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The SUJA Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon Recap

The SUJA Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon Recap


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.

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The gear is a little hard to see in the picture, but here’s the list:

Mizuno harmony tank, Mustang Sunset shorts, Handful bra, Pro Compression marathon socks, Polar RC3 GPS, Halo hairband and Halo visor, Spibelt and Mizuno Wave Sayonara shoes.

Race fuel- Vega Sport gel and GU. (I had that Pocketfuel Pack, but never took it.)


I did my normal eating an entire homemade pizza thing.

Before the oven.

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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.

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I got right up there by the starting village before the crowds. There’s a first time for everything. Ha.

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Let me tell you, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series does NOT mess around with their VIP treatment.

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They had the full set up.

Bagels and spreads,

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yogurt and granola

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bananas and orange juice

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and both coffee and hot chocolate.

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Oh and heat lamps and private port a potties. Not having to wait in a long line of racers for the bathroom is key.

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I met up with Brian, Gina and Da Silent Assassin.

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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.

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I went with it.

 Monica, Meghann and Sarah showed up shortly afterwards.

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Pretty soon it was race time. I was still trying to check my gear when they started the national anthem. Nice.

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On the way to my corral I ran into Doctor Dribble

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and the glorious Pam (we both did the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge).

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About thirty seconds after I squeezed my way through to the corral it was go time.

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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.


  • Overall: 170 out of 5285
  • Division: 3 out of 378
  • Gender: 18 out of 2224


    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.

    2014-06-01 09.37.13

    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.

    2014-06-01 09.37.36

    It was right about here when I fixed the short situation.

    2014-06-01 09.38.332014-06-01 09.39.26

    And I’m guessing it was right around here when I lost my driver’s license. Ugh.

    2014-06-01 09.39.54

    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.

    2014-06-01 09.44.49

    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.

    2014-06-01 09.46.55

    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.

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    Here’s just one of our outtake pictures of the day. I’ll spare you the rest.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Turns out, I wasn’t the only person who lost one.

    2014-06-01 09.53.13 HDR

    Ha ha.

    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?

    2014-06-01 18.20.46

    Judah told me he saw me cross the finish line because he was on Papap’s shoulders. That he was.

    2014-06-01 18.20.41


    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.

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    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.

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    We made our way to the VIP lounge.

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    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.

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    Again they weren’t messing around with their hospitality treatment. They had a great spread of food, drinks and an amazing view.

    2014-06-01 10.22.372014-06-01 10.26.282014-06-01 10.24.22 HDR

    I don’t know how these guys got in there though. Ha.

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    We went for eggs and bacon as our first course.

    2014-06-01 10.28.19

    We also made sure to pick up a couple of bottles of SUJA juice.

    2014-06-01 14.37.33

    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.

    2014-06-01 18.20.522014-06-01 14.37.172014-06-01 14.37.48

    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.

    2014-06-01 13.23.04


    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.

    2014-06-01 13.55.26

    I just have to show you the coolest sign,

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    the coolest race shirt

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    and the coolest finisher’s medal.

    2014-06-01 13.43.15 HDR

    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?

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    1. 1
      Veronica says:

      Congrats on a great race! I’m very inspired reading your blog. I broke my leg on a trail run about four weeks ago. I had to have surgery to have screws placed in. It’s a long road to recovery. I have high hopes of a full recovery and running again. I thought having plantar fasciitis was bad…this current injury is a true test in patience. I have to dig deep on a lot of days. I enjoy your blog and seeing pics of San Diego. We left SD last year and are currently stationed in GA for 2 more years. Luckily I went to SD 2 months ago to visit my daughter and I was able to run by the bay, so at least I got that in before biting the dust 🙂

    2. 2

      Number 13! Dang woman!!! Congratulations! I hear ya on the hills. The mountain Tony and I ran on Saturday was something I’ve never seen before. Crazily enough…we are ready to do it again! Well, with a little more training, but it’s on the list to do again next year.

      I’m so happy you are able to run again. Big HUGS!!! xoxo

    3. 3
      Laura says:

      Were you 3rd in your age group?? Dang, that is awesome!! Congratulations!!

      I have done the RNR San Jose half. I’ve heard the San Diego one is the best since it’s the first.

      I hear ya on tough races from the start. If I’m having stomach issues, or I’m just burnt out on racing, then it’s that much harder from the get-go. Way to push through! By the way, I love your race recaps because you have so many pics and the recaps are so thorough! Congrats again.

    4. 4

      I’d take your time any day Kristin! I seriously had the best time EVER this weekend. You are one cool mama! So generous with your time and so inspiring! I’m grateful for you guys letting the new kid on the block hang with what I tagged this weekend as #bloggerRoyalty. Now I have BLENDS! I am blessed! Now that I have your ear, I’ll definitely be leveraging your expertise and knowledge about blogging and running. I’ll be back in SD for America’s finest… And ok, maybe Kauai =)

    5. 5
      Bridget says:

      Congrats! The boys said they went to a concert and had eggs and bacon and I thought “I wonder what they mean by a concert?!” haha, wow!

    6. 6
      elizabeth says:

      You and your runner friends, like skinnyrunner and RER make marathon running seem easy! I’m amazed that you can all stay (mostly) injury free for so long. Hope you’re having a good recovery day today.

    7. 7

      Congrats on another great marathon finishing time! I’ve run the Denver RnR Marathon. That year, there was a problem with our finish times and after the race they sent us all our revised times. That was a first!

    8. 8

      Great recap! Brought a few tears to my eyes while reading about the hill and your self-talk. It is SO true that endurance sports are more mental than physical (barring obvious injury). Also I can really relate to my kids as motivation in the last miles. I’ve never loved my kids and husband more than at mile 22 of a marathon!

      I can also relate to the amazing feeling of running pain free after an injury. Quit feeling like you don’t “deserve” to run. We’ve all run stupid at some point and have been injured, but we learn and we work to get better. That’s part of running and part of life. You work hard and have every reason to feel proud for every accomplishment!

    9. 9

      You are just friggin amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would have trouble holding that pace for 5 minutes!!! 🙂

      SO LOVE the family pics – adorable & the outtakes!!!! AND whichever bo did that cute pose in the family pic!

      What a wonderful to be treated there – awesome!

    10. 10
      Bonnie says:

      WAY TO GO! Looks like a killer event and you ran a great race. Loved the recap and way to keep crushing it, friend!

    11. 11
      Lisa says:

      You are amazing! I love reading your race recaps!

    12. 12
      Tara Caudle says:

      Kristin, this was a GREAT recap of the race; thank you for sharing your experience! I’ve yet to do a RnR race, and now I’m really stoked. I just have to say that I am TOTALLY with you on the spectators and their “downhill” comments…feel so relieved that I’m not the only one who has an issue with this! 🙂 Keep it up, gal…

    13. 13
      Amanda says:

      I totally lost my keys in a grass parking lot before a race. I didn’t realize it until after. I had to call AAA and they couldn’t find me because the race was around a lake and the parking was in a remote area. To make matters worse, I had no idea where I was because the race was in a different city! The cops had to escort the AAA guy to come pop my lock so I could get to my spare key, which was in my car. I was really lucky I had my cell phone. I’m not sure what I would have done if I didn’t have AAA programmed into it or if I had left it in my car (<– really glad I didn't listen to my mom on that one!!).

      Glad your family was there to support you – I still don't know how you can fuel up the night before with something so fibrous and spicy!!! Then again, I hate veggies and have a wussy stomach when it comes to spices. I'm going to have to try that TJs pizza crust, though. Thanks for the great recap!

    14. 14

      Congrats on another incredible race performance! I don’t know how you do it but you are SUPERWOMAN!!! Loving the outtake picture of you and the boys LOL! 🙂

    15. 15

      You. are. a. beast. Great job lady!

    16. 16

      I can’t imagine maintaining that pace for a half, let alone a marathon! Congrats!

      My first half ever was a tough race from the beginning, I was way under trained and could definitely feel it from the start.

    17. 17

      You are so amazing! Congratulations!

    18. 18

      So fast, like always! Congratulations!
      I’ve lost one of the ear rubber things from my Yurbuds earphones recently, I guess I’m pretty lucky that’s all I’ve lost this far. 🙂
      Definitely have had tough races from the beginning, I hate that feeling… I think I’d rather have a slower finish time and enjoy the race, than have a faster finish time but suffer.

    19. 19
      Kim says:

      Wow – great job!! You are incredible!!! To run a 3:20 when you are feeling off or like it is a hard race is impassive!!!
      Glad you didn’t have to drive home illegally!:)

    20. 20
      Erika says:

      Great race. You are awesome! I’m so motivated to train for my first marathon. Training starts next Monday! Long Beach in October! So inspired by you! Thanks for sharing your days with us.

    21. 21
      Crystal says:

      I just started reading your blog after searching for race photos from Sunday. It’s very inspiring. The RnR 1/2 was my first race. I had a lot of fun. I am definitely going to run more races after I enjoyed the one in San Diego so much. That hill on the open asphalt after the sun came out was pretty brutal. What have you found to be the best method for increasing your pace?

      • 21.1
        STUFT Mama says:

        Welcome Crystal and CONGRATS!!! Yeah, that sun was brutal wasn’t it? Not a fan of the heat. Speed work and some high intensity training has really helped increase pace for me. 🙂 Let me know if you want more info. It might be a great blog post topic. Hope you’re recovery is going well!

    22. 22
      Tess says:

      Great re-cap! Love hearing how much you enjoyed the experience from start to finish!! Congrats on such a terrific race……3rd in your age group!!!!!!

    23. 23
      marti says:

      Awesome recap post! And awesome job at fighting to the end. You rock! & continue to inspire me every day

    24. 24
      Amy Lauren says:

      Congratulations! That’s so great that you were able to overcome injury to run a marathon, and that fast too. I just found out I’m out for 4 weeks (already spent 3 weeks on the injured list), so things like this give me hope even though I don’t plan to do marathons (I would gladly take your 10K split time… hehe). This looks like an awesome event too, they really rolled out the red carpet with the refreshments and the great shirts and medals.

    25. 25
      Janet says:

      Kristin… congrats on another great race!!! Your time was incredible, you looked incredible, your smile is incredible… you are INCREDIBLE!!! Love your blog & all the wonderful pictures, info & insights of the races. You are an inspiration..

    26. 26
      Amber says:

      Congrats on marathon #13! You’re definitely not the only person who positive splits in races (ugh) – but sounds like you still had a great day 🙂
      I’ve done 2 Rock ‘n’ Roll races in VA beach, and they were so much fun – seriously, music on the course motivates me like no other.

    27. 27
      Nicole says:

      Congrats on a great run! Your time is amazing (and 3rd in AG!)! I’ve heard the new full course is harder (I ran this race in 2011 as my first full) and it always seems to be sunny on race day. But it’s such Ana amazing race in a beautiful city with great spectators!

    28. 28
      RunEatRepeat says:


    29. 29
      Pam says:

      late on this! :/ …BUT, I wanted to once again tell you “CONGRATS on an amazing race in SD!!!!!!!!!” You continue to be an inspiration to me & so many others my friend. So happy to have met you!! You truly are incredible!! 🙂 I think we should start a petition & take that hill out of SD course! It’s brutal!! My current PR is in SD but, it’s from the course of 2 yrs back. xo 🙂


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    2. […] Stuft Mama blogger finished the Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon in 3:20:10 and writes about the race VIP perks. […]

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