This morning after grocery shopping I had to carry the goody bags up the 29 steps that lead to my apartment. While making that climb I had to pause for a moment...to thank my legs for still doing what they were meant to do. I put them through a grueling test yesterday morning, namely the Dean Karnazes Silicon Valley Marathon and, admittedly, there were moments then that I was unsure they'd be able to cut the mustard.
The organizers like to tout the SVM as a flat and fast course. All I will say on the subject is...take a look at the elevation chart from my Garmin readout after the race...and you tell me if that's flat...or not!
I believed the pre-race hype, thinking I might stand a good chance of a new PR here. It was not to be.
Here is where I eat my hat. Prior to the race I bitched (technically different than whining, although don't press me for the distinctions) a bit about San Jose not really being my favourite place to run because of its lack of up-to-snuff scenic beauty. Now I will concede this was an attractive course, pretty much from start to finish (it was an out-and-back so accomplishing that was only half as difficult as it would have been if it was a point to point or a loop). San Jose's Willow Glen district is a delightful residential area, blessed with near-bucolic tree-lined streets. After about mile 5 we left those streets and took to the Los Gatos Creek Trail, following, as you have figured out, the LG Creek. This was pretty much the way it was...as we looped around Los Gatos High School's track and made our way back to the outskirts of Willow Glen. It reminded me a lot of last month's Rochester Marathon course that paralleled the historic and gorgeous Erie Canal. There was just a bit too much canal then...and a bit too much creek yesterday. It's sort of like running the Napa Valley Marathon, past vineyard after vineyard after vineyard after...well, at some point I say "Enough with the vineyards!! Pour me some damn wine!"
While working on the first 13.1 miles of the course I had a sneaking suspicion that I was, for the most part, climbing. Not what I had expected. Finished the first half at the high school in 2:29. Was hoping for more like 2:18-2:20.
Upon leaving the jubilant half marathoners back at their finish party, those of us goofy enough to choose to run all the way back to San Jose, when there were buses available at the school, were confronted with the biggest hill of the course so far. This is also when we climbed out of the near-constant shade and into the glaring sunshine. This is late October, right? Should it really be in the mid-to-upper 70s? Serious?
Having figured out that the first half was nothing but a climb I mistakenly decided that, because the 26.2 course was an out-and-back, the back part would now be downhill. Perhaps I could make up some time and turn in a negative split and maybe even break the 5:00 barrier again. This is where the course designers threw us for a little loop, again. Even though we were indeed retracing many of our steps, the course took us UP some new, steep, long hills. Not a lot. Just enough to dispell hopes of a PR.
Mr. DooDoo Head started talking to me somewhere along here. He's the guy in my head that doesn't think I can finish these things in times like these...or ever, actually. (I co-opted his name from my young friend, Evan Williams, in LeRoy, New York. Seems he has a Mr. DooDoo Head, too. Press on, young man, DDH does NOT get to win!).
From about mile 18 to 21, thoughts of beers and sausages danced in my head. I cast them asunder after that, realizing that if I were to dump out now I'd have to run two marathons by December 7th to successfully finish the 12 in 12, and I'd rather finish this one and have only ONE left. Geared down from my 4:1 run/walk intervals to 3:1, sucked it all up, and pounded it out.
Finished the 2nd half in 2:45...having gone from 5.3 mph average in the first half to 4.8 in the second.
There were free fish tacos, rice and beans at the end. That was awesome. The finishing medal was a bit disappointing. How about putting a little thought into it, huh?
Afterall...this is what my fellow Goon, Mad Dog, got for running the Marine Corps Marathon the same morning...
Drove the 50 miles home in some major pain...but luckily, not injured. Just dog-tired. Had a hour long hottub, followed by margaritas and bed at 6pm. Slept eleven glorious hours. Feeling almost human again. Time now to map out strategies for Santa Barbara International Marathon in six weeks...and the celebrations to follow.
BTW...like my new socks?