Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock n Roll San Diego as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
I love Rock n Roll.
This race made a liar out of me in so many ways. Ok, maybe just changed my mind about some things.
Going into this race, I wasn’t a fan of large crowded races, preferred rural views and hated humidity and flat made me cry. But I had heard great things about the Rock n Roll races, San Diego in particular, and always wanted to run one but never made it work. Until now. And now? Well I still hate humidity.
The odd thing was that going into this race I wasn’t stressed at all. I wasn’t worried about the miles or how long it would take me. I was mildly concerned about the humidity I knew I was coming but even at the Bibrave meet up I was just joking that I should probably run with my inhaler in my hand. I still wasn’t sure what shoes I was going to wear and I was mostly irritated that I had to run with a portable charger because I didn’t think my phone was going to last the race. I was also taking a race shuttle for the first time ever but I managed to sleep better than I did for my previous 2 races.
I woke up and knew that my food choices the day before were not going to sit well. Well yay. I dressed, decided on wearing the UltraBoostX, bibbed up and headed for the shuttle bus. They were charter buses not school buses- sweet! I checked the weather, saw 86% humidity and then tried not to think about it again.
Once at the starting line outside of Balboa Park I just followed the crowd. We came upon about 6 port-a-potties and I was confused. Ummm, 6? For 30,000 runners? As I got further in I found more scattered around in lines. There were probably between 50-100 around. I ended up parking myself near the solutions tent and just runner watching. People were everywhere! They even had a fitness warm up going on- I thought only small town races did that! I met up with Mai and after hitting the baggage trucks we ended up sprinting across the grass to the We Run Social picture meet up by corral 3. We just barely made it!
After meeting some more IG people in real life, listening to the National Anthem and ditching my top layer, I headed for my corral. I was in corral 19. Of 37. They were releasing the corrals at a steady pace so once I found an opening in the fence I stopped and just waited for the corral to get to me. I hopped in and pulled my phone out to take a pic only to realize it was almost dead. Grrrr. I plugged in my portable charger and turned off anything in the phone that was non essential. The race announcers were doing a great job of keeping everyone pumped up and things were very organized. I suddenly found myself at the very front of my corral on the start line and it was go time.
Miles 1-3 9:41, 10:22, 10:48
Haha, ok starting at the front apparently put wings on my feet. Slow your roll, Slacker. There was a guy on a megaphone shouting inspiration at us as we ran by. It was crowded but I was ok with it, I had to dodge people sometimes but I knew I wasn’t breaking any records so it wasn’t a big deal.
The first music distraction was a DJ on a bridge or was it a band? I should have written notes! The first aid station was well stocked with plenty of water and Gatorade and awesome volunteers. The gloomy clouds and some of the buildings I was running by made me feel like I was more in San Francisco than San Diego but I was enjoying the sights. And sounds- to save battery life- I hadn’t turned on my headphones. There were college kids handing out beer around mile 2 as well. There was a selfie/ picture station too but it may been in the next set of miles.
Oddly, I hadn’t really slowed down yet, I was walking the water stations but that was it. The streets were still crowded, water stops were every 2 miles, live music was every few miles. Around mile 4 we headed into more residential area but I notices that the cheering increased. Yeah, we were near an aid station but this was too loud. Turns out I was coming up on Harriet! I passed her and told her she was awesome. I mean, 94! Geicko had a full on bar on mile 4.5. You name it, they had it.
My legs were feeling good and surprisingly so were my lungs. I was beginning to feel optimistic. Then at mile 5.3, my stomach cramped in a rather unpleasant way. Oh come on! I took a walk break and deep breaths to try and calm it down but I was a little ticked. And I would be nauseous for the remainder of the race.
6 and 7 slowed me down while I tried to get myself under control. We passed the relay exchange a little past 6 and once again I thought I really need to do a relay. There was a man handing out tequila shots at one point saying that while we may think it was too early for tequila, he thought it was too early to be running so why not meet in the middle? We had entered Normal Heights and I thought it was an awesome name so I had to take a pic. At mile 8.4 the marathoner’s split off from the pack and the crowd thinned up a bit. I was still feeling nauseous but I was trying to ignore it, I wasn’t going to let my stomach win. I was listening to the on course entertainment and truthfully some interesting conversations from the runners around me. My legs were feeling ok but by my standards this course was flat and I knew I would eventually be sore if I didn’t get a hill somewhere.
We were coming into Balboa Park and I could hear drums and see the big inflatable guitar guy and I knew I was almost to mile 10. Yay! Except, around mile 9.5 the battle my lungs had been fighting the humidity got harder. And my lungs started to lose. I had to walk again and use my inhaler. Grrr, Of course, just past mile 10 was the first real hill of the course and my lungs were being whiny. I walked it. I also had a moment where I thought I was going to lose my cookies and may have mentally swore off pizza. I turned on my music just to drown out my breathing.
Miles 12-13- 9:45, 11:14
So, yeah coming out of the park lead to a decent downhill and I flew. I was still taking walk breaks due to the humidity and my lungs. The last mile was a struggle. I thought I had kissed a sub 2:20 goodbye and I was pissed. I haven’t seen that in 2 years and that I had gotten so close, I almost cried. But I sucked it up and kept going. The crowds were cheering, runners were walking away with medals and I was still taking walk breaks. Grrr. The finish line was in sight and I decided enough was enough and just ran for it.
I crossed the line and bent over wheezing. Medical was on me in seconds. Damn, you’re fast! I felt embarrassed but said I was ok, I just needed a moment. It wasn’t until I got a hold of myself and received my medal that I looked at my watch. I did it! It’s been so long since I’ve seen I’ve been below 2:20 even if it is by the skin of my teeth.
I made my way through the picture station and then the food goodies before attempting to find my mother. It was crowded! We met up and hung out for a bit before I realized I needed to return to the hotel. So much for the finish line festival. That nausea and cramping I had been fighting reared it’s head I was very glad that my hotel was 2 blocks from the finish. I could hear Micheal Franti though and he sounded great.
Overall, this was an awesome race. I would recommend it to anyone. The course and the crowd support was great. The aid stations were on point. As was medical. Now I want to run another one.
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