Rock ‘n’ Rolling (’16 recap, ’17 training update)

Some people associate the acronym “RnR” with rest and relaxation. Those people are cool but to me, “RnR” will always take me back to the month of December in San Antonio, TX. That’s when the city hosts their installment of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. It’s early in the month, so it’s not usually too cold and the weather tends to cooperate with the race events. I first learned about the RnR series when I was interviewing local runner, and 2016 Olympic Trials Qualifier, Dr. Andrea Duke. I was pretty fresh on the running scene, but big on the videography scene. I was shooting a promo for the Chosen Marathon, a beautiful race in New Braunfels, TX of which Andrea was an ambassador. She referenced the RnR Marathon in our interview and I became curious about it. A few short weeks later, I signed up for the full marathon distance at RnR San Antonio.

I know what you must be thinking. Here’s a guy that had been running for less than a year and he thinks he is going to make his first race a full marathon? Yeah, I didn’t have that thought at all. I think I was a little bit nieve as to what I could actually accomplish in that amount of time. Nevertheless, I signed up and picked a 4:15 estimated finish time (LOL.) I picked up a training plan from Runner’s World and set my focus on a mid-August (16 weeks) start. I did not think that through. Three things were not considered when I set out to do this marathon: the time it would take to build up my running economy, the fact that I started my next semester of college the same day as I planned to start training, and the fact that I would have a brand new baby that June, just before all of this started.

Skipping the unnecessary details, let’s jump ahead to race weekend. I arrived at the race expo to pick up my packet and promptly downgraded myself to the half-marathon. I had even briefly considered doing the 10k that was held the day before. In the days leading up to race weekend, it became increasingly clear that there would be rain on race day. I had a friend who had signed up for the 10k and he was trying to convince me to switch. I really wanted to, because I was under trained and less than enthusiastic about the conditions. However, ultimately I decided that if I was going to go out in the rain, I might as well do the half marathon and get my money’s worth, instead of the 10k. You read that right. The fact that it was pouring on expo day convinced me to run the further distance instead of the shorter one.

I went out and ran that race. I even set a 10k PR to start. But alas, at mile 7 the rain picked up, I was freezing, and my clothes were heavy. I made a major rookie mistake. I wore a hoodie. I had a big Under Armor hoodie that was soaked and did much more harm than good. I also wore compression sleeves on my legs and they weren’t the best for moisture wicking. So, I practically rolled across the finish line. I finished in 2:18:19. In the 30,000 people scheme of things, that wasn’t that slow. But it was much worse than I expected, even though I came in undertrained. I can say, however, that I learned my lesson. I learned several lessons actually. I need to find other ways to stay warm, never wear a hoodie again, always make sure I have put in the training time, and mentally prepare for rain…

…which is a great segway into how my 2017 RnR training is going. This will be my second attempt at the full distance, and this time my training is going much better. I am putting in the miles and building up my long run distance. I’m working on building up my “running economy.” I’m not as concerned about speed but have been more focused on distance and endurance. Speed will come after I get the foundation that I need. August was another great month (I already wrote about the big milestones in July.) I am not trying to set anymore PRs right now. I am strictly focused on getting to the RnR starting line healthy and happy. I’m looking at the 10-year plan for my running. I like to do this for health reasons, but really I have just become extremely passionate about getting outside and bettering myself. I like to push farther, run harder, and see, no FEEL, results. I also love when people start asking me about what they should do to start running. I hope to continue doing this for years and years to come. And all this UTMB fever has really turned my attention to the trails. I want to do an ultra next year! We’ll see!

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