Yesterday, I ran the inaugural 408k RACE TO THE ROW in downtown San Jose. The race was a point-to-point, flat course from the HP Pavilion to the Santana Row shopping center that weaved its way through several neighborhoods. The morning was PERFECT for a run – no substantial cloud cover and temps in the low 50s. It was also great to see a wide range of running levels represented – which is something I like to survey. I think that makes the sport more approachable…I know it did for me when I started running. The race benefited the Pat Tillman Foundation and, according to the organizer, raising about $10,000.
Being the inaugural event, I’m sure many were expecting glitches. If there were any – which I’m sure there were – I wasn’t aware of any that were significant. There was a ton of volunteers and the course signage and management was excellent. UPS provided the sweat check service (also point-to-point), which was awesome! The Mariachi band at about mile 4.2 was a nice touch!
The post-race expo was well organized and set up and had a good range of food (ranging from bananas to chili), SWAG-infested booths, upcoming race sign-ups, and live music. People just hung out, which was what, I’m sure, the organizers had hoped for. Not to many of the Santana Row stores were open when I was walking around – maybe next year they will open up a little early and benefit from the captive foot traffic…
I hung out at the expo for a while before heading over to the complimentary bus service back to the HP Pavilion – given the point-to-point course set-up. The only glitch I encountered all day was that the signage to the buses was off slightly and I (and a bunch of other people) passed the turn to the queue and headed for Stevens Creek Blvd. That said, the bus service was excellent and provided a good venue for post-race chats before heading back home.
My mind was pretty occupied throughout the morning because my Father-in-Law had been in the hospital since Friday night. I phased in and out of race/him/race/him throughout the morning until hitting my “tunnel zone” (see below.)
Anyway, I got to the venue early and stayed warm in my car for a bit. At about 45-minutes to race time, I walked around and got the lay of the land for the start area, etc. and then headed back to the car for my gear. I usually wear pants, but with the temp higher than my normal 0430 runs, I wore shorts. I dropped my stuff at the UPS sweat check, went through my pre-race potty/dynamic stretch/jog/potty routine, and then joined the growing throng in the start gate – standing in the middle depth of the start gate area. Club One Fitness Center representatives lead the pre-race, mass warm-up stretch routine – I just watched and downed my GU.
The race started on time (actually, about 30 seconds early!) and, out of the gate it was pretty crowded. I managed to weave through the crowd and settle into a comfortable pace and entered “tunnel zone” – which I can only describe as a state where I really am focused on the run and my “systems” (pace, breathing, hydration, posture, etc.) and not the course, people, etc. It’s weird because as I try and recall the race event later, I don’t remember much about where I ran, the sights, or what specifically happened.
At any rate, my goal this for this race was a sub-40 minute time with negative-split pacing. I pretty much stuck to plan, pushing myself a bit more this race rather than hanging comfortably back and playing it too safe as I did in my last run (read: “Leave it on the course, dude!” OR “Why train if you’re not going to push yourself a bit.”)
I was a very happy camper, er runner this morning.
Garmin time: 38:38 at an 7:52/mile pace.
Official time: 38:36 at an 7:46/mile pace.
Bottom line: The 408k was a GREAT event that has potential to build with the coming years. They limited the entrants to 3,000, with 2,761 actually finishing – I could see this growing.
This was my 8th organized race, having started running from “the couch” in September 2011. For me personally, it was a race where I think I safely pushed myself a bit and was happy with the outcome – maybe I’m gaining confidence and grasping/appreciating the analytical and strategic side of running. [at least that sounds good anyway…]
No fantastical post-race meal this time…just showered and headed to the hospital. We are thanking God that my Father-in-Law was doing much better on Sunday and seems to be on the mend.
- Emerald Across The Bay 12K on March 18 – my first of three runs across the Golden Gate this year and my furthest organized run to date. I’m still trying to strategize about this one…
Training Journal – 3/12/12:
- Current plan: 12K Training
- Today’s session: 5 mile easy run @10:28
- Comments: Normally, Monday is a rest day; but, with the Emerald Across the Bay next Sunday, I changed things up this week. I did 6.3 miles @ 9:11 (I know, more than a minute off the “easy” pace…it just felt right.)