Monday, December 14, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Weekend Recap!

You know the saying, "Everything's bigger in Texas"? I would say it's definitely true of the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio race weekend. Everything from the expo to the races to the finish line festival were bigger and better than most other races I've done!

Mom and I flew to San Antonio early Friday morning. To make our 6:25am flight, I had to get up at 2:15am. Yuck!!!! When planning the trip, it seemed like it would work out okay to travel the day before the 10k race but in hindsight it would have been better to travel on Thursday. Spoiler Alert: Traveling the day before the race killed my 10k effort. 

After arriving in San Antonio, Mom and I checked in at our hotel then got lunch before heading over to the race expo to pick up our bibs. I know I wasn't supposed to spend a bunch of time on my feet the day before a big race but by the time we walked around to get lunch, walked to the expo, walked through the expo, walked to dinner, then walked back to the hotel I was beat. I barely remember my head hitting the pillow before passing out. 

Mom and I wearing our new hoodies from the race expo!

The 10k Race
Out of the two weekend races, this one was my goal race. The one I've been training for these past few months. Normally I'm a ball of nerves on race morning but I was still feeling fatigued from traveling the day before so didn't have the energy to worry too much. Like a robot, I followed my pre-race plan. I lined up in my corral a bit on the late side but since the 10k was on the smaller side for a Rock 'n' Roll race it wasn't an issue. 

When the gun went off, I was excited to get going but could immediately tell I would likely not run my goal time in my tired state. I managed to stay on pace for Mile 1 but started slipping a bit during the next two miles and then slipped a lot in the fourth mile. By this point in the race, the runners had thinned out quite a bit and I found my motivation dipping. The only thing that kept me going during this mile was ... running with Santa. That's right. There was a guy dressed like Santa and trying to hang on to him was the only thing that got me through miles 4 and 5. Santa and I were pretty much alone during these miles of the race so I knew if I let him go I'd end up running completely alone - and would probably just get slower!

The tides finally turned and I was able to start pushing again and ended up running my fastest during miles 5 and 6. The race finished in front of the Alamo so I gave it one final push into the finish line. 

My race stats:

Time: 45:09
Pace: 7:16 min/mile
Gender Place: 12/1,460
AG Place: 3/230

I was disappointed to miss my goal time but knew I did the best I could given how tired I was from traveling. And much to my surprise, I PR'd! Granted it was only by a few seconds, but still a PR is a PR :) 

My hamstrings were super tight after the race so I wasn't sure how the 5k the next day would go. I told myself to enjoy the rest of Saturday and not think too far ahead. After all, the 5k was just a fun bonus race!

The 5k Race
Sunday morning came too fas. I was still tired when my alarm went off, but felt a bit better than I did on Saturday. On the walk over to the start line I could tell my step had a little more bounce than the day before. 

Prior to the race, I met up with a fellow Rock 'n' Blog team member, Margarita, who blogs at Cupcake Cardio. I was hoping to meet a few other team members before the race but had to get going to gear check and to line up in my corral. 

While Saturday's race was on the smaller side, Sunday's race was huge! Between the marathon, half marathon and 5k events there were 25,000+ runners. The start corrals stretched back as far as I could see and it took me a long time to get into my corral because of all the people.

This also meant it was very crowded during the first mile of the race (the marathoners, half marathoners and 5k runners run the same course through Mile 3). Initially I tried weaving around people but was adding a bunch of unnecessary distance and still not going very fast. So I decided to just settle in and see what happened. Since it wasn't a goal race I didn't really care too much that I was running a very slow-for-me 5k pace.

There were still tons of runners around me during Miles 2 and 3 but I had a little more room to pick it up and found myself running 6:44 pace for both of those miles. It was amazing. I couldn't believe I was running that pace after racing the day before but I was and I felt fantastic. The energy from the race was great and I loved having so many people to run with during these miles. I was actually kind of sad when the 5k race separated from the rest of the group after Mile 3 since it meant the race was ending soon. 

However I had little time to be sad because a girl I passed earlier in the race flew past me during the last 0.1 of the race. I didn't realize anyone was that close behind me so I had to react fast and kick my legs into high gear. It was a sprint to the finish line and as we crossed I wasn't even sure who finished first. We both barreled across the line so fast that we flew past the people handing out the finisher's medals because we couldn't slow down quickly enough. Haha. After catching my breath, one of the timer's came over to me and told me he had me finishing before the other girl by a hair. I guess it pays to lean at the finish line! 

My results:

Time: 22:12
Pace: 7:09
Gender Place: 3/1,339
AG Place: 2/176

Not the greatest race time but I was still pretty happy with my 6:44 miles and kick to the finish on tired legs. According to Coach Matt, it's an indication that I'm not even close to maxing out my 5k and 10k times yet so here's hoping for a strong 2016!

I would recommend the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio races to all runners. The events were super well organized, the courses were fast and the crowd support awesome. I had the best time even during the moments of struggle during the races. I'm sure I'll be back to race in San Antonio again :)

The weekend medals!

I opted to stay a few extra days in San Antonio after racing and I'm sure glad I did. The weather was perfect and I loved exploring the gorgeous River Walk area, visiting the Alamo and La Villita as well as eating all the delicious Tex-Mex and southern food. Also, Texas charm is a real thing. It seemed like everywhere I went people were offering up a smile and warm greeting. 

Here are a few non-running pics:

 My questions for you:
  • How do you balance taking in sights while traveling and conserving energy for a race?
  • Have you raced a Rock 'n' Roll event? If so, what was your experience?
  • Have you been to Texas? If so, did you also notice how friendly people are?

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

- ST

*I was given entry to the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio 10k and 5k races through the Rock 'n' Blog program however all thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. The only real travel (flight) race I have done is the Army 10 miler in DC. I ran it a couple times and it is an outstanding event with between 30,000 and 35,000 runners. It is put on by the Army and it starts / ends at the Pentagon. The atmosphere is highly charged on race day. Typically my wife and I will do some sight seeing the day before but we are back at the hotel rather early to rest up and get ready for the race. Washington DC is one of my favorite cities.

    I have been to Texas for a National Instruments convention one time and it was a good experience. However, mid August was very very hot in Austin area.

    1. And congratulations on your runs. Your 10k time is still faster than mine by about 5 minutes! :)

    2. Thanks Bob! I've heard great things about the Army 10-miler race - one of my coworkers was just telling me about her experience at the race! Sounds like a fun one!

    3. It was so nice to meet up with you! I always end up tired when traveling for a race. Still haven't figured out how to avoid that. I know you "should" do your sightseeing after but staying in the hotel room always seems like a waste of time.

      I second (or third?) Army Ten Miler being an awesome race. I've done dozens of races and it's still my all-time favorite.

    4. I agree - sitting in a hotel room when there are things to see and do seems like a total waste! I will have to check out the Army Ten Miler - sounds like a race to add to the Bucket List :)

      It was wonderful to meet you, too! Perhaps we'll get to meet up again at a 2016 Rock n Roll race!

  2. Wow you are FAST! :) I wish I was that fast. Congratulations on a great race!

    1. Thanks Emily :) Being surrounded by fast runners certainly helped at this one!

  3. Congrats on your races. Wow, you're speedy. You should be very proud of those times.
    San Antonio was such a cool city. I'm terrible for balancing sight seeing and running. I want to see it all if I've travelled to a destination so I am pretty much already running on tired legs.

    1. Thanks Jen - and congrats on your PR! I know exactly what you mean. Even on Saturday I knew I should have taken it easy before the second race yet found myself walking all around the Riverwalk and touring the Alamo. It's no fun traveling somewhere new and then sitting around a hotel room!

  4. Awesome job girl, wow both races amazing! Very cool about the 3rd place overall in the 5k, I had a feeling you'd do great in these races!
    I've done several RnR races, and your lucky you had a good placement, if you're in a middle corral like I usually am, there is absolutely nothing you can do to get to your normal pace for several miles until the herd clears a bit:)
    I used to race travel a lot, but I trained a little differently than many, I was still able to go out and get a few miles of hiking in the day before a race. I may take it a little easier, but when I race travel, I go to explore the place I am in as much as run the race I came to run. So in training, since I frequently did back to back marathons I just trained my body to preform these, which allowed me to not have to worry too much about spending energy the day before sightseeing:) I know weird, but it can be done:) Of course I wasn't aiming for 6:44 mile paces like you can do. Wow, you really did great, love the photos!!

    1. Thanks Kristy! Lol - I like your idea of training for both the sightseeing and the race. That's a new perspective and an idea I wouldn't have thought of myself :)

  5. Awesome job! Congrats on the PR, Sun :)

    1. Thanks Hyedi! It was a fun race weekend and the PR was just icing on the cake :)

  6. Great job on both your races! I us d to live in San Antonio on two different occasions and loooooved living there. The people and food are incredible. I'm excited to have my brother moving down there because I will fly down there just because of the food...oh, and him! Lol!

  7. Great job on both your races! I us d to live in San Antonio on two different occasions and loooooved living there. The people and food are incredible. I'm excited to have my brother moving down there because I will fly down there just because of the food...oh, and him! Lol!

    1. I bet it was a wonderful place to live! I know I definitely can't wait to go back for a visit :)

  8. Girl, you are FAST!!! Fantastic job on your races. I love San Antonio - especially the River Walk, and especially this time of year when it isn't 1,000 degrees outside!! So fun!

    1. Thanks so much! Early December was really the perfect time to visit. Low 40s during the races but then a warm up to about 70 during the days. I bet it is mega hot during the summer months!

  9. Yipee Sun! Congrats on the 10K PR and the AG placements. It was fun to see your insta posts when you were in San Antonio for RnR.

    1. Thanks Jenny - I had the best time in SA :) Congrats on your recent race, too!