Race Recap: Part 2: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Full Marathon

Why, hello there! Did you have a great weekend? I sure hope so.

I don’t know about you, but I get sad when Sundays come to an end. Weekends are my favorite time of the week, not only because of the non-work aspect, but because we truly make our weekends relaxing and fun-filled.

I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon! I’m still recovering from taking the big spill during the race. My leg muscles were pretty sore for the first two days, but have been totally fine since early this week. The thing that’s still bothering me and affecting my ability to run and walk comfortably is my left knee which took much of the impact from the fall.

Where we left off from Part 1 of the RNR SD recap was that we had just arrived in San Diego Friday evening. Have I told you about the condo? No? Well, Lindsay did research and found a fabulous condo a few blocks from the SD convention center (where the race expo was held) and smack in the heart of the Gaslamp District. The condo itself was fantastic – 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a very modern kitchen, space living area with floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing a fantastic view of Gaslamp, and featured an outdoor pool and hottub. If you’ve always done the hotel thing when traveling, definitely try out sites like VRBO.com which lists available condos and homes for booking through the owners. Highly recommend!

Anyway, we had a great time settling into the condo and started playing drinking games like Kings. I definitely enjoyed a few beverages Friday evening, but held off the next day, day before the race.

On Saturday morning, we were famished and decided on a place called Lion Coffee, just a few blocks away from the condo. Yelp showcased excellent overall 4-star reviews and they were a quick and easy option before heading to the race expo.

I enjoyed an excellent macadamia nut waffle topped with syrup and also an ice vanilla macadamia coffee. The shop started its roots in Hawaii, and it’s definitely kept it’s local Hawaiian charm.

Next stop, we headed over to the race expo. I’ve run several Rock ‘n’ Roll races, most recently prior to this was the Portland half marathon, so the expo itself was very much like the previous ones. I love getting free stuff, so we definitely went around all the booths checking out the loot. I left with a very full goodie bag.

Checking out the race expo:

Once I got my bib, I just couldn’t resist posing in front of the countdown clock:

While at the expo, I spotted a couple of Biggest Loser contestants. How cool! I didn’t get a picture with them, but still awesome nonetheless. I love BL.

After going to the expo, we explored some more and decided relax and play some drinking games. Note to all you runners out there: you CAN play drinking games the day before a race — the only thing is that you’ll need to replace the alcohol with shots of H20 and, in my case, coconut water. 😉 I’m not the biggest fan of coconut water, so decided to chug that. I was SO hydrated that afternoon, alternating between water and coconut water. No alcohol for me.

For dinner, we headed over to Little Italy for the carbo-loading dinner, one of the best aspects of training for a marathon or half marathon. I do love carbs. Per Yelp’s suggestion, we decided to hit up Mimmo’s Italian Village, a wonderful Italian restaurant that Joe and I had eaten at a few years back. This choice did not fail to please this carb-hungry marathoner!

I had the Angel Hair Pomodoro with Meatballs instead of Chicken. Delicious! We also shared as a group a calamari appetizer and bread with olive oil.

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We left Mimmo’s super full with leftovers galore. Don’t worry, I ate this a couple of days later.

Once we got back to the condo, we hit up the hottub. I must say, hottubs are meant to be steaming hot! A bit disappointing that the temperature wasn’t perfect, but we stayed there as long as we could and I made it to sleep right before midnight.

Come race day, Sunday morning, I set my alarm for a way-too-early-for-me time of 4am just to eat my pre-race meal. This typically consists of an english muffin or bagel (this time it was a bagel) topped with peanut butter and chia seeds. It was so early and I was still so groggy that I sat there for what seemed like eternity trying to eat this bagel. Afterwards, I went back to bed for another 30 minutes before I woke back up and took a quick shower.

Lindsay graciously woke up super early just to drop me off towards the start line. We left the condo at 5:30am for the 6:15am start, but since the roads all around our condo were closed for the race, it made for a bit of a panic mode moment trying to get closer. Luckily, we were able to get a couple of blocks away from the finish line. I was planning on hitting the porta potties once, but because the lines were SO long, I wasn’t able to. Luckily, I had gone to the bathroom several times that morning already. Note to runners: try to go to the bathroom at home several times before getting to the race. Drain it!

I finally made it to my corral with just a few minutes to spare. The corrals were so crazy that people were spilling out, trying to get in. Luckily, I crawled through the barricade. Phew.

I decided to actually wear my iPod despite there being bands at every mile of the course. I tried the no-music thing at the RNR Portland race and did fine with it, but felt that it’d be nice to have some extra motivation and push to get through the difficult aspects of the course. So glad I did. I didn’t know what was to come…

The course itself was not too hilly, just one major hill within the first half that lasted for a few miles. I was doing really well, at 8-minute/miles and sub-8’s for the first several miles. I decided that I needed to slow it down a little to a more manageable pace, but was already feeling a bit fatigued by mile 9-10 after the hill. Shit, I thought, not good. But, I trucked along! I was ahead of the 3:40 pace group up until this point and felt good enough to keep on going at a sub-9 minutes pace.

Then the unimaginable happened: at mile 15 after grabbing a couple of pretzels from a spectator, I was nibbling on them relieved for a little sodium. Next thing I knew, I had tripped on one of the light reflectors along the road lane and completely chin-planted, busted both of my knees, and my hand. My left knee was hurt the worst. Luckily, two guys running behind me stopped and immediately pulled me up. They checked to make sure that I was okay – to my horror, my knees had open wounds, were bleeding, and when I touched my chin I had blood! I refused to give up, though, and kept on going. I was still in shock the first couple of miles after the fall and did stop at a medical tent to try and get bandaged up. Sadly, the gauze they taped to my knee fell off within 5 minutes. #fail

I was so happy to see Joe, Lindsay, and Jay at mile 19 as they held awesome signs and cheered me through. To their horror, I was bloodied, swollen, but I was persevering. By this time, I mentally and physically was drained. There were two moments where I felt dizzy, light-headed, and fearful that I’d have to DNF (did not finish). I had gone through already 2-3 packets of GU, had taken some salt, Gatorage, and water (from my trusty hydration vest) but my legs would not stop cramping up in excruciating pain. I knew, at this point, I was not going to make 3:45, but 3:50-ish was still attainable. Despite the pain, I knew that I had to keep on going.

Another couple of miles in, I was practically walking AND stopping every couple of minutes, hunched over and needing to massage my legs and surrounding knee injuries from the pain. A medic biker stopped, checked on me, and gave me packet of Clif Shot Blocks. I was so thankful, about to cry from this predicament. I kept on going for another couple and needed to walk nearly every minute now. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t hold a run. I felt helpless when an older gentleman stopped and made sure I was okay. He told me that I was doing great and gave me an Advil – I needed this. Note to self: next time, bring my own Advil or pain medicine should I need it.

By mile 25, I was able to see the finish line far off in the distance. Despite this, I couldn’t make myself hold a steady run – instead, I employed the walk, run, walk, run, counting down the distance to the flags in the distance.

In the very end, I did it. I finished. Official time: 4:20:05. Never in my life have I done something so physically and mentally challenging! I finished, despite the horrible accident and needing to walk the last half. My finish time was not what I had expected and trained for, as I was on pace to finish in under 4 hours. The accident left me ~35 minutes slower than what I had expected, but you know what? I finished. That’s all that matters. I’m a marathoner.

I have my wonderful fiance, Joe, and friends Lindsay and Jay to thank for cheering me on and getting me through the tough race. Motivation can be as simple as having a support system around you.

Me and Joe! Please disregard my chin-plant facial injury.

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My cheerleaders – so thankful for you guys! Check out the sweet signs. Awesome, huh?!

Post-race view of my injuries: that facial expression really is what I looked like when I first saw my injuries unwrapped in the mirror.

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All bandaged up – thank you post-race medical peeps.

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All in all, I’m really glad that I trained my 18 weeks using the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan located here. The weeks and weeks and miles and miles that I ran prepared me well to run this marathon. The unfortunate part is the accident. However, I cannot regret the hard work that I put in and the end result of finishing my first full marathon. I am so thankful for the ability to do this.

Will I ever run another full marathon? I don’t believe so. I’ve come to find that I really enjoy running the half marathon distance. It takes much less time to train and the thrill of doing the half is still just the same for me. Never say never to the full 26.2, though.

Later that day, we went to a restaurant called Neighborhood for a great selection of beer and dinner (I had their grilled cheese and tomato soup).

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The rest of the weekend was spent basically recovering from the race and the full – picture me laying down on the couch.

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Before leaving San Diego, we stopped at the best fish taco shop in SD: Taco Surf Taco Shop in Pacific Beach. Go there of you’re ever in SD!

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The weekend was one of the best weekends ever and will forever be in my memories.

Good-bye, SD! Next stop: recovering from these injuries (still) and then Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle half marathon on June 23rd!

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7 thoughts on “Race Recap: Part 2: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Full Marathon

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