Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

San Diego, California
United States
Elite Racing
72F / 22C

Run - Marathon
Total Time = 5h 9m 25s
Overall Rank = 9772/21000
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 465/977

Pre-race routine:

The alarm woke me up from a surprisingly decent sleep at 4 a.m. I literally popped out of bed, asking myself "Self? How does your back feel?" See leading up to the race I'd been having some serious back issues. It had gotten so bad that I hadn't run since Tuesday, which is unheard of for me.

Fortunately the rest paid off. My back was stiff and slightly sore, but nothing to be concerned about.

I jumped in the shower to warm up my muscles and shave my legs (a girl has to have some pride). Just as I got out my phone rang. It was my mother! She was going to pick us up and take us to the start at 4:45. It was 4:10. This kind of freaked me out a bit because I'm used to things going a very prescribed, certain way on race morning...but I then got some perspective. Better early than late! I finished getting ready, took some Tylenol for my back, and ate my breakfast cookie.

Event warmup:

By the time I got to the "Athlete's Village" my stomach was all in knots. Typical pre-race jitters manifesting in my tummy! I tried to relax by laying on the grass with my head in Roy's lap while I stretched out, but for some reason the pterodactyls in my stomach were particularly active this morning!

I headed over to corral 14 and quickly found Linda. We planned to run together. Greeted her and her husband, Jim. Let on how nervous I was. Chatted and tried to relax.

As the sun rose it was still overcast and we prayed that would hold. John Bingham was emcee of the start of the race and was entertaining everyone with information, tidbits, and jokes. About 6:15 the Marine Band started marching from the last corral. As they marched by playing the National Anthem I felt a lump rise in my throat, and saw tears on the cheeks of other runners. There's nothing like the start of a big race.

As soon as the band passed, we were let into the corrals. I have never been in such a well organized race! Linda and I went in and chatted up people around us. Soon someone sang the National Anthem. More lumps. More tears.

Within a few minutes, we heard the start. And we were....standing still. When you're in corral number 14 and each corral has 1000 runners, it takes a bit. We slowly started walking towards the balloon arch that marked the start line. Music was playing, our pace was picking up...25 minute mile, 17 minute mile, 13 minute mile, oh we're moving NOW!

Finally we crossed the mat and started running...well, if you can call it that. It took literally three miles before I felt like we were at any kind of even pace.



9772nd! Take THAT! Ha!

The race was GREAT! I just ran another marathon a month ago, so I wasn't anticipating a great "time" but I was hoping for a great TIME! The plan was to run with Linda doing a 4:1 interval. I've never done that, but I was game for anything. I knew I was well trained, but still recovering, so taking it easy and enjoying the fun sounded great.

The start was SO well organized! I was really amazed. There was never a question about what was going on. The Athlete's Village even had pre-race food, water, and coffee! I didn't take any because I sure wasn't feeling well!

The first few miles were rather slow. I think they might have been among the slowest miles I ran. It was so crowded it was very difficult to find an open area to run in. I wasn't too concerned, though. Linda and I ran and thanked people along the route. We boogied to the bands, and I took pictures. (I am SUCH a serious competitor!) In mile one I took a picture of everyone in front of us, and everyone behind us. We literally looked like a river of bodies! Amazing!

Mile five I realized I had to use the restroom...there was just no getting around it. Being a woman sucks, sometimes! Lines were horrible, but when ya gotta...ya gotta! I grabbed the shortest line, but apparently each person in front of me was baking a cake, contemplating the meaning of life, or writing a novel because it took forever! Linda said she'd wait for me, but I was really starting to feel guilty about how much time it was taking!

When I came out (finally) I looked around for Linda. No Linda! Oh no! Maybe she took off...couldn't blame her! I ran on looking for her but couldn't find her!

The next three or four miles I was SO bummed because I had lost my running partner! I was afraid she'd be angry with me for running off, because by this time I was convinced she was standing at the side of the road (still) wondering where I was. Aha, though. I noticed I was running down Broadway! My parents, who had come to watch me race, said they'd be there in front of their hotel! As we ran closer to the hotel, my spirits lifted! There is NOTHING like seeing someone who cares about you on the route! There's the hotel! In the distance! Craig and Richie (brother and his partner) were supposed to be with them! I envisioned hugs, pictures, and "good lucks" as I ran off with a smile on my face. Closer...closer...where are they?

They weren't there. What a disappointment. I tried not to let it get me, but I'll be honest. I get VERY emotional on these long races, and was already unhappy for having lost Linda.

Fortunately my spirits were lightened at the next mile. There ahead of me as I rounded a corner on Ash was the cutiest man ever holding a sign that said "Run Tory Run!" Awwww! My honey! I took a picture of him and stopped for a quick hug and a kiss. I asked him to watch for Linda (still convinced she was behind me) and told him to tell her how long it had been since I'd passed her so we could meet back up.

After that I decided that it was important to enjoy the race. It was too late to find Linda. I couldn't be bummed that I missed my parents, they probably had no idea when to expect me so either didn't wait long enough, or weren't out there yet. Besides, this was the Rock and Roll Marathon! I best get rocking and rolling!

Every mile had a band and I was never for want of company! With 21,000 registered runners, there were times when I couldn't even get up to speed, it was so crowded. The bands were awesome! Just about every genre was represented, and honestly I don't know if it was the emotion or delusion, but they all sounded REALLY good! At mile 16 one band kept singing "Only ten more miles to go, whoa oh oh! Ten more miles to go!"

The bands were great, but the water stops gave them some competition! They compete with each other for prizes so each water stop had some theme. There was Margaritaville at mile 13 (yes, they were passing margies, but I passed), super heroes including my FAVORITE "Garbage Bag Man". I told him he was my favorite, too! The Boy Scouts of America had a HUGE water stop with mother's passing out FRESH homemade chocolate chip cookies. (Those I did NOT pass up.) A large church had an underwater theme. Not all were really elaborate, but the elaborate ones were very fun!

About mile 18 or so The Wall threatened to join me. I started questioning why I do this. Why do I run this insane distance? Why am I considering running it again in July? What is the matter with me! Just a lot of "stinkin' thinkin'" (I know...gag) I seem to get that at some point on every marathon. I don't know where it comes from, other than fatigue. But the funky thing is, and others have told me they experience the same thing, it just suddenly goes away almost as quickly as it comes on. By mile 19 I was feeling fine...sure, still tired and sore. But fine. I did note that my legs were substantially more tired on this race, but that was due to running the Eugene Marathon four weeks prior. (It took me about ten miles to figure that one out. I'm not only a slow runner...)

About mile 20 the skies cleared and the sun came out. In the space of what felt like no more than 2 or 3 minutes the temperature rose at least 10 degrees! Yipes! It was getting HOT and still about an hour (for those of us in the slow lane) to go! Fortunately I'd brought some tanning lotion, so I slathered that on. I also found I had to alter my just kills on the run when you're already fatigued!

Mile 22 I was running "out" in an out and back and I thought "Oh, I'll watch for Linda on the way in." Sure enough, right across the way, there she was! I yelled for her, then I screamed for her. She was looking rather unhappy, but she didn't hear me. I thought (in my delusional mind) that I could catch up to her. After all, she was only about 3/4 of a mile ahead! So I put on the steam! Which, let's face it, was really more like a puff of slightly tepid air at this point. However, three of my fastest miles were between 22 and 26, so I guess there was SOME steam.

By mile 25 I'd given up catching up to Linda and just concentrated on running it in. As always, I proclaimed 25 to be my second favorite number. There is just something SO amazing about "only one mile left". I play that mental game from 13.1 on. "Hey feet, shall we do a half marathon? Sure thing!" then "Only a 10k left! I can do a 10k before breakfast!" "5k? Who can't run a 5k!" but man oh man..."only one mile" are the three most beautiful words in the world.

At mile 25 we entered the Marine Recruiting Depot and wow, the crowds were AMAZING! I could hardly hear myself think (which at this point, is probably a very good thing). There were cow bells, screaming "fans", those was INCREDIBLE! The pain in my legs was forgotten, my throat was starting to tighten with emotion, and I scanned the crowd for my family. I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving because I truly DO feel blessed to be able to do this. Just as I hit mile 26 I hear a voice, "Tory! Tory!" It was LINDA! How funny is THAT! She said "At least we get to finish together!" I was SO happy to see her, especially since she looked very happy to see me! She grabbed my hand and we ran together towards to finish line. We saw Jim, her husband, to the right and waved furiously at him. We kept running, raising our arms over our heads and crossed! It was an amazing finish (and the first one I didn't cry over).

What would you do differently?:

Not lose Linda at the porta potties, maybe carry water (although the water stops were plentiful).

Post race

Warm down:

We made our way across the finish line and got a medal that weighs oh...7 or 8 pounds. Then over to the pictures. We each got our picture alone, then we took one together. Some wonderful blessed angel in a polo shirt handed us each a towel that had been soaking in ice water. Oh blessed angel! Blessed blessed angel! We walked some more to get our free sandals (I'd dreamed about those sandals in mile 18). Then again with the walking to get some food (bananas, 100 calorie packs, and bagels...not very impressive). Finally Linda found Jim and I went on to find my family. We'd agreed to meet at the "K" meeting place, which was literally over half a mile from the finish line. I hobbled on over, my legs grateful for the rest. Found them and hugged everyone. My mom, dad, brother Craig, and his partner, Richie, were all there! Of course, Roy was there too. Roy had bought me a finisher's shirt (I had refused to buy one at the expo because I think it's bad luck to buy it before you finish). Jim had bought Linda the same shirt! LOL!

We headed back toward the shuttles to the car, but the line was long. Craig asked if I wanted to walk and I said sure. Honestly, walking was a better option than standing at this point. We pulled mom out of line (she didn't look happy) and headed to the car. For kicks I turned on my full mile out to the car! At some point I do believe everyone complained about the walk to the car except one person...which I pointed out, "You know, I find it ironic that the only person NOT complaining about the walk is the person who JUST RAN A MARATHON!" Ha!

Walking is the best warm down, I believe. I think that's probably one of the reason they make the finish chute so long. Stop too fast and you can suffer anything from muscle cramps, to nausea with vomiting, and even unconsciousness! So I actually didn't mind the walk at all.

We headed into downtown to find Todai, but alas it was getting too lateeeeeeeeeeeeee (the walk was quite slow and traffic was insane). We ended up eating at Panda something or other Chinese place (not Panda Express, a fancier place). It was Craig's treat and everyone wanted Chinese, so I went with it and it wasn't too bad. Of course wood chips taste good after 26.2!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I had just run a marathon four weeks prior. I am going for entry into Marathon Maniacs which requires three marathons in 90 days, so this was marathon number two. (Three will probably be Seafair on July 8.) The heat slowed me down some, although I picked back up trying to catch up to Linda. We did a 4:1 run/walk interval which was okay, but I'm not sure it helped with speed. In this case, though, fatigue was an issue. There were also, honestly, many spots where it was hard to get up to speed with so many people. While 5:09 is not a "good" time, it's not bad either. I did a personal best at my last marathon, so I wasn't anticipating this one would be as fast.

Oh, and the fact that I'm slow also limited my ability to perform faster.

Event comments:

The post-race concert with Seal was great! They gave awards to the winners (almost all from Kenya). Shane Alexander was the warm up act. He was okay. Seal was really really good. I don't know a lot of his music really well, but his voice is so beautiful that you don't NEED to know it to really enjoy his music.

The winners of the marathon are to the right.

All in all a good race. I wouldn't say one of my best, but definitely one of the more fun races. I'd love to do it again if it weren't so far away. Alas! Perhaps the Arizona RnR in January 2009.
05:09:25 | 26.2 miles | 11m 49s min/mile
Age Group: 465/977
Overall: 9772/21000
Performance: Good
10K - 1:15:58 Half - 2:37:48 21 miles - 4:09:51 Garmin results: 5:00:24 (pauses on stops--two potty breaks) Avg HR: 149 Zone 4
Course: The course was SO much fun. There was a band at every mile, hundreds of cheerleaders, and thousands of spectators! Rarely a dull moment! Between bands were water stations that were competing with each other for some award. Each one was more fun than the last. Particularly noteable: -Mile One: Slither--because it was the first band and they were REALLY rocking! -Mile 13 water stop "Margaritaville" ode to the Parrotheads out there. Yes, they WERE actually mixing margaritas and offering them. I passed. -Mile 16, the 3eatles. They were singing "Only ten miles to go! Only ten miles to go!" and it sure sounded like "only" at the time. Although it didn't FEEL like "only". -Mile 22 water stop "Boy Scouts"...the moms were giving out fresh cookies! -Mile 23 band--Goodbye Matt...just what I needed at that point as I was running towards the wall. -Mile 23 water stop with all the super heroes. My favorite, Garbage Bag Man, was there! Also kudos to the older woman who was offering beer to the runners. Some were taking her up on it! Ew. Ew. The course finished in the Marine Recruit Depot. It was wild! THOUSANDS of people screaming and cheering! Just amazing!
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

What I am proud of: