Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon Race Report 2014
Posted Jun 22 2014 5:48am
This race was probably one of the most hyped races I’ve ran in quite some time. What do I mean when I say hyped? There were just certain expectations that I felt pressured to accomplish, whether it was reasonable or not is another question. Let me first share the official results: 1:31:30 (6:59 min/mile), 55/938 age group, 343/16897 overall. My PR for the half is 1:28 but I ran that over 4 years ago. I actually ran a 1:31 again back in 2011 in SD, but my average half marathon pace has hovered around 1:35 (usually with minimal training..) So it’s definitely a good time and I’m pretty satisfied with the results. But the bigger story is who I was running with and who was pacing me. Believe it or not, it was Meb Keflezighi! So let’s start at the beginning..
This year’s Boston Marathon was probably the most important race it its history, considering last year’s tragic events. It brought the city of Boston together and there were definitely more people paying attention to the race than usual. So it was quite fitting that Meb Keflezighi, an American runner, won this year’s Boston Marathon (first since 1983). Shortly after the victory, it was announced that Meb (who grew up in San Diego) would actually run at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego half marathon. But instead of competing in it, he would just run as a pacer for the 1:30 group. I knew I was going to run the SD half since at least February or March, but hadn’t really been training for it, which should not be a surprise anymore. Meb won Boston on April 21, they announced he would pace on April 30. As mentioned before, my PR was technically faster than 1:30, but I have never really gotten close to 1:30 for a while now. I did run a 1:34 at the Carlsbad half marathon in January, so I knew there was a possibility of me actually keeping up and running with Meb, I had to at least try..
What I forgot to mention was that I was also registered for a 66 mile bike ride the day before the half marathon! Long story short, I was participating for someone else who initially registered but could not do it anymore. So the past month or two before both races, I was doing a long bike ride on Saturday followed by a long run on Sunday. It was hard doing both in one weekend, and it usually involved taking a nap after each workout, but at least I knew I would be able to do it. The only problem was the half marathon was really the only event I cared about doing well in, and that was after the 66 mile bike ride! But I had already promised to do the ride, which was pretty expensive too! So I did my best to get as many runs in as possible, leading up to the race on June 1.
My initial plan was to try and get a picture of/with Meb before the race started, while we were waiting in our corrals. He didn’t actually show up until about 2-3 minutes before the gun went off, but I actually had the opportunity to meet him in person at the race expo! It was only limited to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour Pass holders, so it was a short wait and line to meet him. After I got the photo with him before the race, I didn’t have to worry about it during the race and just focus on trying to keep up.
The first few miles were pretty exciting, running with Meb and everyone else trying to hit 1:30. Obviously, the pace was not difficult for Meb and he was able to easily run at the pace, while acknowledging spectators, talking to and answering questions from other nearby runners. It was funny to see as our group passed slower runners and they realized it was Meb, they would then proceed to take a selfie with him before getting passing them. My goal was to hang on as long as possible (ideally the whole race), but after the first 5-6 miles, I started to get more and more tired. I knew I was going to fall back soon, so I did what all the other runners who were getting passed, I made sure to take a selfie with Meb too! It took a couple of shots since I was still running at the time, but I got a decent shot of myself and Meb running together (although he did not bother to even look in my direction). There was actually an official photographer riding a motorcycle ahead of us for the first mile of the race. They posted one of those photos on their official Instagram page with me in the shot! Unfortunately, I had blinked in that shot, but it’s still official proof that I ran with Meb…for 7 miles.
The rest of the race was tough, the 1:30 group was gone now and other runners were passing me too. There were one or two runners I tried staying with. The pace for miles 8-11 were much slower than the previous 7. Mile 12 and 13 were a little bit faster, mostly because there were downhills that I was able to take advantage of. I was also able to finish the race on a sprint with another runner, which was a good sign.
When I found out my official time, I was surprised that I finished just 1:30 behind Meb and his group. It wasn’t until later that I found out that the group actually finished at 1:28. My theory is that the people who ran in the 1:30 group were actually faster runners and just wanted to hang back and run with Meb (who can blame them, I would have done the same). I’m sure there were some slower runners who were able to go faster and PR with Meb, which is great. I’m still happy I was able to finish just 3:30 behind Meb and I got photographic records of me running with him, not very many people can say that!