Thursday, June 13, 2019

Rock 'N' Roll San Diego Half Marathon Race Recap

Two weekends ago I had yet another two race weekend. I ran the Into The Wild Fremont Canyon 28K on Saturday and then the Rock 'N' Roll San Diego Half Marathon on Sunday. If you haven't checked out my recap on my trail race, make sure you do it now... Don't worry, we will wait for you ;)

As you know, I'm currently training for my second 50-Miler, the San Francisco Ultra, at the end of July. I had a 22-miler on my calendar for Saturday and a 10-miler on Sunday, so decided 17ish miles on Saturday and 13ish miles on Sunday would net me about the same distance and figured I'd rather do them with friends (and aid stations), so pulled the trigger.


Saturday morning's race was AWESOME (and hopefully you know that by now because you read my recap ;)). After I drove home (weekend traffic in Southern California is NOT my jam, but you gotta do whatcha gotta do...), the hubby and I worked on priming our condo (FYI - we're in the middle of a major renovation, hence the lack of blog posts outside workout and race recaps). Eventually it was time to shower and head down to San Diego for the #WeRunSocial meet-up.

Source: @werunsocial's Instagram Feed

It was a blast getting to see so many runner friends (both new and old). I love that #RnRSD turns into a major reunion! We had a great turn out for the meet-up and I was stoked the hubby and I were able to make it work with our busy schedule.

Look at how BIG the crew was! 

This was the SIXTH year I have run Rock 'N' Roll San Diego. In 2013, I ran the half marathon (my first Rock 'N' Roll event) and the hubby and I took the train down from Oceanside to San Diego. In 2015, I ran the 5K and half marathon and rode the train to and from the race on Sunday. In 2016, I ran the Fontana Half Marathon on Saturday morning and then rode the train to San Diego for the half marathon (hubby met me down in San Diego afterward so he could join us at the WRS meet-up and drive us home). In 2017, I ran the Fontana Half Marathon on Saturday morning and then was talked into upgrading my half marathon registration to the full because Fontana didn't go as well as I would have liked (was shooting for a PR but it wasn't my day). The hubby and I stayed the night in a hotel down in San Diego so I didn't have to worry about the train situation (and extra-extra early morning wake up). In 2018, I was back to running the RnRSD 5K on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday. Since staying in a hotel down in San Diego obviously made the weekend a lot more convenient (we live about 45 minutes north of the city with no traffic), we did it again last year. This year, however, since we are in the middle of the house upgrades, we are trying to save our pennies wherever we can. With that being said, I decided to stay in Oceanside Saturday night and drive down for the race Sunday morning. I knew two mornings of extra early wake-up calls would be rough, but shoot, saving the $250 on a hotel and parking is like 5 gallons of paint ;)

And, of course, my body had me up before 2:30am...

Thankfully I had laid out my #FlatCarlee before the weekend arrived and put everything together so I wouldn't have to hunt around at 2am to find something I might be missing. This wasn't my first rodeo, but I wouldn't put it past myself to forget something important like running shoes... (cough cough.... like I did on one of my #Ragnar4Rett relay legs!).

When PRO Compression gives the ambassadors the June sock of the month you plan your race outfit around them!
Cotton Candy PRO Compression socks, magenta Sparkle Athletic skirt, Do Good, Be Kind trucker, white Handful sports
, tank from TJ Maxx, elite Road IDpink and white QALO silicone wedding bands, Nathan Speedmax Plus Flask
, PROBAR BOLT chewspink Momentum Jewelry wrap, COROS APEX Multisport Watch, and Brooks Ghost 11.

My game plan was to leave by 3:45am so I could get to San Diego by 4:30am (thankfully at that hour there's no traffic). I had reserved a parking spot at a lot between the start and finish, but because street parking is free in San Diego on Sundays I thought I'd see if I could find something when I got down there. Lucky for me there was a spot near the parking lot I had reserved so I was able to cancel my reservation, save $8 and set myself up for an easy getaway after the race.

When in doubt, take a selfie while sitting in the car... 

The #WeRunSocial crew was meeting up (yes, just hours after our meet-up Saturday night ;)) for a pre-race photo at 5:30am. I didn't make it to the Expo on Saturday so needed to get to the starting area a few minutes early so I could grab my bib. Thankfully there was zero wait and I was able to grab everything without any issues. {FYI: Race day pick-up is not an advertised option, but because I was on the #RockNBlog team for the last few years I knew it was possible. Some Rock 'N' Roll races, like Las Vegas, charge you for same-day pick-up, but thankfully San Diego isn't one of them... yet.}

The Solutions Tent had ZERO line when I arrived!

Once I had acquired my bib it was time to use the restroom (seeing as I was there with plenty of time to spare there were zero lines - the early bird does get the worm... or at least the never-been-used port-o-potty... which is better than a worm ;)) and then off to find friends. I also grabbed a banana from the refreshment tent - thanks for the breakfast, Rock 'N' Roll!

I knew my "fueling" wasn't going to be amazing for this race, so
I figured I should probably at least start with something healthy ;)

I arrived to the meet-up a few minutes early, so walked over to the start line to snap a couple quick pictures because I knew it would be hectic once race time actually came around (we normally roll with a BIG crew, which can take a bit of coordinating and finagling to keep us all together, so if I wanted a photo I better do it early or risk missing the opportunity).

The meet-up was a blast, even if it is always a little too short because we have a race to run (ha, obviously the race is the "main event" but seeing everyone is so fun that it's hard to break up the party). I tend to keep my phone away during the meet-up so I can soak up the people and conversations, so most of the photos below are ones I had sent to me afterward.

Look at all of those cotton candy PRO socks

Eventually it was time to jump in the starting corral and get the show on the road. San Diego is where the Rock 'N' Roll events kicked off, not to mention the weather and scenery is near perfect, so it always draws a huge crowd. I think I remember hearing there were going to be like 33 corrals when I was listening to Monica's pre-race podcast.


If you've read any of my previous five recaps for Rock 'N' Roll San Diego [2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018] or have run the race before, you know that this race (specifically the half marathon distance - because, let's be real, the 5K is only fun because of friends and the full, well, just no!) is a party for just about all 13.1 miles! The neighborhoods all come out and treat the runners like royalty. It's nothing like Boston or LA, but San Diego still holds it down and does a runner good.


We had a fairly large group from the get-go (I think we were rolling probably 20+ deep at points), but settled in around a crew of between 10-15 (some people hoping in and out depending on pace, stops along the course, etc). There was really no game plan to be had - other than FUN and PHOTO OPS! Seeing as I had run a trail race the day before (with almost 3,300 feet of elevation gain) I was totally in for #PartyPace! And, let's be honest, I never pass up a good character stop ;)

Some of the fun San Diego walls!

A few of the "characters" I found along the way!

You know I love me a library and the streets of San Diego did not disappoint!

95% of the races I run I hydrate with water (I tend to only switch to an electrolyte if it is super warm or humid) and my PROBAR BOLT chews, but, as you know, RnRSD is a party so I hydrated with Fireball and fueled with Donuts (I wasn't sure if I should put the Jell-O shot in hydration or fuel, so you can decide ;)). [Don't worry, I ran with my Nathan handheld so could have some regular H2O every once in a while as well... I mean, I wasn't totally irresponsible ;)]

Mile 4.5 Bar in Normal Heights (right around the corner from where I first lived when I moved to California) is
a MUST STOP! This crew is AMAZEBALLS and does their best to keep the runners "hydrated". 

Left: Sobriety checkpoint?! Don't worry, I passed... / Middle: DONUTS / Right: The watermelon jell-o shot
was delicious but the Tajín spice they put on top of it was NOT my jam... 

In case you didn't follow along on my Instagram stories (with the crappy algorithm I'm not sure how many people even see my stuff any longer...), let me just reiterate that we had a BLAST! We ran when we wanted, walked when we needed and made memories all along the route. We thanked spectators and volunteers, gave out high fives and pet the puppies.

I will rarely ever pass up a Fireball shot or puppy kisses...

I know some people may think it's silly, but I got a little sad in the final few miles because I knew the shenanigans were coming to an end. Don't get me wrong, I'm lucky enough to see some of these running friends multiple times a year, but it's always bittersweet to have our time together come to a close. But don't you worry your pretty little head, I kept a smile on my face and didn't let the impending finish damper our fun. (We always have something on the calendar to look forward to... like Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas... will you be joining us?! Please tell me you're in! If not, register NOW!)

I am loving the "Sasquatch" much more than the RunHappy Rocker from past races!

Left: Spectators rock / Middle: Pet rock / Right: A sign that said "Carol Lee Rocks My World" but I thought if I stood
in front of the "ol" part it'd look like it said "Carlee Rocks My World"... We tried ;) 

Spectator signs rock my socks!

And, just like that, (okay, maybe not "just like that" seeing as it took almost 3 hours to finish, ha) the finish line was in sight!

Everyone needs a finish line selfie, right?!

The extra distance is probably from crossing back and forth on the course all
morning for all of the photo ops I saw along the way ;) 

Most races (at least for me) aren't about the time on the clock, but the time spent on the course, and this was definitely one of those races. Memories were made, laughs were genuine, drinks were drunk, smiles were real, fun was had by all.


After snapping a few photos it was off to the car to head home and get back to the house renovations with the hubby. (One nice thing about a 6:15am race start is you can be home by 10am to start your day!) #RealTalk - after "fueling" with only donuts on the course, I couldn't wait to get to the car and slam my PROBAR BASE bar that was calling my name!

Not sure if you noticed, but they have new packaging AND I LOVE IT!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I'm already signed up for 2020... and this time the hubby will be joining in on the fun! Pre-sale prices have already ended for next year (normally I would've loved to have gotten this recap up earlier so you could have registered at the lowest prices but #adulting got in the way), but if you want in, I'd highly recommend watching out for sales (like Black Friday) or grabbing a Tour Pass if you plan to run more than two Rock 'N' Roll races.


How early do you normally register for a race?

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