This past weekend I participated in my first Rock and Roll Marathon. Let me first clarify that I did not run the 1/2 nor the full marathon rather the Half Relay
A little background on this little adventure was that I had orginally planned on doing a 1/2 marathon I had only been running regularly since May. I did not want to go to such an event on my own so I asked my cousin who is very out of shape to run with me. He said we would not but he was willing to do the relay which be shorter and would be much more realistic for him to train for the shorter distance. All these plans were made in August so fast forward to to 11/13/2011 Race day!
Being that race time was at 7:30 pm and there would be 30k people trying to get one place at the same time I had to drag myself outta bed at 4:00 am I was anxious the night before and probably only had like maybe 4 hours of sleep not a good start. Headed out to my cousins house and picked him up at around 5:00 am and made our way downtown. It was pretty amazing to see the city that packed with at 6am on a Sunday. It made me pretty happy that so many people would get together for such an event in a city like San Antonio who is constanly voted in the top 10 of fattest cities in the USA.
Getting to the starting arear I would never say the starting line I found my corral. Dont know what was up with me and everyone there that day but I felt like I had to pee non stop but judging by the lines to the bathroom I was not the only one who felt that way it was pretty ridiculous.
The enviroment was amazing! There was music tons of pink beachballs being thrown around by the crowd of thousands. everyone was pretty friendly, which was not a suprise it usually is when everyone is in one spot for the same reason.
Start time approached after the national anthem. The first corral went out about 7:35. It took about 20 minutes before it got to my corral. I had no idea why I was nervous I was only gonna run 8.1 miles. I had run more in the past on my own maybe it was the pressure of the time being recorded who knows? I had boxed before been in a couple of MMA bouts and did other combat sports and I had a similar feeling in my gut as I approached the start it was a feeling I missed. And it built up every after every corral was called out. I could see the crowds mood change too it was still fun and positve but the chatter amongst everyone was a bit more nervous. Its pretty funny that none of us had a chance of winning but I guess more about competing with yourself. I kept telling myself when its time to go to ease into to my run to stay about 30 seconds slower than my race or fast pace. And I could not believe how hard that was when it was our turn our corral took off it was hard to go slow. The energy with all those people running close together was overwhelming. It was not til maybe half a mile when our group started loosening up and we started to blend in with corrals that went before us. My first mile I felt really strong and loose which was suprising since I did not have a warmup run I had no time nor was there much room to do so and usually the first mile is my worst. By the time I hit the first marker I check my watch time and it was 8 min which was much faster than I had planned on. Mile 2 went pretty much the same even better I felt a bit warmed up and approached the first water stop and a port o potty( I was willing to sacrifice a few seconds off my time and did not want to get a citation) ! After water and relieving myself I took off again.
The next sign was a 5k sign rather than a 3 mile sign my watch time was 29.59 not bad since I took a health break I could have had a new PR for the 5K but thats not what I was here but I was pretty happy with my performance thus far.
In Miles 3 thru 5 I turned it down a bit I tried to keep a decent pace a bit below the first 5k. I felt really relaxed this part of the race while running through one of our cities historic neighborhoods. There were quite a few residents outside cheering us on holding up some funny signs some which read :
"Worst Parade Ever!"
"Have you Seen My Sister"
"Your all African to US!"
Those were both funny and encouraging . There also was a carb loading station which were shots of beer and donughts.
Passing mile marker 6 is when the sun decided to show up it had been cool and foggy all morning and now it was sunny and humid. During this mile is when humidty started to take its toll on the runners. During the morning it was about 63 degrees outside so many of the runners were dressed for a cold run what I heard later was that it shot up to close to 80 degrees. I did see a few people get carried off and I am glad to say me and my partner agreed to tough out the cold and run in short sleeves and I am gald I did. I had been training in cold weather with short sleeves and found that as the time progeresses I heat up either way. The other thing is Texas weather is terrible we can freeze one night and go back to 80 degerees a day or so later! And later I found out that someone died at the finsh line due to heat stroke.
Approaching Mile 7 I felt like I was in auto pilot and felt pretty comfortable although I was hot and drenched(thank god for GU and salt packets maybe the beer). I started playing a game to catch the runner in front of me and pass them up. It made the mile go by quick I had pretty much stopped looking at my watch and now I was just having fun I saw a few people at the gym and made a couple more friends while on the road. During this time I was getting near to the end and I was looping back around to downtown back to the hoopla of the race! I knew I was close to the end I picked up my pace quite a bit to a point I felt a little uncomfortable. The crowd was much bigger and louder and I felt really encouraged when I saw the mile 8 Marker. When I saw the sign for the relay exchange I broke into a sprint had a bit of trouble finding my cousin who waited at the end of the exchange so i had to run a bit more to hand off the baton to him. My end time was 8.1 miles in 1h 19 m on my watch I was pretty happy with that being that I still weigh over 200 ilbs and I have only been running less than year. Our overall time was 3 hours and 3 minutes. He told me he walked a few times but I understood he is a little more casual about his fitness.
Overall the race and the event was great! The rush at the start surreal and the whole event and festival was put together well. But by no means am I close to satisfied I signed up for the full marathon next year and the RnR Dallas 1/2 marathon this March. So I have my work cut out for me.
Please forgive me grammer and spelling I wrote this at work between tasks!