I really wasn’t sure how I was going to feel for this race. I’ve been traveling a lot for work, and that can definitely impact my overall energy level. But I decided to try anyway since it is a good course and close-ish to me (about an hour drive away).
I got up at 4am (normal for me), had breakfast (which I could only finish half of), coffee and drove to San Jose. I got there around 6:45 and parked near the finish line. I jogged a mile over towards the start line where I met up with my friend Christine & we jogged another warm up mile.
After bathroom breaks and gear check, we got in line for the race. I edged up towards the front and found the entire Represent Running crew which was exciting. They were, of course, having the most fun in their matching outfits and taking selfies.
Meb Keflezighi, for anyone that may not know, is one of the most well known and decorated marathoners of all time. His resume is too long to list, so you can go read more about him here. He retired somewhat recently and came out with a book. He was pacing the 1:30 group. My original plan was to go out a bit slower than them and cut down. In the picture below, Meb is in the bright green holding the sign, and I’m off to the left.
The 1:30 pace group went out slower than I thought they might, so I ended up running with Meb for about 8 miles – which was pretty dang cool! That pace is JOGGING for him. I mostly stayed tucked behind the group, but there was one point when I did get to run right next to him.
At the first water stop, he grabbed a paper cup and held it level, and he was running so smoothly that the water didn’t even splash out ha! But also he didn’t seem to know about the pinch and turn trick lol.
I knew there were some small rollers around mile 5 that would be the only thing to break up the rhythm, so my plan was to hold back a bit until then. Which didn’t quite pan out.
I ended up going out a little quicker than intended, but I was feeling really good, so I decided to just go for it and see what would happen. Sometimes you have to take a risk. Just a side note, I’m not sure that 6:14 mile on my splits below is 100% accurate. I forgot to take auto lap off, and we were running a very twisty-turny route through buildings, so it is likely these splits aren’t accurate.
I really was starting to think I would be able to close in 1:30 and was feeling good. I took a gel at mile 6.5 and slowly ate it. I’ve had some dental work done the past couple weeks, so my mouth is sore & I had to be extra careful eating and drinking.
Around mile 10 I started to feel the wheels coming off. I told myself there were just 3 miles left and to keep fighting as much as I could. The weather was definitely helpful for this because it never got too hot or sunny – which I was a little worried about.
I tried really hard to get my rhythm back and did manage to pick it up a little. It wasn’t enough, but I was still really proud that I kept fighting. You can just see a yellow singlet in the picture above. That guy and I kept leap frogging each other through the final miles. I kept telling myself not to lose him. After the race he told me he did the same thing with me. It’s funny how we forge these little unspoken things with other people during these races.
Lots of my Arete teammates where out on the course cheering, so it was surprising, and fun, to hear my name. And certainly when you are running with Meb, you get the benefit of a lot of cheering!
I was able to kick pretty well through the finish line, and as I ran through Meb was standing there and letting people take pictures which was awesome. He is a class act and the nicest person you’ll ever meet. I don’t know how he has enough patience for all the photo ops and meet and greats.
At the finish line festival after, he was at the Ucan booth, and I was able to ask him to sign my book – which I brought with me just in case. I felt a little guilty for asking for a picture and a signature, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!
Initially, I was really happy with my PR, but in a typical post race roller coaster of emotions, I started to feel really disappointed that I fell apart at mile 10. There were other people there who were coming off Boston and ran faster than me, and so many people who have broken 1:30, and I haven’t been able to. As we all know, you can’t compare yourself to other people – so I was able to pull myself out of that. I am really hungry for 1:29:59 now though!