Bring the Rain – RNR San Antonio 2016

San Antonio, 2013. I like to think this is where the next level of crazy kicked off for us. After finishing the #SA2LV challenge (RNR San Antonio in the morning and RNR Las Vegas that night), things just looked, well, more possible. We continued that year with the img_7376inaugural Berkeley Half to bump our Half Fanatic status up a few orbits, our first two trail half marathons with Brazen Racing and doing our first double marathon week the month after.

With all that history for us as a place where things started, it’s really cool to see the end of the Rock n Roll year and all the people who accomplished some pretty amazing things. That weekend in 2013, everything went according to plan. But sometimes, the weather, your body and the people you’re with make you consider changing your objectives. Flexibility, it turns out, is a good trait.

We had a forecast for rain pretty much all weekend. We weren’t looking to do a lot of touring, though it would have been nice to catch some of the Riverwalk decked out in Xmas lights. I had no problem spending most of the time at the Expo catching up with friends.

img_0060-2First stop, a final look at the 2015 Hall of Fame banner. I asked CGI what they do with these after the year is over. They’re cleaning house and offered it to me if I could pick it up in the first few races, but I don’t know what I’d do with it or how I’d get it home from Phoenix or Arizona. It’s kinds of a shame. It might become a collector’s item some day.

I’d like to give a special shout out to our friends Marcey and Pete at SportHooks. They’ve been one of CGI’s vendors for as long as we’ve been racing and this year added a booth for their home line of products under the Kaktos Rose brand (run by their daughters Ashley and Katie). I saw this and put a reminder to get some online shopping done for the holidays.

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Pete also showed me a custom job he did for Tiki which I shared on Facebook before she saw it (Oops). Tiki was getting to her second Hall of Fame year after a full marathon in San Antonio. While this is a custom job, it’s available for purchase online ($130 at the expo.  Subscribe to their newsletter and keep an eye out for holiday discounts).

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Nice Rack!

By 3 PM, our friends started rolling in. The regulars at the races know that if you stand at the Rock n Roll booth long enough, you’ll see just about everyone. Sherry drove in from Austin. The roads were pretty packed, but she got a congratulatory lei from Kamika for finishing her 100th Rock n Roll in Vegas. Al got a quick interview to follow-up on his 100th RNR from San Jose. He was busy processing the 45 minute cab ride from the airport with Meb where he was giving his take on how the first sub-2 hour marathon might happen.

I caught this selfie with Justin, one of the creators of the Black Sheep Run group. This would be his third time getting to the Hall of Fame, something only a handful of us have done. It was also his birthday weekend. Not a bad way to celebrate.

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We had dinner at Rosario’s. It’s one of our favorite restaurants and I pretty certain I could survive on their chips and salsa alone. Just for perspective on how things have ramped up since 2013, back then there were 27 people who finished 15 races. Our table alone had 10. Al showed me an email from the mid-2000’s where they wanted a picture of the 30 or so people who ran “all SIX” races.

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Erika, Tricia, Al, Zach, Sherry, Dan, Laura, Hyalker, Kamika, Susan.

As I was laying out my race gear for the 10K, I was wondering how I’d deal with the rain, mid 40’s temps and 10-15 mph winds, especially with the mile or so walk to the start line. I wondered if the clothes I wore in Antarctica were going to be good enough and stopped myself. We’ve done Antarctica. This would NOT be a big deal.

Saturday December 3rd. 10K
Susan and Al decided to play it safe and get some sleep and work a bit. Kamika, Drew, Nalani and I went in for some character building. Adrian and Almi skipped the 10K as well,
img_3417 so a few of us grabbed the #fotofoto from corral 3. I count at least 15 Hall of Famers in this pic.

The rain and wind actually wasn’t horrible and it ended up being good scouting for the next day. Some of the roadsides had big puddles so getting to the sidewalks early was a good strategy. There were a few intersections where there was no dry way through and a few of the paving stones at the cross streets, cobblestones and lane markers were especially slippery. Nalani and I were nursing gimpy knees but she still managed to have her fastest mile at the start. So much for playing it safe. 

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At this point, it might be worth the training tip if you’re doing back to back races with cold, wet conditions. I heard a lot of people got sick that day, probably because they didn’t come back and warm up immediately after the 10K. Get your protein and 200 calories in, but shower and change before going on to keep your weekend on track!

The big event for the weekend was the Hall of Fame presentation at the expo. I plan to dedicate an entire blog to the year in review complete with the latest unofficial Pannell Report data. Just the highlights for now – 162 people made the Hall of Fame with 15 Rock n Roll races this year. The top five (Amy, Greg, John, Sherry and Will) all finished 25 races, the most you can do in 2016 considering the overlapping scheduled. I’m going to be curious to see how small the pictures are on the banner in January.

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Amy, Greg, John and Sherry share the spotlight with Meb and Jared Ward
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Classic Adrian selfie stick fotofoto.

Dinner that night was at the Market on Houston. All of the usual places on the Riverwalk were booked, but the restaurant in th lobby at the Sheraton was just fine. Andrea “Rhode Hazard” Herrman(?) joined us with to hand off a 13.1 x 100 Club banner to the west coasters. Think about it. I hang around with more people who HAVE done 100 half marathons (or more) than have NOT.

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Drew goes for his 100th half in January. I think everyone else is past that milestone.

Sunday December 4th. Half Marathon
In hindsight, this was the right time to upgrade to VIP at the Hotel Contessa. Having reasonably close gear check to the start and finish lines as well as a dry place to warm up was well worth the price.

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There was enough rain outside that the phones stayed in the pouches for a good part of the race. The smattering of trash bags and free ponchos from the VIP area were handy.

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The first half of the race we went between too warm with all the layers to just right to chilly as the wind kicked up. The hard rain never showed up, even with the 90% chance that we saw as of Friday. We met up with Jeff Calene. He actually did 23 races this year and should hit his 100th Rock n Roll in DC in 2017.

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About mile 5, we took a look at our split and Nalani realized she was on a PR pace. At the point, I just decided to suck it up with the road conditions and the gimpy knee and got our mile pace down 30 seconds. We dispensed with all but one picture so we could keep on pace. This one had to happen. Drew has been trying to get his 10th race for the last five years.

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Coming down the stretch we had three different video’s going. Mine turned upside down for some reason, but I got a screenshot of them passing mile 13. Nalani beat her PR by nearly 4 minutes.

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About mile 10, Drew told me he might actually cry when he got his Gold Record. He’s been chasing the 10 race mark since they Rock Idol medal. I remember how it felt when we crossed the finish line in Miami Beach in 2011, so I wouldn’t blame him. It happened. It was my favorite moment of the weekend.

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I had one piece of unfinished business left. After missing Sherry finishing her 100th Rock n Roll in Vegas, I wanted to wait up for her. We actually passed her at the mile 12 mark when the full and half courses split. She wasn’t having a great race and the rain was starting up again, but just like every race this year, she gutted it out and finished. I’ve known her for a long time, but we didn’t get to be good friends until two years ago in San Antonio. I’m in awe of what she’s been able to accomplish.

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Sometimes things don’t go as planned. I started off the year with the fastest races in the first four months and ended the Rock n Roll series happy with a race a good half hour slower. I really like about the circle of friends we’ve collected. There always seems to be someone we can hang out with, on the course and off. And it doesn’t matter what the weather is like.

Bring the rain.

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~//~

Rock n Roll San Antonio was run for the 9th time in 2016. Overall participation is down from last year by about 12% with most of the decline in the half marathon distance. The marathon actually had more finishers that 2015. Median times were slower than usual (2:30 for the half, 4:58 for the full),  likely due to the rain.

Susan and I end the year with 88 Rock n Roll Heavy Medal qualifying events. If all goes as planned we should hit 100 in our hometown race in San Jose 2017. There isn’t much we can do to pull that up since we’re saving vacation for Continent 7 in 2018, but with any luck, we’ll be well on our way to a fourth Hall of Fame come October.

We have three more blogs planned before the end of the year: Honolulu, The Rock n Roll Year recap and our top 16 for 2016. With any luck, we’ll have them done before the ball drops Saturday night.

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