Captain's Log, Stardate 10.05.2010
This was quite an unusual experience for me, and not all of it good.
I wanted to experience an actual race before doing the Honolulu Marathon in December, so I signed up for the San Jose Half Marathon because I thought it would be closest to the experience of a Marathon event. (I wasn’t positive a 5K or 10K would be organized the same way as a marathon.)
My problem is that in running this half marathon for “fun” (HA!) I was still doing my marathon training program, which required me to run 20 miles the same week as the half marathon. (Yes, you read that right, 20 miles.)
I’m doing the e-coaching program with Jeff Galloway and he said for me to run the half marathon (which is 13 miles) and then run an additional 6 miles before or after the event (or both) to make up the 20 miles I had to run that day. He said that normally he doesn’t like people breaking up their “long runs” that way, but in this case he thought I’d be fine.
So I had to actually hold back during the half marathon so that I could still run an additional 6 miles afterward. This was a bit frustrating. I have realized that I will not do that again—if I enter an event, I’ll train for the event so I can go all out during it.
The race itself was really well organized and very positive. There are live bands at every mile marker, playing cover songs that are just very fun and upbeat. There are also high school cheerleaders and cheer squads at sections of the race to cheer the runners on (they were very cute). And in addition, residents from San Jose (the race runs through a few residential areas, and their streets are blocked off for the entire morning, poor people) gather in lawn chairs along the road to cheer the runners on. Some streets had fun block parties with barbeques and people rockin' to the live band playing nearby.
Oh, and the snacks after the race are really good! (LOL You knew I'd focus on the food, right?) We got Wheat Thins and four or five different types of Odwalla energy bars and Cytomax (kind of like Gatorade) and ice cold water and fresh bagels.
And the medal I got for finishing is really hefty! It's rather cool.
Then here is the really embarrassing part, and just to warn you, it might be slightly TMI.
So I have a very small bladder. But the marathon books I read said to drink about 4 ounces of water every hour before the marathon. So, fine, that’s what I did. If you think about it, it isn’t that much water, but apparently it was too much for my tiny bladder.
I went to the half marathon and used the bathroom twice before the race even started. But then about 1.5 miles into it, I had to go again! I saw a single portapotty at mile 1.5 with a line of 20 people, but I didn’t know:
(a) when the next bathroom would be (in half a mile? In 2 miles?)
(b) whether I would even last that long, and
(c) how long the lines would be for the portapotties.
So I stopped to stand in line. It took SO long for me to finally use the bathroom that the Tail Car came up on us. The Tail car is basically the guys who bring up the rear of the race to pick up extra slow stragglers and signal the trucks that remove the barriers that were blocking off the streets from traffic just for the race.
So I had the Horrid Shame of being picked up by the Tail car and driven about 3/4 of a mile further down the marathon to catch up to the rest of the pack. All because I couldn’t hold it.
Lesson learned: DO NOT DRINK WATER BEFORE THE EVENT. AT ALL. There was plenty of water all along the course and I would have been well hydrated without drinking water beforehand and overtaxing my @#%$^ bladder.
As it happened, there were THREE portapotties about a mile down the course. Just my luck! Then again, I’m not sure if I’d have made it another mile.
So because I lost about 3/4 of a mile, I ran an extra mile during the extra run after the race to make up for it. It actually wasn’t bad and I ran the full 20 miles without problems except for some soreness on the balls of my feet and in my ankles. I soaked my feet in cold water after running and the pain went away the next day.
Overall, it was good for me to experience an official race before the Honolulu Marathon, and I learned a lot that will help me. Not the funnest day of my life, but I felt pretty good knowing I ran almost 20 miles!