A full day has passed since the big race, and I now have had time to reflect on the experience. I am glad that I wore my Garmin GPS watch because it allowed me to relive every lap of the 13.1 miles. I can now analyze what went well and what blew up in my face, and apply those things to my next race. You gotta love modern technology.
Lap 1, 8:05am - 8.22 per mile.
I learned from my rookie mistake at my first 5k when I jetted out the the gate, so I made sure that I kept a steady pace up front. I probably did take it a little too fast, but I managed to pace myself to a 8.22 per mile average for the first lap. The difference between my first 5k and this event is 10 miles! The last thing I wanted was to bonk at the 4 mile mark!
Lap 2, 8:13am - 8.57 per mile.
The first two miles are always the toughest for me, but I really kept my cool. I felt like Serena Williams at a Grand Slam event. She may not put 110% into the lower tiered events, but she'll step it up for Wimbledon, Roland Garros, Flushing Meadows, and Australia. I see this Rock & Roll Half as my major, so you better believe that I will put my all into it!
Lap 3, 8:22am - 9.32 per mile.
My legs were still holding up by mile three, but I do have to say that my mind began to wander. What kept replaying in my head was, "What the heck am I doing out here? I still have 10 miles to run!" I had to do everything I could to channel Endorphin Dude to save me from a mental melt down a la Jana Novotna at Wimbledon. My superhero alter ego told me to whip out my camera and take some pictures, just to take my mind off of the run. I did, and it worked!
Lap 4, 8:32am - 9.57 per mile.
I thought the San Jose Rock & Roll course was supposed to be flat! Halfway through the fourth mile, there was an incline! I remember having to run under an overpass and then up a mini hill! I have to say, though, all the spectators and cheerleaders on the sidelines really did help me to keep my focus.
Lap 5, 8:42am - 9.40 per mile.
Feeling good! I think this was when Endorphin Dude took over my body and I flew!
Lap 6, 8:51am - 9.55 per mile.
Miles 4, 5, and 6 felt good for me. With my music blasting and my legs holding up strong, I was able to keep my pace under 10 minutes.
Lap 7, 9:01 am - 9.52 per mile.
Still holding up, but I did begin to feel a little bit of fatigue start to kick in by mile 7.5.
Lap 8, 9:11 am - 10.23 per mile.
My legs...my legs...
Lap 9, 9:21 am - 10.37 per mile.
Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! My biggest fear looked like it was going to happen, but something midway through mile 9 changed all that. I heard a familiar voice from the side lines. I looked to my left and saw a woman shout out my name. Because I didn't have my glasses on, I wasn't sure who it was, but I recognized the voice. The woman ran up to me with a "Way To Go, Tony!!!" poster and I immediately saw my big head on Peyton Manning's body. It was Darlene Weston from my fantasy football league! I couldn't believe it. I swear, I was about to hit the wall, but seeing Darlene helped me get through miles 9, 10, and 11.
Lap 10, 9:32 am - 10.27 per mile.
Thanks to Darlene Weston, I managed to pick up my pace in mile 10. I kept going and going and going.
Lap 11, 9:42 am - 10.51 per mile.
Lap 12, 9:53 am - 11.31 per mile.
By mile 12, I seriously thought my legs were going to collapse. I only had one mile left, so I seriously had to pull it together mentally. I kept telling myself, "run through the pain, run through the pain." I cranked up my music, and as cheesey as this may sound, "Rock Lobster" saved me. The B-52's pushed me to that finish line!
Lap 13 - The Finish Line.
With the final .1 miles, I sprinted my way to the finish line. I lifted my arms in victory and let out a huge "OH MY GOD!" I couldn't believe it. I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours and 15 minutes at a 10:20 pace. The endorphins kicked in and pretty much followed me everywhere the rest of the day.