The Walnut Creek Half Marathon race would be the last of the year and the final race of the California Half Marathon Series. I hadn’t ran in over two weeks due to a nasty knee injury. My wife and kids weren’t coming to cheer me on since we had plans that afternoon/evening. I just felt like this race was stacking against me before it even started. To say I was nervous is an understatement.
It was cold that morning so I opted to wear my compression pants and my long sleeve shirt. I was a little self-conscious about my tights— not sure why. I wear them all the time during training runs but never for a race where that many people can pass judgement. I hate the look where guys where tights with shorts over them. Do they think they’re so well-endowed that they need to conceal themselves? Please. I got all that out of my head pretty easily though because A) it was cold and B) my knee injury was a far bigger concern. The other perk from wearing my tights was that my knee brace goes over nicely without chaffing or scratching my skin.
The race started just outside the downtown area. Before the race started, the director got on the microphone to explain that a drunk driver collided with a light pole on part of the course so a whomping 3 miles was cut off the course. The part where the elevation climbed and ascended to be exact. The crowd seemed indifferent about the news. I was relieved! Somehow 9 miles seemed more manageable on my knee.
All in all, the course was flat and fast. There were a few parks and scenic parts that were nice. I always like to get off the roads if possible. Lots of cheering squads out too.
My knee was stiff all throughout but I started with the 8min/mile pace runners to make sure I went out easy. My Runkeeper crapped out by mile 2 so I had no idea how my pace was or where I was in the race. By around mile 5, I asked a volunteer where I was— half way through and feeling pretty good! I saw a pace runner ahead and attempted to catch up to see how it felt. By mile 6 I was cruising and started to push my pace.
I was nearing the downtown again which meant the finish line was close. As I was merging with the tail end of the 5k runners/walkers, I also realized I was ahead of the pace pack and had people on my ass so I dug deep, focused on my breathing and my strides. All I could think of was “don’t get passed” and focused on the runners ahead, trying to pick them off one at a time. I must have passed 3 or 4 runners then at the final stretch I outright sprinted through the finish to pass one more runner.
Distance: 9.6 miles
Official time: 01:18:03
Overall: 220 of 1,095
Gender: 171 of 496
Age Group (30-34): 34 of 76
Upon finishing, I was awarded my medal than walked into the party pavilion area. After a couple minutes, my body heat was fading and was getting COLD! There were some great vendors there, plenty of freebies for snack, drinks even hot chocolate and hot coffee from Peet’s. I picked up my Cal Half Series finisher’s medal, shook their hands and took one last stroll picking up freebies.
I spoke to a few runners who inquired about the Cal Half Series medal. They explained about their running journey which made me reflect about my own. This day marked a year of racing, challenges and goals. In that moment I wish Jen and the kids were there to share in my moment. I even started to get a little choked up thinking about them. It’s all been for them and will continue to be that way in 2015.