The Silicon Valley Half Marathon - Oct 31, 2010

Rick Ferrell wanted to do something special for his birthday today, and called me up a few days before. "Let's do the half marathon in San Jose. You remember how much fun we had at Lake Chabot last year, right?" Yeah. I remember. But I was in better running shape this year, thanks to some good training advice from Tom Smith and my putting in a good number of miles. So, it sounded like a lot of fun - what's the worst that could happen?

Rick phoned me a wake-up call at 5:40am, and by 6:00am he was outside my door. We drove over Hwy 17 to downtown San Jose in darkness. The race started amid the tall buildings of downtown San Jose near Discovery Park and the museums and Imax theater, criss-crossed through neighborhoods towards Willow Glen, then various towns along the bikeway paralleling Los Gatos Creek and up to Los Gatos and the high school, around the track, and finishing the Half on the grass. Full marathon people kept going around the track and did a loop through Los Gatos before rejoining the bikeway and retracing back to the startline, which was also the finish line. I'd imagined loud commercial streets or neighborhoods and was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful and scenic the course was, along the creek. Traffic was absolutely no issue whatsoever.

At an expensive parking lot around the corner from Discovery Park - the adventure begins

Tools of the trade

Rick puts his game face on

The ceremonial afixing of the race number

Ready for racing

The sweat van took our gear to the finish line at the Los Gatos High School track

The bathroom line! Rick looks like a man on a mission, but actually he was just doing some mental patterning to ready for the race, which started in less than 5 minutes

Moments before the start - still pitch black, except for the reflective tape on everyone's socks and shirts

Arm's length self shot at the start. I carried my little Nikon Lumix pocket camera and a few gu's for the race.

I decided to start in the back... with the costume people

Mile 2, twilight begins

I had a cup of gatorade (fruit punch flavor) at every aid station


Mile 6, most of the course was running through parkland along Los Gatos Creek. By mile 5, my left psoas pain had kicked in and forced me to slow down quite a bit.

OK, it was Halloween after all. After this shot I stepped it up to put some distance between myself and Miss Bumblebee and Mr. Ladybug

A series of small dams makes many mini lakes in Los Gatos Creek, including at this underpass around mile 7 or so.

Mile 7 or so, I'm feeling my left psoas pretty sore, but I can still run at something a bit better than the "marathon shuffle" pace. I had no watch (died), and few mile markers, so no real idea of my pace here.

Spent watercups as thick as snow

~Mile 9; Vasona Creek Park, quite a beautiful park - my first encounter

The bridge, at mile 12

I can almost smell the finish line a half mile away

Yeah, these ladies passed me on the downhill, but I got 'em on the flats


About to enter the Los Gatos High track

It is finished!

Some great medallions...

...and a welcome sight was that finish line


Raising a banana in victory

It was the gas station before I realized we had no shots of us both after the race. A bit of miscommunication - Rick told me to take the bus and meet him at the marathon finish in downtown SJ, whereas I thought I was to meet him at the finishline of the Half, until 11am at which time he'd take the bus back and pick up the car. After a long fruitless wait, I took the last bus back to SJ, barely in time to catch Rick walking back to the car. Anyway, no harm no foul, and here's our together shot (such as it is).

Rick wanted Taco Bell before we headed back over the hill to Santa Cruz. Hey, my birthday treat, Ferrell!

Ferrell did really well - 1:39, 60th overall in a race of 800 for the half marathon. I was an hour slower - 2:42, but it was a moral victory as my efforts to rebuild my left hip and leg strength and balance continues. While my psoas did flare up again, this time it only stayed sore for a day, and I was running again by Tuesday, 2 days later. Quite a good day, and a fun adventure. I'll post where I would've placed once the race results are posted on line.