Monday, June 7, 2010

Rock N Roll San Diego Half Marathon

For five months leading up to the half marathon, and at 3:30am the day of the half marathon, I've wondered why I do this to myself.  Getting up early every Saturday morning to run a long run with my running club was hard.  It took a lot of self-discipline and commitment.  Getting up at 3:30am on the day of the half marathon was unfathomable.  I really, really, really wanted to close my eyes and just forget about it.  But I didn't.  I pulled myself up to sitting position, then finally got out of bed.  I pulled my running skirt and shirt on, the ones I'd laid out next to my bed the night before, with my racing bib already pinned onto my shirt.  I ate a banana.  I got my stuff together.  I got ready.

We drove down to Qualcomm Stadium and were surprised to encounter a backup at the freeway exit. Good thing we gave ourselves a little extra time. Based on the race emails and website, we were under the impression that we had to take the trolley to the race. But we found a huge gathering of shuttle buses, so we got on with no wait.

Oh yes, it was still quite dark!

Which way to the Rock N Roll Marathon?

The shuttle bus dropped us off at the start line. There were people running around, getting the lay of the land, as the morning light came up.

The port-o-potties were plenty, but the lines were also plenty long!

I had already gone in a port-o-pottie without any lines at Qualcomm Stadium, so I was glad that I didn't have to go. We dropped our gear bags off at the UPS trucks, then we headed to our respective corrals. Todd's predicted time was faster than mine, so he was in corral 10. I was in corral 31.

I was very far from the starting line!

The requisite shoe shot. I took one at the start of last year's Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon, so I thought I'd take another one this year.

I chatted with a couple of people near me. These guys were near me as well.

How fast can one run in underwear? I didn't stick around to find out.

After the race gun went off at 6:15am, we had to wait about a minute between the start of each corral. The crowd inched up slowly towards the starting line.

After about 40 minutes, I finally made it to the start line!

I was excited to finally get going. I just wanted to get it done. The first five miles felt easy and I was going at a good pace.

Some cheerleaders in drag in Hillcrest.

A guy who juggled and ran at the same time.

The first band on the course.

Running past cool architecture in Balboa Park.

The Prado in Balboa Park.

At some points on the course, the full marathon and half marathon routes split up. Here I got a view of the full marathoners on the 163.

Unfortunately, that was the last photo I took while on the course. It was a muggy morning, and fairly soon the sun came out. I was not happy while running on the 163. The route was far from scenic, I was hot, there was no breeze, and it was hilly. After mile 8, I was having a hard time keeping up my good pace. I drank water or Cytomax at almost every station, because it was hot and I was sweating so much. I ate my own vanilla GU at around 4.75 miles, then ate another GU at the 8.9 mile aid station.

I had the most difficult time between miles 10-12. I thought I was going to die and I cursed myself for signing up for this again and paying perfectly good money to torture myself. Running on Friars Road and Morena Blvd was super boring and probably the most UNscenic part of San Diego on the course.

Even though I thought I was dying, I saw the Mile 12 marker and started to pick up my pace. The course was flattening out and I could start to feel the breeze again. The end is in sight! I was almost done! I think this was where I figured out why I'd signed up to run another half marathon again. When I saw the finish line, there was unspeakable happiness and pride. There really is nothing like crossing the finish line after running a 13.1 mile race, and feeling proud of what you have accomplished and set out to do. The sacrifices over the last five months seemed almost worth the euphoria.

I forgot to stop my Garmin watch when I crossed the finish line. I didn't stop my watch until after I'd gotten my medal, so I wasn't quite sure what my finish time actually was. My Garmin said 2:33:48.

According to my Garmin, I ran 13.27 miles. But the course is certified, so I figured the satellites were a little bit off. But it's only like 1% off, not so bad! With the mile splits, you can see where I struggled the most. Basically the first 8 miles I was all good, and the last 5 kind of sucked. But I finished, AND I beat my last year's RnR Seattle Half time of 2:40 by 7 minutes! I was happy with my performance. In fact, I guess you could say this is my half marathon PR. :) My official race chip time was 2:33:06.

Some general thoughts about the race.
I thought the race was well organized. I did not enjoy the route at all. It did not showcase how scenic and wonderful San Diego really is. The route was boring and industrial. I wished the sun had not come out in the last hour of my running. I almost melted in the sun, humidity, and heat. Comparing last year's Seattle race and this race, I enjoyed the Seattle race much more. It was a lot more scenic, there seemed to be more bands, cheerleaders, and spectators along the way. Maybe the organizers will adjust the route for this race next year.

After the finish line, I ate a banana, grabbed some Cytomax and water, and went to pick up my gear bag at the UPS trucks. Then I headed to the letter "V" (for victory!) to find Todd. I saw him running at me, all excited to see me. His finish time was 1:53:49. He didn't know if he could be under 2 hours! I'm so proud of him for doing so well!

We walked over to the PF Chang area and got some chicken lettuce wraps, chocolate cake, and soft drinks. We got to eat there for free because of a bracelet that we picked up at the race expo on Friday. It was awesome! After our snack, we waited in line for the shuttle bus for about half an hour. The bus took us to the trolley station at Linda Vista. Then we took the trolley back to Qualcomm Stadium. I thought the return route was kind of cruel. We had to wait on our feet for a long time, plus walk a bunch. We were excited to finally get in our car and drive home!

After showering, we went to Red Robin, where I got a big cheeseburger and parmesan fries. Yum!

Todd with his meal.

I rested the rest of the day. I deserved it. :p

Oh, if you're interested in the race from Todd's faster point of view, you can read his blog post.


  1. Congratulations Christine! You did awesome. I love all the pictures but my favorite is still the one of your shoes. LOL I'm glad you took one this year. :)

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  3. Congratulations again, Christine. Marathon (and all) race courses are based on following a specific path along the course. Chances are you did not cut every corner of the course as close as planned due to the crowding and that accounts for the extra mileage.

  4. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I think it's amazing. I'm guessing you take the pix while running? (just cuz I can't imagine stopping in the crowd) but they are so clear & perfect! You (& Todd) are an inspiration. You should be SO proud of your determination and will power.

  5. Dang - "I" am proud of you (and Todd - under 2 hours??? Awesome!!!!!)!!!!!!
    And - what are you doing to me???? You make me want to try the R&R one here in Phoenix in Jan.! Ack!
    How where your thighs during the run? I know you were worried about how they would do during the race.
    Good for you Christine!!!!!!

  6. It was almost worth it, you say! I guess that's why we're not doing another one anytime soon, right? Haha!

    I'm so happy you have a new PR and your legs cooperated after some recent troubles.

    I'm sure we'll enjoy our new fitness activities now that this is over. Variety is the spice of life after all.

  7. I am in AWE of you both. Wow. I have never ever liked running. I don't "GET IT" and I have TONS of friends who ARE runners. So I know what it takes! Congrats! I'll just keep walking at a super fast pace!


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