Rock’N Roll San Diego Race Weekend Recap!

June 21, 2018   /   byrunningwhilevegan  / Categories :  Cycling, Running, yoga

It’s been about four days since Mike and I ran Rock’n Roll San Diego and I’m still sore from that hilly course! This year I ran it almost exactly ten minutes slower than last year, which was a little bit of a bummer for me. Last year, I did a lot of speed training to prepare, and was running with BlacklistLA and Koreatown Run Club at least twice a week, on top of my own runs. This year, with my new job, I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to make the race! Mike and I signed up the week registration was closing (about a week and half before the race); there was still a chance I’d have to eat the registration (from my 10 race Tourpass). I didn’t run regularly. I have been cycling to and from work, I got my first lap swim session in (in almost twenty years — since swim team in high school) so the workouts have been getting in! I also recently did a fifteen mile road/trail training run. The reasons I didn’t push it for a time closer to my 2:09 last year: tired legs, a new job (my schedule was all over the place) and keeping it together for my first trail race the weekend following RnR SD.

Love this medal and the whirlwind 24 hours it represents!

I knew that by signing Mike and I up for the 10 race Tourpass, there would be whirlwinds and close-calls; the stuff all adventures are made of. San Diego was the race that almost didn’t happen, two years in a row now! Due to work obligations, I didn’t know if I’d make the Saturday Expo, in which we had to pick up our bibs. Only the runner themselves can pick up their bib, friends and family cannot, even with a copy of the runner’s ID and a signed confirmation waiver. I was sick to my stomach after registering and realizing Mike would not be able to pick up my bib. A quick google search mistakenly had me believing RnR had changed their policy. We had planned I’d come meet him in San Diego, after my shift, after the Expo, just in case I couldn’t get the day off work. Now it looked like I wouldn’t be getting the day off or my race bib. Good fortune was on my side, and my manager allowed me to leave work early on Saturday! Everything was falling into place! Except that Mike had twisted his ankle in Joshua Tree the weekend prior and was now unsure he’d be able to run! Mike had been even more excited than me about running RnR SD!  We continued to move forward, making plans and playing everything by ear.

We made it to the expo with just enough time to walk around. Free energy drinks? Don’t mind if I do!

We left Upland in the Inland Empire close to 2pm, which I knew would be cutting it close to the Expo closing time of 5pm, but I believed in us. I had packed everything the night before, Mike picked me up from work, we got Baker’s for him, Taco Bell for me, and we were off! Rock’n Roll San Diego attracts thousands upon thousands of runners, as it is their original RnR race, started 21 years ago! So, there was traffic. I still wasn’t worried. I had to believe everything would be fine! We got to San Diego and there was more traffic, as a Padres game was about to start. I still wasn’t worried. We made it around 4:15pm, found street parking easily in the Gaslamp Quarter, got our bibs, quickly took in the Expo, Mike bought two new pairs of socks, and we left with the masses at 5pm.

When you are SO STOKED about your hotel room!

In good spirits, we drove to our hotel, which was about 15 minutes away in Hotel Circle. We had to wait until the last minute to book, for many of the reasons stated above, on top of having to wait until payday. We used Priceline’s Express Deal, in which you are offered a set price within a particular star-rating and region, but the hotel is unknown until booking. It’s fun, and thanks to the Express Deals, we’ve stayed in some pretty spectacular hotels for much less than if we had straight-out booked them! This trip, we got a room at Town & Country. We were blown away as soon as we stepped into the lobby. This place deserves it’s own separate post; I’m going to try and make it quick! It’s basically an all-inclusive resort, in that you don’t need to leave the property on your get-away, much like Disneyland Hotel, Vegas Casinos or tropical vacation hotels.  There are three different towers of rooms, three pools, a restaurant, marketplace and fitness center. The place has a retro, 50’s inspired theme, with mid-century modern furniture and art work in the room. Plush, clean, crisp linens, a coffee maker, spacious bathroom, and a refrigerator made it all so luxurious. While I sometimes am disappointed we stay for such a short time in these fancy rooms, they do make the sleep before the race, as well as the morning rituals, much easier. Cheap motels have their place, necessity, and charm in our lives too, but who doesn’t love luxury sometimes?!

Our room, the view from our room, and one of the three pools!

After a walk around the property, we headed to our dinner reservation at Donna Jean. We love Donna Jean, and ate there last year, the night before RnR SD as well! It’s fun because it’s located next to the start line, and you can observe everything being put together heading in and out of dinner! Read my review here!

An absolutely scrumptious dinner at Donna Jean in San Diego!

Once we got back, we began the process of unwinding and getting into race day mode. I rolled out my yoga mat and did the 30 minute Yoga With Adriene “Yoga for Runner’s” video and we each drank a Gatorade. I had a TON of water with dinner and I abstained from alcoholic beverages for a week before the race, so I felt superiorly hydrated. I don’t like drinking liquids on race morning, save for a little water and a caffienated beverage. Nerves and a small bladder lead to too many bathroom breaks.

Super cliched ywa photo, but I had to, in the name of race rituals!

Race morning came and I did everything I usually do except, put on my trusty, lucky bandana. I’ve worn it in all my races, and most of my training runs. I wore my LA Marathon trucker hat. I didn’t know how I was going to like it, running in a hat, but for 13.1 miles I was going to test it out.

The race had a start time of 6:15am, we were about 10 minutes away, and there were 33 corrals total in the race. We were aiming for an arrival time of no later than 6:30am, knowing it would take awhile for all the corrals to take off. We ordered a Lyft at 5:50am. The driver canceled it about 10 minutes later. We ordered another one, which the driver canceled about 10 minutes later. We didn’t understand what was happening, time was ticking, but still, I refused to worry. We’d gotten this far, we were running this damn race. Finally, Mike ordered an Uber, which successfully got to us! He’d been driving since 2am and knew all about the road closures — even a few miles away and off the course, the closures were making it nearly impossible for us to get picked up! Due to the closures, our driver had to drop us off about a mile from the start line, which is when my anxiety started creeping in. It was getting SO LATE! We made it, as about corral 15 was taking off. I took off with corral 18 (I was assigned corral 8), at 6:51am.

Finished!

I went into RnR SD expecting I wasn’t going to course PR, but still hoping with the cross-training and trail training run, I’d surprise myself. I was going in for a PR for the year, to beat my Pasadena Half time of 2:15. I ended with a 2:19, my second best time this year. The reality of the situation is that RnR SD is a challenging course, I wanted to have fun and take it easy, heat and humidity was a factor, and I can either give it my all, or enjoy myself at a comfortable pace. I’ve never run this many races before, I just picked up running, and cycling to work is tiring for my legs! I want to let go of the PRs, but I’m still holding on. The thing is, last year I ran a 2:09, my second best half time ever, and I was so disappointed after the race. I cried at the finish line. I don’t want to run like that anymore, but the competitive side of me still wants the PRs! I think it’s going to take some time to change my thinking around running these races.

One of the things I love most about RnR San Diego is the crowd support! We run through neighborhoods and people come sit outside their houses and cheer us on! A bunch of people build little bars in their front yard to serve shots to the runners! I always consider it, but never partake! I probably would if it was set up closer to the finish because  I did take a shot of beer at LA Marathon! I love it all, nonetheless!

Load up on sunscreen for this race. Even though I’m still not totally sold on wearing a hat while running, I’m not turned off by it either! Because the sun was so bright and hot that morning, I actually thankful I did wear it! I can see at work that I definitely got some color in my face, and I can only imagine the crimson color that would be without the protection of sunscreen and a hat! I’m definitely going to wear it for my trail race this weekend.

All in all, this was one of my favorite races run this year. I was so relieved everything worked out, I loved our dinner, our hotel, and the fact that Mike was running too. I had some CBD oil before the race, which helped calm me down and actually enjoy myself. I started out pretty strong, when the hills got to me I slowed down, I walked a couple times when I got real tired, and my last mile was almost as fast as my first! That NEVER happens!

Go, Mike, GOOOOO!

Mike finished at a little over three hours. He wasn’t sure, even right up to the start line, that he’d be able to complete this race with his ankle still tender from rolling it at Joshua Tree a week prior. What an accomplishment! We got it all iced up at a medical tent after he received his medal, and made our way to the beer garden. We then boarded the train, which dropped us off right outside Town and Country, to pick up the car. It was then Mike got an urgent text from a coworker, asking if he was okay, as there was an active shooter near the course finish line. It was a terrifying end to our race morning, trying to get ahold of other runners, with the only news updates being that four people were injured (I think that ended up being false). In the end, we found out it was an issue unrelated to the race, on top of a parking garage, but that time of unknowing was extremely upsetting. However you feel about gun control (I’m on the side of tightening up the laws, towards the point of abolishing guns) it’s pretty upsetting to know in the back of your mind, going to school, a race, a movie theater, a mall, getting into a road rage incident, just living life, can get you shot. Knowing that reality and experiencing that there might be an active shooter, aiming at runners was…a lot. We are so thankful no one was seriously injured that morning.

I was impressed by the Beyond Meat Sausage at Veggie Grill. Nothing compares to the Super Rica Burger, which was a seasonal item and my favorite post-race meal.

We got a celebratory meal at Veggie Grill in La Jolla, and went home for some R and R. It was quite an eventful 24 hours!

 

 

 

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