Monday, August 17, 2009

You stay classy, San Diego (Race report)

Ah, San Diego...Discovered by Germans in 1904.

If you don't know where that is from, shut down your computer right now, go to Blockbuster and rent Anchorman. Then come back and read the rest of my blog.

Where was I? Ah yes...San Diego.

I was in the wonderful city this weekend for a race appropriately titled, "America's Finest City Half Marathon". Never one to disappoint, San Diego delivered a great weekend and an even better race.

My alarm went off at four-$%#@&*%-fifteen a.m. so I hopped out of bed and into my racing clothes and was quickly out the door. I had to be at Balboa Park before 5:30 to catch the shuttle bus to the start of the race, which was at the beautiful Cabrillo Monument. By the time the race started (7am) I was ready to go back to sleep. Thankfully, the sound of the gun woke me and we were off and running. About a half-mile in I could feel my calves burning...apparently one day off was not long enough to rest my hill-beaten legs.

Two miles in, my legs were still burning, but I noticed the most incredible sensation...we were starting to go downhill. My legs caught a break as the rest of my body did it's best to try and keep up. This lasted for a few glorious miles, which served as a catapult of sorts, launching me into a quick and comfortable pace for the rest of the race.

Floating along at my fastest-ever pace, I saw the friendly 10-mile marker. Relieved and conscious of my PR(personal record)-setting pace, I began to calculate how much energy to use over the last 3.1 miles...that's when it hit me. My whole right side cramped up.

"C'mon, you whimp, its only been ten miles", I thought to myself as I tried to stretch while running (hope they didnt get pictures of that, probably looked like a dying quail). But eventually the cramp caused me to stop briefly and stretch. As frustrating as this was, I knew I still had a chance at an excellent time and I resolved to push myself as hard as I could the entire rest of the way.

The cramp subsided minutes later and I was back on pace...then I saw 6th Ave. For those that are unfamiliar, 6th Ave. runs downtown and takes you up to Balboa Park. UP. I knew the finish line wasn't far beyond the top of the hill, but I couldnt see the top of the hill from the bottom. I put my head down and pushed myself, picking out other runners to try and pass. After what seemed like forever, I reached the top of the hill and turned to enter Balboa Park.

Entering Balboa Park, the course was lined with American flags and screaming spectators, what more motivation could you ask for? I kicked it into high gear and sprinted the last quarter mile leaving everything I had on the course. 1:39:29. I had beaten my previous personal record by 18 minutes. I love San Diego.

I'll be back next year to try and shave off that 9:29. In the meantime, you stay classy, San Diego.

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