Thursday, July 14, 2011

Los Gatos Jungle Run Half Marathon - 7/10/11

Saturday night rolled around and I was not to happy with the fact that I registered for this race for multiple reasons. Having registered for the race before the World Cup started, it didn't even dawn on me to check the schedule, and sure enough, it was right during the USA quarterfinals. OK, no big deal, I'd resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't get to watch it with my friends, and would have to watch it after the fact. The real issues then became the fact that it started at 7a down in Los Gatos, there was a good chance parking was going to be an issue, and I'd come down with a nasty cold. I settled on making a game time decision in the morning to see if I was up for it.

The lovely time of 4:45a came around much to quickly, and it was decision time. I decided to run it on the basis that I had to run 13 miles anyway, and I'd just suffer through it if I had to. I was already awake after all. I jumped into the shower to drain as much snot as I could, slurped down a theraflu, grabbed a crap load of kleenex and was out the door by 5:15a. I arrived at 6:15a and found a parking spot fairly close to the race start. After picking up my packet, I headed back to my car where I sat blowing my nose for the next 20 minutes. My biggest concern became how many tissues could I possibly fit in the little pockets of my shorts and top. It was then that I realized my top was on inside out. I was really feeling on top of my game.

Stuffed to the gills with tissue, I headed to the start, and 10 minutes later the race began. I believe there were just over 800 half marathoners, in addition to an almost equal number of 10k'ers. The race started at Los Gatos High School where we immediately exited the school grounds into the surrounding residential area. Much to my chagrin, the first third of a mile went up a steep grade. So much for warming up. My throat was so dry, it made breathing difficult. This was not a good start, but ultimately, I really didn't care. As it turns out, that first mile was my second slowest mile of the race at a 7:53.

(starting line about 40 minutes early)

With the exception of another half mile climb at mile two, the next few miles were a slight downhill along Winchester Blvd. I was easing into my pace and found that the run was actually helping to losen up the mucous that had accumulated. Since I'm retarded and can't figure out how to generate snot rockets, and my nose was too much of a faucet to keep stopping and using a tissue, I resorted to blowing my nose in my hand and whipping it to the side sending the snot with it. One runner even had the encouraging words of "oh ya, there you go!". The wristband I had on was also big help with the drippage.

At mile five we got off the streets and entered Los Gatos Creek Park and ran along the trail that passed a number of smaller ponds. It was also at mile five that the course continued for the next six miles on a continual uphill. Nothing to extreme, and fairly unnoticeable at first, until the later miles were the grade got a bit steeper. We ran along the Los Gatos Creek Trail into Vasona Lake County Park. We ran bordering Vasona Lake and through the park. We exited the park at mile nine, and while I was feeling much better than when I'd first started, the drain that was turned on in my nose was still quite an annoyance, and my nose was starting to sting.

I met a girl who had coincidentally woken up with a cold as well, so we commiserated a bit, and talked about trail running for awhile. The next section of the course was an out and back on an unpaved trail that ran along Highway 17. While I was actually a big fan of the course as a whole, and running along a nature trail, I wasn't a big fan of this part. It was dry, little coverage, next to the highway, and on the way out, uphill. It was fun getting to see the people in front of you coming back the other way though. When I reached the turnaround point, I was more than ready for the mile and half downhill to the finish. At that point I felt it was OK to check my watch and see what my time was. I'd been monitoring my splits so I knew about what I was doing, but still somewhat surprised to see that I'd likely finish in under 1:40.

We came off the trail and headed back into Los Gatos High School from a different angle then where we exited at the start. We were directed onto the track to run 2/3rds of a lap to the finish. I sprinted through the finish, and immediately dug out my tissues that were soaking wet and useless. I was happy to be done. My chip time was 1:38:54 which is a PR by 18 seconds. I'd come in 9th out of 140 in my age group, and 18th out of 406 overall for females.

Unlike usual, I made a quick exit. There was a very important game waiting to be watched, and I didn't want to bother making the trip back to the car, then back to the race grounds to take pictures (which explains my lack of pictures in this posting). Plus, I was really looking forward to blowing my nose in a nice, dry tissue.