Monday, April 29, 2019

Silicon Valley Half Marathon Race Recap

Sunday morning was the 2nd Annual Silicon Valley Half Marathon put on by Represent Running.

As always, before I jump into the race recap, I've gotta catch you up to speed, right?! I have quite a few friends who are on the Represent Running Ambassador Team, which means I see and hear about the races they offer frequently. With that said, a few months ago a bunch of us were throwing around the idea of making this race happen (along with the #FoodTruck5K that was set to run after the half marathon and 10K finished... because, when one race is good, two are better, right?!). None of us need a ton of convincing (when running and friends are involved most of us will jump at the chance to make a race work into our schedules), so we all looked into flights, hotel costs, etc and pulled the trigger.


Originally I was thinking I'd drive, but when I saw a cheap flight from San Diego to San Jose (which only was 65 minutes long instead of the 6.5+ HOURS of driving), I snagged a seat and thanked my lucky stars. (Don't get me wrong, I have no issue driving {I actually enjoy it, especially when I get to listen to an audiobook or three}, but with gas prices around $4/gallon in SoCal, not only was the flight going to save me about 10 hours, it also was about $25 cheaper each way!)


My game plan was to fly into San Jose around noon on Saturday, stop by the Expo for my bibs, drop my stuff at the hotel and meet up with friends for dinner by 4pm. Well, unfortunately my flight was delayed by about an hour, which meant I didn't land in San Jose until after 1pm (with bib pick-up closing at 2), so my sweet friends were kind enough to grab my bibs and goodies on my behalf. I heard the Expo was pretty slow (at least when my friends went), but, like I told them, when a race offers race day pick-up (which might be my second favorite perk a race can offer) unless you're in the area already, I skip the Expo and grab everything the morning of the race - and apparently everyone else had the same idea.

See that spot next to the jetway... yeah, that was supposed to be where our plane was... about an hour before this
picture was taken... But there's nothing a bad attitude will solve, so you just put on a smile and you go with the flow!

We actually got to deplane in San Jose out of the back and onto the tarmac if we were interested. Since I
was in the back of the aircraft I took advantage of the fresh air and quick deplaning process.

Thankfully I had already taken my #FlatCarlee the day before so I didn't need to stress about snapping one that afternoon.

Trying to get a large group to match their running gear can be tough, but thankfully we all have a ton of gear to choose from! Mint PRO
Compression socks
, white Sparkle Athletic skirt, Brooks Run Happy trucker, white Handful sports bra, tank from TJ Maxx, elite Road ID,
aqua and white QALO silicone wedding bands, mint Knockaround sunniesmint and gray Momentum Jewelry wraps, COROS
APEX Multisport Watch
, and Brooks Ghost 11.

Dinner was a fun time. We met at the San Pedro Square Market, which has a ton of different restaurants in an open air type area, meaning everyone could get their preferred pre-race meal without much issue and still eat together. I went with pizza, but joked with a friend who also got it that the hubby's homemade pizza was better (this was Neapolitan style, which means the dough is a little chewier and thinner than I would normally prefer - but it still did the carb-loading trick).

Love seeing running friends (and their families) whenever I get the chance!

After dessert everyone parted ways and #TeamHilton (two of my friends, Richard and Lisa, were splitting a room and when the hubby decided not to make the trip so we wouldn't have to have friends watch Walt for yet another weekend, they were kind enough to let me join the party and share their room) made our way back to the hotel. Surprisingly we turned in fairly early after watching a little HGTV and some of Bridesmaids. We set our alarms and it was off to beddy-bye we went. [The race didn't start till 8am, which seems late, especially in an area that can get toasty warm, but Lisa and Richard wanted to grab breakfast at the hotel around 6am to give their food time to digest, so we got up around 5:30am.]

Our hotel was less than a mile from the start, so we decided to leave around 7:10am and walk over. Since we were doing the 5K after the Half Marathon, we brought an outfit change with us, which meant we would need to utilize the gear check. Well, gear check was where we ran into an issue (but thankfully it was the only major blunder we noticed... although, let's be real, it is tough when a first impression isn't a positive one). Instead of most races that will print a gear check tag on your bib, this race had a U-haul with two volunteers in the back of it (I would say they needed at least 4 or 5 people, if not more). They were handing out numbered tags to tie on your bag (thankfully I had packed my race gear in one of my Eagle Creek bags and could use it for gear check... Lisa, on the other hand, had to use a laundry bag from a hotel since they didn't supply us one) and then writing that number on your bib. [In the future, I'd suggest they have a tag on the bib that can be torn off and attached to the bag, or if that isn't an option, then I would put the bib number on a tag and attach that to the bag. Having to write a second number on people's bibs seemed a bit strange and an extra, unnecessary step.] When we arrived at the start line, we jumped right in line because it was already pretty long (I think it took us probably 15 minutes to get through it), but by the time we had given our gear to the volunteers the line had at least doubled.

When you're waiting in a long line next to some fun colors, you snap a picture while you wait.

After dropping our gear, we met up with friends and obviously had to take some pictures. (As I'm sure you will notice in the below pictures, in those group texts messages we were having in the months leading up to the race, we obviously were planning our running gear because when we run together, you know we love to match ;))

We take our #RunMatchy very seriously ;) 

The socks keep us together ;) 

Shortly after snapping the pictures it was time to jump into the starting corral and get ready to go.

Starting line selfie!

Although not everyone would end up running together (#YourRaceYourPace), it was still fun to be able to start the race near one another. We wished each other the best of luck and said we'd see one another in the reunion area afterwards.

Trying to get everyone to squeeze in can be tough, but it's always a good time!

I had zero time goals for this race. If you've been around my neck of the InterWebs for a while (specifically for the last month or so), you know I have put in quite a few miles and races recently - including an Ultra Ragnar Relay and the Boston Marathon within the span of a single weekend. After those races my hamstring was a bit angry with me, so I actually took 10 consecutive days off (which I don't think has happened since I started running in 2012). I was crossing my fingers that my hamstring wouldn't give me any trouble (and if it did that the crew wouldn't mind throwing in some extra walk breaks or slowing our pace a bit). Thankfully my hamstring held up and was near pain-free the entire time. (I would have to say my legs definitely appreciated the "party pace" we decided to stick at.)


Since I had never been to San Jose, I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know if there'd be fun things to see along our route (street art, murals, character stops, etc), but obviously I was hoping for photo ops ;). At least where we were staying seemed pretty dead on the weekends, so I figured there wouldn't be many spectators, but wasn't 100% certain {Spoiler Alert: There were very few spectators, but the ones we saw were pretty enthusiastic when we went by.}.


I would say there weren't a ton of character stops along the way (I did have to "force" a couple), but the course itself wasn't terrible. We did a loop in the "downtown" area which had a bunch of tall buildings (where I'm assuming all the tech folks are glued to their computers 24-7) and then went more out into a neighborhood area. Because the area didn't seem too busy, they were able to close down the roads for us, which meant there was plenty of room to run and we never felt too smushed or crowded. Unlike some races that request parked cars move, this wasn't the case, so there were still cars on the road, but thankfully they weren't moving. And although some runners dislike out-and-back portions, I loved being able to see runners going in the opposite direction as us for a large chunk of the race because you could look for friends, hand out high-fives (we even high-fived Meb at one point) and shout encouragement to your fellow athletes.

I found a muffler man and a parrot. #RealTalk - I tried to get the parrot to "sit on my shoulder" but
I'm terrible at figuring out which way I need to move to get a selfie to work properly... 

#RunMatchy (PS A big thanks to Richard who brought his GoPro and shared his pictures with us!)

I know the neighborhoods might not be as exciting as the downtown area,
but I always love seeing the houses and charming buildings.

We started down below and now we're at the top...

No, I didn't grab a book, but I did grab a picture ;)


A Whole Foods wall about a half mile from the finish is the perfect place for a photo shoot, right?! 

When the race started it was actually pretty chilly (I wouldn't say the temperature was that bad, but it was definitely windy which added to the brisk feeling), but it warmed up a bit and I would say we had almost perfect running weather. Don't get me wrong, it definitely warmed up once we got out of the shade of the buildings and as the day progressed, but I was expecting it to be like crazy hot, so when we finished and it was only in the 60s I was stoked. #ThanksMotherNature

Wasn't thrilled about the humidity, but thankfully
it didn't feel as bad as it looked on the app... 

Like I mentioned at the beginning, race day pick-up is my second favorite perk a race can offer. I think my absolute favorite, though, is FREE RACE PHOTOS! Sometimes the hubby will be out on the course as my personal photographer, but most times he's either running the race himself or trying to wrangle a crazed wiener dog. Whenever we saw a photographer we tried to yell it out so we'd be ready for the photos. (And, shoot, by the time we were back in the hotel after the races we were already being emailed that photos were ready for us - AMAZEBALLS!)

I may have made a slight detour to run over and snag a couple pictures ;) 

Dave and I were cheesin' it up, but apparently not everyone got the memo... Brian... 

Originally I was thinking we'd probably run the race between 2:15 and 2:30 because I wasn't sure how everyone was trained (or untrained ;)), but we rocked it and were able to finish is 2:11:30 - BOOM SHAKALAKA!

If you follow Richard on Instagram, you know this is his signature shot... we all just happen to photobomb it ;)

I don't know how I was able to make it so it looks like I was at the finish line all by myself
(apparently my big head covers everyone else up), but it's pretty cool the way that it turned out!


Some of the crew that finished around the same time!

Our pace got slower throughout the race (#PositiveSplitsFTW), but with the temps warming up, people getting tired and of course you have to account for photos, I would say we kept our effort at a fairly consistent level. Not to mention, we still had to conserve a bit because we had another 3.1 miles to run shortly after. But, like I've said before (and I'm sure I'll say again), it's not about the time you have on the clock, it's about the time you have on the course. We had a great time, so it's a WIN plain and simple! {And seeing as my hamstring felt fine during the race, I will consider it a DOUBLE WIN!}

The color is pretty blown out, but hey, free is free! 

The splits from my COROS APEX Watch

After crossing the finish line, taking a couple pictures and grabbing our bling, we jumped in line to get our stuff back out of gear check. Thankfully they had more volunteers helping out, but the line was still fairly long. (The other bummer was the lack of gear check for the 5K, but I think we will get to that in the next recap... hopefully posting on Thursday.)


As I'm sure you know, I love me some good photo ops, so in the family reunion area when everyone else was in line for their free beer (they had the 26.2 Brew from Samuel Adams which is now under a new brewery banner as the sponsored adult beverage), I got in line for post-race pictures. (Hubby wasn't there for my beer so I gave it to a friend for her hubby.)


I held down the line while they got their celebratory drinks ;)

Love that our colors matched the race colors... sort of like we planned it or something ;)

Eventually it was time to change our outfits and get ready for the #WeRunSocial meet-up and our second race of the morning (which makes this a perfect place to stop this recap, right?!). If you are interested in joining the crew for next year's race (we may already be chatting about getting a big AirBnB for the weekend and making it a longer party experience), you can register TODAY ONLY (well, it was a 48-hour sale, but it started yesterday, so today's the final day of it and it ends at 11:59pm PST) for the 2020 race at the LOWEST PRICE POSSIBLE! You can get in for the #SVHalf, #SV10K, #FoodTruck5K, #SVKidsRun or go wild with the Challenge HERE! (PS You can also register as a remote runner if you can't make it to San Jose in April but still want in on the action - but I'd suggest you make the trip happen!)


PS The swag for the race weren't too shabby either... Since I was registered for the Half and 5K, I received a runner’s backpack (for the half), a quarter zip long sleeve tech shirt (for the half), a short sleeve tech tee (for the 5K), two a finisher medals (one for the half and one for the 5K, and a challenge medal (for doing two races in the same day).

The swag was no joke with this race!

What is your favorite race perk?

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