Fifty three days before my 30th birthday, I completed my first full 26.2 on Sunday participating in the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. It was awesome. Signing up a couple of months ago, my wife chose to run the half (13.1) while I convinced myself that this was something I would need to do before "growing" old. If you're not interested in reading the details, you can scroll down to the bottom of this post for my Garmin data as well as the official Rock 'n' Roll Results.
Training: None...more or less absent in terms of distance. It was definitely a bad idea and not a bright one to say the least. I had planned on running at a lighter weight (165 lbs. compared to my current 180 lbs. ) and even planned out a running schedule. Those "plans" didn't take. The longest run I would have done would have been the 10 miles the previous Wednesday while using Gu once at the half way point. A couple of weeks of ago, I completed running ~16 miles on the Ragnar Relay but that was during a 24 hour period so I guess that didn't count?! Next time...(if there is another one) I will definitely train appropriately.
Day -1: Drinking lots of water, picking up Runblondie26 and her husband, hanging out at the Expo (buying my first pair of Newton Running Shoes from Ryan, buying some 2XU Calve Guards and officially signing up for the San Diego TriRock), attending a Padres game followed by some carbo loading w/ Bronx Pizza and carne asada fries. I got the gear together, set the coffee maker and went to bed early.
Day 0: Waking up w/ around 7 hours of sleep, I took a shower, dressed and got ready. Eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, drinking a can of FRS, and sipping some coffee was it for the pre race meal. Adelle, Lindsay and I walked 1.7 miles from the downtown apartment to the start line arriving a little later than originally planned but it worked out after checking in our gear bags which by the way was really quick and easy. Lining up and finding my 4:45 pace group in corral 23, I awaited the starting gun. About 30 minutes later, looking down at my heart rate monitor on my Garmin Edge 500, I noticed that my adrenaline was pumping 100 bpm. Trying to slow it down and calm myself...it was time and off we went!
The pace leader took off to a great start and I purposely lagged behind. The first four miles flew by like none other and when the fork in the road was coming up for the half marathoners to turn north, I'll admit that it did cross my mind, but on I went toward into Downtown. Running in familiar territory was exciting and easy and when I came around mile 9 onto the 163 freeway, I was feeling like a champ! I happened to run into my sister who was just approaching the four mile marker on her way to completing her first half marathon so that was nice. Now this part of the course was pretty awesome in that the marathon closed both sides of the freeways. Running under the bridges were amazing because I actually got to see and appreciate the structures. Running on the freeway was fun up until the downhill portion came up. The road was uneven and sloped towards my left causing a imbalance in my legs and ankles and it only got worse. That's when I can remember first time thinking about the hot spots and ankle pains. Finally getting back towards on Friars approaching my half way point, I once again felt like I could keep on going. Nothing was going to stop me. I was drinking and maintaining hydration along with Gu's, salt packets and FRS chews...things were dandy.
Did I forget to mention that the sun was now beating down and the heat was picking up. Passing by Rose's Donut Shop, (yes I did think about grabbing one to go) Morena Blvd. would prove to be my nemesis. Around mile 18, the walking would start. It probably started around 16 as my feet just started to feel heavy. With 10K to go, I looked down at my watch and was still on pace. Then, it happened... the pace group passed me. I found myself walking a lot more then finally getting over the bridge towards Mission Bay, I knew I was going to finish it.
Motivation was found all along the course. I ended up walking next to a guy that has been doing the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon since the inception in 1998 and was telling me that only 101 runners remained of the original 20,000. He had a pace watch and he told me that we were still good to go even if with a target of 13 minute miles. Easy right?
I just couldn't get comfortable anymore. That's the bottom line. My calves were fine (thanks 2XU), but my quads, hamstrings as well as feet were just about done. I would force myself here and then and it wasn't until right before Fiesta Island did I give it another go. I got a call from Lindsay (who ran a PR 1:36 half marathon) saying that she was waiting for me at the 5K to go mark and would run with me. That was just awesome. She met me at the beginning of Fiesta Island and off we went. Then I came to a halt. I just couldn't do that much more. I was falling far behind and next thing you know, I'm aiming for 5:30. With .2 to go, my fan group cheered me on, Lindsay broke off and I finished strong. Coming in at 5:24, I can say proudly that I finished. Taking my "official" post race picture, I witnessed a couple getting engaged which was pretty awesome. In face, the guy carried the ring w/ him the entire time while running alongside and finishing with his girlfriend. I walked at a very slow crawl grabbing my gear bag and hopped on the bus back to the trolley then over the car. Good times.
Post Run: Once I got home, I took a shower, changed and off we went to grab a Smash Burger. It was good but I couldn't really eat that much. My appetite wasn't all there as my stomach was full fo Gu Gel and whatever other things I was filling up with along the way. When I got home, a little post race ice cream then I crashed for an hour and half. Waking up with a massive, what it felt like hangover associated headache, I hydrated with Gatorade, another can of FRS and got ready for dinner at couples night. I put on more KT tape around my quads and around my feet, and set out. Good times!
Day +1: I woke up feeling good. Sore for sure, but better. Sleep was good, lunch was great and I'm walking again. I hear that I'm suppose to hurt a little more on day +2, but we'll see! I got some great seats for the Padre game, even got a pedicure and ate some good pizza. Yes I said pedicure. At the Padre game, on the way out, I also got a chance to shake hands and snap a photo with the Woz. Yes, the Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and who is a Padre fan through and through! Exciting weekend for sure!