Race Recap: San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

3:08 PM

I finally did a Rock 'n' Roll race!
Some hate them, some love them...I was just a girl trying to run one!

Finally, after years of hearing of them, I finally committed to running one. Hoopla, schoopla...it was going down AND I would be taking a mini vacation or long weekend (which ever one you prefer to use) for the race. Win-Win in my book.

In addition to this being my first RNR, I also convinced my best friend (C) and her hubbs (R) to run it with me. I don't remember why or what the significance was, but for some reason all of the RNR series was discounted. Knowing anything about this branded line of runs, you know they are expensive. Not as much as the Nike Women's race(s), but close enough. I was able to get away with the half marathon for $99, after all is said and done. This baller-on-a-budget cringed as I set my cursor to "purchase," but it was on sale and I'd get a mini vacation out of it. That was my justification!

Since this was a RUNcation for us, we weren't really into doing and participating in all the hoopla of a RNR race. Truth be told, I would have actually taken the time to walk this Expo, because it was my first RNR expo. But because I wanted to go with the flow (and get to the beach) we grabbed the essentials, stopped at the Suja booth (because R needed to use the facilities), and then we were outta there. Pretty much painless.

Since we had no idea what we were doing, we found our way to the SD Convention Center. We parked in a little outside parking lot near the water, which cost $10. Geez! We wandered around the building until we found Hall G to get to the Expo. Once you got there, people were milling about and you knew exactly where to go.
Parking lot view

The pre-race emails stressed that you should come prepared with your confirmation printed out already. But I could NOT find mind on their website for the life of me. Come to find out, it didn't matter at all. So if you're reading this, relax, their email hypes you up for nothing! They have cork boards with everyone's number and name. They also have a station to fill out the confirmation form. Once done, you go find your number and you also see what corral you're in. Since I was gung-ho about my time, I was placed in corral 5. R was placed in corral 1, which is laughable, because that is right behind the Pro's and he didn't train one bit (even though he based his time on his last race)! 
Self explanatory signage

There I be

The ever important form

Bib & Corral #'s

Bib selfie
After you receive your bib, you are corralled like cattle into another section where you can take an official pre-race photo and grab your t-shirts and bag. As you leave this area, there was a table of freebies - which turned out to be some gross Starbucks orange refresher things that I just gave away anyways. There might have been more, but we didn't feel like waiting in the line to see what there was. Next, you were corralled into the actual expo section with all the vendors and whatnot.
Is that timing mat necessary?

Shirt and bag, swag!

Obligatory shirt & bib shot for IG
Me - R - C
Like I previously said, we basically skipped this part. You are forced to walk through it somewhat. My eyes were darting everywhere and I actually found a shirt I liked, but they didn't want to stop. I did however get to chat with a rep at the Suja booth and I'm excited to say they are coming out with an economical line at Safeway. $4 a pop, this baller-on-a-budget was excited. After we tasted a sample we went rouge and exited where we weren't supposed too!
Lead sponsor booth

Loved this display, marketing nerd!
One should probably prep a little better for a race, instead of looking at the race start and finish at 10PM the night before the race. Well, good thing we aren't your average bears. C still wasn't feeling up to par, so R and I were the only ones running the race. After I showered, I laid out my clothes and made sure my breakfast goodies were all in one spot. We kinda, sorta made looked at the start and finish locations and discussed wake-up times. No race strategy talk or anything, we both secretly were hoping we wouldn't die at the race.
Gear grid
Pre-race, during race, & post- race essentials!

Up and att'em at bright 5AM. Since this course takes you all over the downtown area, they start it fairly early - I'm assuming, so it doesn't clog up the city life. The full marathon starts at 6:15AM and the half started a short 30 minutes later at 6:45AM. Being on a RUNcation, I tried to eat my normal foods and stick to my normal pre-race routine. It was fairly consistent with what I normally do, however, I couldn't find a bagel that I actually wanted so I had an English muffin #firstworldprobs.
Pre-race fuel
Pre-race selfie
Dressed and ready to go, we hopped in the car and got dropped of sooo close to the start. It was fantastic. Despite the gloomy appearance, it was rather muggy, which would later turn into just HOT. The start was right along side Balboa Park, I know that name, but that's about it. We walked up right before the national anthem was being sung. We stretched and saluted, then we went to find our corral. Since R knew his assigned corral was a joke, he was going to start with me in corral 5. However, we ended up hopping into corral 6 by mistake. No biggie to either of us, we both were just winging the race.
Faking it, we don't want to run!
And we were off. As per the usual, I wish I could remember more about the course to describe to you. The only few things that pop out to me are the H-I-L-L-S. I'm not sure if it is a blessing or a curse to not look at a race course. You can know your fate or just take it as it comes. For this race, it was the later. I didn't realize I'd be hit with some steep hills from mile 8 on. If you look at the elevation map, it technically is "net downhill," but it didn't feel like that. To be completely honest, I want to punch whoever came up with "net downhill"! It's deceiving and it shouldn't be repeated!! EVER!

Elevation map
I tried to remember to enjoy my scenery. This was my first and maybe only time that I'd ever run through the whales vagina (I can't stop using that reference). There were nice views, but there was also a lot of residential views as well. This course has hundreds of people scattered throughout, cheering you on. There were only a few residential streets that barely had anyone cheering. The most memorable spectator giveaways were within one block, it went in this order - Bacon, Krispy Kreme's, and then tequila. I also saw some mimosa's and free water bottles from other people. It took everything in me not to stop for that bacon. I wanted it so bad, but I knew it might mess with my gut! Another bonus, was that a medical clinic (or something like that) was handing out table salt packets. Since I forgot my tablets, I decided to give it a whirl. It was disgusting to do - rip open packet, shove in mouth, swig water, swish in mouth, swallow. I did this twice and I didn't cramp, so I'm assuming it worked just as effectively as my salt tablets.
Half marathon course map
I don't remember all the bands or DJ's but I did wholeheartedly appreciate their presence on the course. It took me out of my head and gave me something to sing along with as I passed them on the course.
I remember at approximately 8.37mi (on Mr. Garmin) I was trudging up my first memorable hill and as I looked up there was a megatron with social media posts displayed. What they said, I have no clue. I was trying to focus on breathing and cursing this hill. Then, again at 10.4 there was another hill that I remember. Somewhere in the middle of the course we were redirected from the runners ahead of us. From what I could gather, there was a bus entrance and after the bus left runners used that street instead of staying straight. So right as we were approaching the left turn, all the volunteers stood there to block us (think red rover, red rover) and told us to go straight. We listened, but everyone was pissed off and really confused. In the end, we met up with the group in a somewhat T-shape fashion. My other lasting memory, is around mile 12.5 (or something) there is a water station and then BOOM you have to run uphill until you reach a tunnel. A tunnel that has disco balls lighting up the walls. After you run through here, you are in the home stretch and it's pretty much all downhill from here.
Unofficial race time
Mr. Garmin vs timing chip
My Splits
Mile 1 - 8:53
Mile 2 - 9:09
Mile 3 - 9:00
Mile 4 - 9:09
Mile 5 - 9:08
Mile 6 - 8:48
Mile 7 - 9:00
Mile 8 - 8:52
Mile 9 - 9:02
Mile 10 - 8:51
Mile 11 - 8:54
Mile 12 - 8:33
Mile 13 - 8:17
Mile 14 - 7:22

As my last few months have been. My training plan has been a lack of training plan. I ran random races I'd already signed up and consistently did NP on Wednesday AM's. However, I did not follow a strict training plan as I had originally hoped for. So, as much as I wasn't trying to stress about this race, I was. I was unprepared and hate that feeling. I didn't know how the run was going to go. Would my legs give out? Would I have to walk? How would my lungs hold out? Needless to say, I was very conservative in my run. I was hoping for a sub-2 finish and tried to keep my pace at 9min/miles. I did that and even a little better. As a good runner friend commented, "Good progression run". I didn't even think of it, but after looking at my splits, that's exactly what it was. After each timing mat, I my min/mile decreased slightly. So in hindsight, I probably could have pushed it a little more. But knowing that I have a race (halfer) 6 days later, I think this was my best option. I'm not too mad at a sub-2 finish with very minimal training!
Done, son!
If you EVER run a race, please do not think you can yell at people near the finish line to get out of your way. That is poor running etiquette. Hey douche, we all just ran the same distance and want to finish strong - you don't get to tell me where to run now! Sorry, rant over! As per most races, the finish was overly clogged. You go from finishing strong to an abrupt stop. You actually went for a decent amount of distance before the volunteers handed you medals. Then there were the typical race photogs to snap a pic...if you walked a little further both sides of the corral were lined with photo stations to pose with a backdrop. Once you passed most of these, you could get your free Choco milk, some protein bars, Gatorade, water, and pistachio's. Worst post race snacks, in my little opinion.

Again, doing a little pre-race strategic planning would have helped for our after race antics. We knew there were flags with the letters of the alphabet. We had decided on meeting at "G". If they weren't for some reason by letters, we went by color. Luckily there were letters. However, I exit to the left of the corral and the only letters I saw were R-Z. Apparently, if I exited to the right I would have seen A-Q. So I sat my happy, tired butt down by R for R's name and called C to let her know. If you ever decide to not bring your phone to a race, plenty of people do and most will let you make a phone call. Just ask very politely and smile, it will get you so many places in life! Finally, after 30 minutes, we found each other and C picked us up curbside, parallel to the actual finish line. 

We didn't go into Petco Park for the finisher's hoopla, so I can't even go into detail about that situation. We literally based our vacation on this run, but literally the "run" part. Nothing about the antics of a race that others seem to thrive on - the expo and the post-race party. I will say, I was kinda sad that I didn't see/run into all the cool running bloggers I follow. Almost all of them were there racing, but I never got to pseudo stock any of them ;)
Bootleg pic!
Now I need to run a Disney race...

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  1. Whoa nice time! I love Starbucks refreshers but that orange one is gross- they need to give up and stop trying to make people like it!

    Salt packets? Just like... what you put on french fries? This is new to me.

    1. Thanks :) Yes, straight up salt packets you get to put on french fries (ridges and all)! I haven't seen it offered at very many races before, but it was volunteers from the health field so they know what's up...I guess ;)

  2. Congrats on an awesome race! Loved reading about your experience and it makes me excited to run my first half! Good to know that you had a good experience with Rock & Roll too. I'm debating to either do the San Jose or Los Angeles one. Great job again girl!

    1. Thanks chica! You should be super excited for your first half, it'll be great :) I think me being in SD had a lot to do with enjoying a RNR. It's a lot of hoopla, but I'm glad I tried one of their races in their series.


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