Ran the Rock N Roll, San Jose Half Marthon today and finished it in 1h53m6s. After regular practice, sort of a strict diet and losing few kilos, I was able to finish within my target time of 2 hours. Here's a short log of the event.
Vijay and I reached HP pavilion at 7:45 and to our bad luck, the parking at HP pavilion got full exactly when we were about to enter. We didn't have much time to look for any other parking, just parked the car at the curb very close to the pavilion even though it was two hours parking only and started a quick gait towards the race start near Almaden Ave. We saw an ocean of people there and we quickly were part of them and I had squeeze through the crowd to get closer to 2h corral. In just a couple of minutes the countdown started and the race began, just like any other marathon, we had to walk for first couple of minutes till the crowd dispersed. I surged ahead and cross the 2h corral leader (the guy carrying the board).
I felt super energetic and fit at the start of the race and did 8 min odd a mile and thankfully I was able to sustain it pretty well till the end. The course well traversed the historic downtown of San Jose (course map) and I have never seen San Jose that well as I did while running. Almost all the marathons I've run was with music in my ears, but I decided to run without my ear plugs for there were bands playing for us. There were bands almost every mile apart playing all sorts of music from blues to pop to rock and there was even a school orchestra band at some stage. There were also many cheer groups with kids upping our spirits along the way and I also saw people with bells and jingles every now and then encouraging the runners. I would have clocked the marathon better if the weather were to be colder, but it was sunny and warm which I didn't like much.
I felt my energy drained a bit at about 8th mile and 10th mile, but Gatorade and Energy gels that were given along the track helped me cope up with it. After 12th mile I paced up a bit and last few meters I almost sprinted. I was gasping for a breath after the finish line when a volunteer offered a plastic bag thinking that I wanted to throw up. I thanked her for that, got my finisher's medal, got photographed by marathonfoto.com photographers and binged on all the refreshments that were given - bananas, chocolate milk, Gatorade, Jamba juice smoothie, protein bar, mini pretzels etc. I walked out of the secure area (meant only for runners) and waited outside for the rest. I saw Ying and Susan coming out and after a long wait Vijay walking out. We all later met at section C, had the free beer, relaxed for a while and dispersed.
This was the best timing I have ever clocked in the marathon and this was my first ever marathon in the US. After running this I felt it's lot easier to run marathons here in the US than in India due to weather conditions. This marathon also made me feel that a full marathon is feasible for me, now I need to give serious consideration for that.