Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Rock 'N' Roll San Diego Marathon Race Recap

This past weekend were the Rock 'N' Roll races in San Diego! The 5K was on Saturday, while the Marathon and Half Marathon were on Sunday. Let's just say that whichever race(s) you do, it is ALWAYS an #EpicSummerRun!


Twenty years ago they kicked off this whole shebang in San Diego, so this year's races are commemorating the HUGE milestone. (PS They're celebrating all year long, but since SD is the birthplace, it had to be the BIGGEST party, right?!)

If you didn't see yesterday's post, let me quickly catch you up to speed. Saturday I ran the Fontana Days Run Half Marathon (hence why I didn't run the 5K). It was a "goal" race for me (meaning I was shooting for a specific finishing time, one that I had been training and working towards for a couple months). I won't rehash it all (read the recap HERE if you want all the deets), but let's just say it didn't go as planned. I knew by about the half way point that it was NOT my day and I wouldn't be running away with a shiny new PR. With that said, I decided to let off the gas a bit because I knew I had this race the following morning. (Yes, I realize back-to-back races may seem crazy to some of you, but I figured #RnRSD would be more of a "party race" so I wasn't too concerned on over exerting myself or possible injury.)

Once I got home from Fontana around 11am, I jumped in the shower and packed up my stuff because the hubby and I were going to stay the night in San Diego. In the past I would have just driven down to the Expo to grab my bib, driven back home to sleep and then taken the train down Sunday morning, but a friend convinced us to stay (SPOILER ALERT: This will be the constant theme for the weekend), and I have to say I am thrilled we made the choice.

If you are local, I would TOTALLY recommend taking the train to the race. It is super easy and convenient!

We got down to San Diego around 2:15pm, checked into the hotel and then met Brian (@PavementRunner) and Dave (@FitFam6) so we could head over to the Expo. On the walk from the hotel to the Convention Center they were asking about how Fontana went and how I felt. I told them about the disappointing morning (I was still a bit bummed that I didn't hit my goal time) but had to admit that my legs still felt pretty great.

Well, seeing as you already think I'm a little crazy, this next part of the story may not come as much of a shocker... but they suggested that I upgrade from the half marathon to the full marathon (the race hadn't sold out, so technically there were still bibs available at the Expo). At first I laughed it off, then pondered it, but came up with excuses as to why I couldn't (like I didn't have any fuel with me, I had just raced a half that morning, etc). They quickly shot down my excuses and had some how talked me into heading to the Solutions Table to upgrade my distance in seconds flat.


[FYI: As part of the #RockNBlog crew, we are given a Global Tour Pass which gets us free registration to any of the Rock 'N' Roll races. With that said, upgrading my race distance didn't cost me anything out of pocket (except maybe a little bit of my sanity) and technically still had until Mile 8.4 when the course split to decide if I wanted to tackle the full.]

Even as a #RockNBlogger, you know I always gotta #KeepItReal with you!

Oh yeah, and not only did the guys talk me into upgrading, but when we went over to chat with the ladies of Sparkle Athletic we also got Elise and Carrie to upgrade to the full marathon (they were originally registered for the half) and Kelly to register for the half marathon (she wasn't planning on running). #PositivePeerPressure #YoureWelcome

My #FlatCarlee: June Sock of the Month PRO socks, pink Handful bra,
reflective Sparkle Athletic skirt, tank I got at TJ Maxx two days prior,
black Road ID, reflective Sparkly Soul headbandpink and white QALO
silicone wedding bandsblack and pink Momentum Jewelry
, my Garmin Forerunner 735XT, and my Brooks Ghost with
reflective Shwings.

After our "bad decisions" at the Expo, it was time to hit up dinner (Basic Pizza FOR THE WIN!) and then get back to the hotel because I was crashing fast (remember, I had been up since 2am and had already raced that morning).

Bad lighting + a rushed waitress = blurry photos. Ah well, it's the memories that matter!

The view from our hotel room did NOT suck (nor does the hubby's photography skills)

I knew the early morning wake up would come quickly, so I jumped on my foam roller and got a bit of stretching in before hitting the hay for the day. (Unfortunately I wasn't able to fall asleep till after 10:30pm, but such is life.)

Thankfully I had laid out everything I needed before we went to dinner (while I still had a few brain cells working ;)), because I would've put money on the fact that I would have forgotten something had it not been all ready for me.

When you wake up and realize you are running a full marathon
that you are NOT training for... OOPS!

Using 'the stick' while sitting on the edge of the bathtub... #Classy

The game plan was to meet Brian and Dave in the lobby at 5am so we could take an Uber to the start (our hotel was about 2.5 miles from the start, but with 26.2 miles on the docket we didn't want to waste any energy). As you saw, the alarms were set to start around 4:00am, but seeing as I was up at 1am looking at the clock to make sure I didn't sleep through my alarm, I got out of bed by 3:20am because the five minute cat naps were just annoying two hours later...

Getting to the start was easy-peasy. We did jump out of our Uber a few blocks early to avoid some of the traffic (don't worry, we cleared it with the driver and made sure we were stopped before we rolled out ;)), but everything seemed to be smooth sailing when we arrived. The lines for the port-o-potties were even short (#SometimesItsTheLittleThings)!

I don't want to brag, but we may be the BEST THREESOME AROUND!

If you remember last year's #RnRSD race, then you hopefully remember all of our character stops! On our way to meet up with some friends we saw a guy dressed as Cookie Monster and had to grab a quick photo.

Thanks Mr. Cookie Monster for starting our morning off right!

Seeing as PRO Compression is a local company, the Rock 'N' Roll San Diego races are always a meeting place for tons of the ambassadors. This year we decided to rock the June Sock of the Month for the race. And, obviously, if there isn't photo proof then it didn't happen, so we met up at 6:04am for a quick picture before the races started.

The crew grows year after year and I LOVE IT!

Brian wanted to try and finish around 4:00. Seeing as my longest run since the Los Angeles Marathon in March was one or two 12-milers, I was a little worried. Although I felt confident I could do it, I didn't want to mess up his training run (remember, he's doing the San Francisco Marathon Ultra {running the course backwards at midnight, then running it with everyone else the proper way at 6am}). I thought if I couldn't hang on to Pavey's pace then maybe I'd be able to keep up with the Sparkle girls (Elise is training for a 50K and Carrie hadn't run anything longer than a half marathon since November and with their spontaneous upgrade I was thinking they were in it for the fun and memories, and not too worried about pushing the pace {PS If you didn't watch @thisiscarrie's IG stories during the race, you missed out... They played "the ground is lava" at mile 25, which lead to Elise climbing a tree next to a bunch of race spectators.}).

Getting ready to ROCK the streets of San Diego!

Once we started, the crew sort of split up. Brian and I seemed to hold back a bit (which is impressive, since normally I get sucked in with the adrenaline of race day and go out too fast). Dave and Kristin played leap frog with us a bit (Kristin is coming back from dealing with an angry hip so she has been doing some run/walk intervals and wasn't sure how she'd manage the full marathon). Elise and Carrie took off like crazy ladies.

Dave is THE BEST! He joked that we were running too fast, hence the blur...
but I think it captures the energy PERFECTLY!

Although last year's race was fueled by donuts and tequila shots, this year Brian and I decided that would probably not be the smartest idea for 26.2 miles so opted out of the roadside bars (but I'm very appreciative that the neighborhoods in San Diego represent and come out with all the love and libations that they do!). I also called out a few character stops but he said "it's too early to give up" (I don't think he realizes character stops are #WINNING... definitely not losing!).

My only "character stop" during the race and it came 20 miles in... And I don't
even know what it was... A grape? An eggplant? Who knows...

I was surprised at how well we were doing with our pacing - we had quite a few consistent 8:45/miles in the first 10 miles. The split for the half marathon and full marathon comes around mile 8.3 of the course. At that point we were still feeling strong, so onward we went. (In all honesty, once I made up my mind to run the full, my mind was set and there wasn't an option for me to back out... unless something in my body felt "off", but thankfully that was never the case.)

Decisions, decisions....

Near mile 10 I could hear Brian's stride getting heavy (it's funny, but we've run together enough that I can tell when something's not right). I asked how he was doing and he said he was a little too tired for it being so early, but we'd do it.

We ended up hitting the half way point at 1:58 even... which was two minutes ahead of schedule. We knew that the "big hill" came around mile 21 or so, so figured the second half would be slower but we were still on pace for a 4 hour finish.

I'm a bad role model, so let me pay the dumb tax for you... I often forget to look at the course map or elevation chart prior to a race (even though I specifically recommended folks study the info in my "Tapering for #RnRSD" post). Maybe it's because no matter how it looks, I'm still gonna have to run it or maybe it's because I don't want to psych myself out, but whatever the case, I'd suggest checking it out ahead of time. Saturday night I quickly pulled up the elevation chart and saw the "big hill" everyone laments about. It looked steep but short. And everything else looks relatively flat. The silly thing is, I know San Diego... and I know it is NOT relatively flat... So I should have expected it to be hilly, but each uphill (and downhill) took me by surprise (this also might have been due to my lack of sleep and "marathon brain").


Seeing as I'd never run the #RnRSD full marathon before (although I've run the half three times {2013, 2015 and 2016} and many other San Diego races), I was loving the scenery (not only is the crowd support amazing, but I used to live down in SD when I first moved out to Southern California in 2006, so it was fun to see all of my old stomping grounds). One positive about not looking at the course map is you don't know where you're headed so it keeps you guessing ;)


Around mile 15 Brian said we needed to start adding in walk breaks. Our plan was to run a mile, walk for one minute at the mile markers and take the downhills (so if a walk break came on a downhill we would delay it until it flattened out so we could take advantage of gravity). I know a ton of my friends do run/walk intervals (and I've even used it for a marathon before), but I'm always surprised at how refreshed you feel after a little reprieve. The short walk breaks definitely seemed to give our legs a much needed rest and kept us stronger longer.

Although the walk breaks were magical, they didn't magically transport us to the finish line (weird, huh?!). Even with the talk breaks were still on pace for a 4 hour finish time... until we hit about mile 17. We knew then that the "goal" was probably out the window, but we were totally okay with it. We laughed and realized that although it might not be our best marathon finish together, we vowed to make sure it also wouldn't be our worst. #LiveToRunAnotherDay

Brian had run the full a few years earlier (before they changed the course) and was telling me about the race. He thought he remembered that the "big hill" on the 163 was extra terrible because you were staring at it for so long before you actually got to it. Like I mentioned, the only thing I really knew about it was that people LOATHED it and that on the elevation chart it looked extremely steep (but fairly short). When we ran onto the 163 I was mentally preparing for a mountain. I've got to be honest, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Sure, having any type of incline that late in a race is a killer, but the elevation chart made it look so much worse (my Garmin's elevation chart looks similar to the one on the website, so I guess it's correct, but it felt much different when you were out there running it). In fact, I kept telling Brian that the steep part "must be coming" because I couldn't imagine what we were running was actually "it".

Now, you know I always gotta #KeepItReal, so I am going to be brutally honest. The 163 SUCKS! It's not so much that it is a crazy hill, but it is boring... and sloped (so it is hard to find a flat place to run)... and boring... and LONG... and boring... Brian and I both agreed that if they could somehow cut out those miles (it seemed like at least 5 miles) that we could have saved at least 5 minutes on our time (and an infinite amount of our sanity). It seems as though Rock 'N' Roll might not be able to find a way around this portion of the race (seeing as EVERYONE AND THEIR MAMA hates it yet they keep it in there), but I'd venture to say if they keep that section in the race I probably won't ever run it in the future...


Thankfully after the long uphill climb, we were treated to a nice downhill back into the city. Unfortunately on that downhill is when Brian's hamstring decided it hated him so we had to pull over for a quick stretch sesh. I used the quick break to text the hubby and give him an update of our whereabouts (he had a 9-miler on the calendar so ran around the Embarcadero while we were racing and planned to meet us near the finish line {although he kept texting about me getting him an Uber so he could go to Snooze and get a flight of pancakes while we finished the race}).

The hubby always makes fun of me because I am the only one that looks to be enjoying myself... #PainFace

Apparently I didn't get the "tongue's out" memo... 

We might not have crossed the finish line when Brian was hoping, but I've gotta say, I'm super proud of what we did! (And not to toot my own horn, but with zero distance training, I'm THRILLED with how my body held up over the 26.6 miles {originally I thought I was just really bad at running the tangents, but it sounds like everyone had about a half mile extra}, especially with my race the previous morning.)

One of the volunteers said that we didn't look like we had just run a marathon... joke's on her! We
didn't run the whole thing, but we did ROCK it!

The "20 Years" portion of the medal spins - how cool is that?!


These ladies are ROCKSTARS! I love that they 'upgraded' with me!

Oh yeah, and I MUST include a picture of the coveted jacket the marathon finishers got, right?! #IDidItForTheJacket

For this being a spur of the moment race (or "upgrade"), I had an AWESOME time. The half is still my favorite #RnRSD race (although I have yet to run the relay, so maybe that would be top), but I'm happy I am easily persuaded and was able to cross this one off the list (making it my twelfth marathon) and got to spend some quality time with a great friend!

Another day, another race, another finish line with this crazy cat!

PS In case you may be interested in running a Rock 'N' Roll race in the near future, make sure to check out the sale starting TONIGHT at midnight (PST) in honor of #GlobalRunningDay! The best deals are in limited supply, so make sure to register ASAP so you don't miss out on the crazy low pricing! [24-Hour Sale // June 7th, 2017 ONLY]


Have you ever decided to "upgrade" a race distance at the last minute?

1 comment:

chiara said...

That hill used to be at at different point - I ran it in 2003 (it was just the marathon and ended at MCRD) and the course back then went around mission bay. I think it is money and permitting issues as to why they don't change it. The sad thing is that the marathon, their original freaking marathon, is dwindling in participation because no one wants to run that course. I have to wonder if at some point in the future it'll just be the RnR half and the marathon will be no more.

I think if they could figure out a way no to go up the 163 and stay on flat land, it would actually be a race people would come to PR on.