Last Sunday, I competed in my third half marathon—the San Diego Rock and Roll Half Marathon. I woke up super early, as we do for most big races. I meet my Team in the hotel lobby at 3:45 for a quick prerace team photo and we were off to the race. We rode a shuttle bus through the dark streets of San Diego to Balboa Park. Then we had a two hour wait for the race to start.
It is a Team in Training tradition at the night before the race the Team gathers and decorates their shirts together. I decorated my shirt with my name, and then the names of people I wanted to dedicate my run to. I dedicated my run to Dave, Scott, Emily and of course sweet baby Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn's mom always put the cutest, most girly bows in her hair. In honor of Kaitlyn, I wore a big purple bow in my hair during the race.
It was so nice having my Teammates there to wait with. We ate breakfast together, checked our bags together, stood in the long porta potty lines together and then waited in our corrals together. I like the corral system the RnR series used. There were 42 corrals, each starting a minute apart. Each corral felt special because they were sent off with cheers and a “ready, set, go”. This eliminated the bottle necks at the beginning of the race.
Once I crossed the finish line, I could think of nothing but getting water. I got my water and then my beautiful, shiny medal. The “finish line party” was like nothing I had ever experienced. There was a huge band stand with bands playing music. As I walked through the shoot, people kept handing me things. I got water, Gatorade, a Jamba Juice, a yogurt, every kind of fruit you can think of, tons of energy bars, chips…I could barely carry it all—until someone handed me a grocery bag to put it all in. I picked up my checked bag, checked in at the TNT tent and went to meet my Team for lunch.
My time for this race was about one minute less than my time at the Myrtle Beach Diva, so a PR for me. One experience that was truly unique in this race for me was the Team in Training coaches. Each chapter around the country brought with them a coach. The coaches were placed all along the course to help and encourage the Team in Training runners. Have a question, need support, need some GU, just need a caring friend? The coaches are there to help. They really helped me. For instance, on the killer hill on the 163, a coach was running up and down the hill chanting “shorter strides, deeper breathes”. It really helped me. My coach told us a story about a guy having a really tough time at mile 21. She ran with him and cheered him on up until mile 25. He finished the race because of her. Wonderful and dedicated coaches are just one of the many reason I love being part of Team in Training.
One thing I really liked about the Rock and Roll series was the organization. They had food and water for runners at the start. They had plenty of porta potties at the start, finish and along the course. The route was well marked. The finish line was also well organized and had plenty of food. The bands on the course were motivating. The bands were approximately every half mile apart, except for the part on the freeway. There were no bands there. I was not impressed with the course. Four miles of banked freeway was not for me. I expected to see more than one mile of ocean. Overall, I am very happy I got to be a part of this race. It was a great experience.
A dream is a wish…