Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I ran the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon!

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!


  1. Oh no the tail car! Didn't know there was such a thing. That will be me. I have tiny tanks. Not that I'm planning to run a race, but you never know. But seriously, you did a fantastic job!!!

  2. Oh geez....the dreaded Tail Car!!! Say it isn't so!?!?!?!


    Girl, you are running more than double for the both of us, so I think you did okay!! But CONGRATS nonetheless!

  3. Camy, I think it's awesome that you are doing this! I can't wait to hear how the marathon goes in Hawaii none the less. Hey do you need someone to carry your shoes??? I'm your girl!!


  4. Thanks guys! I'm looking forward to the marathon!

  5. Hi Camy -

    So sorry, long time - no visit but today I saw you in my inbox and was prompted to read your email RIGHT NOW even though I have a trillion things on my plate. Now I see why. I'm a marathon runner too - well in the past have and still run now though not as much due to my knees. BUT I am so very very EXCITED for you. There is nothing that will ever compare to the completion of that very first race. Nothing. I think what it does is shows you YOU CAN - you can do... anything you set your mind to it. I ran mine when our children were small, it gave me theh energy and stamina to PLAY, really play with them. It gave me vigor. It gave me a schedule, something to look forward to. It made this amazing body God gifts us with work to its best. Imagine, some people will never EVER be even able to do this due to various issues? What a shame that all who COULD choose not to.

    I have to tell you about one funny thing. One time my husband and I were running a 10 mile race, and I was feeling wonderful and pretty puffed up... this was at about mile 9... and I was passed by a man who was 78 - he BREEZED right by. LOL! How humbling.

    Another minstry to me is that I am good at DISTANCE but my husband is FAST. Whenever we run a race, though he is FAST, he WAITS for me rather than going for any sort of an award. Now THATS amore!

    Thank you for sharing, I love how "real" you are.

    Your new books all sound incredible. What talent you have.

    Keep it up.

    Love, Barb

  6. Oh my gosh Barb that is so cool! And thanks for being so encouraging! I'm really looking forward to my first marathon!

  7. Camy, I loved reading all of the story - including the TMI bit! That happened to me in my first half marathon, too! Saw the porta-pottys, didn't know how many there would be, wasted 9 min in line, then found a TON more farther on the race. LOL!

    John and I just finished the Sydney Running Festival Half Marathon last month. I'd overtaxed a muscle a few weeks before in a burst of enthusiasm and hadn't been able to run more than 4 miles since. I promised God I wouldn't hurt myself trying to finish, I'd just go slow and stop when I had to. But between His amazing GRACE and the fact that I'd been trying to let my muscle heal in the last few weeks instead of pushing it, I FINISHED! (Of course, some power walkers passed me I was hobbling/jogging so slow!! LOL!) No one was more shocked than me! But I was watching the Tail Car blocks behind me the whole time! LOL!

    Then, because I was one of the last half marathoners to finish, and there was a HUGE crowd at the Sydney Opera House waiting for the first Marathoners to cross the line, I crossed alone with the crowd all cheering and the announcer calling my name and shaking my hand! ROTFLOL!!! It was the craziest experience ever!!

    Praying you have tons of fun and stay safe and healthy for your first marathon!!!

    Love and Hugs!
    Kitty :)

  8. Congratulations, Kitty! How totally awesome for you! I have to admit I was really sad the few days I had to not run b/c of Achilles tendonitis, so I've been SUPER careful not to get injured again! Once was lesson enough for me!