San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon Post-Mortem

The Fine Art of Failure
Back to the Drawing Board
Time to Put Theory Into Practice

It's been well documented in this here blog how poorly I do when it's warm out. Now, most races happen in warmer seasons.

Are you beginning to see the problem here?

When it comes right down to it, the fact is that I'm just too heavy right now to effectively manage the heat. In San Diego I'd run early in the morning, or wait until the sun went down. Here in San Francisco, the weather is frequently—but not always—on my side. I do fine when it's cool out. But that's not really something I can expect for every race (or every run, for that matter). And shit, it ain't exactly healthy for me to be rockin' a 34+ BMI. *cough*

So ultimately, I think it's high time I drop down a weight class. Well, actually, several weight classes. In Ultimate Fighting parlance, I'd be leaving Fedor Emelianenko behind so I can take on Anderson Silva.

I'm not built to be a 155 pound runner. I'm a stocky cat, and have always been drawn to weightlifting. Well, weightlifting, beer and pizza. But even with low body fat, I'd probably be a lot closer to 180 than 150.

To sum up, this ain't cuttin' it. By shedding this unnecessary insulation, I think I'd be much better able to handle heat. I mean running will fundamentally easier for me at a lighter weight, and it'll also greatly lower my risk of injury.

I know a whole lot about fitness, nutrition, diet and exercise. My primary problem, however, is demonstrating any kind of consistent discipline in pursuing any of these over a longer period of time. And so before I decide to dedicate myself to X plan or X goal or X race, I think I have to figure out how to become disciplined—mentally tough—if I'm going to have any success with any new goals.

Race Report

Okay, where was I. Oh yeah, the race.

I was excited that it was rainy yesterday at the race expo. I was hoping for a nice, cool race. I'd run in chilly rain over warm sunshine any day. Alas, today was clear and bright.

The San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon course winds around the various parts of downtown San Jose, weaving through nearby residential neighborhoods. I was shooting for a 2:30 finish, based on my time from my long run last Wednesday. I did 12 miles very comfortably in 2:15, including an on-the-clock potty break. I could do 2:30.

I started off feeling very strong. I was rested, I was fed, I was hydrated. I was good to go. I spotted the 2:30 pace group (which, by the way, is a concept I love. How ingenious! "Run in this group and you'll get there on time." Brilliant.) and was easily able to stay with them. It felt like a very, very doable pace that I could comfortably complete. Understand, I wasn't looking for a specific finish time—I just wanted to finish this thing.

Mile one was fine. Mile two was fine, too, although I became very aware of how bright the sun was. The banks we ran by during the race reported around 75 degrees, which is not what anyone would call "hot". But the sun... I was optimistic this wouldn't become a problem. Mile three was okay. I ran by the water station, thinking "why would I need water at mile 3? We just got started?"

Wrong. Mistake #1.

By the time mile 5 rolled around, I began to feel...not right. I was starting to lose motivation, and the ugly little "doubt" bastard peeked his head out. The "doubt" imp, which is always followed by the "quit" jackal.

By mile 6 I knew I was in trouble. Understand, I NEVER drink water during a run. Not even on longer runs. I pre-hydrate thoroughly, and then make my way through. But by mile 6, I realized I had to get some fluids. I stopped at the water station and took a cup of water, carefully sipping. I didn't want to drink it all down.

Mile 7 proved to me that these sips clearly were not enough. I was feeling bad mentally, and got completely out of the game. I began to run/walk, and took advantage of every water station we passed by.

By mile 9, I did two things:
1. I took a cup of Cytomax, because I was pretty sure I needed electrolytes.
2. I got really pissed off.

I didn't work towards this race to have it all fall to hell so easily. So, I did my very best to hydrate, and I committed to the idea of finishing as strong as I could.

The end of the race was pretty uneventful. @LosBee was at the finish line, screaming for me (which is always nice), and another race was in the bag.

Now, check out the Nike+ above. I set it to "Half Marathon" at the start of the race. It was by-and-large in sync to each mile interval along the way. But somehow, it was off by a mile. I couldn't figure out how the hell that happened. Granted, I started it in the corral before the official race start, but how could it possibly be 1 mile too long?!?!?? Very, very weird. It seemed to be calibrated accurately (mile for mile) at first, but it was totally out of sync.


The Results:

Strollers That Passed Me: 0*
Place Overall: unknown out of 9563
Men: 3905 out of 4188 men
Age Grade: 33.9%
Finish: 2:56:41
Pace: sllllllloooooooooooooowwwwwwwww

It's back to the drawing board time, kids. I have no race planned to focus on, so I reckon I now have the bandwidth to concentrate on the "core issues" and fix my foundation. Good times.

* Officially, strollers were not allowed on the course. However, somehow, I got passed by 3 folks with strollers. Now, I'm pretty sure they weren't wearing bibs, so let's just say that they hopped on the course to run along with Mommy or Daddy for a short spurt and not the full 13.1. Deal?

2 Brilliant Remarks:

  1. Amy Guth said...

    Sorry it got wonky, buddy. Sounds like you're processing it nicely and trying to make the best of it, though.

    For the record, I hate running in heat, too, maybe because I trained for my first marathon on snowy winter mornings. Or, maybe because heat equated into leisure in my brain. Who knows? Point is, I've never left a hot race and thought I did well. So, maybe you and I should both avoid the, say, Death Valley Marathon, hmm?

    (I'm trying to close with some short encouraging phrase here, but all that comes to mind is "Kill Whitey" and that'll never do.) So, keep on keepin' on, bonkfighter!

    Being called a Bonkfighter™ is enough for me.