San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon
San Diego. First weekend in June. Pretty much guaranteed perfect weather. Rock and Roll Marathons have great energy and are pretty flat (in my opinion). This is the reason I chose this particular marathon as the first time I would run 26.2 miles. I am 100% pleased with my decision. If you’re not quite ready for 26.2, there is also a half marathon.
Entry fees can get pretty expensive if you wait to sign up, AND Rock and Roll marathons DO sell out! Best bet is to sign up as early as possible! A huge commitment, I know, but it will feel really, really good. Expect to pay no less than $100 for any half marathon or full marathon you run. These races cost more because there is a lot more that goes into them (streets shut down, water, food, first aid, etc).
Race start: 6th Avenue & Quince Street
Race Finish: Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park (by Sea World)
Start is approximately 1.5 miles from downtown hotels. It actually was a welcoming walk first thing in the morning. This race starts EARLY, 6:15AM.
This race has a staggered start. Racers are placed in corrals based on their estimated finish time. Fastest racers start first in corral 1.
Pre race short run to loosen up legs (day before race): Balboa Park. Beautiful.
Here is a recount of my personal experience running the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon, June 2010. My first marathon. What an amazing day.
Sunday…RACE DAY!!!-4AM wake up call. This is NOT sleeping in. This is the middle of the night. I was pretty excited to get up and didn’t even care I was tired. I made coffee, made my pre-race breakfast of oatmeal and a banana, and ate at a leisurely pace. I had everything laid out that I needed and went through the pile: sunscreen, body glide, deodorant, headband, running panties, sports bra, running dress, watch, headband, socks, shoes, number, timing chip, long sleeved shirt, arm sweat band, iPhone arm band headphones, chapstick, balloon, electrolyte fruit snacks, gum. Out the door I headed, and began my 1.5 mile walk to the start. It was cold! It was 48 degrees, and I was glad I had a long sleeved shirt! I walked slowly, and it was a nice pre-race warm up. Since I was in corral 5 (out of 42), I had further to walk…nearly to the start line, which was great! They start you in corrals based on your estimated finish time you enter when you register. I put 3:35.00 although my goal was 3:45.00 (this qualified me for Boston), but I liked being close to the start and running with the “fast” runners. The lines for the porta-potties were horrendous and I was glad I peed twice before leaving the hotel. But, as it got closer to start time (6:15 AM), I thought it would be wise to pee since I was going to be running for nearly 4 hours. When I came to this realization, there was no way I was going to make it through a line. I had to squat. So, I found some bushes, but couldn’t really go too far into the bushes for fear of popping my balloon, so I hid what I could and peed…quite a bit, I might add. And…since I didn’t have any toilet paper, I used my shirt, and tossed it before I headed to the start to find my 3:40.00 pace runner. My goal time was 3:45.00, and since this was my first full marathon, I needed someone more experienced to set the pace for me. They didn’t have a 3:45.00 pace runner, however. There was 3:40.00 and 3:50.00, so I opted to run with the 3:40.00, and I am so glad I did.
I introduced myself to the pace runner when I found him, Jay, and told him it was my first marathon. He wished me luck, and then we, the family of 3:40.00 runners, were off. We were a family. There was Jay, the main pace runner, and his followers running behind him and beside him. There were probably 20 of us…maybe more, and the majority of us stayed with him most of the race.
The race is a blur. It seems like a dream. I only remember bits and pieces. I remember running downtown and nearing mile 5. I was supposed to pay attention at mile 5 because that is where my sister would be watching. I saw Petco Park, turned the corner, hit mile 5 and there was my sister! I saw her immediately! It was awesome. That was a highlight of the race.
The part I liked the least is when we were running on the freeway. I hated it. It was around mile 10, and it was boring and the surface wasn’t fun to run on. This was the only time the 3:40 family pulled in front of me a bit. I panicked. We weren’t even half way. I noticed a woman running in front of me, who was part of the 3:30 group. Her 3:30 bib was pinned vertically with the top at the waist of her shorts and the bottom part near her crotch area, so it was covering her butt. Under the number was a visible brown spot. The poor woman had pooped her pants. Yikes.
After the miserable freeway portion was over, we came to a small town filled with cheering spectators. This definitely helped boost my spirits, and I regained a spring in my step. At the halfway point, I started to feel REALLY good. I had decided early on to take water and Gatorade at every single stop, starting with the first one at mile 3 (I think?). I never take water this early on, but I wanted to be proactive and ensure I stayed hydrated. I would be running for a LONG time, and it was going to get warm. I also started eating my snacks pretty early on. At about mile 8, I felt what I thought were hunger pangs. I didn’t take any time to question whether they actually were; I ate. And I fed myself a couple of snacks every few miles or so after that. When they were gone, I grabbed two GUs, and put them in my pocket. I never used them. After about mile 20, my focus was on staying hydrated, and I didn’t want to mess with eating since I had no hunger whatsoever.
Around mile 15, I felt a slight twinge in my right IT band. I altered the way I ran, and it never got worse, fortunately. The next few miles were a blur. I remember passing mile 20 and telling myself. This is it! This is the hardest part. I had never run more than 20 miles, so I had no idea how my body was going to hold up. My body started hurting around mile 22, and got progressively worse, but the more it hurt, the harder I pushed. If I could maintain the current pace, I would qualify for Boston no problem. To qualify for Boston, I needed to maintain an 8:30 mile, and I was running around an 8:18. I had it in the bag, and I felt pretty dang good, considering. I even think I had a smile on my face!
At mile 23, I started thinking I would see my dad and sister any time. They told me they would run the last few miles with me, and right about then I could have used them. It was HOT, but I trucked along, maintaining a consistent pace, and even pulling ahead of my pace runner for a bit. I actually got emotional here, too. I thought, “I am going to do it! I am going to finish this marathon. And not only am I going to finish it, but I am going to qualify for Boston!” My eyes filled with tears, and soon after, I felt my chest tighten. I shook off the tears and got back to concentrating, and the tightness went away. At mile 24, an excruciating pain developed on the outside of my left foot. It got progressively worse. It felt broken, and it hurt really, really bad. I had visions of my foot giving out and my not finishing, and this made me push even harder. I told myself, “NO WAY!! Just run!! You can baby it AFTER you finish!” And, run I did. I ran hard, and I ran fast, and then at mile 25…right at the sign, I spotted my dad and Annie.
Oh, wow. I got teary eyed again, as my dad fell into step next to me and my sister ran while she took pictures.
My sister grabbed three waters for me at the last water station, and I eyed the finish in the distance. At mile 26, a woman collapsed right in front of me. As she tried to get up, she collapsed again, fell backwards, and hit her head on the concrete. I was definitely affected by this. She had run 26 miles. .2 to go, and her body just shut down. She had no control over it, and I was very sad for her. I was thankful MY body hadn’t shut down, and I prayed I could make the last .2 miles. I did. I crossed the finish line at 3:38.49. More than 6 minutes faster than my goal time, and feeling much better than I thought I would be feeling. My family greeted me with open arms, flowers and smiles. They congratulated me and told me I looked great! J I felt great, actually.
I drank water and Gatorade, tried to eat a banana but it didn’t taste good. I was doing great until I started to get cold, and I needed to stretch, so I planted myself on the ground and didn’t want to get up. It was warm down there, and my feet HURT!
I was informed I would have to walk 1.5 miles to catch the trolley. This information did not make me very happy. I walked and walked until I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had to sit. So, I sat right there on the ground. Someone going by on a rickshaw saw me and took pity on me. They gave up their seats for me. THANK YOU!!!
On the trolley we talked to a racer who had run 19 marathons…and never qualified for Boston. I felt warm and fuzzy inside and extremely proud. I had friggin qualified for Boston! The greatest marathon ever known and I was going to run it in April. Wow.