Photo from Melissa over at

Photo from Melissa over at

Like the sign says. Rock On! Let’s jump right into it and take a look at my San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon race recap. Remember when I posted about What to Expect on Marathon Day… well, like I said on the last line of that post:

“Just when you think you know it all, a race will knock you on your butt… all you can do is learn from it and keep running.”

For giggles, here was the race plan:

Miles 1-4: 8:30
Miles 5-10: work down to 8:20 
Miles 11-20: Hit 8:10-8:20 like clockwork
Miles 20-22: Wild-card. Looks like a 300 ft climb. Just keep moving fwd.
Miles 23-26: Drop the hammer and go as fast as possible.

Mile 1: 8:34 – right on pace.
Mile 2: 8:13 – oops, that was a little fast.
Mile 3: 8:15 – hey, slow down.
Mile 4: 8:15 – I’m really trying to slow it down.
Mile 5: 8:13 – no joke, I’m getting upset with myself.
Mile 6: 8:11 – it’s almost getting funny know.
Mile 7: 8:21 – this is a positive step at getting closer to my desired pace.
Mile 8: 9:09 – applies dollop of vaseline to sensitive area on foot.

I started to feel the beginnings of a blister on the arch of my right foot. I had already passed one medical tent handing out vaseline and thought about stopping. Around the middle of mile 8, I decided to make an attempt to address it early before it’s too late. Since my 50 miler in April, the feet have been in a weird sensitivity zone. Strange, as blisters usually are never a concern.

Mile 9: 9:20
Mile 10: 8:40
Mile 11: 8:41
Mile 12: 8:45
Mile 13: 8:54

Mile 13.1: 1:54:31

#FuFace, Deuces, FitFluential shout out!

#FuFace, deuces and a heel strike, FitFluential shout out!

At this point, I’m already behind my pace for setting a PR. There is consistency in the numbers, but they are off from my race plan. I spent the first 7 miles trying to slow down and the last 6 trying to speed up. I can tell that this already doesn’t look good.

Mile 14: 9:20
Mile 15: 9:02
Mile 16: 8:43
Mile 17: 8:38
Mile 18: 8:34
Mile 19: 8:34
Mile 20: 9:07

You can see where my pace is comfortable, around 8:45. I’m trying to keep the momentum going to see if I can salvage a PR. The blister seems to have resolved itself and I’m running pretty consistent. I know that I have a huge hill coming up and if I can get past that, it should be a straight shot to the finish.

Mile 21: 10:34
Mile 22: 10:31

Wow. That was a tough climb this late in the race. Going uphill on a closed freeway. I could see it taking the energy from most of the runners. I was well aware that all the lanes were closed and made a straight line through a curve going from the far left lane, to the far right line, making the distance the shortest possible. This is called running the “tangent.” Those that stayed in the far left lane the entire time, probably ran a few extra tenths of a mile going up an incline

Note: If you stay within the marked area and within the cones, take the shortest distance possible. A marathon route is always measured as the shortest possible route. This is why your total distance on your GPS will be over 26.2 (or 13.1, etc) at the end of a race. It is most likely because you are running a longer route through the course. Think of it this way. If two people do a lap around a track (one in the inside lane and one in the outside lane) and start and stop at the same point, the person on the inside lane will run a shorter distance even though both did a lap. See the graphics here!

Ok, back to the race.

Mile 23: 9:24 – my legs and mind are toast and I know the PR is not possible
Mile 24: 11:49 – I can’t get my legs to move any faster. I decide to eat a popsicle. No joke. They have been handing them out the past couple miles. It looked almost like an Otter Pop. I’ve decided to have some fun and enjoy myself. I’m a small child enjoying a red otter pop in mile 24 of a marathon. Best. Thing. Ever. and the most fun 2 minutes of the race. Well worth it.

Mile 25: 9:15
Mile 26: 9:49

Mile 26.2: 3:58:51

10 minutes slower than my marathon a month ago in Toronto, but I’m thrilled with my third sub-4 hour marathon of the year. It definitely wasn’t the race I wanted to run, but happy that most of the miles are around 8:45. I’m not really sure what happened. Looking at it, it seems as though I went out too fast… the numbers indicate so, but I really was not running with a huge effort those early miles. I felt really, really comfortable and was surprised to be looking at my watch to see those “quick” miles. Like I said, it started to be funny in a ridiculous kind of way.

Post-race concert at Petco Park with The Psychedelic Furs.

Post-race concert at Petco Park with The Psychedelic Furs.

Quick run down

Perfect weather. We could not have asked for a more ideal day to run. People were sweating almost immediately, as was I, but I never felt hot and it was overcast with moisture in the are almost the entire race. Hands down, best marathon day weather I’ve experienced.

Runners and Spectators. There were a lot of runners, around 25,000 (6,500+ marathon, 18,000+ half, 100+ relay teams), but it never felt crowded on the course. There were always people around you, but there was never a need for too much weaving. There was also a good amount of crowd support throughout the course. It was a nice balance of having people around you, but not feeling surrounded.

Course and Organization. I’ve never run in San Diego before, so it was nice to see the different areas. From downtown, to Balboa Park, to running through Old Town, behind Petco Park, Little Italy and through Mission Bay Park. It was a great course, even with some of the miles being on a freeway. Oh, one cool thing was running through a tunnel that had lights flashing on the ceiling and music playing. Very cool and the first time I had seen that done. It was like being at the club… if you remember what that is like. And as always, from the expo, to the start line, to the course entertainment and refreshments all the way to the finish line, RnR sure knows how to organize an event.

Breakfast. Guess what I forgot to bring with me. Guess when I realized it. Yep.

Fuel. Guess what else I forgot at the hotel. And can you guess when I realized it? Close. It wasn’t until mile 2 when I thought about putting my sunglasses away. I typically will take a GU gel almost every hour. Since I had none with me, my only option was to utilize the on course fuel. Thankfully, it was GU, but it was a flavor I was unfamiliar with, Mandarin Orange. Gamble time. Try it and risk my stomach destroying me or run a marathon on an empty stomach. Both. I decided to eat the GU around the halfway point. I figured if it came back to haunt me, it might be close to the end of the race and I could run through it. Downside was I would be running most of the race without fuel. Thankfully, it settled nicely and I was able to (with confidence) have another around mile 19.

The last two were total rookie moves.

I am always excited to be surrounded by family at the end of tough races. This little lady has changed my life and my perspective on everything. I race with a bow on me (see right shoulder on photos above) to remind me that I am setting an example of what it is to lead a healthy lifestyle and to strive and reach for goals. No matter how I feel or how I think I could have done it differently, it doesn’t matter once she smiles at me. It just melts my little running heart.

The First Lady was there at the finish line and I'm always happy to show her the hardware.

The First Lady was there at the finish line and I’m always happy to show her the hardware.

Ok, now onto the semi-announcement, that wasn’t an announcement, but I wanted to share it anyways. Well, you most of you know that I am running the San Francisco Marathon… no big surprise. Well, it’s this weekend… as in this Sunday, June 16.

That’s right, 2 marathons in 14 days.

I’ve got a long post set up for tomorrow on why, what my race plans are, how I got to this point… but mostly why this Sunday may be one of the most important races for me so far. (Click here to read it now.)

Any comments are always appreciated.