San Diego Marathon
The 3:30am wakeup call was a startling way to begin our
day on race morning. The hotel had arranged a shuttle service which was on a
first come first serve basis. The concierge told me that they would have five
shuttles starting at 4:30 running back and forth until the road was closed. Our
hotel was on the course and they expected the road in front of the hotel to be
closed from 6 to around 10:30 when all the runners had come by. Having the
shuttle option was great because then my Dad didnít have to hassle driving us to
the start. However for him to get to the finish line he would have to drive to
QUALCOMM Stadium, and then take the trolley to the Morena/Linda Vista Trolley
Station. From there shuttle busses would transport him to the finish. The race
started in Balboa Park and ended in Sea World. There was no parking at Sea
We arrived at Balboa Park and found a spot on the grass to sit. Big lights illuminated our waiting area and there were tents with bagels, bananas and water. It was fun to wait with my Mom and around 5:45 we went to her start corral. The street was lined with crowd barriers and there were signs 1-39 for all the corrals. At 6am I went to my corral and waited for the start. The corral system worked smoothly and I was at the starting line about 5 minutes after the race started. I thought that was great for a race with 30,000+ participants. As a point of reference, when I ran New York it took about 20 minutes for me to get to the starting line.
The first 6 miles of the race went great. The temperature was cool and the sky was overcast, perfect for running. I hit the 10K point at 59:36 which incidentally is the pace I need to go to qualify for Boston. Miles 8-11 have a big hill and somewhere around mile nine I pulled my right hamstring. Iím not sure how this happened because I took it easy going up the hill running and walking. But it did and it was painful. Suddenly my race changed. I now had to walk because it hurt and I remembered my coach Liz telling me before the ironman to set limits on my walking otherwise it would be a long night on the marathon course. That was a great strategy but around mile 11 it became painfully obvious that I was going to walk when my leg told me to and that was very frequently. I hadnít even made it halfway and at this point the reality of this hit me. A world of disappointment must have shown on my face as I walked because a man in the crowd looked at me and said ďHang in there lady, hang in there.Ē
I had a long way to go and I remembered my friend Rick sending out an email to Tonya and Drew last week before their 70.3 race and he said ďDeath before DNF.Ē (If you ever look at race results and see DNF this stands for did not finish.) I figured as long as the leg didnít hurt walking I was going to make it and I decided to think of it as sightseeing through San Diego. The course took us to some beautiful places. We ran past San Diego Padreís stadium, and at one point we ran through a park where a man was playing a huge outdoor organ with pipes as big as a two story house. I did some research and this is Spreckels Organ and its tallest pipe is 32 feet. The water view in Mission Bay was fantastic and we ran around Fiesta Island. The people were fun to watch and I saw a guy running in a diaper with a plastic blow up monkey on his shoulders.
The race was very organized and the aid stations plentiful. For me I kept pushing from one mile to the next. I tried to go as fast as I could and hoped I would finish in less than five hours. I ran until the leg forced me to stop and then I would walk, on and on it went. I wish I could tell you that I had some optimistic revelation but nope, I just kept going one mile at a time until I finished. I crossed the finish and I started to cry and choked that back. It wasnít because the leg hurt, it was because I was so happy that I finished. I did it.
My Mom had a great race. Mom loved all the bands on the course and told me that she tried everything they offered at the aid stations. She got a kick out of this group of guys dressed as women wearing wigs, skirts and outrageously stuffed shirts. Mom finished with a time of 5:55:04 and took second place in her 70-74 age group. And I since youíll ask, my time was 4:50:56 which is my slowest ever and this placed me 151 of 429 in my age group which surprised me. Now itís time to look ahead.