I hadn't originally planned to do this race, but jumped at the last minute when I realized it would be a rock-soaked tour of my new work neighborhood. My long runs are pretty lonely these days, so it's nice to have some company! I knew the guys at Competitor.com put on a solid show - their Rock n' Roll Series is quickly becoming one of the biggest and most successful in history, and one employee told me they were expecting over 42,000 runners at Las Vegas next time (making it the 3rd biggest race in the world). It's a nice formula - 13.1 miles of partying, and $125 x 40,000 (plus sponsors) = a lot of cheddar!
|(T minus 2 minutes...)|
|(Defending champions Meb and Deena, photo courtesy of PhotoRun)|
|(Meb leads 'em out!)|
|(and we fill the streets! Photo courtesy of Ryan Bethke)|
The pack took off quickly at the gun, with 2-time defending champion and Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi dropping a 4:35 mile right out of the chute. Whoa! Local speedster and 2011 USA Marathon Champion Sergio Reyes stuck right with him. Deena Kastor, Olympic bronze medalist and American Record holder for the marathon was setting the pace for the Women, showing little evidence that just had a baby in February. She was running 5:10 min/mile...phew!
|(Sergio Reyes, photo courtesy of PhotoRun)|
|(Runners take over San Jose, photo courtesy of Maria J Avila Lopez)|
|(Not hard to find a cheering section at this race!)|
|(Living the HEALTHY rock and roll lifestyle)|
|(Angus Young rocks out)|
|(Local cheerleaders giving us a boost)|
|(Getting a boost from the crowd, photo courtesy of Ryan Bethke)|
|(Jessica gets some Tex Mex rock to keep her going)|
|(Costumes abound, photo courtesy of Maria J Avila Lopez)|
|(Meb out front, photo courtesy of PhotoRun)|
|(All smiles after mile 13!)|
|(Brian Ball gets the crowd roaring, photo courtesy of PhotoRun)|
American River 50m champion Mike Buchanan found me at the finish, and we finagled our way into the VIP tent for some food and beer. It turns out super pacer Dave Easa is a good friend of his! I thanked Dave for his pacing efforts, and he was clearly pleased that his runner had a new PR today.
|(Deena enjoys a laugh with 7-month old daughter, Piper; camera courtesy of Mike Buchanan)|
|(Just me, hanging with Meb...how cool is that? Camera courtesy of Mike Buchanan)|
The beer was flowing out in the courtyard (MGD64, so you had to drink about five just to quench your thirst), and my hands subconsciously played the guitar chords of the great Big Head Todd riffs filling the air...sooo many college afternoons spent playing those songs. I had a few laughs with new friends, then walked the course backward to cheer on the walkers. So many first-timers, it was just wonderful. I just love talking to folks who tackle their first long race. It's kinda crazy to sign up for something of that magnitude, and the pride at the finish line, runners and family alike, could save the world if you could bottle it up.
|(Sharing a toast with Sunnyvale barefoot runner Bala Subramanian, who also ran at Half Moon Bay last weekend)|
|(Bring on the bling!)|
|(It's like Woodstock, only more gel wrappers and diet beer)|
|(Big Head Todd rockin' it)|