San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2012 recap

This was my first marathon, and I had only 3 weeks to train specifically for it. I had built a pretty good base though, and the run is my strongest discipline. However, on my first attempt at a long run I hurt my right foot, and had to train on the track for the rest of the 2 weeks to let it heal.

However, the foot healed up and I was showing a pretty steady improvement on the track. I felt that I can probably maintain 8:30 min/mile without any issues. Then my team mate/co-worker Dave challenged me to beat his old 3:39 time from 12 years ago. I looked it up and felt that I could do that. My strategy was simple - find a 3:40 pacer, run the pace until mile 23, then hammer out 7:30 min miles til the end of the race.

Carb loaded the previous night - pasta torpedo and 2 beers! Got up at 4am, showered, ate a PB&J sandwich and a banana. Stretched and was out of the door to catch a ride to the shuttle area. Walked a little more before the gun went off, stretched, took some photos and joined my corral.

The race started and I ran somewhat slower for the first 2 miles to get the legs going. Then I sped up and started looking for the 3:40 pacer. Caught him at mile 4 and ran behind him. Then we started climbing the freeway, and at mile 8 or so I really needed to go potty. I was running in a super compact group, and for some reason I got squeamish about peeing on the run. Saw an open portapotty and jumped in. When I got out, I had to again speed up to catch my pacer. Caught him at mile 11. From there, the group started to fall apart, and by mile 18 it was just 5 of us running with him. My body felt great, with just some minor twinges in the right hammy. However, I kept taking a GU every 5 miles, and 2 Endurolytes every 5 miles starting from mile 12.5. I also drank at every station - both water and gatorade, so I was plenty hydrated.

Now at mile 19 I started doing calculations in my head, and it really started to look like we would be coming in at more like 3:45. I asked the pacer, and he confirmed that we would be looking at 3:46 or so. I was really pissed. I had to 7 miles to go, and now had to hammer out 7:25 miles to hit my goal. Nothing to do, but get at it at that point.

By now, we were running the bike/rollerskate path, and I actually ran 7:19 miles until we hit Fiesta island. For some reason, from there I could only squeeze out 8:00 min/mile run, and by the end of the island I was closer to 8:10. I was thoroughly disgusted with myself. Coming off the island, I sped up again and saw my cousin yelling at me to sprint to the finish. However, by then it was too late and I was just trying not to let it creep into the 3:43 territory.

I should have ran my own pace! 3:40 pace was too easy, and I should have aborted the plan, and run 8:15 miles from mile 10. It was totally doable, and with any kind of marathon experience I would have adjusted accordingly. Oh well - next time! Walked around, ate free grub, drank water and G2, enjoyed the eye candy around me. Met my cousin, changed out of my sweaty/stinky clothes and went back to the hotel. Hit an In'N'Out on the way back - it was nice!

Lack of experience showed. I think that I can break 3:30 next time, and perhaps even push further.

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