Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Race Report: San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon 2009

Marathon #3 is under my belt. As always with race reports this is going to be a long post. However, I'll cut to the chase on results early so some of you can skip to the fun pictures. I did PR however, I did not hit sub-5 or sub-5:30. Official results say: 5:49:04, PR by 7 minutes from Arizona and a 12 minute course PR over San Diego 2008. In 365 days, I completed 3 marathons, each time with a new PR, I'm pretty proud of that!

Friday morning Mr. Pi and I headed out bright and early. We arrived in SD, not to sunshine but to clouds and humidity. Portland was actually having nicer weather (go figure). We hit the expo to pick up our race numbers and basically walked around the city all day. Friday night we met up with one of Mr. Pi's college friends and one of my college friends, who both live in SD; it was a fun evening out.

Saturday we slept in, trying to get as much sleep as possible! Mr. Pi went for a quick 4 mile jog while I waited for miss Chic Runner to arrive from the OC. She texted around 9:00am and I met her in the lobby. It was friends at first sight. She's an AMAZING chica! From there we headed to breakfast at the best little pancake and omelet joint in SD, Richard Walkers Pancake House. GO THERE! Only down side is there is usually a line.

After brunch, we went to the expo so Miss ChicRunner could pick up her race packet and see some of the expo before our blogger meetup. Before we knew it, it was meetup time. I've been fortunate to meet two of the ROHOs before but it was awesome to finally meet Maritza, Tara and Kristin! I also got to meet Amanda, Maddy and the 4 Feet Running Crew, Nik and Dan!

It was crazy to have so many of my "online" friends in one place! Mr. Pi, Maddy, Nik, Dan and I spent some time chatting after the larger group had dispersed. Maddy and I have been scheming a plan to run together for over a month! It was great to finally meet her! Meeting Nik and Dan was amazing. Mr. Pi and I have been listening to their podcast since they started it, in fact, it was the first podcast I ever listened to. Meeting them was like meeting a celebrity! They are just as fun as they sound on their show.

Saturday evening, we spent out with Mr. Pi's college friend and his little sister (who I went to college with). His sister was in town from DC, trying for a BQ. (Just to end the suspense, she BQ'd with time to spare, she even beat Mr. Pi!!) We went out in search of pasta but ended up with pizza. Eh, it's carbs right? I headed back to the hotel early so I could braid ChicRunner's hair and get settled. I hadn't seen much of my best friend Kristen and her hubby so I was hoping to see them back at the hotel too. Saturday night I got about the normal amount of sleep, in and out, up to pee twice. All in all, not to shabby for the day before a marathon!

Sunday morning, my iPhone woke us up bright and early 4:05 am! I started the coffee pot and the routine of bodygliding every possible point of friction. By 5:00am we were off to the start line. Here is Kristen, Danica and I with the "lucky banana" waiting in the port-o-potty line. Where we ran into the ROHOs! Couldn't believe it, out of all the thousands of people there we saw them. It was great to get good luck hugs from them.

Mr. Pi and I in a "before" shot!
After dropping off our check bags we headed off to our respective corrals. I was meeting Maddy at the number 14 sign. I didn't see her but I did see Nik and Dan! Soon after Maddy arrived and my nerves kicked in. It was humid and drizzly, not my fave weather. But I wanted that PR! The gun went off and so did we. Maddy and I's plan was run a mile/walk .05. I stayed with her until about the 10k mark and decided it was not going to be a sub-5 day for me. In fact, I was so sweaty, hot and queasy I contemplated a DNF around mile 7. Then I saw Dan and decided, nope, I'm going to PR today!
I struggled through miles 6-9 trying to run at an 11:00/11:20 pace with minimal walk breaks. I was just so dang thirsty and sweaty! Everyone complains about the freeway section of the race, I personally didn't mind it. Once I crested the top of the freeway hill, I decided to let my legs go. The downhill freeway section clocked in at 10:01 pace. I didn't even care that I was going too fast to sustain. I was getting my groove back.
I hit the half marathon split on pace for a 5:30 finish. I was a little re-charged but knew I had a long way to go. I tried to Gu at mile 16 but could only choke down about 1/2 of one. My stomach wasn't feeling so great, I was again really HOT and queasy. I love the heat, I do, I never complain about being hot. It was the humidity that killed me. Last year, the weather was sunny but not humid, I'd take that any day!
By mile 17 I was ready to be done and had thrown in the towel on sub-5:30, I was just going for a PR. I had forgotten about all the "little" hills in this race. Each one seemed to get a little tougher. Around mile 18, I got a boost. My good friend from college who lives in PB was waiting on the corner. I saw her and my face lite up, my pace quickened and I re-gained some of my confidence. She and her friend had jamba juices and kindly let me have a swig. It definitely put a little pep in my step!
A little further down the road I saw the RunningSkirts otter pop stop. I happily took one, it was soooooo good. I even made their facebook page. Here's the shot from their photographer.
Miles 20-26.2 were hard, as they usually are. I did break down and cry (which I totally expected) at 24ish. I called JM! She was such a boost. She kept telling me that I was almost there, which I was! I hung up with her when I saw the mile 25 sign. 1.2 miles, I knew I could do it, the end was in sight! When I entered the MCRD, I was overwhelmed with emotion especially when I saw that we were on Dunlap Street! My legs were tired, I was tired but I kept chugging along. I saw the ROHOs on their way back to their hotel. It was nice to get a cheer. I knew Mr. Pi was going to be waiting for me somewhere, my eyes were peeled. I saw him and ran over for a pre-finish kiss! I turned on whatever I had left and finished, hands in the air, with a new PR.
My best friend Kristen and her husband were also waiting for me. I totally lost it and started balling. Really, for no reason other than I was so happy to be done and to see her at the finish. I weaved through the finish area, I didn't even stop to have my photo taken. I just wanted my Mr. Pi hug! And it was amazing! My husband is amazing! He finished with a new PR of 3:25:XX (which as Dan pointed out was only minutes behind Dean Karnazes...no matter that Dean ran down from LA before starting the marathon). I am so proud of him and so lucky to have him be patient enough to wait over 2 hours for me. Thanks honey! Here we are in the "after" shot. Mr. Pi's eyes are close but it's still a cute photo.

Here is the whole crew, Mr. K, Kristen, me and Mr. Pi. All smiling after 26.2! I am so proud of Kristen. She and I have been best friends since elementary school and it was amazing for me to be there for her first marathon! Way to go Kristen!

Sunday night Mr. Pi and I had dinner with Maddy, Nik and Dan. It was a great way to spend our last night in SD. I hope I make it out to Florida for a Disney race with Maddy sometime and next summer we'll be on the east coast and maybe we can squeeze in a run with Nik and Dan.

Post race reflections: I am really proud of myself for pushing through a tough race and finishing with a new PR! 26.2 miles is a long way. I think my body is ready for a rest period, I've been in marathon training mode for over a year now. 3 marathons in 365 days is small peanuts for some but for me it was a HUGE accomplishment. I'm ready to do some cross training and maybe try a TRI. I wouldn't say my marathon career is over but I'm not even going to think about it for at least 6-9 months. I'd like to set a new 5k and 1/2 PR in 2009 (I haven't run a 5k since '07). I'd also like to try out the 10k distance. I'm all about having fun and working on improving my speed at shorter distances before I tackle another marathon.

I want to give a BIG shout out to everyone that cheered me on through twitter, this blog, email or text. Special thanks to JM for helping me through that rough patch. Uber special thanks to Mr. Pi for always being my biggest cheerleader and inspiring me to keep running.