EVENT: Rock n Roll Marathon: San Diego
DATE: Sunday, June 6, 2010
LOCATION: San Diego, CA
RACE BEGAN: 6:15 am
FINISH TIME: 05:16:37
The two most pressing comments that I have to make about this race are that the crowd support (when present) was great. Secondly, it was interesting to see that this huge, huge race was nearly like a Team in Training national convention... never knew the establishment is so popular!
I woke up at around 4 AM for the race and made it to the start line with Tea Time and "The Ukrainian" with plenty of time to spare. I waited in Corral 9 with Tea Time and noticed how un-cold I was... not a good sign. As the race began, I ran with Tea Time for a little while and was glad that in spite of the 40,000 runners out there, it was not a total jam in the first few miles like it could get.
Surprisingly, my hamstring didn't bother me much. In fact, I was feeling better than I had in a long time while running, probably because I had slathered Ben Gay all over my legs prior to the race (sorry to those who had to smell that). The best part of this race was in this part, when we ran past the Padres stadium... I had no idea what was going on until the field was right smack to my left. I was in good spirits and thought that this race wouldn't be much of an issue. I took down a GU and didn't stop running at all, even as the climbs began...
We began to ascend onto the 163(?) freeway, which was concrete and a slow climb for miles. I slowed down, determined to make it up and not kill myself doing it.
My undoing really occurred in this area. The sun came out from the clouds, though luckily I had my shades with me. I didn't allow myself to put them on until I crossed the half-way point. By then 2 hours and 12 minutes had passed. Not good, but I've done worse.
As the freeway climb ended and I took my second GU, I felt these twinges in my legs, particularly the right one. Slowing down didn't help, and I even stopped to stretch it out. I even resorted to drinking the on-course sports drink Cytomax. But already before the first half, I had my first muscle "tug" in my calf, the kind that normally comes out around mile 20. So I spent all these miles running on-and-off, trying to keep myself from what happened later...
Maybe it was the rest or electrolytes, but I was starting to feel well enough again to run after mile 20. So I was running very slowly along this lonnnng concrete path near the ocean and nice breeze and thought that I could still come in under 5 hours.
Just as a few small climbs came about on this concrete path, without warning, I pulled my right calf muscle right in the middle of the field. I pulled myself over to the left side as quickly as possible and screamed (trust me, it would be instinctual in this situation). As I was massaging the displaced tight muscle back in its place, a gentleman asked me if I was okay. I was surprised that I only got one question after making this scene, but I'm sure it's a normal sight to see during marathons.
If you've never pulled a muscle before, it feels like hell rolled into one muscle of your body. The last time I pulled my calf that badly was a couple of years ago after a 20-miler and getting into my car ASAP to get home. BAD idea! I had to pull over (luckily had not left the parking lot).
Once I felt that the muscle was back in place, I trudged on. At first, I couldn't even walk, but I was soon able to keep some kind of brisk walking pace... and walk I did for the rest of the race. In fact, I would say I walked about half of the darn marathon. It was dragged on, miserable, annoying, and disappointing.
At this point, I just wanted to be done. I was trying to keep my walking pace at around 13:30/mi, which I was doing okay at until my legs were cramping again. I was thinking about coming in after 5 hours and how disappointing that is, but I also just wanted it to be over and not run again for a long time.
At the last .2 mi, when a huge, huge crowd was calling my name to keep going, a stupid girl from the left sidelines rushed in front of me to hug some girl running to my right. Some guy screamed at her, "Let them finish!" I was irritated, but not like I could run at that point anyway, lest risking another loud screaming session in front of all those people. So I tumbled toward the finish line slowly.
I found "The Ukrainian" shortly after I finished. The guy had finished in 3:20 and had been waiting for me for nearly 2 hours... It was a PR for him, and Tea Time also PR-ed. Glad SOME people did well that day. He knew it was going to take me this long -- I guess he knows me better than I know me. We waited for our hotel shuttle for 1.5 hours before he was fuming and we paid some shuttle guy to take us back to our hotel in Downtown San Diego.
This race, which was my 6th marathon, was definitely not a proud moment in my running career. However, it has inspired me to recover fully from my slew of injuries and tackle the next one (more details on that later!) fresh. I've run 3 marathons in 6 months and have not had any good running where my legs didn't feel like lead for months.
I'll insert race pics (if any are show-able) with this one I have below....
Above: This pic is kinda disheveled, but it shows the medal, so there!