Against all of my better judgment, I got dressed, caffeinated, and hopped in the car for the short trip to San Jose. Of course, it rained the whole time, and when I got to the park, it was all rain jackets, torn trash bags, and people under makeshift umbrellas as the hustled to sign waiver forms, get their t-shirts, and then congregate under the one piece of shelter in the area. Some photos:
However, that does not mean that the first couple of miles were uneventful. In mile 2, we all came across was essentially a spontaneously-created creek crossing (seriously, the worst place to run in a torrential downpour is next to a creek). We all tried to find the shallowest place to step over, and I of course found the deepest, resulting in my left shoe being completely soaked. In miles 3, it became apparent that my nipples would not survive this race. Turns out that heavy rain turns my running shirts into cheese graters, and with ten miles to go, I could already tell that they didn’t stand a chance.
Things went along well until right around mile 8. That’s when The Period of Great Pains began. It started with a nagging pain in the side of my left knee that hit me any time I did any bit of uphill running. I started taking short walk breaks every so often and that managed to keep the pain in check, albeit temporarily. Then I started getting sharp pains in the bottom of my stomach; I countered with some food and that seemed to do some good, though it never really went away. Lastly, the effects of running in what was basically a wall of water began to take their toll – the soaked sock began to turn into minor blistering on the bottom of my foot and the aforementioned nipple pain began to intensify.
In the end, I crossed the finish line at 2:23:01, good for a pace just under 11 minutes per mile. This is obviously not what I wanted (I was hoping for something in the 2:10-2:15 range), but considering the circumstances, I wasn’t unhappy. I felt better later in the day when it hit me that since this was only my second official half marathon (the first being the Modesto Half Marathon in 2012, where I finished in 2:55), I had technically PRed by about 32 minutes. That’s something to celebrate!