Rock n Roll San Jose 1/2 race recap

Another friendiversary weekend!  Kat and I celebrated our 12-year friendiversary with her flying up to San Jose early Saturday morning and me driving down there after work on Friday night. I stayed the night at my cousins and left early Saturday to pick her up from the airport. Let the fun times begin!

(Warning: This is going to be severely picture-heavy because I waited way to long to write this and I can’t remember a lot of the race haha)

We tried to get to our hotel, but forgot the San Jose is one of the RnR races where they have the double medals – run a 5k or 10k on Saturday and the 1/2 marathon on Sunday and you get an extra medal. Because our hotel was RIGHT next to the start, we couldn’t get in (or so we thought).  We drove around for awhile, trying to figure out what we were going to do, attempted multiple u-turns to try to get into the side street where the hotel parking lot was, only to be stopped by blockades and cops. We drove around to the other side of the Convention Center, paid to park in a lot, and went to the expo that way. We walked around afterwards for awhile, went to check into our hotel, so at least our room would be ready for us, took a “nap,” went back to my car and drove it back to the hotel when the streets finally opened – we later learned that everything was shut down and blocked not because of the race, but because the Prime Minister of India was in town and staying at the hotel right next door. They had to do a million hour sweep of the area before he could check in. While we were walking around looking for her, football and food (hello, our favorite things), there was more security, cops, SWAT, dogs, guns, everything you could think of, than I’ve ever seen (even more than when Obama was in San Francisco). Turns out there are a lot of people not so happy with him, based on the number of people protesting at his speech a couple days later at SAP Center.

Kat went back to the hotel and I ran back to the expo before it closed to meet with Laura and Ross (shoutout to fellow Bay Area runner and Twitter friend Ross!) – this was the first time Laura and I were meeting Ross, even though we had been Twitter friends for quite some time.

We still had quite a few hours to kill and were antsy, so Kat and I decided to walk from out hotel to San Pedro Square to grab some pre-race dinner. Luckily for us, there was live music in the square and the weather was absolutely perfect! (and so welcoming of the runners, courtesy of the sign they put up!)

Heretic is actually a local brewery in the town I live in (Fairfield, CA) and their Petite Rouge is one of my favorites! The place we bought the beer at has all local (or at least California) craft beers, mainly IPAs (both of us don’t like), and I was SO excited to see Heretic in the fridge!

We grabbed a giant beer to share (and maybe ended up ordering another one because it was delicious and we were enjoying the music)
We’ve been friends now for a little over 12 years and for both us, nights like this are our favorite. It’s a perfect way to spend an evening – good live music, great scenery and awesome friends (and delicious drinks were a bonus!). Beer is totally carbo-loading, right?

We headed back to the hotel to start laying our stuff out for the next morning (#flatkat and #flatbean of course) – staying right next to the start, if you’ve never done it, is amazing! This is one of the first times I’ve ever been this close and it was SO convenient to be able to walk to dinner, walk to the expo, walk to San Pedro Square, etc.

Color coordinated and we didn’t even plan it!

  Since we were only 2 blocks or so form the starting area, we were able to sleep in much later than ever before (hallelujah!), and pee in a clean toilet in our hotel room as many times as we wanted before heading to the start line (can I get an Amen!?).  We met Ross and Laura at the start, took a million photos (you’re welcome) and headed to the corrals.

Bay Area Twitter buddies!

Laura has been my good luck charm for 2015 races :)

Team Katbean!

Off to the corrals we go! It was surprisingly more difficult than I think any of imagined to make our way into the corrals, and we ended up having to squeeze through the bars in the barricades in order to get in anywhere near our pace.

It wasn’t long before the corrals started moving, and they got everyone through pretty quickly. I don’t remember having to wait long between when the gun went off, and when it was our turn to head through the chute (we squeezed into corral 10)

Yay for amazing friends!

I had no time plans for this race, had run a 1/2 in Oakland the month before, and this was technically the start of my crazy fall schedule: This 1/2 marathon on a Sunday, a 12k the following Saturday, Nike Women’s 1/2 marathon 2 weeks after that, Ragnar Relay Napa Valley 5 days after Nike and the Golden Gate 1/2 marathon 2 weeks after Ragnar, aka #IDie.  I wasn’t necessarily racing any of the above races, but just wanting to have fun with friends, and end my year with a bang! I had already PR’d my 1/2 marathon time at The Town’s 1/2 in August and was really satisfied with my race sin 2015 thus far.  Kat had rolled her ankle a few days before the race and it was still swollen, so we said we’d just run together as long as we could and enjoy it.

We ran together, enjoyed the scenery, talked about whatever, pointed out awesome buildings, restaurants that looked good, what we wanted to eat after the race (isn’t that what everyone talks about during a race?) and just life in general.  I had just chopped off all my hair 2 months previously and thought it would be a good idea to just let my hair feel the air (cuz #curlyhairdontcare). This was the only race I was able to do it in – the rest of the year it was just all kinds of annoying)

We finally parted ways around mile 10.5ish and I tried to pick up my pace. I hadn’t seen Laura or Ross so hoped I’d be able to spot them in the Finisher’s Area after the race, and was hoping I’d be able to watch Kat finish and cheer her in.  It was warm. It was warmer than warm. I usually run pretty warm, and tend to overheat quickly if overdressed. I was in a singlet and shorts for this race, so there’s no way I was overdressed, but the heat was still getting to me. The sun was out in full force and even though I had on sunglasses, I really should have had a visor on. Huge thank you to the lady about half a mile before SAP Center that had a cooler full of frozen mini sponges. You literally saved my race. I grabbed one and alternated it between hands as the ice melted. I held it at the base of my neck, on my chest, in between my boobs (they needed air) and on the top of my head, just letting the cold, melting water run down my spine. Literal heaven.

I had zero idea (since I wasn’t really paying attention to my watch) that I was on pace to PR when we parted, but when I looked down at my watch at mile 12, I got SUPER excited at the time I saw. I knew if I pushed myself and didn’t let up, I was FINALLLLYYYYYYY going to break 2:10!!!

It couldn’t have been timed any better. I finished the race strong, knew I PR’s, and before I could even comprehend the time on my watch, I heard someone say my name – Laura and Ross finished just behind me!  We got our medals and water, snapped a photo and I turned around again for some reason – just in time to watch Kat run in. Absolutely perfect timing.
 We grabbed our million snacks and agreed to meet up at a certain time at the open area between our hotel and Ross’ hotel next door (PM of India hotel; you don’t even want to know the security measures he had to go to since he was staying there!)
After the most amazing shower ever, Laura, Kat and I met up with Ross and we headed back to San Pedro Square to grab lunch and celebrate our races.  We all had a great day of running and Kat got an extra medal for being awesome (I mean, I’d give her a medal for being awesome, but it was for running multiple RnR races in CA this year)
Hooray friendship, running and food!

And when the results were finally in….

I had PR’d in August by a little over 4 minutes.  6 weeks later I run this race and not only PR again (this time by another 2 minutes), but finnnaaallllyyyyyyy broke 2:10! Seriously guys, 2015 was the year of all things that make up excellent races. I ran, not to race, but to run and enjoy it. To have fun, listen to my body, spend time with friends, and just kind of go with the flow of it. And you know what? When I calmed my brain and my body, it took over and did amazing things!  For both races where I PR’d my 1/2 marathon, I didn’t set out with a goal to PR. I tried to look at my watch as little as possible and it worked out for me.  I’m so incredibly grateful to have had so many good experiences this year, and to finally be able to share both PR races with friends! (every other race PR I’ve had, no matter the distance, I’ve had no friends or family at the races, so I just sadly walk back to my car, wishing there was someone there to celebrate with haha. Sad panda)

Kat flew out later that afternoon, and after dropping her off at the airport, I headed back to my cousins to spend the night. But first, we watch Sunday football, especially when it involves a Seahawks win! (and a 49er loss at the bottom of the screen haha)

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