Fair warning: half recap & half general thoughts ahead.
Last weekend I ran the San Jose Rock’N’Roll Half Marathon.
It was my slowest half marathon yet at 2:13, yet it’s probably near the top as most fun I’ve had during a race. Normally, I’m a hyper-competitive racer & while that is fun in itself, there’s always a little extra stress involved in chasing a good time.
I signed up for San Jose several months ago, when I still had plenty of time to train and the intention of doing so (it’s a flat course, so could be a good one to try for a PR). Unfortunately, life got in the way between then & now. No training happened and running by itself barely did.
To make competition even less likely, I caught a cold the weekend before that I’d been fighting to shake all week just to do the race. Before Friday, I wasn’t sure I could make it to my car without passing out. So my participation was up in the air. Luckily, I managed to fight the cold off enough to at least take part but I knew I wasn’t going to be really competitive.
At the start, I had decided I would just aim to stay under 2 hours. Pacing for the first few miles had me comfortably around a 1:55 finish time. But this is the Rock’N’Roll race series, what’s a good race without some good music?
Somewhere around mile 5 or 6, I passed one of the bands & they were playing a song I love: Flirting with Disaster by Molly Hatchet (thanks dad!). And I decided: why struggle to get a “good time” when I know I wasn’t in shape for it, when I could take it easy, enjoy the music & just have fun making it to the finish line?
So that’s what I did! Took short breaks near the bands to dance & enjoy the music, walked through water stations while I chatted with the volunteers, and just appreciated a beautiful day in San Jose. I did have to make use of my trusty inhaler once during mile 12. It worked out though, as I was joined by a few mobile paramedics checking on me while I walked and got to chat. They can definitely appreciate not pushing too hard to make it to the finish line.
I remember always telling myself that if I was injured or not feeling well or not trained up or any other excuse, that I’d simply bask in running a race and having fun. Yet I’ve always been too competitive to do so. This is the first time and I had a blast!
Sure, I’d love to come back & run RnR San Jose again when I’m trained because it really is a flat course. It could be great to chase a PR on it. Yet when it was all said & done, I feel just as accomplished finishing this half marathon slower than any other I’ve run and rocking out during it.
The moral of this story: it doesn’t always have to be about competition or chasing a PR. It is entirely possible to just have fun at a race.