Tuesday, June 4, 2013

San Diego Rock 'N' Roll: Race Recap

Race morning came so early! We woke up around 4:30, and were headed downtown by 5. For some reason, Kevin's mom offered to drop us off, even after we showed her the map with all the road closures. After a little confusion, we ended up right where we wanted to be. Since Kevin was doing Leg 2 of the relay, he took one of our bags and headed to the relay shuttles that were headed to the mile 6 area to wait.

Relay runners were allowed in any corral they wanted, so Katherine and I found corral 9, then dropped my bag off at gear check. Officially, the drawstring swag bag was supposed to be the checked bag, and a zip tie was provided so you could attach race number gear check tag to the bag. People were bringing all kinds of duffel bags and plastic bags and such, though, so I guess it wasn't really enforced. Gear check was organized by last name rather than bib number, which was odd.

The full marathon started at 6:15, then we stood around for a bit waiting for the half start, which ended up being 6:50. Katherine didn't seem to be too excited, so I tried to pump her up while we waited for the corrals ahead of us to go. They released the corrals maybe two minutes apart, so our start was right after 7. I took off up the first (rather shallow) hill, and realized Katherine was already employing her run-walk strategy. Oops. I tried to look for her, but ended up waiting for her at the first water station. After that, I just stayed with her all the way to mile 6. After she switched out with Kevin, we went off at a little under a 10 minute pace. After reaching the 10k point at 1:19, Kevin and I finished right around 2:30.

The course was really nice, being in San Diego and all, but not as scenic as I would've liked. Obviously the full marathon course covered more of San Diego, and the half was mostly through residential area, with some areas like North Park thrown in. There really weren't any major hills, except for one uphill and a downhill after the 10 mile mark. The weather was actually pretty great for a race; it averaged about 66 and was pretty overcast, but didn't rain. I was pretty cold after finishing, but of course it all cleared up by lunchtime and warmed up quite a bit.

Course support was really great. There were bands every couple miles, groups in costumes all along cheering everyone on, and great water stations. They had water and lemon-lime gatorade, which was pretty strong, but fine if you mixed them together. There was also a GU station around mile 8 or so, with lots of flavors available. Groups were manning the water stations, and the most memorable for me was the Big 10 Club of San Diego at mile 10 (I think?). They had a HUGE Michigan tent put up and had a ton of people passing out water and gatorade. I had to run almost the entire station before I found someone in an Ohio State t-shirt; I wasn't going to risk taking water from some Michigan fan. I didn't see a mile marker until mile 4; I think they were on the right side of the road while I was running on the left, six lanes over, but after that I looked for them and the clock.

The finish line this year was right next to Petco park downtown. San Diego is one of those odd towns that doesn't really feel like down town, so, even though I saw the 13 mile marker, I didn't feel like the park was close enough! It was though, and Kevin and I sprinted down the final stretch and across the crowded finish line.

At the end of the race, runners go into the "secure zone" for all their goodies, then go out to the family reunion area. The secure zone was crowded with people handing out medals (full marathon, half, and relay medals were all a little different), giving out water, cold towels, gatorade, Jamba Juice, powerbars, bananas, oranges, and everything else. On top of that, there were several medical tents with a ton of volunteers handing out ice and vaseline. After loading up with a towel, water, powerbars in my pocket, and a banana stuck down my skirt, Kevin stopped to take a quick finishers picture. These are always so flattering.

Kevin went in search of some biofreeze at the main medical tent while I headed to the H to find Katherine. She showed up eventually, and after Kevin came back, we headed over to pick up my checked bag. There was no line at my truck, so I grabbed it, chugged some water, and we explored the booths set up around the area. The merchandise tent was set up, with all the normal finisher's swag, and a huge line of people turning in their medals for engraving. There was also a booth from the Women's Running series, with a refresh station! They had face wipes, hair spray, spray deodorant, a ton of body sprays, lip balm, sunblock, and vanity mirrors.

I definitely took several of those sunblock samples. Since I usually pack face wipes in my checked bag, this booth was a great idea! We also got reusable grocery bags from the Von's booth, an ice mold and coupons form the Bacardi booth, and then headed over to the after party at Petco Park. 

Inside the park a bunch of vendors were open selling more food, people were milling around trying to stay out of the wind that was very strong through parts of the park, and a lot of people were taking seats to watch the awards, followed by the headliner concert with the Psychedelic Furs. No, I have no idea who the Psychedelic Furs are. Seeing all the elite winners was pretty cool, though; they had some crusher times! The big screen also showed live shots of the finish line area. 

Overall, this race was a lot of fun! It's definitely fun to do with a group, and if you want to do it just for time, the weather is perfect and the course is awesome! I didn't register for next year's but hopefully I can come back and do this again! 

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