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 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!
I was pretty happy with my 6:44 miles and ability to 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!
*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.