Rock ‘n Roll San Diego Race Review


For the second of my back-to-back races last weekend, I ran the Rock ‘n Roll San Diego half marathon. If you would like a more in-depth look at the self-titled #Fontana2SD challenge, search #fontana2SD on social media. This year was my fourth consecutive participating in the event – three times at the half marathon distance, once at the marathon distance – making it the most repeated race I have done.

Expo: A

All of the Rock ‘n Roll marathon expos have the same feel to them and I am sure that is not by accident. With the San Diego edition being one of the largest in the marathon series, it makes sense that the expo would be large as well. And it was. Lots of vendors are spaced out over lots of space in the convention center making packet pick up and any additional shopping a breeze. You will have to navigate the expo vendors even if you are just picking up your bib though because of the “one-way” traffic flow.

Prerace/Postrace: B

Another point-to-point race but this time if you want to utilize the shuttle service it will cost you an additional $5 per person. With so many races offering free shuttle service, it is hard not expect the same here especially given the fact that there are not many hotels near the starting line but too many to count near the finish line. This race makes every attempt to seed runners in corrals based on time and while it is done on the honor system, I find most people play by the rules.

The finisher’s chute was very long and even more crowded than in previous years. The race finished at a new location with better access to the ocean but getting out was a daunting task. While in the chute, runners are offered multiple options of beverages and snacks – so much so that I feel they are one of the best in this area. Once free from the chaos, there was a very large party in full swing. Rock ‘n Roll does a good job of getting acts to play at their after-race concerts and this was no exception.

The Course: A

The only thing which keeps this course from getting the top score is the lack of a run along the ocean. Being in San Diego, one would expect to spend some time along the waterfront but it is not there for the half marathon. (When I ran the full marathon in 2014, there was a segment along the ocean.) The course takes runners through historic commercial districts as well as neighborhoods with charm. The residents of the city come out for the event with unofficial aide stations – offing everything from Red Vines, to Gummy Bears, to tequila shots – adding to the vast amount of water stops along the way. There are several smaller climbs and downhill segments to keep runners focused on the task at hand but nothing overly challenging.

The Medal: B

The medal is on the smaller side for races of this size and price point. Other than the size, the design is nice and a good representation of the course and the city.

Overall: A

There is a reason I have participated in this event each of the past four years. From the expo, to the route, to the medal, to the post-race festivities, this event is positioned well for newer and highly experienced runners alike. If you sign up early, or catch one of the many discounts during the year, it is one of the better bang-for-your-buck races out there. A bit of warning for those who find themselves waiting until the last minute to sign up, the entry fee can get pricey as race day nears.


*Full disclosure: I am a member of the 2016 Rock ‘n Roll Rock ‘n Blog team. As a part of my involvement, I am gifted free entry into all Marathon Series races. However, no additional compensation was provided and the views expressed in this review are my own.


Week Three: Seawheeze Training Recap

Three weeks into my Seawheeze training and I am FINALLY starting to feel good about my running. I am remaining disciplined and not trying to run fast but in all honesty, I do not feel like my body has any speed in it at the moment. It does not bother me though because I do not want to risk injury by going too fast, too early. For the week, I logged 23.43 miles.


IMG_1335This was an emotional run because it came on Memorial Day. The route I ran took my past a cemetery which had erected a huge American Flag display on its grounds. Apparently, this is an annual event because there were numerous vehicles circling the property. A 30-minute run the first two weeks of training, this easy run bumped up to 35 this week.


I am now a believer in yoga as part of running training. This practice is from the Seawheeze app and really geared toward runners. It is a very simple 40-minute session but I feel like it has really helped erase all the pains I was having in my leg when I embarked on this training program. It is posted on YouTube and can be found here.


IMG_1334The speed-work day of the week yet I decided to just log the time. My leg is feeling much better now but I do not see the need to push my training just yet. There are still several weeks to go before the race, no need to risk injury here. It turned out to be a fun 35-minute run along the beach with Andrea.


For the second week in a row, I skipped cross training today. In my defense, I had been unsuccessfully  fighting off a cold and was feeling really drained. I was leaving town Friday after work and needed to pack. I know I am lacking in core strength so I have to get better about doing this workout.


This was my first deviation from the training program. The app called for a five-mile run but since I was in San Diego for the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon, I opted for a three-mile shakeout run with my friends at PRO Compression.


photo credit: Ivie
photo credit: Ivie

This was scheduled to be a 20-minute easy run but I was signed up for a half marathon so I ran that instead. I was pleased with my effort here as I had not gone out for more than four miles in several weeks. I could tell my stamina is lacking because I would have been more comfortable walking a lot more than I did after mile eight but I pushed through to a 2:21 finish with minimal pain.

IMG_1323Last word: PRO Compression is giving away $150 Shopping Spree on their website. They are about to release their Fourth of July sock as well as their July sock of the month. I have seen July’s sock and while I cannot give away any secrets, it is going to be everywhere you look!

No, come at ME bro…


Two days. That is how long it took for it to set in that I am now officially a Marathoner. I had walked to a coffee shop in Marina del Rey Tuesday after completing the 2014 Rock ‘n Roll San Diego marathon and while sipping on my vanilla latte a big smile came across my face. It had finally set in. Not only did I complete my first marathon but I reached my goal of finishing in under four hours.

Race week I reached out to RunEMZ for some race-day advice. She had been with me throughout my 11 weeks of training and was my accountability partner. We exchanged emails to came up with a game plan since it was my first go at this distance. The plan was to run between 8:40-8:55 minute miles until mile 13 and then evaluate where I was and how I feeling from there to make sure I was not doing something I would regret in miles 22-26. From there until mile 21 keep the pace in the 8:30-8:45 range at which point I was going to have to dig deep and it would become an issue of how badly did I want my sub 4:00 finish.

I am so thankful for all my friends who were at the race because they kept my mind off what was about to go down as we took prerace pictures in the starting corral. It was also really nice to have James running with me. James is part of the Thursday Night Social Run club i frequently join. We have run several times and it was helpful to have someone familiar with me.

sa2lv member Wes who was also running his first marathon.

I knew I could run all 26.2 miles but my fear was I did not want to do something stupid during the first 4-5 miles of the race which would prevent me from reaching my goal. I did not want to go out too fast at the same time, I did not want to go out too slow either. So there it was, I was surrounded by friends, had a game plan, and was running with a friend. I was set up for success. All I had to do was execute, trust the training, and, most importantly, believe I could do it.

Mile 1 – 8:54
Mile 2 – 8:31
Mile 3 – 8:25
Mile 4 – 8:16
Mile 5 – 8:26
Mile 6 – 8:21
Mile 7 – 8:56
Mile 8 – 8:51

So far, so good. Mile 4 would be my fastest mile of the race but overall I was staying really close to the goal pace and was settling in for the long distance.

Mile 9 – 8:42
Mile 10 – 8:26
Mile 11 – 8:32
Mile 12 – 8:26
Mile 13 – 8:29
Half – 1:53

I was right were I wanted to be. I would be lying if I did not say when I crossed the track pad for the half that I was thinking how nice it would have been to be done with the run. But I was committed to the full at this point and had to get back to downtown somehow. I still felt really strong at this point and had built up a 7-minute cushion toward my sub 4 finish and was looking really good to hit my BHAG goal of 3:45.

Mile 14 – 8:34
Mile 15 – 8:34
Mile 16 – 8:41
Mile 17 – 8:50

In my training runs, mile 16 is where I started to loose my ability to hold the pace I needed to reach my goals. By this point I had built up almost a 9-minute buffer toward my desired finish time. I sent EMZ a text at mile 17 to update her on my progress and she said I was right on pace. But the race was just beginning.

Mile 18 – 8:44
Mile 19 – 9:03
Mile 20 – 8:57

At this point I was 2:53 minutes into my run, owning the course, and all that stood between me and the finish line was the most insane hill.

This hill was so bad, it talked smack.

Mile 21 – 9:24
Mile 22 – 10:06

Both these miles were the same hill. It absolutely wore me out. I refused to walk any part of the course and there was no relief from the beating sun out on the open road. It was at this point I felt the hopes of a 3:45 slip through my grasp. I was exhausted.

Mile 23 – 9:42

I sent EMZ a text at this point telling her I was fading fast. I had just passed a water station and was already thirsty again. I needed water in the worst way. It was a horrible feeling to know I had just downed two cups of Gatorade and a cup of water and less than a quarter mile later was in dire need of fluids. I became a slave to my watch. All I could think was, “how quickly did I need to go to make it home in under four hours?”

What goes up, must come down and from this point on, the course was all downhill. My goal in sight. All I had to do was avoid walking and not let my miles take longer than 10 minutes but that would be easier said than done.

Mile 24 – 9:46
Mile 25 – 9:22

I was 1.2 miles away from my goal and getting back to sub nine-minute miles was not possible but I did not need sub-nine minute miles, I just needed to hold on to what I had been doing.

Then at around 25.5, my right hamstring cramped. Panic quickly set in. I stretched it out and started to run again only for it to cramp up again. I looked at my watch and started to formulate an emergency plan if I could not run and had to walk the rest of the course. I had about 14 minutes to get across the finish line. One more quick attempt to stretch out my hamstring was successful and I was off.

Once my agreed to cooperate, I knew I had it!


So many things were running through my head during the final stages of the race; how much I miss my dog and what I would give to have him at the finish line waiting for me, how I wished a friend of mine would reach out to me because I missed our friendship dearly, how lucky I am to have friends like EMZ, Pavement Runner, SeeSharpRun, and Lisa who never doubted I could be in this position just to name a few.

The crowd grew larger and it was wonderful to see some of my friends lining the course down the final stretch but this one last part, this part was for me. I did not cry nor do I really know what was going through my head. It was more like my life was racing through my head one scene at a time. All the happy times, all the sad times, and everything in between.

Truth be told, I do not remember crossing the finish line. All I remember was Chris at the finish line with a camera and pointing at me so he could take a photo. I walked up to him and gave him a hug. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion.

Taken :17 seconds after I crossed the finish line by @runWestin.

Mile 26 – 9:58
Finish – 3:55:19

So there you have it. My journey to 26.2 miles was complete. It was everything I thought I would it would be and everything I never expected it to be.


Going for Broke

photo 3 (1)

If you have been paying any attention to my social media outlets you no doubt know by now that next weekend’s Rock ‘n Roll San Diego is more than just a race. Next weekend is going to be my first attempt at running a full marathon.

Tomorrow’s scheduled 12-mile run will bring my 10th week of training to a close. I am using the Nike+ coach app and have liked its simple layout thus far and would recommend it to anyone looking to follow a training plan. Full disclosure, I have never followed any training plan so I have no idea how it compares to other products on the market. Sorry.

photo 4 (1)

This training has been one of personal growth for me. I can honestly say that I am not sure I have ever followed through on something so diligently as I have with my training. Because I have run so many half marathons during the past 10 weeks, I have not always followed the app to a “T” but I have met the weekly mileage each week.

I have taken a few of things away from my training that I would like to share.

photo 2 (1)

First, running stops being enjoyable after mile 16. It is not that I hit “the wall” at 16, rather that is when I start wishing everything in my body would go numb so it would stop hurting. I can honestly say, I am almost certain my legs continue to move out of habit at this point because my brain has shut down communication with that part of my body.

Secondly, my longest run of the program, 22 miles, proved to me that I can, without a doubt, finish a full marathon. Do not get me wrong here, 26.2 miles will not come easy for me but after my 22 mile run, I still felt like I had gas in the tank. This might be my biggest mental takeaway from the training.

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Thirdly, I enlisted an mentor to keep me accountable to my goal in RunEMZ. There have been PLENTY of days I have had zero desire to get out and run but knowing that I would be letting someone else down if I skipped a workout because, “I just did not feel like it” keep me honest.

So what is my goal? Obviously, finishing is my number one goal and plenty of people have told me to just let that be my goal for my first time out. But I am not wired like that. Remember when I said after mile 16 running ceases to be fun? Well in a similar fashion, I do not want to be running longer than four hours so my goal is to cross that finish line in less time than that.

Do I think my goal is realistic? Absolutely! Truth be told, if I were really setting this up as a goal by the rules I would set my goal time in the 3:40 range because that scares the crap out of me. I feel like anything under four hours is the easiest goal I can make and still be happy about.

photo 1 (1)

So there you have it. It is out for the world to see so there is no backing down now. There is nothing I can do at this point to change what is going to happen. At this point I have to “trust the training.”