Rock ‘N Roll San Antonio
Race report time!! Been a while since I’ve uttered those words on this site. But, as you know from last week’s post or my insta-tweet feeds, I have a racecation running recap from San Antonio to share.
First, a quick message:
“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘N Roll San Antonio marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
My original plan was to run the full marathon in San Antonio completing Texas on the 50 in 50 map. I’m not going to dive into injury details but being unable to run for most of 6 of the last 8 months derailed any attempt at another 26.2. Having lost the entire fall race season, including an agonizing decision to forego the Marine Corps Marathon, we decided to take the trip to San Antonio. We had the trip planned and booked several months ago and were ready for some race weekend fun and action. Ironically, even though I have represented BibRave since February, due to injury this would be the first official race that I would run as a BibRave ambassador. It would be my sixth Rock N Roll event.
This was a relatively simple trip for us logistically flying direct from Seattle late Friday morning. After the 2 hour time change and cab ride we were at our downtown Marriott around 6pm. With the race on Sunday, we headed out to explore the beautiful downtown River Walk area, made even more spectacular with the holiday lights. A great Tex-Mex dinner with a couple of beers and long island teas, rounded off travel day for us.
Rock ‘N Roll Expos are renowned for their scale and variety of vendors and San Antonio was no exception. There were lots of friendly volunteers and no lines at the packet pickup stalls. Being registered for the full and knowing that finishing the half would be an accomplishment, I stopped at the solutions desk for guidance. As the half and full race courses were the same through 12 miles I was able to keep my full registration and corral. I could leave it to mile 12 on race day to decide.
The Henry B. Gonzalez exhibition center was a casual 10 minute walk from our hotel. We spent an hour or so picking up a few souvenirs and additions to the running gear inventory before heading further along the River Walk for coffee and a late lunch. Brisket enchiladas, seriously wow, and perfect pre-race fare, right?!
I often find that race day logistics are easier when running an out of town race. Usually, we are at a hotel within walking distance from the start/finish. This also affords us the hotel facilities and a not-quite-so-crazy early wake up call. San Antonio fell into this category for us. Our hotel, along with many listed on the website, were all within proximity of the start line.
There were four BibRavePro’s at this event and we got to meet Kolbe from Dallas pre-race. Unfortunately, our other BibRave rep, Sarah was held up getting to start so didn’t make our pre-arranged meetup…next time, Sarah! After our quick visit and photo-op, we all headed to our starting corrals.
Having registered for the full with a targeted PR time of 3:50, I was assigned to corral 4. And, credit to the organizers they were actually enforcing the corral assignments…thank you! Even so, being such a large event the corrals were packed shoulder to shoulder. I only had to wait maybe 5-10 minutes after the national anthem before I was crossing the start line.
Seemed like it had been forever since I ran period and I felt the adrenaline surge as I crossed the start line timing mat. But, with my last long run being 3 months prior, my expectations or hopes were purely to finish. I knew a DNF was a distinct possibility, even if I took it easy, as I really had no idea how my back would hold up.
After running the first mile at almost “what I used to be able to run” pace I settled into a run/jog/walk pattern. As mentioned, this was a big race with thousands of runners. But, with the wide Texas streets of San Antonio, I never really felt crowded in for any length of time. The aid stations were plentiful, well stocked, and lined deep with well-wishing volunteers.
The Middle Bit
Around mile 4 the light fog that we had been running through dissipated and made way to a torrential downpour. Tropical driving rain lashed us and within 5 minutes we were soaked to the skin with water seeping from our shoes. Rain continued for another 20-25 minutes with parts of the course turning into urban streams. Having arrived on Friday night to almost 80 degree temps, I wasn’t complaining about the rain cooled air. However, being drenched so early would present a challenge.
As for my back. Well, it started firing pain on me around mile 2 or 3. I knew it was going to happen but I figured as long as I could keep it manageable I would keep going. Around mile 8 or 9 my left foot had gone completely numb and I was seriously starting to hurt from lack of training. But, it was an almost hurt so good dichotomy and I wasn’t stopping.
I continued my slow pace. In agony during my walk breaks, feeling better during the run intervals. Eventually, milepost 12 appeared and it was time to split. With my black bib designating me as a full participant, I got a couple sympathetic shouts of support from the full runners continuing the course. While physically I was at my limit and ready to head to the finish, I did feel a twinge of disappointment that I was not going to continue.
I hit the finish hard with an element of relief at completing my first race in almost 9 months. I had told Paula leading up to the race that a DNF after a couple miles would not be surprising. So, to make through 13.1 and add another half-marathon finish to the resume was a huge accomplishment. At least for this outing. Supplies were plentiful in the runner finish and recovery area. After gathering my RnR medal I grabbed some water, chocolate milk and snacks and headed to the closest place to sit. A wall in the La Villita courtyard where a pretty impressive band were rocking center stage. With my free beer in hand, I was well on the road to recovery. In terms of a race, I reported on my feeds it was my slowest, hardest, worst, and best half-marathon ever!
Oh, and the cause of my foot going numb wasn’t related to my back/nerve issue. During the monsoon the insert of my shoe had separated and crushed into a ball right below my toes, cutting off my circulation!
This was a big race with some stars from the running world. The women’s half was won by Olympian Desiree Linden and Meb Keflezighi was on hand as an ambassador to encourage all the runners.
Given the challenges I’ve faced this year this was a huge race for me and a great success. My final time of 2:46 was 62 minutes slower than my half PR of 1:44 and about 30 minutes behind my first ever half! But, that time is irrelevant. I loved this race. It allowed me to finish the year on a high and we had a fabulous time in San Antonio. Of course, I didn’t get my 26.2 for Texas, so we’ll be back y’all 🙂
I’ve really enjoyed just about all my RnR races over the year and I’m hoping that we return with BibRave at another rockin’ event next year.
Thanks to BibRave and the Rock N Roll Marathon series for allowing me to represent at this great race. And, thank you to all my family, friends, and the running blogging/social community for your great support and well wishes.
‘Till next time,
Run safe, run strong, run happy!