Rock 'n' Roll Marathon - RunMarathon

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San Diego, California
United States
Elite Racing
70F / 21C
Total Time = 4h 56m 56s
Overall Rank = 8730/16718
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 984/2166
Pre-race routine:

*Warning, this is extremely long – it was my first and I wanna save it for posperity*

This whole mess started after running PF Changs Half marathon in 2007. As Josh and I stood at the finish line area watching the full marathon runner’s finish I thought to myself ‘I could NEVER run a full marathon!’ The admiration I had for those people was immense. I had yet to do a triathlon or meet anyone on BT and the half was the first BIG race I had ever done (aside from mtn bike races). Telling myself I would NEVER do something was all I needed to say ‘I HAVE to do that.’ And the fire was lit.

A year and a half later, a handful of tri’s and a heck of a lot more confidence and I found myself embarking on marathon training. We chose Rock and Roll San Diego, as it would take us back to SD where we had celebrated our wedding 5 years earlier and since it was a huge milestone for me we wanted to make a big deal out of it. Although it was not on Josh’s lists of “must do’s” in his life, he (of course) signed up to be my faithful training partner.

Training went along swimmingly, set a half marathon PR in the meantime and all was well. Of course, never count your chickens until they hatch. After a 16 mile training run I was struck with terrible arch pain – countless Physio, and sports doc visits and a plantar faciitis diagnosis later I was, needless to say, freaked out. I had come so close, yet still so far away. I thought this was not to be. I worked with the docs to get my orthotics right (who gets PF while wearing orthotics?) I got massages, did PT, yoga, stretched, etc. I ran my 18 miles in A LOT of pain. I was not ready to give up on this dream. But after the 18 I knew I could not do 26.2 like that. So it was back to the drawing board. I didn’t talk about the pain to anyone as to me talking about it makes it real, and I knew I could somehow make it go away if I ignored it, in a sense – positive thinking right? But behind the scenes I was working with everyone I knew to find the miracle cure. After a last ditch effort at tweaking my orthotics 5 weeks out my physio and I decided to go with something less intrusive to my arches and we swapped to good ol simple blue Superfeet. AHHH RELIEF! My arches were MUCH happier. BUT from then on almost every single run became a deep-water run. I made it a point to run the streets no more than once a week. My 20 miler was actually 2 hours STRAIGHT, yes non-stop of deep water running at Butcher Jones Cove followed by a 10 mile run through the hills of Las Sendas and Red mountain. Talk about MENTAL training! However, the lack of support from ditching my custom orthotics caused my peroneal tendonitis/ sinus tarsi to rear its head again. I felt like this was a NO WIN situation and I REALLY wanted to give up before I even got to the line. It was either PF or Peroneal tendonitis. So…continued treatment for BOTH, continued PT, water running, cross training and well, prayed! I really wanted to do this but was not going to do it in a way that harmed my body long term.

All I can say is persistence + yoga + water running + a little luck + positive thinking = MARATHON SUCCESS!!!

Event warmup:

Here’s the story…

Josh and I arrived to San Diego late Thursday night to a small B&B owned by an older couple who immediately decided they were going to take care of us, maybe that’s just what they do at B&B’s but this was definitely more than I imagined. It was so nice to have people we don’t even know so interested and supportive as I do not even get that from my own family members! They stocked the fridge with cold water and OJ and kept us fed and well hydrated. Friday we hit the expo and had a BLAST, we listened to John “The Penguin” Bingham who’s training I had followed but he practically told us to walk the entire course and get our moneys worth. MMMM – K! Highlight was seeing other BTer Rachel, always warm fuzzies seeing people you know. And I bought a ton of loot. Seeing the medal made me nervous as I wanted one soo bad, usually I KNOW I am going to at least finish a race but a marathon is just so long and with all my aches and pains I knew something could go wrong at any minute. But I didn’t care I thought my chances were pretty darn good so I loaded up. Josh kept harassing me to buy a RunningSkirt (the chicks at that booth were HOT). Saturday was spent at the beach, I had nerves – yeah and I NEVER have nerves.

  • 4h 56m 56s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 20s  min/mile

OK SUNDAY! It’s finally HERE! Thank GOD! I had gone to bed at 8PM to wake up at 3:30 AM for the 6:30AM race start. I tossed and turned but got sleep. Didn’t matter as I had slept really well all the previous nights so I felt well rested. The Innkeepers left out bowls for us downstairs for oatmeal and bananas and OJ. Before I ate I seriously felt like I was going to throw up. I have a picture of how I was feeling - so nauseous! After I ate I was JUST FINE. After I got my race gear on I felt cool as a cucumber. We walked to the race site from the B&B, good warm up, I felt like it was just another day – ZERO nerves, where did they go?

Immediately got in a porta potty line, it was 5:30AM. Saw Rachel and her mom and some other people from the RunnersWorld forums (YES sometimes I stray!) AND then we saw Sally! Then we headed to gear check which was FAR FAR away! By the time we got back it was the longest porta potty line I had ever seen. I waited 30 minutes. Hit the pots, and barely had time to jump in a corral. It wasn’t even my corral but it was right behind the 4:45 pacer ‘PERFECT’ I thought. Josh and I had some time to talk about how surreal it was to be standing at the start of a marathon. Still no nerves, just really matter of fact like ‘lets do this!’ The race started and we immediately began to move, nothing like Changs Half where we stood in our corrals for half an hour. I think I crossed about 6-7 minutes after the gun went off. People started running before getting to the mats and Josh and I both laughed at them ‘save your energy!”

Gosh mile 1-3 is kind of a blur, so crowded but so exciting. We purposely went out nice and slow but the 4:45 pacer went WAY to slow, I wanted to stay with her but her pacing was all over the place (the pacers were a mess that day – at least the two I dealt with). Oh well I knew how to run my own race. 3-6 were wonderful, all downtown, so cool to be running among the big buildings and then right next to the USS Midway. I did purposely SPRINT ahead of Josh so I would show up AHEAD of him in the athlete tracker since I knew some people were watching us! We were having a great time, laughing, talking joking and then I said “Oh no, here we go to the 163.” And there we were about 7.5 in and yeah, it was as bad as everyone had warned. But as much as I had read about it you still could not be prepared for it. Think Nascar banked turns that would switch on you just as soon as you found a semi-comfortable area to run, oh yeah and that the steepest uphill of the course! The whole crowd got quiet, no one really talked for those 3.5-4 miles (7.5-11.5) because it hurt, not the hill but it just felt wrong. You start thinking ‘this is going to get me later’ and it does, it did. Not to mention it’s a freeway so its concrete. We held a steady pace and did fine, but as soon as we got off the offramp (ha) Josh said to me “that hurt me” and I knew he didn’t mean it lightly, he meant it really hurt him, as in injured. We were so near the half marathon on that point that I kept quiet and we kept talking about other things. I had hoped to make the half at 2:22 just like my very first half mary time but we hit at 2:23, I was pleased to be pacing so well for my first.

Right after the half point the sun broke through and the temp immediately changed. The impact from the hills and cambered roads began to settle in my legs (quads mainly) but I was on cloud 9 as long as my feet didn’t hurt. Nothing else mattered – I was in no real serious pain, I was so blessed! My trusty counterpart was not so blessed. But like a real trooper he trucked along with me. I could not believe how quickly the miles ticked by. I cannot tell you what I thought about because I honestly did not think about anything. I had lots of fun music going, I would high five people, loved watching the many running Elvis’ and taking it all in but I was really in my own little world. My own little REALLY happy world. I cannot tell you how many times it crossed my mind “you’re doing this, you are REALLY doing this!”

Josh and I spoke at about mile 16 that he was not feeling so hot, I gave him some tips that were working for me (fast cadence, itty bitty steps for those heavy a$$ legs) and that we would reassess and come up with a new plan at mile 20. I trucked along after the half we would have ocean vistas here and there and I really loved that. But I really could not believe how much I was sweating, the brim of my visor was dripping with sweat and I never once dumped water over my head. I had NEVER sweat like this in a race before. For once I was glad that I overloaded on salt caps – I told Josh after the race THOSE were my miracle pills. I took 4 during the race and had NO CRAMPING, no stomach probs, no hydration issues NADA. I took water and sports drink at every single aide station, my nutrition was spot on. I was, once again, so happy to just FEEL good and be able to enjoy every minute and every mile of this race.

Unfortunately at the gel stop at 18 Josh gave me the verdict, he was tired of looking at my butt and wanted me to go – ha – no, but he wanted me to go ahead. He needed to do some walking and with the tightness I get in my peroneal tendon walking was NOT a part of my marathon plan (other than a slow skip-like walk at aide stations) so I could not stay with him if he needed to walk. It broke my heart. I always imagined us finishing this together, we trained together, we planned together – hell we do everything together. But he was happy and this is what he needed to do to be able to enjoy the race his way. Our bodies are different and 26.2 is a long way to expect our needs to be the same that entire race. So we stopped shortly said our kisses, and goodbyes, flashed him an “I love you” sign and said to myself as I looked at my pacing band “I have got to go sub-5:00 for him!” So I pushed.

I had 8 miles left, I was hot, I was lonely, but I was stoked as all hell. I had the chance to go sub 5:00 in my first mary (a deep down inside goal for a slow-poke like me) on a tough course on a tough day (80% humidity). I knew from reading everything I could get my hands on that most first timers flirt with the wall at mile 20. Seeing as I had water ran my 20 I did worry some about this WALL, but not really. I KNEW I could hold my pace and pull it off. Hitting mile 20 and STILL feeling as good as I did at 13 was HUGE for me. I probably had a stupid huge grin on my face. I think breaking the race down into 4 10K’s really helped me mentally AND the fact that I expected to hurt throughout the race and I didn’t really gave me that extra adrenaline and good mental mindset. I felt like I was given a gift that day to run pain free and truly just enjoy running for what it is. I know not many people get that, as I am one of the people who run in pain often so when you have days like I was having to truly take it for all its worth and basque in it. That is what I did from 20-26.2!

I do have to mention the ONE downer I had from the race, remember how I mentioned the terrible pacers? Well the 4:45 ran 11:30’s for the first 3 miles after they told us at the expo they were doing even pacing, and then at mile 21 when I start thinking confidently “I can do this! I can go sub 5:00” The guy with the “Scheduled Arrival 5:00” comes BLOWING by me, I mean he was MOVANG! My heart sank and I looked at my Garmin, and looked at my pace band and did some math and thought ‘am I ‘that’ bad at math???’ I was so bummed; I really didn’t need that 21 miles into that race. But I KNEW I had it. And said “screw you sucky pacer man I got this!’ And just ran my race. The highlight of the last miles, other than almost finishing had to be at about mile 23 there were lots of people spraying down the runners (ahhh Heaven) and one aide station had set up a mister system so I ran through it with my mouth open and it was SALT WATER (we were close to the ocean) ACK, I about barfed! I did laugh at myself though.

But ohhh, those last miles, those glorious last miles – from 24-26.2 I almost just turned off my watch as I knew I had it in the bag (damn I was close though huh?) and I just ran and thought about all the things that got me there and what this meant to me and how lucky I was to be able to do it. It also made me sad that it was my first and was almost over – crazy as it is. Don’t get me wrong I was happy to have it ending, but there’s nothing like a first. Then there was the Marine Corps Base and the SEXY marine welcoming you in and telling you ‘only half a mile more.’ UNFREAKINBELIEVABLE. Did I just run 26 miles? No way. But yep. I did. And know what…I’ll happily do it again!

I ran across the line with my arms up. I covered my face with my hands and got a little choked up, not sure if it was because I FINISHED the thing or because I missed Josh. Or both. I was kind of in shock. It went by SO FAST. How could that have been 5 hours? Wow. I was given a cold towel and a bottle of water and decided to stand at the line and wait for Josh. While standing there I got terrible sick to my stomach and had to hit the porta potties. Once sitting I COULD NOT get up. Wow, so YOU DID just run a marathon huh? I stumbled out of them to wait some more but thought I might have missed him. I went to look around and finally found him at gear check. When I got to him I threw my arms around him and we both started crying *he might not like that – no?) he said “I am so proud of you!” I said the same and more to the like of “yay, neat, wow, go you, awesome, we did it, fabulous!” that good stuff. Then we chatted like crazy about the last 8 miles and got changed by a UPS truck, stopped by the med tent to bandage my baby toes that had blood blisters on the tips and fluid blisters underneath and went to get our finisher picture taken.

Post race
Warm down:

Our cooldown consisted of an easy *cough* 4 mile walk up San Diego’s lovely hills BACK to the hotel as the shuttle back to the airport authority lot was so damn long, the trolley line was so damn long and hell, we didn’t want to wait around. And – walking is good for you after a race right? Oh.My.God. There was celebratory champagne waiting for us at the B&B for us though! To us! *Clink Clink*

Event comments:


View ALL pics (although out of order):

Last updated: 2008-02-18 12:00 AM
04:56:56 | 26.2 miles | 11m 20s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/2166
Overall: 0/16718
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4