Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Texas 2015

This is the last of my races for 2015 :( but I finished the year off happy--13 half marathons and 1 full marathon later. I've also run in 9 new states. Not a bad year! 
As I'd mentioned Martina is going to a conference in San Antonio, Texas this week and when I found out that Rock n Roll had a race there, the weekend before, I decided to go. There are so many fun looking races in Texas that I could have done but this one was just too convienant to ignore. I really had zero expectations and didn't even look at a course map. 

The weekend turned out to be a nice mini vacation and the race was really fun too. We flew into San Antonio on Saturday and checked into the Menger hotel. This was Martinas conference hotel so we decided to stay there so she wouldn't have to switch hotels once the conference started. It's really old (like 1800s) and super fancy. Funnily enough Rock n Roll offered a better discount for it than the conference...running wins! It's supposedly haunted with ghosts but I didn't see one :p 

After checking in we went to find the expo and of course I quick marched us over a mile in the wrong direction. I was so mad at myself because I knew Meb was going to be at the expo at 1pm for a half hour and I'd missed him! Turns out he stayed almost an extra hour and I kind of pleaded with the guy controlling the line to let me be the last to see him. I got to meet him and he signed my bib. This was my first encounter up close with someone famous that I admire. Turns out my fan girling makes me quiet and look scared, ha ha!  Kara Goucher and Lauren Fleshman were running the half but I didn't see them at all...maybe it's just as well, I'm not sure my nerves could take it.

Besides meeting Meb I got my bib and t-shirt. The t-shirts (Brooks womens cut) were tiny. Normally for women's sizes I always get a medium, some are very loose, some are a nice fit but this one can we say it was highlighting my muffin top a lot. Martina changed my tshirt for me at the race (not offered at the expo), while I was running, for a large and it gave me a small bit more room but not much. Other than that it was nice. 
The rest of the expo was large and I noticed a new vendor at this one (specifc to San Antonio)....Seaworld. I saw free sunglasses first and then walked away when I realized who was handing them out. They had two penguins there in a glass box (for how long..who knows?) and were letting everyone and their mother crowd and touch safe and not stressful for the animals, right. Sorry I hate them a lot, they are so shady!

Enough ranting...the race! The next morning the race started near the Alamodrome (sports arena). The holding area was a big open parking lot with lots of port a potties and stands with fruit and water. Leaving the hotel I had a few sips of coffee and at the start I grabbed a banana as I was hungry. Ice cream for dinner the night before was probably not the best race prep ever. The race started at 7.30am, for me really 8.30. I like when time changes work in my favor. 

The race had 32 assigned corrals (self enforced) and I was in corral 7. Right around the 2 hour pacers. I felt very stiff all week, especially my shoulders but I thought if I felt good running I'd run with them for a while. It took about 5 minutes to get across the line and Meb was there giving out high fives (and at finish). 
The weather was really nice, cold enough to run but I didn't need gloves or a hat. It took me the first couple of miles to warm up but I clung to the pacer and that got me into a rhtymn. Eventually I felt like the pacer was forgetting his job. One minute he'd run a normal pace and next thing I'd look at my watch and see 7.xx and it felt like it too (not just wacky gps). He was hitting the average time bang on for the miles but not at an even pace. I knew that would kill me so I just let him go and I trod on by myself. 

Miles 1-5 of this race are nice and flat but the middle section is hills. Including one long sucker near the zoo. I'm glad I've been including a few big hills regularly in my training runs. For the steepest section of the long one I walked but ran all the rest. The long hill was lined from bottom to top, almost half a mile, with spectators cheering at the top of their lungs and high-fiving their hands off. So it was pretty fun despite the hills. The last few miles the race flattened out again thank goodness. The hilly section gave me two very slow miles but I still felt good coming out of it and I made up my time on the back half of the course. 

I felt good through the whole race. My shoulders were tight (but they were very bad before the race) and my hamstrings tightened up but I wasn't in any pain and the pace remained easy enough throughout. The only place I ran into trouble was at the start of the last mile when I got a few stop in your tracks stomach cramps. That last cup of gatorade or the fact that I wanted to up the pace for that mile was too much. I slowed down to let my stomach calm down and was fine for the last half a mile. 
I finished in 2.02. I'm thrilled with that, a definite improvement in the last two months. I'd like to knock a few more minutes off that at a relatively easy pace before trying for a PR but I feel like I'm getting back to me. 

As usual for Rock n Roll they had a ton of drinks and food at the end. Nothing very substantial but enough to hold you over til you get a decent breakfast. I made my way through the crowds, found Martina and waited around 15 minutes for a free massage. I'd had enough of my shoulders and neck so it was worth the wait. The massage lady had a strong accent (in my head German..prob not though) and boy was she good. She kept commenting on how tight my shoulders and left hip were and asking me if I had back pain. When I said no, she said I probably should?! She was very strong, pushing so hard she was lifting me and the table at times. My entire upper back cracked as she was pushing down along my spine (into table and towards my butt), exactly what I needed and my shoulders felt better than they had all week!!
 Sadly she could only work on me for 5 minutes but I have a longer massage booked for Thursday so I'm looser before the long flight to Ireland.After that it was just the usual shower and breakfast routine before enjoying another couple of days of visiting San Antonio.

The race was very well organized. The expo was good, medal was nice and course support was great. I don't think other than running past the Alamo the course was very unique to San Antonio, if you like the novelty factor, but it is such a fun city to visit so I'd recommend this race for a fun weekend away if you like to travel.


  1. Great race! And I am happy you have another massage booked - sounds like you really need it!

    So awesome you got to meet Meb! It looks like I get to go to an event with him next Monday! Yay!

    That is so lame with the penguins there. NOT COOL>

    1. Yeah I do, the flights back to SC didn't help but I have a couple of easy weeks ahead workout wise and once I'm home with my parents (hello anxious traveller) I'll relax so they should relax a bit too:)
      He was soooo nice even though he was obviously tired and I just stared at him like a complete dope. You should try meet him!!
      Yeah everything I've heard about Seaworld is just not good im shocked that they are still in business.