Race Recap: Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon

I was nervous for this day. I must confess, I sucked at my marathon training after finishing the Queen City Marathon in March. I started to get burnt out and just had a bad run nearly every time I hit the road. I even skipped a few runs.

After receiving plenty of advice from other runners, I was told that this stuff happens and I should be good for take off on race day. Still, my confidence sucked a little and I had doubts.

Anyway, Trisha dropped us off right by the start and just being on site did help clear up some butterflies.

I didn’t have a lot of time though before start, so I used it wisely and used the port-a-potty. Just a few minutes later, I was standing with corral 6. I tried to loosen up a little and relieve any additional stress or tension that I had. The music they blared really got me in the mood too, which is one reason why I love the Rock n Roll races. They are all about getting their runners pumped up!

Shortly after the National Anthem, it didn’t take long though for them to start dismissing corrals. I think that within 5-10 minutes, mine was up to the starting line. I got semi-emotional (I’m a big mush-face) and started feeing incredible. Suddenly, I was so ready to take on this course.

When we were released on course, I looked at my watch, pushed it to start and that was the last time I set eyes on it. I am realizing more and more that looking at my watch has hurt, rather than helped. I was going to let my body decide what it wanted to do.

I caught one last glimpse of Jonathan and Peter before I set off on my long journey and then it was just me, myself, and I….and about 4,000 other runners.

I started to make a plan in my head that I would eat every 5 miles until mile 15. At that point, I would eat about every 2.5 miles since I would be later tackling one hell of a hill at mile 20 (I was secretly hoping it was a myth). Separating the marathon into parts really helped me put my brain around the distance.

I felt pretty amazing up until about mile 12. I made it to Mission Valley park and my stomach began to hurt. I honestly did not believe it was my own food, I think it had been all the food I was eating the days leading up to this event. I think I went a little overboard. I blamed my stomach pain on the amazing burrito I had the day before.

I hit a port-a-potty at mile 14, which is the first time I have ever used a bathroom during a race. Luckily, I was done in less than a minute and felt 100% better afterwards. Still, I didn’t like stopping because it is really hard to get my legs going again.

At mile 18, I started feeling the doubt again. I kept hearing runners around me mention what was ahead. I tried to think that maybe these people never ran a hill before, but I was just lying to myself to try to make me feel better. When we got to mile 20 and I gazed upon that mountain, I wanted to throw my hands up and say “Nope! Not gonna happen!”

Instead, I decided to run as far as I could, walk when I needed to, then resume running when the elevation got a little easier. I felt a little defeated when the 4:25 pace group passed me, but I made the decision that I was going to do what my body NEEDED me to do. So I sucked down some Gu to replenish anything I lost and did some speed walking.

Once I did get through the 1.5 miles of suffering in Hell, everything seemed a lot easier. My pace returned and I got that second wind. It also helped that an aid station was handing out freeze pops! I got green and it really boosted my confidence again. So thank you to those who provided those frozen pieces of sugary heaven!

I caught up with the 4:25 pace group again (BIG surprise) and actually passed them. I guess walking really wasn’t a bad idea after all since I did manage to catch up in the end. I flew by them on an amazing downhill. I caught a nice breeze too which was needed!

Once the well-deserved downhill was over and I hit just the slightest climb in elevation, I began to have a problem. My right calf would start to get a Charley Horse. It forced me to run on my heal to prevent it from getting worse. Even if I lifted my hands above my head, it would flare up again. It was excruciating.

At least my pictures look good.

Thankfully, I only had 2 miles left, so I only had to bear with the discomfort for about 20 more minutes.

When I hit the final stretch, I looked among the crowd for Peter and Jonathan. I was so thrilled to see them!! Jonathan caught it on video while Peter was my professional photographer.

I loved this photo.

I sped off to the finish line and passed with my hands in the air. I didn’t care that my leg started to cramp, I was thrilled to have finished my 3rd marathon.

Here are my official stats.

After completing the marathon, I received my fancy medals to add with my 5k one and received a finisher’s jacket! Pretty legit swag, if you ask me.

My only gripe with the whole race was the end. Being a new runner in San Diego, I was pretty lost. There were so many people once you exited the runner’s only area.

It took me a good 20-30 minutes to reconnect with Peter and Jonathan at the family reunion zone. I got a little upset because all I wanted to do was celebrate my victory with them, not walk through the streets on San Diego on sore legs looking for them. Once I did find them though, I was good. But that’s it. That was the only con I could think of.

So my rating for this race,would definitely be a big fat 10 regardless of what I said above! For a runner who has never set foot in California, this was a great tour of San Diego. The crowd support was amazing, the volunteers were amazing, the Gatorade, water, GU, and freeze pops…all amazing. Sure, I would change the hill at mile 20-21, but no one ever said that running a marathon should be really easy. Right?

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