Race Recap: San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

I’m really bad about getting these recaps up in a timely fashion, but sometimes it takes me a bit to process what happened and then of course, life happens, work events typically follow race weekends and since this race, I’ve been off due to my small sugar addiction taking over.  But now all is semi-back to normal and **SPOILER ALERT** I’m so excited to say that I FINALLY at Rock n Roll San Diego, my 18th half marathon ran a sub 2 hour race!

So I ran this race back in 2012 and had a horrible experience, it was seriously the worse race I’ve ever done in my life, mostly on the highway with this horrible slanted road from the ramps.  After this race, I pretty much swore there was no way I was running this race again.  They asked for feedback after the race and apparently a lot of other runners felt the same way so in 2013, they changed the course.  While on the shake-out run on Saturday, I heard that they changed it again this year, but since I didn’t run in 2013 I’m not sure.  All I know is that this year I really enjoyed the course.

Pete & I walked to the start line from our hotel which was right next to the Expo so probably about 2 miles.  I was cold when I left and I like to check a bag, when I can, so I have something to change into after the race, which I learned in Rome, can be essential.  By the time we got to the starting area I was pretty warm so I dropped off my bag immediately.  I love when they have the UPS trucks for the bags, it’s always so organized.

I let my friend Rhea know we were there and we were going to head up to see the marathon start, but after the last race when I didn’t make it to the Port-a-Potties prior to the race, I decided to take care of that first then meet up with her.  The lines were crazy long so I ended up not being able to see the marathon start.  They were pretty strict about not letting stragglers on the marathon course after the last corral left and kept making announcements about marathoners having to start now.  Marathoners started at 6:15a and the half started at 6:45a.

Not so nervous this time around - laughing & relaxed :)
Not so nervous this time around – laughing & relaxed 🙂

Finally I headed up to the start line to meet up with Rhea, aka – Ms. Speedy – lol, who was up in corral 1. She was going to try and run with Meb (he was pacing the 1:30 Pace Group).  Pete didn’t want to come with me so I wished him well and left him at corral 12.  We’ve run a lot of the same races, but I don’t typically run with anyone specific in a race situation.

Start Line & a bunch of Elvis's
Start Line & an Elvis convention?

Rhea & I Pre-Race

After a few pics, I headed back to my corral to get ready for the start.  I ate a Vanilla Honey Stinger Waffle, which ended up being the only thing I ate before or during the race, and made my way to corral 10.

After about 10 minutes we were off…

San Diego, Rock n Roll, Half Marathon, Jun 1, Corral 10
The start line from Corral 10

I was feeling pretty good, although I knew I was a little dehydrated, but at that point it is what it is and I had drunk a ton of water the day before.

Now I don’t normally have a plan as to how to run, I just run.  This time though, my coach told me to go super slow the first 3 miles, then from 4 – 10 run at goal pace and then if I still had some energy kick it up a notch the last 3.1.

Miles 1 – 3 (9:09, 9:36, 9:23) I didn’t quite get the slow memo for mile 1 but that’s actually a lot better than it could have been :).  I had a lot of tightness in my calves during these miles, but I just took it as my body getting acclimated.

Mile 4 (9:19) what I thought was going to turn into a Burnt Toast moment, the bottom of my left foot fell asleep and literally ever step I took I could feel the pins and needles – that was a first.  I had on new lululemon socks, that I bought the day before, so I was wondering if that was the problem, although I wear the same style all the time so I didn’t think that was the issue.  Needless to say I continued running, but kept thinking I might have to fix my sock.

Miles 5 – 8 (9:10, 8:51, 8:54, 8:46) The pins & needles feeling went away and then I was feeling pretty good & getting faster

Mile 9 (9:08) I slowed down a bit in mile 9 to walk thru a water stop.  I had a cramp in my lower right abdomen that was giving me a bit of trouble, I actually had a lot of trouble drinking anything during this race because every time I took a sip (I was drinking gatorade & had my belt on) I would get a cramp.

Mile 10 (8:51) At this point, we were well into the downhill although the sun was up now and the heat was starting to increase.  I was at about 1:30 or so and was telling myself I only had 3.1 to go – and 30 mins – all I needed to do was three 9:50 min miles and I’d hit my goal.

Mile 11 (9:04) I had to stop here again for a few seconds and walk.  Literally the cramp was so painful and I wasn’t able to breath thru it. I still have no idea what it came from. But I saw & then passed, Doctor Dribble, a running “celebrity” from Miami who dribbles 2 basketballs thru the entire race.

Dr. Dribble, Rock n Roll, San Diego, Half Marathon

Mile 12 – 13 (8:56, 8:27, last .16 (Garmin was a bit long) 6:26) By this point I was almost to the home stretch.  It was so nice to be going more down hill, and there were some Team in Training coaches that were on the side of the road saying things like, drop your shoulders, relax your forehead, unclench your jaw, etc.  I didn’t realize how tense I was until I followed that advice.  I was feeling good and speeding up and once I got to the final stretch and could see the finish, which was a relatively steep downhill, I totally kicked it in and sprinted down passing a few people on the way.  I lost one of my water bottles (it just bounced out) about 20 feet from the finish.  I finished, remembered to stop my Garmin and seriously thought I was going to be sick.

There was a really nice volunteer at the finish who asked me if I was going to be ok, to which I responded, I think I’m going to be sick and since the med tent was right there, they had me sit down for a few minutes and gave me a bottle of Gatorade.  I just pushed it a bit too much at the end but once I got some electrolytes in me I felt a lot better.

When I looked down and finally saw what my Garmin said, 1:53:33 I was incredibly happy because I didn’t just squeak by with a 1:59:59 but I was 1 min 29 sec under!!  This was over a 7 minute PR from my previous PR from the Phoenix Marathon Half in March. Read about that here.  I was also incredibly proud of doing negative splits.  My coach had a lot of negative split runs on my schedule and I’m happy to say that they paid off :).

Race RecapRace Medal

One thing about Rock n Roll series races, they have a lot of food after the race to refuel.  I got a banana, a bag of snack mix, another bottle of Gatorade, a carton of chocolate milk, a power bar recovery bar and a bottle of water.  I was seriously dehydrated and I drank both bottles of Gatorade, the chocolate milk and about 1/2 the water by the time Pete finished.  I only ate the banana.

I found Rhea after the race, she was so sweet to wait about a 1/2 hour for me to come in. We took a few pics and then she had to head to a baby shower so I went to get my bag and wait for Pete.

Post Race with Rhea

I’m really glad I had some clothes because there was about 94% humidity (according to my Garmin) and I was totally soaked.  While waiting for Pete, I ended up changing completely to be more comfortable.  I totally recommend bringing at least a new shirt to change into after a race.

Post race selfie
Post race selfie – so excited!!

I was starving by the time Pete finished and he didn’t have the best of races so we ended up skipping the post race concert, which I would have liked to see, Aloe Blacc, but we were going to have to drive back to Phoenix after lunch and really in the end, food and doing my normal bath routine after the race was more important than a concert at this point.

Now most people prefer an ice bath after a race, but I’m weird and I’ve found that heat actually works 1000% better for me so we headed to the hot tub so we could get a bit of sun and relax before lunch. We met a really sweet girl from Lake Havasu who had just finished her first half and couple of other runners.  Love the running community it’s really a great group of people just supporting each other.

A little hot tub action after the race
A little hot tub action after the race

And now to eat…recap on my post race eats coming soon!

What is your half PR? And where did you run it?

4 thoughts on “Race Recap: San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon”

  1. Great recap. Thinking of doing this half. Curious what the course was like? Flat? Hilly? I know you mentioned down hill for the end. Thanks!

    1. Hi Emily!! Thanks so much! I really liked the course this year. I think in total there was about 300 or so feet of elevation, which isn’t too too bad. But I live in Phoenix and had been training on pretty flat trails & roads so it seemed hilly to me. The area about mile 11/12 when I saw Dr. Dribble is where it started the downhill. And I know that it was pretty much downhill from that point on, which was a treat since most races seem to finish on a hill :). LOL. I’m already registered for next year & I think it’s a great race. Hope to see you there 🙂

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