Tag: crowds

Rock n Roll San Diego 13.1 Recap

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.

Race morning-

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.


Miles 4-6 10:28, 10:31, 10:44

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.


Miles 7-9 10:57, 10:35, 10:28

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.


Miles 10-11 10:58, 11:06

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.

Finish- 2:19:56

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.  😁

2015 Firehouse 5K -Recap

After 3 years of running this race, I can say with absolute certainty that moving my long run to Thursday was the best decision ever.   Not just because it turned out to be a great run but because per usual, I feel a little broken after this race.   Yesterday’s easy, hoped for 6 turned into a slow, limping crawl for 4 miles.  But I still love this race!  🙂IMG_0049The race touts itself as the toughest 5K in the county.   Not sure if that’s true but it’s the toughest 5K I have run.   So of course that means I have had to run it 3 years in a row.  The course starts at the firehouse then runs .5 mile on the street before hitting the trails and heading up for 2 miles before heading back to the street and returning to the firehouse.

My mom and I were planning on spending the day in SLO afterwards so we headed out in the morning.  I had picked up my packet the day before and parking was a breeze.  We’ve parked in the same spot the last 3 years.   🙂   She stayed in the car where it was warm and I headed to the start line.  The morning was kind of chilly so I wore a long sleeved layer over my tank.   I would later regret that.  A lot.  I ran into an old coworker so we chatted for a bit.  The starting line is under a large flag hanging from the ladder truck and the mayor blows the truck horn to start the race.    I was super relaxed going into this race and that may have given me some problems.    IMG_0056I started way too far back in the pack and had trouble getting out of a cluster in the beginning.  The mountain starts with a series of switchbacks on the trail that usually slows to a single file walk.  I was prepared for this but not for how crowded it was farther back.  I passed people when I could but was hung up a few times.    Once out of the switchbacks we had more single file climbing to do.    The top is kind of a false summit so after reaching the top, there was still a little more up.   I finally got past a few people and was looking forward to cranking it on the way down.  I love running down a mountain.  🙂

But I got hung up again!   I had to bob and weave to get around people and it just took longer.   😦   I ran past a teenage boy who I thought was going to fall off the side of the trail, he was wobbling so much.  I started to wonder if I was gonna have to help him.   Once past him, I ran on down to the bottom and back up another hill.   Once again, I was stuck.   I was behind another teenage boy who had no concept of pacing himself.   He would haul ass for 30 feet and then just stop.   Every time I got past him, he would sprint to pass me and then just stop.   Finally I just sprinted past him and kept going.   We had one last trail downhill and I was able to pass a few more people.    I was sucking air, seriously thirsty and so hot.     I pushed for the last .5 mile and crossed back under the big flag.  First 5K of the year done!IMG_0065Apparently  I should have pushed a little harder, I finished in 33:56.  My slowest time on this course.  Waah.  I said I was relaxed but that still stung a bit.  Oh well, I still love this course and careening downhill so it was an awesome morning!   Starting so far back and getting hung up a few times probably contributed to the extra time but in reality it was only a minute off my best outing on that course.  IMG_0070The race is always well staffed and has volunteers at every point making sure no one makes a wrong turn.  Other than some interesting trail etiquette I observed, I only had one issue with the race this year.   Water.  Or lack thereof.  In the past 2 years, there was a water station at the junction where the road meets the trail.  You would pass it on the way in and on the way back out.  It wasn’t there this year and it hadn’t been mentioned anywhere.  I ran without water since I thought it would be there.    Boo.

All in all, I still love this race.   Even though, it still hurts to move today.  My calves are pissed.   There was no way I was able to do my long run yesterday.   Knowing that I had already done it was kind of awesome.   🙂

Ever run a trail race?  Or a race without aid stations? 

How do you get past people who just don’t want to move?

Surf City Half Marathon Recap

The type A personality in me was torn between posting this first or my January Recap- this won.

On the drive down
On the drive down

I first thought of running Surf City back in 2011 when I drove NikeC down so she could run it. I have thought about running it ever since but the timing was never right.  It still wasn’t the best timing this year but I decided screw it, I’m gonna run it anyways.   Even spectating it that once, from the finish line and mile 4ish, did not prepare me for the size of this thing.  I knew going in that it was touted as 20,000 runners but I didn’t completely comprehend that until Sunday morning.    My mother and I made a road tip of it and headed to Huntington Beach on Saturday.    Other than parking packet pickup was fairly simple.  Parking made it kind of nightmare-ish.  I was less than impressed with the expo.  For such a big race I was honestly expecting something better.  But at least I got out of there cheap since all I bought was a new Fitletic belt.IMG_8953 IMG_8941

That day we planned that my mom was going to drop me as close to the start as she could then go back to the overflow parking and kill some time before heading to the finish line.   That worked out great as she got me within a half mile and we wouldn’t get stuck in the parking lot trying to leave after the race.  It just meant I had a 2+ mile walk after the race.    We got to the start so much quicker than planned so I had about a little over an hour to go.   After some unfortunate experiences with Apple maps and the freeways the day before, we didn’t take any chance.   After walking to the start line, most of my time was spent waiting in the bathroom lines.  IMG_8962IMG_8969The race start was 7:45 but I knew my wave wasn’t scheduled to start until 7:55.  Even so I headed over around 7:30 because this was my first experience with a wave start.   This may have been my first time but even I know corrals only work if the guidelines were followed and I saw so many of the wrong bibs in my wave.  At one point I was shoved out of the way by some spectators making their way through the corral- really?  Thanks for stepping on my feet too.    I crossed the start line at 8:01.

So many people!!
So many people!!

Miles 1-3  9:48, 9:55, 9:46

The goal for this race was to treat it like a long run not a race.  I had been concerned that I would try to push it too hard at the start like I do most races.  Luckily there were so many people, I don’t think I could have run any faster.  What was concerning to me was that I hurt.  My shins, calves and knees hurt right from the start and that is not normal.  I’m not sure if it was because of waiting in the bathroom lines so long or the short beach walk the day before or hey the 25K the weekend before but I was hurting.  The two hours of sleep I got the night before probably didn’t help.   My goal was to keep the 2:10 pacer in sight.

Miles 3-6  10:11, 9:59, 10:12

Holy crap, the water stations were a cluster f***.    There was just so many people and most just came to a completer stop mid run.   And who flings their arms out at water stations?  I am surprised I don’t have bruises from how many times I was pegged.    But there were plenty of aid stations and volunteers on the course, so that was huge.   My legs were still hurting but I was determined to keep the pacers in my sights.IMG_8936Miles 7-9  10:23, 10:38, 11:13

I lost the pacers around 6.5 when my lungs protested the humidity.  Honestly I knew it was coming at some point I was just hoping it held off longer.  When I had checked the weather that morning, I saw a scary number next to humidity- 95%.   By the end of the race it had dropped to 70% and the temp was mid 60’s but by then my asthma was cranky.  So from then on it was intervals of run til I wheeze, walk it out.    I also felt like a disgusting mess thanks to the humidity.    My arm warmers, which were unneeded, worked great at wiping down my face.   I also started dumping water down my back at aid stations.

Miles 10-13  11:22, 11:49, 11:04, 11:09

I slowed down more but managed to pick it up a bit by the end.   I was still surprised at how crowded it was even then.    I am used to it thinning out but it never did.    I underestimated how much the bobbing and weaving was going to take out of me and I was ready to be done.

Finish- 2:19:00   Pace 10:37IMG_9026Once crossing the line and receiving the medal, there were a few photographers taking pics there so we bottle necked.  Then there we went through little stations about 20 feet apart- water bottles, space blankets, bag of snacks, bananas.  Then there was a row of finishing pictures before walking through the medical tents.  I felt so nasty from sweating that I didn’t even put on my medal, I didn’t want it be all nasty.     I just held it up for the finisher pictures.

Then we were finally turned loose into the crowd of spectators.   I had no idea where my mom was and texts weren’t going through but I finally got a call through.  The lifeguard stations worked as great landmarks.  🙂  I so wanted to just go sit in the ocean but wasn’t going to walk the 2 miles back to car barefoot nor was I going to put wet feet into my running shoes so I passed.

I'd dried off a bit by then  :)
I’d dried off a bit by then 🙂

My overall pace was actually right where it was supposed to be for a long run according to the McMillan calculator.  My pride would have preferred to be under 2:15 but considering the humidity and how unused to that many people I was, I am actually fine with my time.   First half of the year complete and I finally got my surfboard!!  Yay!