SD Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon 2014

I first registered for this race because my marathon training called for me to race a half marathon on June 1st. Conveniently, the Rock ‘n Roll was in San Diego so I signed up! I was kind of excited because my first half marathon ever was a Rock ‘n Roll in Virginia Beach, VA. This would also be my fifth half in San Diego County and my fourth new course. All positives! However, since I’m training for a distance twice as long as this one, I wasn’t sure how I’d do since my pace has been slower for longer distances.

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Race morning (last Sunday) I got up and drove south at 5am with my friend, Dahlia, who was running as well. We parked at the San Diego Airport extended stay lot (more on that later) and headed toward the start line. Thankfully, the airport shuttle driver took us as far as his route allowed and then we hopped off and walked the .5 mile uphill. Dahlia hooked us up with VIP Potty Passes from Brooks (see sticker above on my race number), so we dropped my gear bag and enjoyed comfortable bathrooms with minimal lines pre-race. We knew we wouldn’t be the same pace, but we started in the same corral (see below). At 6:45am, we started off a few waves behind Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi who was pacing the 1:30 group!

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Again, I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself but I had two goals going into this race. 1) Break two hours, because that’s kind of my benchmark for a “good” half marathon and 2) Break 1:57:09, which is my half marathon PR from AFC last year. I had done almost no research of the course though, other than knowing that we started in Balboa Park and ended at Petco Park downtown. The first three miles were rough, I managed a 9:00/mile pace but my feet hurt and I didn’t feel like I had any juice in my legs. I also had to pee. In truth, I’d had to since the gun with off… such is a runner’s life. At mile three, I ate half of my Gatorade shots for some energy. They seemed to help and I tried to drink water in spite of my bathroom situation. I figured I’d sweat it out as the sun came out. Miles four through nine were kind of a blur. I remember noticing how many people were sitting outside of their homes cheering us on. There were whiskey shots, tequila, beer, donut holes, fruit, waffles, and bacon being passed out by the good people of San Diego. Hilarious.

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I had the other half of my shots at mile nine… which was a good thing because as soon as we turned the corner there was the most substantial hill of the course. Ugh. I did well up it but that coupled with the sunshine and lack of shade was wearing on me. I was still holding a 9:00/mile pace, which was awesome, but I felt my legs starting to fade. My long runs have been in the 9:25-9:40 pace range so this was a bit fast for me. The stubborn side of me said that I “only” had three miles left, so suck it up and keep pushing. The reasonable side of me said not to push it and just finish safely. I battled back and forth while we hit the downhills and I kept drinking although my stomach was none-too-pleased with me by this point. As we rounded the last corner, I pushed a little but just didn’t have much left in me. I was confident that I’d be in under two hours, so I was happy and felt good as I crossed the finish of my sixth half marathon!

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My official time ended up being 1:58:47, so I was right in my range of happiness. Immediately after finishing (and snapping the above picture), I grabbed my gear bag from the trucks and started walking. Why? Because I needed to get to the 24-hour Fitness at Horton Plaza to shower. Why? Because I then needed to walk the two miles back to the airport parking lot to drop my running gear and get my suitcase. Why? Because I had a 12:15 pm flight home to Virginia. Somehow all of those things went off without a hitch and with the exception of a few weird looks, I got it all done and didn’t miss my flight! Oh, there was a fire alarm prior to my flight at the airport but they worked it out in time for our departure. On the planes home I walked, drank tons and tons of water, and thankfully didn’t wake up too sore on Monday. I’ll post more about my Virginia visit later, but for now I’ll just leave you with a picture of my walk to the airport!

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Oh! And my friend, Dahlia finished her half as well and seemed to be happy with her time. I didn’t have time to wait and see her at the finish but it was great to have a buddy at least for the morning commute 🙂

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