She did it! After a less than ideal marathon about a month ago, Ellen ran a +5 Boston qualifier this weekend at the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon! The Tuesday after the Vancouver Marathon back in May, Ellen and I went on a lovely beach walk. We talked about the race, trying to figure out what went wrong. She’d trained well, fueled right, slept well, but she just wasn’t feeling it. May 1st just wasn’t her day. Being action planners, we talked about her options. Take a break or keep the momentum going? Ultimately Ellen decided to run the San Diego Marathon. San Diego is such a fun city so naturally Gisele and I joined along for the fun and turned it into a girls’ weekend. Check out this awesome view from our hotwire hotel…
We left Saturday morning, checked in, and hit up the expo. That expo was one of the best I’ve ever been to. The Brooks merchandise was high quality, Meb came and spoke at the powerbar station, and there were more freebies than I’ve gotten in a while. I got hemp seeds to last me a lifetime, a mini acai bowl, bars for days, kashi cereal, vitamins. Gotta love free stuff. Gisele, Ellen, and I were like kids in a candy store. Gisele, of course, was running into people left and right. I guess that’s what happens when you work in the running world! I also learned I get endorphins from running miles…and visiting expos. Check out our awesome Cali running hats below. And I really should have gotten that runner in training onsie for Rexetta.
Rather than making a big deal about this being the race we tried to just have fun in the city, walk around, shop, and get some good eats! I’m still dreaming of this gnocchi from Monello in Little Italy. Spinach gnocchi, sage, brown butter sauce, and bone marrow. Poor Ellen had to hear me talking about how delicious it was during the late teens of the race. Brent, we need to plan a day trip to San Diego with a stop at Monello.
OK so the RACE! Ahh the stars all aligned. We woke up to a beautiful marine layer. Ellen had her typical rice cakes, almond butter, and banana for breakfast. She was so strong and confident, and started the race at 6:15 going out at a consistent 8:00 pace. Gisele and I chatted up a storm for the rough 16-26 mile chunk so that she spent more time thinking about how much she wanted to smack us vs. thinking about her legs getting tired. It was a conscious effort:) Sorry Ellen, I warned you before I’d annoy you when I was out there pacing you.
At one point I could sense she was questioning if she could hold the pace for the rest of the race so I said, “Do you really want to have to do this again?” She could either quit now and sign up for another race, probably feel the same way at mile 20, and be stuck in the same dilemma…or just suck it up and do it now. She went for it and crushed it 🙂
San Diego Marathon is known for a NASTY hill at mile 22/23ish. I wouldn’t even call it a hill. It’s a never ending stretch. Because I’d run the course before I knew how bad it was, but purposely failed to mention just how intense it is. Ellen POWERED up that hill without walking. We were passing people left and right. It was so fun to watch her kill it! Some random guy at the finish festival even came to tell her how badly she crushed the hill. She was rewarded with a beautiful downhill to the finish line. 3:28:44. Gisele and I were screaming “She’s going to Boston!” I’m sure non-runners in the crowds were so confused, but we didn’t care. Boston qualification and life goal accomplished.
Meanwhile Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg were off PRing in the half. We got to see them at the finish line festival! It was so cool to see Meb, Shalane, and Amy racing the same course!
Post-race eats included a gastropub in the Gaslamp district for fish tacos, sweet potato fries, and local brewed beer. Ellen has quite the sweet tooth, and so we had to go to the famous Extraordinary Desserts in Little Italy. Dorky name, but the desserts really are extraordinary. We pigged out on lemon bars, cookies, and cheesecake before heading back to LA. San Diego Marathon, you’re a good one. Three years ago I qualified for Boston at age 27 in San Diego. Yesterday Ellen, age 27, ran a 3:28 and is an official BQer. I’m so proud of her hard work, and I am so so happy.
Thinking of running this race next year?
- Rock ‘n roll has their logistics down to a science
- Cute shirt AND a finisher jacket
- Expo with lots of great samples, elite runner talks, awesome merchandise from Brooks, and prizes. We spent almost 2 hours at the expo!
- San Diego is such a fun weekend visit city. Love Little Italy, the Gas Lamp District, the harbor. Takes your mind off the task at hand.
- Post-race festival.
- Marine layer in June
- Corral starting to avoid congestion
- Early start
- Website is super clear and finisher zone has photos, stats, badges, etc.
- NASTY hill in the 20s of the marathon
- Watch out for the cracks in the roads. It’s easy to trip.
- The Fiesta Island section of the race isn’t great. Few spectators and in the rough miles.
- WAY more half marathoners. This could mess with your mental game because they all start together and run the first 8ish miles together.
And last, I’ll end with I think (and I could be wrong) Ellen was so successful in this race because she stopped thinking so much, stopped obsessing over her goal, and stopped expecting a perfect day after a perfect training season and just RAN. Ellen had recently visited Peru and taken a full week off of running (granted she hiked and was on her feet all day) and didn’t obsess over the race for weeks leading up. She just went out there and did what she knew she was ready to do, and I’m so so proud. Boston 2017!!!