Rock N Roll
It is impossible for me to report objectively on my San Diego Rock N Roll experience, so I won’t bother trying. Reporting subjectively will probably make for more interesting reading anyway.
The common school of thought that “2 nights preceding the marathon” are the most important for sleep (as is the diet); weighed heavily on my mind. The lack of sleep and discomfort following the long drive only aggravated matters.
We departed mom’s by 1 PM Saturday, (thankfully she made quick work of the two hour drive further south to San Diego); arriving just in time to witness John “The Penguin” Bingham of Runner’s World chair a Q and A session of famous athlete’s, most renown being Frank Shorter (winner of the Gold and Silver Olympic Medals in the 1972 (Munich) and 1976 (Montreal) Olympics).
I had met Frank at the Boston Marathon in 1992 (a photo of he and I adorns my wall)….his hair is a lot greyer now than when I met him those 14 years ago…but at least it exists… (Genetics took care of that in my case…)
There were quite a few anecdotes passed on during the session…the one that I appreciated the most was The “Penguin’s” relating a conversation with former marathon world and US Record holder Khalid Kannuchi. (He had run about at the time).
Bingham asked Kannuchi what was the longest period of time he had ever run for, to which Kannuchi replied: “Well I suppose my slowest marathon, just over 2 hours and 9 minutes.” Khannuchi than asked Bingham a very similar question: Bingham responded “a marathon once took him well over 5 hours.” Khannuchi responded Bingham was amazing, and he didn’t know how he did it!
After the guest speaker session I departed to pick up my race number, my first “major” indication that my association leading up to and beyond this marathon would be atypical. Despite having registered in February, there was no record of my entry into the on the pre-printed roster of tens of thousands. A thorough computer query at the trouble desk only revealed that I was registered for October’s inaugural Rock N Roll San Jose half marathon.
Fortunately, I maintained my demeanor, rather than verbalizing what I was thinking (“don’t tell me I reregistered for this race more than 4 months in advance, drove 700 miles and got 5 hours sleep to be told I am going to have to pay an additional $120 day of expo entry…!”) Eventually I was issued a replacement number delineating the number of registrants to that point), and the dilemma was resolved.
We got a hotel
about 40 minutes south of
Since the start and finish are not extremely far apart, I got the experience of riding with an interesting group of back-of-the packers and late arrivals who seemed to think I was over concerned about my tardiness considering I possessed what I was informed was known as a “chip” that would track my personal time… (These folks obviously knew I wasn’t a maniac being adorned in a tropical shirt, (out of maniac yellow and black uniform (again).
If there was one race I didn’t have to worry about missing the start, I supposed this was it. Arriving at the start line officially 15 minutes after the gun fired, I still gauged about 3,000 runners waiting to cross from their assigned corrals at the very back. A fiery announcer blared the rock group AC DC as the last of the running crowd rocked past the starting line, and more than 25,000 official runners, billed as the world’s 9th largest marathon, were off and running.
From the start I
knew I should just concede my goals for a fast time and run the event socially,
but I somehow refused, zigzagging past and through the extremely crowded
surface streets of 12-15 minute milers at a 7:45 pace for the first 12 miles,
until the field finally thinned out,
by which time I burned out by
attrition like a fiery comet, which eventually parlayed into an over 4:10 event
for me. It was a fascinating experience chatting with the many charity and
first time runners.
Along the way to my personal implosion, I was probably entertained better than almost any marathon I can recall by everything from Reggae to rock to rap, my personal favorite bands played the “classic rock” music from the 80’s which included music by Journey, and U-2, while the Stray Cat’s buoyed me across the parade deck and to the finish line at the US Marine Corps Recruit Depot, an especially moving moment for me.
I had passed through the Marine Corps Bases doors in 1984 when I went through USMC basic training, and after recently retiring after 20 years in the Army it was like coming full circle where the military started for me some 22 years ago. I observed groups of Marines marching, and recalled with fondness the water under the bridge.
I found the entertainment associated with the course to be the most appealing aspect of though the miles we got to run on the freeway the course the unique.
Not the consummate scenic course, there were residential neighborhoods, buildings, and palm trees, but we couldn’t observe the ocean clearly through the smog. It was fun running past and observing the humungous Navy ships docked in port, and I made sure to run in the furthest lane out regardless of the so-called “tangent dividend. After all, how often does one get to run (North) on the South Bound lane of a 4 lane south bound freeway?
Maniacs Rock and Rolled through
“CJ Hollywood” (Chris)
Andre Boulais 3:
Deo Jaravata 3:52:45
Eddie Hahn (author) 4:
Tom Karpowich 4:
Charles Sayles 5:44:12
Carol Dellinger 6:43:55
*All times denoted are “chip”