The Inaugural San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Okay, I’m going to back up a little from where I left off last…

I met my fellow Team In Training people in the hotel lobby around 5:45 AM. We boarded a bus that shuttled us to a point about a quarter mile away from the start line. After huddling together, waiting for others in our circle of running friends to show up and getting in some last minute pit stops, we made our way to the corral.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll series checks to make sure runners are in the right corrals. After we showed our numbers to the gatekeeper (the guy standing next to the roped entrance into our corral) we joined the herd and stood around while waiting for the race to start. This year’s race sold out – 35,000 runners!

Once we were finally able to start running the course, the excitement really settled in! The first mile felt like a big shuffle, there were so many people all bunched together and some of the roads were kind of narrow. The full and half marathon courses were together on the course for about the first 10 miles, thus there were a lot of people in a small space.

At mile 2 we passed The Alamo. It really is smaller than you realize from seeing it in movies. Plus, if I hadn’t been aware that it was at that point on the course, I might have missed seeing it!

I was surprised at the roads in San Antonio, there were a lot of little obstacles to contend with. Raised reflector bumps everywhere, potholes, large cracks… lots of potential for twisted ankles. Plus people were shedding their coats, pants and gloves at a very fast rate early in the race. PLEASE… if you ever run a race and plan on throwing clothing away, move over to the side and toss it out of the way. I couldn’t believe how many people just dropped things right where they were, requiring everyone to jump over and around it at the last second.

I shed my gloves at about mile 4 and my sleeves at mile 7 or so. The sleeves were tucked into my waistband, they’re going to come in handy at future races. In fact, I think they provided more warmth than the throwaway sweatshirt I was wearing around in the start line village. The gloves were a big pair of knit ones that were in everybody’s goodie bag, provided by Verizon. Brilliant marketing, all of the runners were wearing them and then if they get collected, cleaned and donated to charities there will be armies of homeless people wearing Verizon-branded gloves. They were huge, so they kind of looked like Mickey Mouse gloves on my hands. But I was grateful for them!

Most of the bands on the course were playing pretty upbeat, fun music when we went by. Well, one group was playing a song about “long way to go” or something on those lines. I don’t remember exactly, but I do remember the lyrics seemed a little discouraging. Maybe they should have reconsidered that song choice.

My husband met us at the half marathon point. He needed to give Melinda some more Gatorade (she couldn’t stomach the Cytomax being served on the course), he took our sleeves, Jim’s jacket and gave me a kiss. (I got a better exchange at that point than my friends did!) He also snapped a couple photos.

At the Half Marathon Point
At the Half Marathon Point
Half Marathon done, Half to Go!
Half Marathon done, Half to Go!

When I painted my TNT shirt I was a little disappointed in how short my name is and it seemed like I didn’t have much to put on the shirt. During the race, my short simple name really worked in my favor as everybody was screaming out “Go Jill!” and “You can do it Jill!” and “Looking Good Jill!”. Believe me, having that kind of encouragement for 26.2 miles is very welcome, even if after a while I couldn’t muster the energy to wave around like a mad woman and scream “Thank you!” back at them anymore.

My stomach felt a little off the whole race, but by mile 20 I was in serious pain. My stomach was churning and at mile 24 I actually had to call out to Melinda and tell her I had to stop moving for a second because I almost puked on the course. It was brutal for me to take in any gels or Cyto during the race because most of the time the mere idea of those made my tummy quiver. I knew I had to consume something, but I’m not entirely sure if it was 100% beneficial.

The last couple miles were brutal, my pace suffered a lot at that point. According to my pace tattoo, I was only 4-5 minutes behind a 4:30 finish for a lot of the race. But once the stomach pains really hit, I was doomed in that area. I kept telling Melinda to go on without me, but she kept me going to the end.

Around mile 25 we ran into Cynthia, she ran the half marathon and is a coach for our chapter’s PF Chang’s team. She walked with me a little and said, “How are you feeling?” I said, “Queasy… and dizzy.” Her response was, “Lick your hand.” It took her about 3 or 4 times telling me to do so before I was able to comprehend (yep, I was pretty shot…). I licked my hand and she dumped a salt packet on there and told me to lick it while she grabbed a cup of water for me. So I licked the salt and gulped the water. It was nasty, but I think it helped get me to the end.

We ran along a road that went under a bridge at the mile 26 sign point. There were so many people there, many of them screaming my name. That’s when tears started to spring to my eyes a little. And then we had the hill…

It wasn’t a huge hill, but it was still kind of disheartening to see the big 26 and then look up to see a hill. At least we knew it couldn’t go on for too far, the race only had another .2 before it was finished!

I crossed the finish line… 4:51:22. I had an amazing time and I can’t wait to do it again!

Almost at the Finish Line
Almost at the Finish Line
Checking Out at the TNT Tent
Checking Out at the TNT Tent

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19 comments

  1. I’ve never heard of pouring salt on your hand and licking it but it makes sense. I’m sorry you had tummy troubles. I wonder what the cause was. Did you ever feel queasy during your long runs in training? I had a few issues with it during training, but I’m fairly certain it was some kind of bug I picked up. I remember thinking how awful it would be to run a full marathon feeling like that. I commend you for sticking it out! Maybe it was the cytomax? I wonder if thats what they will be serving at PF Changs. Also, I have always liked the idea of removable sleeves. Did you make those yourself or purchase them?

    Great job on finishing despite the tummy issues. If you think it wasn’t your best, there’s always PF Chang’s! 4:50 is a respectable time, so don’t you even be disappointed. Oh and I can’t believe there was a hill right there at the finish line, that’s crazy!

  2. The Nike Women’s race has a great idea: they put donation boxes at certain points on the course so you have a place in which to discard your items. I wish more races offered this!

    Great job on your race and the fundraising.

  3. Fantastic job, Jill. Great report and great pictures. I see you were sporting the latest in cw-x wear!

    Like Alissa, I wonder if it was the Cyto. I can’t stomach that stuff. I hope it is not at Chang’s. Yuck.

    So the sleeves, huh? I have seen them at Running Warehouse and wondered if it would be something worth having. What kind do you have?

    Hills suck.

  4. I can’t believe people were just tearing their clothes off in the middle of the street – sometimes they just don’t have a clue! And they say it’s just us with our headphones!

    I am really sorry to hear you felt so badly for that long during the race. But you finished it, which is more than a lot of others would do in your place. Glad to hear you are wanting to do yet another one! 🙂

    And by the way, thanks for your kind words on my blog the other day.

  5. They should have one area to dump all your clothes-the NYC marathon has an area where everyone dumps their clothes and they are all donated to charities!!

    It really sucks that you felt like crap around mile 20ish…but you finished!! And you had great support from your husband and the TNT people!!! I’m so glad you want to do another one!!!

  6. My mind is a bit scrambled at the moment, so I’ll throw out some completely incoherent thoughts at you…

    THERE’S NOT BASEMENT IN THE ALAMO!

    (name the movie! or ask Kevin, he might know !!)

    Okay, so you’re the third person I’ve heard tell the story of Cynthia or Chuck telling them to lick salt. Kathy (who ran the half) carried salt capsules on her!

    I have a hard time with Cyto, too. My stomach handles it OK, but it’s like drinking liquid cotton candy. If they could only add some tart to it or something, I’d be okay… but man, I don’t like that stuff. Better than Accelerade, right? 😉

    So I’m like scared for my marathon now.

    I need to write my name on my jersey.

    Not sure I’ll wear a pace tattoo. I’ll fixate on it and get mad when I slip behind. And do they even make pace tattoos for an 8-hour marathon? Heh.

    I AM VERY PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!! I think your time is FANTASTIC!! but I know it’s hard to swallow a slower time than you had envisioned. This isn’t your last marathon. Each one is a learning experience, and each one you’ll improve your (already awesome) time! Some people can just kill it naturally (Ryan Reynolds), some need time and practice and improve.

    GOOD WORK!

  7. Alissa & Chris: I’m pretty sure Cyto is the drink for PF Chang’s. But I’ve been training with Cyto all season and haven’t had problems. I’m fairly certain that my stomach troubles stemmed from eating too many strange/different foods the night before.

    BethT: You’re right, every race should provide spots for charity cast-offs.

    Bethany: At marathon expos they give out temporary tattoos that give you mile-by-mile breakdowns of how far into the race you should be if you want to met a certain time goal. I had on on my arm.

    Chris: I got the sleeves at the expo, as a last minute purchase due to the cold that moved in. They say “Gizmo” on them, but I can’t find them online. (Very preliminary searching…) I have heard the Moeben sleeves are good, so I may look into those too.

    tgorourke: You’re welcome, all kind words are completely earned. And yeah… some people in headphones get blamed for bad behavior, but tossing clothes in front of a runner behind you is far worse!

    Penny: It meant soooo much to me that my husband got to be there for this event. And the TNT coaches on the course were amazing, they helped get me through as well!

    ~moe~: Thank you!

    LVGurl: PEE WEE’s BIG ADVENTURE!!!

    Don’t be scared for the marathon, we’ll all be there with you.

    Kathy probably REALLY needed the salt, she had a bit much of the partying two days before!

    Yeah, it’s no fair that Ryan Reynolds can just prance out there and do a super-time. Someday, after I’ve done about 40 of these things, maybe I’ll be able to match his novice time! And it doesn’t matter, as long as I keep getting out and doing things like this.

    Matt asked me if I was going to do a tri with you and him next. The tri scares me more than the marathon.

  8. Way to go, Jill!!! Great race report! You did awesome. I don’t know what it is about race day that brings out tummy issues.

    It sounds like you had a great day despite your obstacles. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  9. Way to go, Jill!!! Great race report! You did awesome. I don’t know what it is about race day that brings out tummy issues.

    It sounds like you had a great day despite your obstacles. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  10. 35,000 runners?! Holy crap. That is a lot of people. San Diego RR had only 16000. That’s a lot of people to run with for 26 miles!

    Great job on your run. Sounds like you had a great time.

  11. […] The Inaugural San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon: The first full marathon recap I wrote on this site. I started this blog to chronicle my training for this event (in 2008). I’ve learned so much since this event, yet I haven’t had a chance to successfully complete another marathon since then. That was due to… […]

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