Race: San Jose Rock ‘n Roll Half, 2009

What a difference a week makes. This time last week I was moping about my less-than-dazzling 15K, and today? well…

I had boldly put 1:33 as my predicted finish time on the entry, and was rewarded with a place in start corral 1. I had done my mini taper (3 days, we marathoners can be parsimonious when tapering for other races), hydrated, rested, all that jazz.  The weather was cool and we were sheltered from any wind. Now I was standing in the corral, feeling a little old amongst all these (mostly) young speedys. Those accustomed to standing further back at these affairs can take heart from the fact that the announcer is still inaudible from the front. “Blah blah blah blah…   Blah blah blah…   Crack!“. No problem hearing the gun.

For the first mile I was guided by the 3:30 pace leader who was 50 yards ahead. He would be doing around 6:50 pace as opposed to my target 7:05-ish. I needed to let him gradually slide further away. This mostly worked, producing a first 5K split at 21:36 (6:56 pace) – slightly fast, but not ridiculous.

After the pacer was too far away to gauge distance I was using the Garmin for pace guidance, which was probably a bad idea. It was indicating about 6:58 when I was in fact closer to 7:10, which slowed me slightly. I Should have been checking my mile splits the old fashioned way. There were trees lining much of the route, which probably didn’t help, but It’s good to remember that Garmins are not super accurate at the best of times. All paces and time in this report are from the chip-timing mats.

The second 5K took 21:56 (7:03 pace). I was getting into a groove now, and relying on feel more. The cast of characters in front of me stabilized. One was distinctive. A tall muscular guy with diamond studs, a pink running skirt, and sheer tights. He was quite a long way ahead of me at one point, but I was gradually reeling him in along with some others. As sometimes happens, I slowed a bit, even though I was passing more people than were passing me. When others slow down, you have to spot it early and disengage from them. The stretch from 10K to 10 miles took 27:10 (7:11 pace).

I was getting a little too comfortable and needed to start pushing more. At this point a powerful looking guy with  a buzz cut passed me, and yelled a greeting to some spectators. The runner next to me asked him if he’d gone to the local college, and he delivered  a lengthy reply while running backwards in front of us at 7:05 pace. It was a stunt, of course, but quite an impressive one. Also possibly an expensive one. He dropped back shortly after, and I didn’t see him again. Skirt guy was also gone, and I was overhauling quite a number of people now, gradually accelerating to the finish. The final 5K took 21:34 (6:56 pace).

Final time: 1:32:18 (7:03 pace)
310th place overall (of 9892)
8th in age group (of 341).
Age Grade: 75.1%

Not too shabby. My pacing is coming along, but could still use work. I was a little slow in the middle section.

But more importantly. This was 27 seconds per mile faster than that 15K last week. That’s more like it!

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10 Responses to “Race: San Jose Rock ‘n Roll Half, 2009”


  1. 1 Christi October 5, 2009 at 5:52 am

    Congrats Jim!!! You had a good race and some really interesting company!

  2. 2 Flo October 5, 2009 at 6:01 am

    Insanely fabulous! Looks like I’ll be nipping at your heels from here on in. Great, great finish, 8th in your AG (much appreciative of how hard it is to get in the top 10 for men in such large races).

    Can’t believe the running backwards guy, even if he did drop back.

    Anyway, this is all very exciting, congrats Jim!!

  3. 3 Loraine McVey October 7, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Nice going Jim! What a cast of interesting characters you had for company. Were you wearing the new shoes?

  4. 4 Jim E October 7, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Yup, wore the new red and orange Launches, and they were fine. The orange D-tag chip matched the laces nicely!

    I’ve just noticed, looking around the page, that my 10K PR over there is looking a little sad now. When my half PR is faster than my 10K, perhaps it’s time to run another 10K 😉

  5. 5 Loraine McVey October 7, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    hmm, ok, now you got me looking at those figures … JD says something about using VDOT tables ‘to predict performances in races of any distance from a known performance in a race of any other distance’ … check out the VDOT table on page 49. If he’s saying you can predict a marathon result based on a half, things bode well for you!

  6. 6 jime2 October 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Oh yes. Actually I’ve been doing that backwards, predicting other races based on my latest marathon result, with an allowance for how fast/slow the course was. The half came out about 30 seconds less than predicted, which does indeed bode well for CIM.
    I can now use that as my yardstick, because it was on a fast course, and so is CIM. I’m basing my training around 7:30 marathon pace, which would get me there in 3:16:39. Did I just type that? It looks… daunting!
    Should be able to break 3:20 anyway, barring unforeseens.

  7. 7 Flo October 13, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Daunting shmaunting, you’ve got 3:15 in you, CIM is fast, you’re fast, it’s a match made in heaven, or on pavement…same thing.

    • 8 jime2 October 13, 2009 at 3:40 pm

      Flo – Thanks for the vote of confidence. I hope you’re also feeling more confident about your own upcoming performance in that same pace neighborhood at Philly. 😉

  8. 9 Flo October 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Lol, still thinking 3:18 doesn’t sound as ugly as I thought it did when I started this cycle, though while I did my repeats today I tried to talk myself up so at one point when it was hurting I said to myself “this is what’ll get you 3:16!” so maybe in the back of my mind I’m wishing and hoping.

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Race PRs

5K20:43 (LMJS 6/28/09
10K43:44
12K54:36 (Across Bay 3/21/10)
15K1:09:51 (LMJS 19/27/09)
Half1:31:28 (Kaiser 2012
Marathon 3;13:14 (CIM '11)

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