Last Sunday I took the train down to San Diego from Burbank to run the 20th anniversary Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. Major plus: I didn’t have to drive. Second plus: There were snacks on the train. Score.
The train stop is about a half mile fro the expo so I went right from the train down there to pick up my bib. Pick up was a breeze but man that expo was laid out not so well and was PACKED. I was seeking out a specific vendor and could not find them for the life of me. The app wasn’t showing a map so all I had was a booth number and chaos. I asked a girl who was sitting at a VIP Rock ‘n’ Roll booth on her phone if she could direct me to said booth number. She told me to get in line at the information table. Thanks for the help? The info table didn’t have a line…it had people pushing one another out of the way to ask “where’s the start?” and other obvious questions that were e-mailed to us about 30 times.. I really should have seen this as the writing on the walls about how well the Rock ‘n’ Roll brand was going to handle crowds at the race.
I dipped out of the expo with only one purchase because the shitty layout and lack of help was just too stressful. My fatty self went to Spaghetti Factory and got a table for one to top off on pasta. I didn’t realize it’s one of those “family style” places and was sat at an absurdly large table by myself. I was then told over and over I had to get ice cream while I tried to explain I was lactose intolerant so will have none of those shenanigans and please ignore this cheesy garlic bread i ordered I MAKE MY OWN GRAVE!
Race morning was soon here and I realized I had no idea how the hell to get to the start from my hotel. But lucky me, two gals were in running gear in the lobby. “Are you walking to the start?” “Yep!” and we banded together like a flock of tired turtles. Not true. The one gal wanted to run to warm up. HAH! Yeah, eff that. As we wandered our pack grew with more excited runners ready to get going. We all wished a good race and peeled off when we spotted the gear trucks and such.
Bag check was way easy. Lots of Port o Johns. Good race start set up.
Oh but the actual start… So I guess they were short on volunteers and only had the first corrals marked with sign holders. This lead to complete chaos in the corrals thus after. No one checking bibs. No legit corrals. Just a whole lot of people meandering around and going wherever the hell the felt like it. Like the expo? YEP! Oh bib that says corral 37, I saw you standing there in 19. Come on man. In the chaos I got pushed forward and while I was a 21 I ended up starting with corral 20 I think. But who the eff knows. All I know is that I ended up meeting and running with a 4:40 pacer and some new equally confused friends.
The pacer was a good dude but went through a lot of thin openings caused by corral 37 people having started in 19. I kept pace with them until around mile 4ish when my heart rate was peaking out at 190. GD. To be safe I slowed down some and then I saw a sign that sated “mile 4.5 bar”. I had heard from my Nuun friends about this mythical neighborhood that hands out shots around halfway, but mile 4.5 sounded so early. Yet frustrated with my heart playing games I said “I’ll just look..”. Beer, mimosas, and there it was. A child stood near a container of limes a single shot of tequila. “Noooo” you say. “yesssssssssssss” I said. I took that shot and blasted off like it was rocket fuel. Or so I thought. Because I was now tipsy and only 4.5 miles in to a marathon. I AM SO SMART. Turns out I was just keeping normal pace but man did that shot make it more interesting.
Let’s see… kept trotting and enjoying the neighborhood fun until the half and full split. Then it just kind of dumped out to this sad empty street of empty restaurants. Rock ‘n’ Roll. We need to talk about your fulls. What gives? Why no love for us idiots who think 13.1 miles is a fun run? Where’s our party? We continued to trot along godforsaken side roads and dead ass parks until about mile 20 when OH COOL LETS RUN ON A HIGHWAY! Why?! WHY?! Cars are a runners natural enemy. And the highway surface is not all soft n squishy like asphalt. Oh and then you know lets talk about that 221 foot climb between mile 21 and 22.
Dafuq is this shit?!
*SIGH* Well. Besides the hell hill, I was already having a rough race with some severe cramping so I gave up on my time pretty early on. I managed to finish a few seconds shy of 6 hours. Fuck it. I still had a good time in the first 8 miles. And the rest was at least a lovely day for a walk of shame.
Would I do this race again? Nope.
I MIGHT do the half. And I would only be back to do the half because the neighborhoods were such great sports on this race. If it weren’t for the people in “normal heights” and surrounding neighborhoods this would have sucked major balls. So I’m super glad I took a shot at the 4.5 mile bar. I’m glad I took time to high five kids and dance like a silly fool and take dumb self deprecating selfies. If you can’t PR, might as well have a good time!
Finish festival was a little lackluster but perhaps it was my crappy finish time to blame. Food trucks were out of food. Not a whole lot of people around. Medal is nice but having the same color ribbon as the half made it hard to differentiate who did what distances which made my effort feel a little diminished.
Sorry Rock ‘n’ Roll. I want to like you. Vegas will be my third shot at your marathon distance. Tho I hear tell that you kicked your 5 hour pacers off course one year despite touting a 5 hour cut off that starts when the last runner crosses the start. Which honestly has me more worried than I should be about that one. Don’t let me down!!
EDIT: 6/12 – I should have seen this before posting a few days ago but I have another gripe to add at Rock ‘n’ Roll… When I purchased merch back in May for the upcoming Nashville they had an offer “Add 3 free issues of Women’s Running magazine”. Since the fine print said they’d alert me with an e-mail before renewal to the magazine at $20 a month I went ahead and signed up. I didn’t get the magazines but said “meh”, I’m already a Runners World girl. Well today I checked my credit card and there was a $20 charge for the Women’s Running magazine subscription. Checked my e-mail inside and out to see if I missed that subscription notice. Nope. Only mention of it ever was the receipt from my March purchase. So Rock ‘n’ Roll has shit organization here too. Coolio. I was able to cancel the subscription and they’ll refund me (In three weeks…) but I should not have had to do this in the first place. Just the worst.