "let's go!" and he tried to push with me and gassed out after a few hundred feet. I was still going full stride towards the finish. A few steps after mile 13 the course turns a corner and the finish line is in sight. I was immediately hit with an overwhelming feeling of heaviness and stiffness and the .1 miles left felt like it was more than a half mile away. Runners call this feeling, "hitting the wall", but I tried my hardest to finish strong.

When I crossed that finish line for the fist time at 1:42 it was the furthest I had ever run in my entire life. As a matter of fact, since I only trained to 10 miles, I had been running the farthest I had ever run every step past the 10 mile marker. It was an incredible feeling to finish a race of such a long distance. I had been a runner my whole life. But in track I was a sprinter and I ran cross country basically to keep in shape for track season. Distance running was not my forte and I found myself falling in love with it every step of the way.

A couple minutes later, my sister crossed the finish line. We greeted each other with sweaty and dry crusty sweat salt on our faces and congratulated each other on our victory. A few minutes later my dad and brother in law finished. I hugged my dad and we all were in somewhat disbelief that we each completed the race and lived to tell the tale. It was magnificent. This moment we shared at the finish line was a moment we will never forget. This moment not only brought us closer, it was the beginning of our journey together as a running family.

After our post race gathering we followed the "herd" through the post race festivities where we received our Rock N Roll San Jose Half Marathon medals, took finisher photos, received free Spenco sandals, and enjoyed an abundance of post-race cuisine including bagels, electrolyte drinks, bananas, protein bars, and the like. We were then led to the official merchandise tent where we decided on a Rock N Roll San Jose picture frame and headed back to our hotel to rest and recover.

Our picture frame is now displayed at my parents lakeside home among the family photos, wedding pictures, and crystal decor. This colorful picture frame is proudly displayed right next to the other important photos of my grandparents, my parents wedding photos, and a photo of our trip my sisters and I took with my dad after we hiked to the top of half dome for his 50th birthday. Finishing our first half marathon together was definitely a huge milestone for all of us and obviously deserves a place on the mantle.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my very first half marathon. What do you remember about your very first race? I'd love to hear your race stories and see your photos! Happy race weekend to all the Chicago Rock N Roll runners and I look forward to seeing many of you next weekend in San Francisco!



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