The Morning After (13.1 Miles)

I’m jotting this down blearily as I spend Sunday night recovering from running in the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon. This is the third half-marathon I’ve run, the second in 2012, with 2 more to go (PLUS a Zombie escape fun run 5K thing later).

What have I discovered?

The San Diego event was huge. Not Big, HUGE! I think there were in excess of 25,000 people running here (it also had a full marathon component). So, I feel bad griping about some of the volunteer/layout issues, because this one was bigger than the others I’ve run in. Still, it’s hard not to complain when you approach a table for water and they kind of make eye contact with you, then turn away/don’t extend the cup. It’s hard enough to get my considerable frame up to speed (and I use the term “speed” here very generously), so having to slow down more than I already did to grab water, and sometimes having to stop altogether when someone decided to walk across the path, well, that puts a damper on seeing a time of 2:11.

But I had fun on the road, really I did! I turned in my fastest half-marathon yet! My goal is to get under two hours by the end of the year. I’m going to lay out my playlist highlights from this run, along with some thoughts about it.

The day before, the best of all possible omens. I met David Bowie’s Doggelganger on my way to pick up my stuff.

The Beginning:
Gear. This time, I wanted to look sexy and have less ache in my calves at the end and zero chafed/bleeding nipples (TMI, I know, but you should have seen me after the Pasadena run. I used a ton of BodyGlide before that event, and STILL I…you know what, scratch that, nobody should ever have to see something like that, let alone hear about it). So.
Compression gear! I had compression sleeves for my calves, a compression shirt to avoid chafing, and I’ve gotta say, that’s the way to do these long runs. No issues whatsoever.

We were led into battle by the Marine Corps Marching Band.

Everyone had the chance to put a custom name on their bib. Mine said Monkeywright, but some of the other runners were self-deprecating and fun:

Pre-race also looked like a triage unit, everyone getting last minute musclework done…

I rolled out to some fairly calm music…

The middle:
Things start to pick up after mile 4, time to focus on pace. I need music to keep my feet kicking, and I’m usually not a huge fan of mashups, but this did the trick:

Mile eight and my foot starts to get a weird twinge in it. The options are to pull over and stretch, or power through. It wasn’t too bad, but it was nagging, so I gave my foot a pep talk. It went something like this, where my brain was Mike “The Hulk” Easton, and my foot was scared straight:

Others on the highway weren’t so lucky. It turned into a rainbow shower of gatorade-colored vomit and people cramping up. I didn’t think the climb was that bad, but there were a lot of people falling out here.

The end:
The RnR marathon series is notable for having a local rock band/music group every mile or so on the course, and the selections here were great. Nothing was as awesome as the drum group coming off the freeway:

I never really get to hear the bands because I have my iPod going full blast. I felt them though, very cool. As for my playlist, I built it incredibly well. My power song to kick off the last three miles happened pretty much exactly when I needed it. If you’re not getting into Swedish  rap power trio HereComeHeroes, dammit you should:

This rolled into a string of victorious songs, notably YATTA, where I couldn’t stop myself from doign the little arm wavey dance during the chorus. Nobody cares about anything after mile 10, so you can feel free to act like a lunatic.

My iphone locator went dead, so my wife couldn’t see my approach (and later, it became a horrible mess of garbled texts and dropped calls trying to find each other). She didn’t see me coming because she was trying to simultaneously set up video, so I slowed down a bit and made a horrible face. The important thing is, she was there near the end, and it’s really the best thing in the world seeing her cheering me on, even if she didn’t quite get the picture she wanted.

The finish line was great, if a bit too crowded. People milling around, groaning, celebrating, seeking ice and medical attention. They feed you well and make sure you get water, gatorade and anything else you might need.

Off to medal engraving! I thought I’d call my wife so she’d kno where to meet me, but no dice. Text? No. Apparently Sea World exists in a black hole where no signal can escape.

The After Party:

We went for breakfast in Encinitas, but the highlight of going back to the hotel and cleaning up was meeting royalty. That’s right. THE Waffle King. I have been knighted in the carb kingdom.

Sir Waffle-ot am I.

No, YOU’RE a bad breakfast-themed royalty pun! I’m tired!

The collection grows…

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