closing it out

Last year, Christine and I signed up to run the Seattle Rock 'n Roll half marathon.  She ran it.  I didn't (and here's why).  I had 6 weeks of PT for that injury and a several more of my own workouts before I was ready for these kind of distances again.

This year I ran a lot less miles than last year to make room for more cross-training.  For you non-runners, here's a typical half marathon training schedule.  That plan features 4 days a week of running a total of 19-34 miles/week.  Instead, I ran 2 days/week for about 10-20 miles/week.

My plan came to fruition today when I burned 1567 calories while completing the San Diego Rock 'n Roll half in 1:53:49 (8:41 pace)  I wasn't sure if I would crack the 2 hour mark since I've never run that far without breaks before.  (I actually did take a 1-2 minute port-o-potty break during the race.)  I didn't want to put pressure on myself and expected about a 2:05 finish.  So I was really surprised I was able to keep my speed up for so long.  At mile 12-ish some muscles really started to tighten up on me.  Therefore I wasn't able to kick it down to 7:30 for the last mile like I had planned.  Eh, that would have meant 1:52:40 or so.  No biggie.

OK, aside from times, how was it?  If you hang in running circles you will probably hear mixed reviews.  On one hand, the organization was great.  There was plenty of food, drinks, transportation, volunteers, signs, etc.  Getting there and especially getting out of there was time consuming but when tens of thousands gather that is going to be the case.

The route was not good.  That's going to be the biggest complaint you hear.  Maybe the full marathon was better (not much from what I heard) but our route was pretty dull.  Up the 163, down Friars road, more than once up a street and U-turn to come back.  There was a nice part through Balboa park but all-in-all you would never know you were in such beautiful city.  The 163 was especially boring - lots of uphill, no breeze, no bands and nothing to look at.

Like any race, the people made it so fun.  There were costumed runners a-plenty.  Some of my favorites were the pair of Elvises (Elvii?) that I finished right next to, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble and a running Turkey.  And then there were the crowds.  Lots of cute dogs, enthusiastic cheering, and of course wacky signs like "you inspire me, random person,"  "run like you stole something," "hurry, the beer is almost gone" and others.  Sadly I can't remember them all.

Groups of cheerleaders lined the streets too to try and keep us going.  There was the standard high school crews plus more adventuresome groups such as a superhero underoo-themed group and some guys in Hillcrest dressed in drag.  (It was more broad comedy than RuPaul as you'll see below.)  All were appreciated.  BTW, my favorite band was the Dirty Birdz and the Horn Starz.

It's all this stuff, plus the energy of endorphin-fueled runners that makes it all so fun.  If you've never run a race before, try a 5k sometime.  There are couch to 5k plans designed just for you.

As for me, the triathlon is next and this chapter is closed for now.  Enjoy my raceday photos!

This is how you train for the Rock 'n Roll race. People who sit near me at work know this shirt does not lie.

Corral 10 = me. Cracks me up that they are called corrals

The cross-dressing cheerleaders

A navy band

This guy was searching for every advantage he could get. Way to save those 25 feet!

I followed these orange folks for quite a while. They were easy to see.

The shoe dog makes an appearance in Balboa Park

Plenty of signage from Team in Training

Goodbye you crazy full marathon runners

All of these people had to look at my butt for miles

Whereas I had my own butts to look at. This is by far the best view on 163

The Big 10 aid station!  Go Bucks!

This guy was my twin. We had about the same shirt on, same body shape, same floppy hair and same pace until later when I left him in the dust ;)

Reunited with the other finisher from the Clubhouse