San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon: Race Report

Posted on Jun 06, 2010 under Race | 8 Comments

San Diego Rock 'n' Roll MarathonAfter all of the talk, preparation and training, I finally completed my first marathon. And what better race to make my marathon debut than my local San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon? I had the opportunity to run the LA Marathon back in March with my brother, but I only had 2 half marathons under my belt and I knew I would not have been prepared to run it very well if I did do it. Also, the registration fee for that race is pretty ridiculous (although I may consider doing 2011). But I’ve heard great things about the SD RnR and people seem to really enjoy it (I think the Rock ‘n’ Roll series in general is fun). Although I did not run quite as fast as I was hoping/planning, I am still satisfied considering it was my first attempt at it. Results: 3:47:59; 61/357 AG; 1,043/10,625 overall. You’d think I gained enough race experience by now, but I ran the same way I ran my first half marathon (pace too fast to start, couldn’t hang and slowed at the end). But I think the biggest issues I had during the race was the weather and just not preparing my body to run such a great distance. So as long as I take something away from this race, it is definitely worth it, and I did..

Race Morning

The day started out waking up well before the sun was out to get ready for the race. I was fortunate enough to go to sleep early enough to be semi-well rested when I got up. The past couple of races I have gone to, I risked missing the start because I wasn’t factoring in traffic. Because this was one of the biggest races I’ve ever ran, I left early enough to avoid any traffic, which was nice. I got to the race where people were sitting, hanging out and having some free bagels and fruit. I knew I was early because there was absolutely no line to the porta-potties! However, when I went for the second time right before the race, it was about a 30-45 minute wait!

The Course

The course went through many of the city’s famous spots including: Balboa Park, the Gaslamp Quarter (Downtown), San Diego Bay & Mission Bay with the finish at Sea World. There were costumed runners including Elvi (more than one Elvis), even a Sponge Bob Squarepants dressed as Elvis. There were also bands scattered throughout the course and lots and lots of excited cheering spectators, which was very encouraging.


When I was registering for this race, I didn’t know how fast I was planning to run it, but needed to give an expected finish time anyways. Boy was I wrong in saying 3:15! But that got me bumped up all the way to corral 2. As I got toward the end of my training program, I knew 3:15 was not reasonable so I was shooting for 3:30. Right before the race started, I turned back to look at the runners behind me and noticed the 3:30 pacer was in corral 3! I didn’t know if I should try to get in there or wait for the pacer to catch up. I decided to just try and go on my own and work out pacing by myself. I actually did a pretty decent first.

Race Strategizing

The night before the race, I tried to plan out how I was going to pace myself throughout the race. A 3:30 is 8 min/mile, but I didn’t know if I would be able to run at that pace for the entire 26.2 miles. So I decided to run the first half of the marathon at a slower pace and pick it up the second half. So I figured if I could run at 8:14 pace, I could conserve enough energy to run a 7:47 pace for the rest of the way. I went as far as writing down what my 10K, half marathon and 20 mile time should be on my hand. Too bad it washed off once I started sweating and drinking water.

The Start

I think because I was in corral 2, I was surrounded by people running a lot faster than me. I was able to run with one person for a couple of miles at a decent pace, but she started picking it up and I knew it wouldn’t have been a good idea to hang. Out of the first ten miles, only one mile was at the planned 8:14 pace. Everything else was around 8 min/mile or faster. But I felt pretty comfortable for those first 10-15 miles.


Then it started going downhill from there (figuratively). My body started getting tired and the sun was out and shining. I didn’t need water or anything during the first few stations, but toward the middle/end of the race, I kept wishing there were more! Definitely not a good sign. What was a nice change was during mile ~21, they were handing out frozen Otterpops. It was so refreshing (although not the most nutritious). It was just nice to have something cold, since almost all of the energy drinks and waters that were handed out were lukewarm, bleh. I had 2 energy gels during the race that was offered, but had another on me in case and some PowerBar Energy Gel Blasts, which I only had two pieces of. Like I said earlier, this is very similar to my first half marathon. I started off too fast and ran out of energy toward the end of the race. If only I could have forced myself to run a slower pace at the beginning, how much better could my overall time have been?

Soreness & Pain

So in addition to hydration being an issue, I don’t think I was physically prepared to run 26.2 miles (fast). I had two 20-milers during my training, which turned out very bad and not so bad. But the pace for those runs was not even close to what I wanted to run at the marathon. During both runs, my legs were exhausted and just not used to running such a long distance. And today, it literally felt like my legs got whacked by a baseball bat many times. I always thought you get sore the day after working out, but DURING?! And as I’m sitting here writing this, both of my knees are in pain and need to be iced, not to mention all of the soreness.

My Two Cents

I think that’s enough complaining, it’s still a decent effort for a first marathon. And like I said when I posted my race on DailyMile, I have to say I have an even greater respect for marathoners. There were so many people out there today and so many people who do this every week. It’s just so amazing how they can put their bodies through so much all for what, a medal and t-shirt? No. What I saw out there today were people running..for others. Everyone has their own reason for running; some do it in memory of others. Some do it to help raise money for a cure or charity or something other than themselves. I am truly blessed to be able to ‘be one of them’, that is…a marathoner.

8 Responses to “San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon: Race Report”

  1. Anne Says:

    I saw you at the SDTC Mile 25 aid station on Fiesta Island! I called out your name from my Cytomax table but I don’t think you heard me with so many people around. Listen, be sure to let Competitor know about the lukewarm drinks when they ask for feedback. They failed to deliver the ice to help keep them cool until after the race started. It was a learning experience for them too.

  2. aron Says:

    CONGRATSSSS marathoner!!! the first marathon is always such a HUGE learning experience, i mean they all are, but especially the first one. i ran that race last year and it was NOT my favorite one, but i am not a fan of the rnr series in general – thats just me 😉 you did great on what i heard was a pretty tough day out there!

  3. lindsay Says:

    congrats on the marathon!!! sounds like maybe you weren’t drinking early on? even if you don’t feel like you need it – you still outta be drinking a little at least. the heat and direct sun is always a tough competitor, and i know it took me a few marathons/super-long runs to get “used” to that distance. you don’t have to worry about long runs being totally on-goal-pace, usually just a portion of the miles. otherwise you’d be leaving your race performance out on a training run!

    hope recovery is going well. congrats again!!

  4. meg Ling Says:

    It does seem like it was HOT by around eight or so and I’m sure you should have had a little water along the whole race, especially with the weather being what it was! We all learn from these experiences and your time was great, especially for the first marathon! What’s next???

  5. azrunning Says:

    Congrats on your first marathon. Don’t worry, with more experience you’ll know how to pace at the start of races. I dare to say that every first time marathoner has gone out too fast. Probably even all the second-timers, third…fourth…

  6. Nobel4Lit Says:

    OMG, I just saw this… you did great! I did not have a good race, though!


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