That’s it folks, Rock n Roll San Diego is in the bag. This one made me a bit more nervous because it’s the only 1/2 I’ve done before, so I knew what was coming. 163? My knees hate you. Friars Road? My stamina hates you. Morena Blvd? At that point, my everything hates you. But I wanted revenge on last years time. Last year I had HUGE quarter-sized blisters on the balls of BOTH my feet by mile 9. Miles 10-13.1 were pure HELL running on the outsides of my feet. My IT band was going haywire. The last 3 miles I had to jog/walk. But still, I beat my projected time, so I was ok.
This year I wanted to kill that time. I bought fabulous Injinji toe socks from REI (reaaallllyy wish the kids sizes were more readily available/came in better colors/Injinji would just make a size XS in adults and call it a day so I can have fabulous Lagoon colored socks, too), that have kept me blister free for 1/2 marathons 2-4, so I knew I’d be ok on that front. IT band, it could have gone either way. The last month I’ve woken up twice to a stiff left knee for no reason. No run beforehand to make it stiff, so I was frustrated and confused. I retired my beloved Trance 10’s (thank you for getting me through Nike, Carlsbad and RnR Pasadena!) and had broken in my Adrenaline 11’s (on a side note, I think my feet have grown? My baby feet have always worn a 6 in running shoes but I’ve noticed lately my toes are smashing against the front. 6.5 here I come!).
I had even started to decorate my Team in Training singlet!
Night before RnRSD is always special. This is my 3rd year with Team in Training, and 1st year as a mentor. The night before, we have an Inspiration Dinner, and all the coaches and mentors line the halls of the Convention Center, welcoming TNT participants from all over the country. We don’t tell them what to expect beforehand, and by their expressions, they LOVE the red carpet!
You can’t tell from the picture since I was waving it so furiously, but there’s a plastic megaphone in my hand. I was hitting it against my palm for an hour and a half because yelling through the little hole was doing nothing (and my throat was dry and my Nuun water was in the next room). Guess what I ended up with? A sore throat and a bruised palm. But check out that tutu!
4.5 hours of sleep later, I present to you a woman on a mission (side mission – find a port-o-pottie that doesn’t make you want to vomit when you walk past. Mission: FAILED):
Breakfast of Champions: 1/2 a packet of Honey Stinger and a banana. Thanks Chiquita!
6:15am. Waiting (not so) patiently for the Death March that is waiting for 27 corrals to start before mine.
I started off faster than normal (and by fast, I mean snails pace. At 10:30 min/mile, Olympic speedwalkers can pass me easy peasy), and knew exactly what I needed to do to PR. I felt good through Hillcrest and Balboa Park. Now enter: 163 North! You don’t realize how steep/slanted that freakin freeway is when you’re driving on it, but MAN, my knees knew it from the get-go. I tried to calm them down by finding the flattest part I possibly could and ran on that. Please note, flattest does not equal flat. As soon as I could hear the steel drummers, I knew I was almost home free! The drummers are always stationed where we hop off the freeway, run up the steepest incline ever (offramp), over the overpass and back on 163 for a second before we get on Friars Rd. The drummers are my absolute favorite part of this race (aside from singing and dancing/running to the tune of the bands on course).
Friars Road is where the action is at. The streets are LINED with people screaming your name (If you’re smart enough to write it on bright green duct tape!), making noise, sometimes handing out Otter Pops (how do I always miss these?!) and just pumping you up. I got to mile 9 and started to look around for a friend who lives at that point on the course. I knew she’d be out there, because she wanted to get a picture of Meb and Ryan as they ran by (who were both finished with their halves at this point, the show-offs). Spotted her and stopped (more like forward motion made me slam into her. Sorry about stepping on your toes!) Got a hug, snapped a picture and then I felt someone come from behind me to get in my picture, the photo bomber! Turned sideways and it was my TNT coach! Came out of nowhere, perfect timing!
No one can be as cool as the Green Team, sorry. Viva los Verdes!
Then I was on my way again. Turn the corner from Friars to Morena and die. Die, I say. My legs felt like lead. My quads and hamstrings were screaming. My left knee was starting to stiffen up. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo. But you gotta push through! Saw Coach Marcy at around mile 10 and it gave me a little more energy on Morena. I swear that road sucks the life out of anyone who sets an awesome running shoe on it. I slowed down. I tried to pick it up, but i just couldn’t. According to my Garmin, my average pace was still under 11 min/a mile, so I think I’d be ok. Cutting it close, but I’d make it. I didn’t care if I PR’d by 2 seconds. I wanted it… bad.
As I turned the final corner before the finish line, the announcer started yelling my name, over and over again until I stepped on the finish mat. It was an amazing feeling! I stopped my Garmin and looked down in horror. I had missed my PR by a minute and 4 seconds. Permission to cry? Thank you very much. I had wanted it so badly. I knew what I had to do to get it, and I just didn’t do it. My Garmin told me my average pace was 10:58/mile. The official results said 11:05/mile. Piece of crap Garmin. I’ll never trust you again!
I took my finisher’s picture with my medal, grabbed a water and some snacks and cried my way to Gear Check. Then walked a million miles to the Team in Training area (seriously though, why it is so far?!) I sat and had some reflection time for a few minutes. I was dejected, upset, emotional, you name it. I took off my shoes, slipped on my CEP compressions sleeves and my flips flops:
I am so fashionable, I have no idea how I’m still single. I mean come on, look at that combination!
Still feeling bummed, I walked around the finishers area for a bit and saw a woman holding a sign that said: “THANK YOU TNT RUNNERS FOR SAVING MY LIFE! 2 YEARS IN REMISSION BECAUSE OF YOU.” That was it. That was all I needed to get me out of my funk. It wasn’t about me. I was out there for a reason. To saves lives. Together, TNT runners and walkers from all over the country (and Canada!) raised over $7.3 million dollars to fight cancer that day. I’d say that’s a pretty good flippin day.
(on a side note, Kate Gosselin ran [and killed] the half marathon. Seriously? First I have to beat Oprah and now I have to beat Kate Gosselin, too?!)