For the second year in a row, I made my way down to San Diego for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. This year, I would be running as a part of Team Chocolate Milk and running with a general time goal, but not looking to PR.
Saturday morning, I hosted a shakeout run leaving the expo at 10am from the Chocolate Milk booth and the general shenanigans happened when runners and photos happen.
Race morning came and since my hotel was fairly close to the start line, I decided to walk. I left the hotel around 5 am in short sleeves and wasn’t cold one bit. I took note as that might be a sign that it was going to be a warm day, although I was hoping it would hold at that temperature even enter the sun rose.
After some more pre-race photos and catching up with old friends and making new ones, we were off.
I decided to start a little behind the 3:40 pace and let them control the pace. I decided to hydrate at the water stations even though I wasn’t that thirsty. It was getting warm quickly and I noticed a lot of runners sweating through their shirts by mile 9. Gross, but when you are staring at people for over an hour, you notice things.
I stayed pretty close to the 3:40 group for the first several miles, but around mile 9 or so they were pretty well ahead of me. I could tell that it was going to be a tough day. My pace didn’t feel comfortable and it was far too early that kind of nonsense.
Once I crossed the halfway point, I decided to change strategy. There was no way I was going to be able to maintain the pace and knowing the second half hills, I knew I would crash if I didn’t adjust.
13.1 mi.: 1:52:35
I switched to running a mile then walking for 45 seconds and repeating. I increased my water and electrolyte intake and made it a goal to get to 18 feeling reasonably strong.
You know how…
when you talk to half marathon runners and they say “I’m tired after 13.1 and can’t imagine doing it all over again for a full.” Well, that’s what I did and I can completely relate to and understand the sentiment. I was spent at 13.1 and I’d be lying if I didn’t consider calling it a day and chalking up a DNF. With 13.1 miles left, a large uphill section at mile 20 and it only getting hotter, a DNF sounded nice. We can accomplish anything that we put our minds to…
But I wasn’t doing this race for time and was using it as part of a training run for my 52.6 race. This would be a perfect way to build mental strength and learning to push through fatigue — at least that is what I kept telling myself.
I got to Mile 18 and decided to text wifey that I was going to be behind pace. She was expecting me anywhere from 3:45-4:00 and I knew I would be closer to 4:20. I sent the “surrender” text and snapped a selfie. With 8 miles to go, it was the home stretch, so to speak.
20 mi.: 3:07:19
The toughest part was the 2 mile uphill climb up the 163 freeway. Because I ran it last year, I knew what to expect and that helped. Otherwise it might have been tough on a tired brain.
As I approached the final mile, I was pretty close to my expected updated finish time and was hoping to see wifey and the First Lady before I crossed the finish line. I saw them at Mile 26 and stopped for hugs and kisses. The First Lady was excited to see me and it made all 4+ hours worth it. It’s one of those moments where you realize that you didn’t give up and have a teachable moment.
26.2 mi.: 4:23:48
Sure it wasn’t the finish time I would have liked to have had. Sure it was hard and it was hot (for this SF kind of weather runner). But it’s a 26.2 mile experience and a finish for marathon number 23.
The good thing about running is that if you are healthy and willing, there is always another chance.
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And pssst, that chance is in two weeks when I’ll be running the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on June 21 – it’s all a part of my training plan for the 52.4 mile marathon for charity.
Anyone that donates before June 11 will be entered to win 1 of TWO pairs of PRO Compression socks – on top of being entered to win all the other amazing prizes.
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Have you ever changed your race goals mid-race?