Here I sit with marathon number 13 in the books.
I ran this same marathon 2 years ago and it was my first Boston qualifying time (and my third full marathon ever). I won’t go into detail, but you can read the recap here. Let’s just say I made a lot of stops a long the way.
Last year I bought the bib to run, but couldn’t because of my injury. In fact, I specifically remember going to my very first prolotherapy appointment the same weekend of the marathon, seeing all the road closure signs everywhere and being so bummed that I couldn’t run.
Before I even start to talk about yesterday, I have to say I am overwhelmed with gratitude at just being able to run pain free. There’s a big part of me that feels like I don’t deserve it, but then again, it gives me the motivation to keep running for those that can’t and for the person I was a year ago that so desperately just wanted to be able to run.
That being said, the SUJA Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon was a tough one for me yesterday. It was a mental fight right from the start. It’s never really a good sign when your breathing is off and you’re mind is already playing games with you before you see the mile 1 marker, but hey, a marathon is supposed to be hard, right?
Let’s do a little recap.
Saturday night I set out my race outfit and everything like the pros tell you to do.
The gear is a little hard to see in the picture, but here’s the list:
I did my normal eating an entire homemade pizza thing.
Before the oven.
Trader Joe’s refrigerated pizza dough is so good by the way.
I was up at 3:30 am to be able to leave the house at 4:20 am. Fun stuff.
Luckily I had a special VIP pass for parking so it was a breeze.
I got right up there by the starting village before the crowds. There’s a first time for everything. Ha.
Let me tell you, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series does NOT mess around with their VIP treatment.
They had the full set up.
Bagels and spreads,
yogurt and granola
bananas and orange juice
and both coffee and hot chocolate.
Oh and heat lamps and private port a potties. Not having to wait in a long line of racers for the bathroom is key.
I wasn’t sure what kind of food was going to be there, so I brought my own NuttZo banana sandwich making supplies just in case.
I went with it.
Pretty soon it was race time. I was still trying to check my gear when they started the national anthem. Nice.
On the way to my corral I ran into Doctor Dribble
About thirty seconds after I squeezed my way through to the corral it was go time.
I never know just how a race will go. I always try to keep an open mind. Some races I have specific time goals, others I just kind of run. So yesterday, even when I started I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel. My breathing was of, but I just kind of went with it. I didn’t pay too much attention to my GPS because it messes with my head too much, especially at the beginning of a race.
I still went out pretty fast. Not intentionally, but my legs wanted to move. Even though they wanted to move though, it just felt hard right at the beginning. I had a feeling before the mile 1 marker that I was going to have to really fight for this race and that it was going to be a long morning.
I passed my prolotherapy doctor’s office at mile 2 and pretty much told myself then that no matter how I felt I was going to suck it up.
I hung in there at a pretty steady pace for the first 13 miles or so. I felt okay, just a little off and the miles felt long. I was actually on pace for a PR still at mile 13.
They did have some pretty awesome local bands playing live entertainment along the course. That was really cool.
I started slowing down little by little after about mile 15 or so, but was still averaging a 7:25 or so pace.
Then there was a monster hill at mile 20 that pretty much did me in. That hill was not part of the course two years ago, but Brian had given me a head’s up right before the race.
Um, yeah, that hill that was on the 163 freeway was no joke. It was a pretty steady climb to the top which was probably a mile long. After that were a couple rolling hills before you actually hit the downhill to the finish.
By the way, it is not my favorite when spectators yell that there is only downhill left when that is not the case. Even the smallest climbs count after mile 22. Right?
Here’s a course map.
It got hot out there too. Once the sun came out it was mighty toasty.
The last few miles in the heat and after that hill were tough. I had a lot of self talk going on.
One thing I kept saying over and over again to myself was that marathons are supposed to be hard. You’re supposed to have to fight for your finish and get uncomfortable. That’s the beauty in endurance sports.
If anyone doesn’t have to fight hard the last few miles or more in a marathon, well heck, they should be running ultras and I really want to know their secret.
Some races you just have to fight a little harder than others. This was one of them. The same thing goes for life in general too I think. Some days you have to work a little harder to be your best self and do the right thing.
So even with the hill, the heat and the starting off too fast when I knew things were a little off,
I still finished with a pretty good time for myself. Thank goodness for the last mile being all downhill to the glorious finish in downtown San Diego.
I’m really getting the hang of those positive splits. Let me know if you ever wants some tips. Ha.
Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper and trust that your body will just do it’s job. And sometimes the mental race is harder than the physical one.
It’s just a little lesson to never throw in the towel, even when you’re not feeling it. Your are always stronger and capable of more than you think. Yes, YOU!
Always believe in yourself and trust the process.
Hmmm……. might be a good idea to check the whole shorts riding up thing before asking someone to take a picture. Yes, thank you, they were as wet as they look.
It was right about here when I fixed the short situation.
And I’m guessing it was right around here when I lost my driver’s license. Ugh.
I ran with it and my phone in a ziploc in my belt just in case of emergency. Luckily I realized it was missing quickly and a nice volunteer told me she had found it and turned it in.
I made my way to meet up with the family and find my license, but made a quick pit stop for some chocolate milk for the boys.
Not my hand friends.
It was pretty crowded at the finish, but they had designated family meeting spots by letter so it wasn’t too difficult to figure out where to go.
I could not wait to see the family and especially these guys. They were my main motivation pretty much the entire race. Well, them and everyone else in the family that makes sacrifices and puts up with all this racing business.
Here’s just one of our outtake pictures of the day. I’ll spare you the rest.
Speaking of family, they were all there. Dang I love them and am pretty much the luckiest person on earth. Races and crowds aren’t really their thing, but they were there for me. They are amazing and I can’t even tell you how thankful I am for them.
They just happen to be close to the information booth when we met up. Lovely how that worked out since I needed to track down my driver’s license.
Turns out, I wasn’t the only person who lost one.
Here’s just a couple pictures that Carol took while they were waiting at the finish line. They caught a glimpse of Meb finishing since he paced the 1:30 half marathon group. Um, did he even break a sweat?
Judah told me he saw me cross the finish line because he was on Papap’s shoulders. That he was.
After we got everything situated, we took a short walk over to Petco Park for the after party and concert. I didn’t stop in the little village area to check out the goodies so I’m not exactly sure what they had there.
The whole after party and concert thing was just awesome. I’ve never been to a free concert after a race and having it in a huge stadium was so cool.
We made our way to the VIP lounge.
I’m not showing you my guns here, I’m trying to show you my cool VIP wristband. I kind of wanted to keep it on forever. Ha.
Again they weren’t messing around with their hospitality treatment. They had a great spread of food, drinks and an amazing view.
I don’t know how these guys got in there though. Ha.
We went for eggs and bacon as our first course.
We also made sure to pick up a couple of bottles of SUJA juice.
We went back later for a second course after they switched out lunch for breakfast and got salad, sandwiches and brownies. The food was delicious, but my phone died so no pictures.
We had a nice little spot to hang out, eat and watch the concert for awhile.
The concert was so awesome. Aloe Blacc was the headliner.
Obviously this song is one of our favorites.
Obviously we danced like crazy when it sang it.
I ran into these ladies a bit later. They both rocked the marathon. They are marathon running queens.
We called it a day shortly after the main concert. It took us a very long time to get home because I did not pay attention to the road closures. Not smart.
But, we made it and took the rest of the afternoon easy.
W took just a few last pictures to wrap up the day.
My GPS was 5 seconds off and .32 miles off. I don’t know if it’s ever been right on. Oh and that there pacing bracelet, well, someday hopefully I’ll actually stay on that pace and get a 3:15. Ha.
I just have to show you the coolest sign,
the coolest race shirt
and the coolest finisher’s medal.
And friends, that’s a wrap.
Thank you Competitor Group for one heck of an EPIC SUMMER RUN! It was so much fun for the whole family. I’m already looking forward to next year. I may also be trying to find my next Rock ‘n’ Roll Series race. I think I’m hooked.
Have a wonderful day!
Have you ever had a race that was tough right from the start?
Have you ever lost anything at a race (I.D., car key, etc.)?
Have you raced any of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series races?