This is my 4th time running San Diego Half Marathon. It’s a fun & fast race in downtown San Diego. You can check out my previous recaps here. 2016, 2017, 2018
I signed up back in August of last year & I had high hopes for a big PR here. As we know, that didn’t happen due to the hyperthyroid/Graves diagnosis & the subsequent lack of real training since Javelina. But that’s ok, I’ll get there.
So I honestly wasn’t sure how this race was going to go. I haven’t run anything over 4 miles in weeks, since Surf City Half so my bigger concern was how would my body handle the jump in miles.
This past week I’ve run more than I have in a week (outside a race) in a long time. It might not seem like a lot but I ran 9 miles this week before the race. In February, I ran a total of 49 miles with Surf City Half & about 20 of that pacing Sean at Franklins, which means I “ran” 16 miles the rest of the month. I also took up riding at Soul Cycle and in the last 2 weeks I’ve racked up 6 rides & plan to continue on with 2 rides a week for the foreseeable future.
Now back to the race. Sean & I picked up our packets on Saturday at the expo. It’s still in the same place on the harbor. It was a touch cool & cloudy but no rain. SD Half does their bibs in order of when you register and since I registered the first day, I had a very low bib number. I also was surprised to see I was in Wave 2. I normally am in Wave 4 so I don’t recall what I put as my projected finish time. Maybe 1:50?
We grabbed our race shirts & legacy gifts. This is our 4th consecutive year of running so we got half zips as our bonus gift. Unfortunately they were all out of men’s smalls so they told Sean he could get a different size. Since we know he’ll probably never wear the shirt, we passed & the poor volunteers didn’t know what to do. You are supposed to get 2 shirts lol.
The expo as usual is pretty small so we didn’t really stick around, instead heading to get lunch, some yummy acai bowls from Everbowl.
The race always takes place on the time change weekend so if you enable text messaging they will send you a reminder text to change your clocks to spring forward. That’s a nice touch.
Race morning! We got up a little later than last year, around 5:30ish, I was already up, but Sean’s alarm hadn’t gone off yet. We left the house at 6:08a & were downtown by 6:15a which was probably the fastest we’ve ever gotten down there. Hitting all green lights & having barely any traffic really helps!
We walked down to the starting area. As per usual they start the race right in front of the convention center. I needed to meet the Arete ladies for a quick photo & meet-up so we did that first before dropping off our bags & heading to the corrals & port-a-potties. It was a beautiful morning, no marine layer and we got to see a great sunrise.
It was nice to meet some of the other ladies in the group, since I’ve been off I haven’t gone to many of the meet-ups since I joined the group in January. Side note, I was so excited to join this group & to really work on my speed & goal to BQ & then I had all these issues pop up just as the group was getting started.
And I’ll be honest, knowing how fast all these ladies are, was really intimidating. I feel like I’m kind of the weak-link in this group even if I wasn’t dealing with medical things. They all finished within minutes of each other & I was about 30 minutes back. But I can’t be too hard on myself, I went from barely running to running a half averaging just under 10 min pace with the last 3 miles being the fastest of the whole race. At Surf City, I could barely breath & I averaged 11:45 pace. Again, I digress.
Sean & I headed back to gear check to drop off our clothes. I’ve said this before, but I’ll reiterate it, I always bring a set of fresh clothes to change into after the race, I hate being all wet after the race. And sports bras take forever to dry so I had lots of warm, dry clothes in my drop bag.
We headed back to the start, hit up the port-a-potties. This year they had it done right so that there weren’t lines on both sides of them. There was a porto in the middle of each section so that you could only enter from the sidewalk. Finally!! In the past it was total chaos with people lining up on both sides.
I got a quick selfie of Sean & I and then we headed to our respective corrals. It was shaping up to be a beautiful morning with the sun peaking out & for once, no marine layer! Normally this race is so humid, but it felt really nice, in the mid 50s.
I was a little nervous before we got started not knowing how I was going to feel but once we got started I got into a grove. For once I didn’t feel like I started out too fast, I just kind of followed the other runners & didn’t weave in and out too much.
One of my favorite parts of this race is the first 3 miles running by the harbor. We pass the Midway, there was a Disney Cruise Liner in port that morning. As we head over to Harbor Island you can see my favorite view of the city & it was spectacular that morning with the sun behind it.
I ran the first 3 miles with no issues, I stopped for water at the mile 3 aid station & then from there I started run/walking. I ran to mile 4, took a short walk and then tried to do mile repeats with a short walk in between.
We run down to Liberty Station, which I always enjoy as well. By now it started to get cloudy but it wasn’t humid. I remember thinking how I was sweating but my shorts weren’t soaked & sticking to me like they normally are, lol.
I made it to the 10k in just over an hour which I was happy about. From there I just kept chugging along, mile 7 came up fast, then we did a quick climb on mile 8. I started getting a cramp in my oblique around this point so I walked to stretch it out a little at the mile 8 aid station.
I was getting a little tired by this point, but I kept moving. I walked the short steep hill, ran to Washington Street & ran/walked the big hill. One day I will conquer this hill, this year wasn’t it.
There were a bunch of Milestone Running & November Project people who were running up and down the hill with runners which was so cool. The only bad part was that they were all running down right where we were running & I like to run on the very far left so I had to keep moving over to let them run back down.
In any case I finally made it to the top, in a lot less time than it seems like I normally take (11:45 for that mile & in the past I think I’ve taken 13/14 minutes). The next section I have run many times with the #run619 group & I always think about them when we run through this section past the Hillcrest sign down to 6th Ave next to Balboa Park.
The last 3 miles are mostly downhill & I knew that Kari @grrrlrunner was going to be near Balboa so I was looking for her. She was with her son & got this photo of me running by! So nice of her to wait to see me!
From there I was starting to get a small cramp in my right quad, a place I’ve never felt any issues before, maybe all the spin? and I was getting hungry. I didn’t have any CarboPro in my pack so I didn’t really have any calories on this run except one muir energy around mile 11 which was really too late to start eating. I’m the worst when it comes to fueling, which is why I normally just use carbopro so I can drink my calories. I drink a lot so it works good for me.
In any case, I had to get to the finish so I powered on. I was getting closer to the spot where they can stop you for the Trolley to pass. I saw 2 Trolley’s stopped & waiting and was hoping I could run fast enough to miss them. And phew, I was the last runner they let go by before stopping runners. I have been lucky, I think I’ve only been stopped once in the 4 years I’ve run this race.
I just kept pushing, and then finally I could see Petco Park . At this point I was following a lady in a Oiselle team shirt and I wasn’t sure if I could pass her or not. I followed her down to the turn off into the park. We went through the tunnel & then I was like time to finish strong & while I expected her to push to the finish, I must have pushed harder because I passed her after we got on to the baseline.
I finished! It wasn’t fast, but it wasn’t super slow either! 24 minutes faster than Surf City & I felt 100x better. I can only get stronger from here!
So overall, I like this race. I’ve done it 4 years in a row, it’s pretty fun, it’s fast, it has a cool finish line where you finish inside Petco Park. They give out nice gift bags at the end, we use our reusable bags year after year. This year we got a friar bobble-head & a book about one of the Padres players that made to the Hall of Fame.
The medal was really nice this year, a huge softball size medal with the Gaslamp sign on it. They abandoned the idea to do the 4 part series medal they started last year after hearing that people didn’t like that idea.
We’ll be back, but maybe not next year, I really want to run Antelope Canyon so it might be time to change it up :).