San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon – Race Report!!

Wow.  That’s what I keep saying over and over as I relive and keep thinking about this past weekend.  This is going to be a really long post!!  I’ll start at the beginning….

Friday couldn’t have come any sooner.  I know that all the ROHO’s were very anxious and excited to get this weekend going.  So when Friday FINALLY came along, we were more than excited.  We all took BART to the airport and got to ride the looooong train ride there together.  Lots of giggling, squealing and chattering as we got on our way.  Soon we were at the airport, checking in and flying high.  Virgin America is the BEST airline!!!  Loved the seat-to-seat chat for sure.

We made a mad dash to the rental car place, picked out our ride, then headed to our hotel.  A-mazing.  We had a two bedroom suite, complete with two bathrooms (mandatory with five chicks) and a full kitchen.  We did a quick dinner that night and then headed out to a fabulous wine bar in the Gaslamp district!

4620_1169285954356_1294178028_30474399_7250226_n[1]                                                                All dressed up!!

Saturday was Expo Day!  We all slept in for a bit, then headed to the biggest race expo I’ve ever been to.  All the freebees were awesome and I got new Recovery Socks.  They also gave us rad head bands that I’m obsessed with!

                                                          Aron and I with our headbands

Since I’m not too great at this blog thing, I didn’t really know many of the bloggers that the other ROHO’s were planning to meet.  However, it was really great to meet them and talk about the race and get excited for the marathon the next day!

4647_89258743305_518023305_1830132_7703173_n[1]                                                     Bloggers, tweeps, ROHOs!!

After the expo we did a little grocery shopping, hit up the hot tub and then went back to our room to relax.  It was the best night.  We all stretched, got our race gear together, and just talked.  I loved bonding with my girls and really talking about races, running, life, marriage, boys, EVERYTHING!  I heart these girls 🙂



My day began at 3:30 a.m.  The alarm went off and Aron and I just looked at each other and said “race day!”  I wasn’t too nervous, but definitely anxious.  We took our time getting up, getting ready and eating our pre-race ritual – English muffins, peanut butter and bananas.

Before I knew it we were off on the shuttle and headed to the start line.  We got off the shuttle and it was no joke, people were EVERYWHERE.  This was by far the biggest race I’ve participated in.  There were 20 something corrals and over 13,000 people.  Pretty crazy.  

All the ROHOs lined up in corral six.  My goal time was 4 hours, but I was really flexible with this time.  I knew that coming in under 4 was going to be pretty much impossible, but I just wanted to beat my first marathon time of 4:20.  After the national anthem, and a few good songs, all the ROHOs crossed the start line together!  It was a great feeling.


I started running with Aron and Danica, which ended up saving my life.  I knew the course was all downhill for the first few miles and I DID NOT want to start too fast.  Thankfully, Aron is the best pacer ever and kept me on a slower pace.  By mile 2, Aron looked at me and said, “I’m already hot and we’ve only gone two miles.”  The weather in downtown SD was really muggy and by the first few miles we were feeling it.  So, we stayed the pace.

Mile 1: 9:31
Mile 2: 9:17
Mile 3: 9:08
Mile 4: 8:43
Mile 5: 8:57

These times were a little slower than my intended goal plan of about 9 minute miles.  But, Aron kept reassuring me that a huge hill was coming and that we needed to conserve our energy.  I took a Gu at mile 4 with the intention of doing this every 4 miles.  True to the course schedule, a major hill greeted us from miles 7-10, and we were on the freeway, ugh!!

Mile 6: 9:02
Mile 7: 9:07
Mile 8: 9:07
Mile 9: 9:28
Mile 10: 8:51

By mile 10 I was in the zone.  I knew I needed to get going if I wanted to shoot for a four-hour marathon.  The course at this point was pretty good.  I loved all the themed water stops and spectator participation.  It really kept me going to see all the support and people cheering us on.  Miles 10- about 12 were all downhill along the freeway.  It was really exciting to run on a freeway, such a crazy experience.  It was here that I caught up to the 4 hour pace group and ran into Tara.  I got along side her and chatted with her a bit.  She really needed to pull over for a second so I just let her go and continued on the course.

Mile 11: 8:38
Mile 12: 9:17
Mile 13: 8:41
Mile 14: 8:51
Mile 15: 8:58

I kept taking Gu every four miles and picked the pace up to sub-9 minute miles.  I ran with the four-hour pace group through miles 12-23.  At miles 16 I remember thinking, dang, this thing is almost over.  And I was almost kind of sad.  I couldn’t believe we’d already covered 16 miles and I was feeling great.  Boy, did I have a rude awakening coming up…

Mile 16: 9:00
Mile 17: 9:13
Mile 18: 8:50
Mile 19: 8:58
Mile 20: 8:44

At mile 18 a little girl handed me a green Otter Pop – BEST race goodie of the day by far.  I was so hot that I had already started taking water cups and dumping them on me at every water stop.  I made it to mile 20 just around 3 hours and then I pretty much crashed. 

As anyone who has run a marathon can tell you, anything after 20 miles is just hard-core.  I felt my pace drift off after mile 21.  I started seeing people walking, stretching, crying, pulling over, laying down, sitting down – you name it.  People were hurting and crapping out.  I was hurting pretty bad and I started to definitely question my sanity.  Things like “Why am I doing this? I can’t keep going. Maybe I’ll just stretch for a little bit.” kept running through my head.  At mile 22.5 I had to pull over and stretch.  My lower back hurt, my legs were stiff and my feet were killing me.  I was in bad shape.  A really buff guy (and also pretty good looking I must say…what?  Just because I’m running a marathon doesn’t mean some of my interests diminish…) stopped to stretch with me.  We didn’t talk, but we looked at each other with that expression of “Yup, this is it.  Go big or go home.”  I was only stopped for about 30 seconds and continued on.

Out of all 26.2 miles, the last four were the most intense.  I really wanted to give up, but inside I knew I didn’t want to.  I dug really deep, deeper than I can even imagine.  I remembered seeing a sign around mile 5 that said “In the moments you want to quit, you will find what you’re really made of.”  I thought about that sign, I told myself that if marathons were easy, everyone would do them.  I told myself that I trained and trained hard and this was my day.  This was my time to race and race hard and not quit.  I would gain nothing from quitting, but I would have so much pride in the end.    

At mile 24 I saw my friend Danielle on the side lines.  We both screamed and she came out to run with me.  She grabbed my hand and told me I was amazing.  I started crying.  I don’t cry when I run.  Ever.  But this was hard and I was literally running on nothing.  I started crying and she just picked me up (mentally) and carried me through the next .5 miles.  I stopped crying, got myself together and then crapped out again.  I started walking right at the 25 marker.  I told myself, “I’ll just walk to the end of the cones” – I made it 25 feet before I felt the blister, that I knew was quickly forming on my left big toe, burst.  I looked down expecting to see blood seeping through my shoe.  That was it, I knew that if I kept walking I would be in so much pain that I would be really struggling to finish.  So, again for the third or fourth time, I mentally shook myself, got it together, dug deep and kept going.

The next 1.45 miles were the toughest ever.  I wanted to cry, I wanted to stop and give up.  I wanted a bath and a shower and a cute boy to massage my feet.  I wanted anything other than to be running.  I’ve never, ever in all the running and challenges of my life wanted to quit as bad as I did in that last mile.  The strength I found to finish this race will always live with me as I look back and see how amazing and strong I was.

As I got closer to the finish I could see the crowd, I could see the injured and struggling people being carried off to the side.  I could hear the announcer and I knew I was close.  I also knew, that if I picked it up and gave it everything, I would sub-four.  I don’t know what I saw or how many people I passed, but I ran hard on my silly little burst blister, aching legs, and tired body.  I left everything out there.  I had nothing left in me and I remember thinking “If I pass out at the finish, it will be worth it.”  As I crossed the finish I looked at my watch and saw it.  3:59:24.  Sub four hours.  Just barely, but Garrett had a big 3 grinning up at me once I was done.   

Mile 21: 9:00
Mile 22: 9:06
Mile 23: 9:11
Mile 24: 9:16
Mile 25: 9:53
Mile 26: 9:10
Last .45 miles: 7:56

According to Garrett, I had run 26.45 miles, .25 miles longer than a traditional marathon.  This is thanks to the wide roads and weaving between people.  So, I ran longer than the marathon and still finished 21 minutes faster than SFM in August of 2008.

As I walked out of the finish area and toward the waiting medals, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I pulled over to the side, away from everyone else, and I cried.  A lot.  I cried because I was happy, because I was exhausted, because I was relieved to not be running anymore, but mostly because I have never been so proud of myself as I was at that moment.  I finally pulled my phone out and made several sobbing phone calls that I’m sure didn’t make much sense, other than I had finished really well.  My mom and dad both got on the phone and gave me their words of praise and congratulations. 

As I stood there, I got to see Tara and Aron cross the finish line.  I’d finally gotten myself together and went to meet them.  Maritza and Julianne finished a few minutes later and again the ROHOs were together – another marathon down.


This marathon taught me a lot.  I learned that even when you think you can’t go on anymore, you can.  I learned that as much as I felt like quitting, I’m not a quitter and I did not quit.  I learned I had strength that I didn’t know I had.  I learned that my body is amazing and can conquer anything.  This race gave me the strength and courage to become anything I want to be.  To take on challenges, to not be scared and to keep going.  Pain truly is temporary.  Things will get better and people who love you will be there to catch you when you fall and celebrate with you when you excel.  Nothing is more rewarding than taking on a challenge and just crushing it.  Marathons have made me a better, stronger and more patient person.  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Finishing this report I’d like to give out a few thank you’s…

Thanks goes out to all my friends and family.  Their support means the world to me.  Every comment on Facebook, every “good luck” wish and every supportive comment was filed away in my mind and brought out when I needed it the most. 

To my mom and dad – I love you both and you raised me to be awesome – just can’t fake that.

Last but not least.  My ROHOs.  There are NO WORDS to tell you how much I love you and appreciate each one of you for what you’ve given me.  Julianne, you are our rock and our leader.  Your support is unconditional and I don’t know what I would do without you.  Maritza, thank you for breaking down on Saturday and giving me strength to look at my own relationship failure and find some anger to utilize in this marathon.  You are amazing and I know you will continue to rock marathons.  Tara, our long runs really paid off and we killed it.  Chico girls definitely know how to run!  Your 3:55 is coming, I know it.  Aron, I will forever credit you for this race.  You held me back when I needed it and gave me the advice I needed to hear from day one.  I am truly indebted to you for this race.

Marathon #3?  I’ll keep you posted….   


18 responses to “San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon – Race Report!!

  1. ❤ you so much girl!!!! you are amazing and totally rocked that race!! i am SO incredibly proud of you! you ran such a hard smart race and should be so proud of yourself. i loved reading all about the later miles, you were so consistent and even when you felt like quitting you were rocking that course!

    i cant believe its already all over but this was the BEST weekend. i loved every part of it and love getting to know you more each time we hang out! roomies and buddies!!!

    i knew it was going to be your day when you left around mile 10 – i could just see it in your eyes.

    love you and congrats again!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Oh man, I totally just teared up reading this! You girls have such an awesome bond and a friendship that will last forever. I’m lucky to have met all you and have even been able to run with two of the ROHO’s.


    It is so true that we can go on even when we think we can’t…as any marathoner will tell you.

    P.S. I cry at every marathon! This was no exception. I think there is something about being physically and mentally exhausted that just makes me totally lose it!

  3. What a great race report. You did such a fantastic job on your marathon. Way to persevere through all the pain. I’m so glad you were able to finish under 4 hrs. Congratulations!

  4. I am seriously incredibly happy for you and proud of you! You did amazing! You dug deep and never gave up!! The whole time I was struggling I was thinking of you and knowing you were running strong made me push myself that much harder!!! Love that I was there to share this experience with you and can’t wait to share many more!!! Love you! ♥

  5. This was seriously the most compelling race report I’ve ever read. I got all teary when you said you sub-4’ed. Super congratulations!!! and great job sticking it out.

  6. What a great report – what a way to capture the feeling of the marathon. Well done Kristin – an incredible achievement – not just your PB but in leaving EVERYTHING out there. Amazing stuff.

  7. Kristin, you are my hero! I am totally crying at work right now reading this. Although I already knew what a strong, amazing women you are, seeing how much strength and determination you showed that day makes me just love you so much more my friend! You are a freaking STUD! You should be SOOO proud of yourself, I know I am!

    This update just made me so excited for my upcoming races and everytime I run now I am going to think of you and this report!! You are so lucky to have your ROHO girls and all you ROHO girls are even luckier to have Kris! Girl-freaking-power to the extreme! I love it!

    CONGRATZ!!! To you AND Garrett haha
    LOVE YOU!!! xoxoxoxo

  8. Mom and Dad

    What a great experience! We are so very proud of you! We have always told you, you can do anything. You deserve to be proud of yourself and draw strength from this for the rest of your life. We’re happy for you and love reading the mile-by-mile recap. You’re awesome! We love you!

  9. Awwww… I love your thank yous to the ROHOs at the end, I almost started tearing up! 😉

    Great job on the sub-4 finish time!

  10. So I guess that old saying is true, huh? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. 😉

    That night was so incredibly bonding, and I felt the strength in the words you said to me. Everyone’s gone through break-ups, but I feel like you and I, with our timing, are feeling it in the same waves right now. To throw out another cheesy saying, misery loves company. But you make me feel strong and like I can get through anything and accomplish what I want, that I’m in fact more weightless because of all the things I DON’T have to deal with any more. You have such a great outlook and although yes, our hearts may have been broken for a time, we can mend them together. But best of all, you remind me that my spirit is not broken.

    I am so so proud of you, for your great race, for who you are and for being a great friend. I know we have many more races and bonding moments yet to come.

    Love you!

  11. found you through Aron’s blog and thoroughly enjoyed your race report. That’s a fantastic time and effort considering the conditions (heard it was pretty humid out). I ran it last year shooting for my first sub-4 and cramped up badly and finished in something like 4:04:xx. That ain’t an easy course – especially that $#&@ 163!

    congrats again girl – you should be proud of your effort out there.

  12. I saw the link to your blog in runner’s rambles, and had to come read your race report, since you have the same name as me. 🙂 Congratulations on an amazing race! And your report was so inspirational, and fun to read too. Really great stuff.

  13. wow–what a race! Congrats on the sub-four! That is my dream 😉 You ran a great race! And I loved your report–very real.

  14. ok just made it back from SD so I’m catching up on reports. way to go on digging deep, isn’t it amazing what the marathon can teach you about yourself!!! I didn’t cry this time, but last time i was a blubbering mess from all the emotions

  15. Kristin,

    Great race, great race recap.

    I love the way you dug deep to find that strength in you. That was very inspiring.

    I also loved your acknowledgment of what your parents and friends meant to you!

    Congrats on a great race. You did crush that marathon!!!

  16. Thanks for the great race report. I just started training for my first marathon, and so I’ve been scouring blogs to get an idea of what to expect.


  17. Hey girl – I have several friends who ran SD this year, and I agree with RoadBunner above that this was one of the best race reports that I’ve read yet. “As anyone who has run a marathon can tell you, anything after 20 miles is just hard-core” – loved this, it’s SO true. Way to stay strong, mentally, physically, and emotionally and go after you goal!!

  18. This comment is way after the fact, but I just found this race report now. This is one of the best race reports I’ve ever read on any blog. You can literally feel the emotion emanating from you during the race. Incredible job sticking it out near the end, you should be so proud of yourself. Awesome job!

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