This past weekend I ran the San Diego marathon. In summary, it was not my best time and not my worst time. I did not have high expectations going in due to the fact that I have just been so busy the past two months. I got my training in, but I lacked a lot of real quality workouts (especially on the long runs).
I hoped to run between 4 and 4:30. I struggled with my 18 and 20 mile runs (mostly because I was just so tired from long work weeks) that I did not expect to get under 4. I had another busy week so I knew I would not be rested.
However, the good thing about the San Diego marathon is that my sister was running her first half marathon (she joined team in training to help her get ready for the half). I decided to sign up for the marathon so that I could join her in San Diego and share the experience with her. I thought about doing the half and running with her, but she had her team in training friends to run so I thought it would be best if she enjoyed her experience with her training mates.
I flew in on Sat and my sister (who drove down) picked me up at the airport. My wife and daughter did not go (we thought it would be too crowed and difficult to move a 5 month old around the course). Then we went the expo. From there I joined her in a team in training dinner on Sat night. Here is us that the TNT dinner the night before:
She stayed in my room and then we woke up at 3:30am to get ready for the shuttle at 4am. Early, early, early. I still don’t understand the reason to leave at 4am. But, that was the TNT plan so I just went along with it (I stayed in the same hotel as my sister with the TNT people and they had it all planned out).
Here we are on the bus:
Soon I was off and running. The weather was okay to start. I thought it was humid, which caused me to sweat a lot. I started off though with a solid pace, about 9:05mm. I kept that up for about 5/6 miles. I had to slow down because I had to use the bathroom. And, I mean I had to use the bathroom ASAP. I found a pp. By the time I was up and running my avg pace was down to 9:15mm. I decided just to keep that pace and see how I felt at the halfway point instead of trying to make up the time now.
However, come mile 9/10, I had to use the bathroom again. Again, this was not optional. I had to find a pp. I did and when I got through the line and out of it, my avg pace was over 9:30mm. I knew that under 4 was not likely now. I thought I had to keep a better pace to have a shot.
So I just tried to relax and enjoy the race.
But, then the sun came out. I am not a strong runner in the sun. It gives me a beating. Miles 7-10 were an incline and then we had to deal with the sun. By mile 16 I was spent. My avg pace was still about 9:30, but I was baked. I gave in and started walking to gather myself.
Lucky for me, I saw someone I run with in the bay area. Among the 25K or so runners, I noticed her pass me (I think I had started running again, but slowly). I caught up to her (actually ran faster). She was surprised to see me. We talked and she gave me a second wind.
She was struggling with the heat as well and we decided to run to the aid stations and then walk through them as we dump water over our heads and refill our water bottles. That worked great. It kept me going. Although I hate walking, I felt okay walking through the aid stations. I also turned off my Garmin. I decided that I was going to finish this. It would not be my best time, but whether it took me 4 1/2, 5 or 6 hours I was going to finish. They had mile markers so there was no need to worry about how far I had to go. My pace would be what it is and I would finish.
My running friend started getting cramps and had to stop to stretch. I enjoyed running with her and felt she gave me a second wind so I stopped with her. She told me to go a head but I decided to wait. She stretched and then started running again. This was maybe mile 21 or so. I tried to slow down and stay with her. Eventually, maybe about mile 24, she fell off a bit and I kept going – I felt that I needed to since the heat was giving me a good beat down.
The last few miles were tough because it was hot and there was no shade. I saw people on the side. It is scary.
Finally I got to mile 26. The last .2 of the marathon was great. There were tons of people cheering you on.
Overall, it was a tough race for me. But, well worth it to experience with my sister. And, run not into 1 of my running friends from the bay area but another one (about mile 22). Then, all three of us ran into each other after the finish line. Oh, and my time was 4:21:11
Here are some pictures (some of my other sister and both my sisters kids supporting my sister who ran the half):