I decided that since I was in for a dime, I might as well be in for a dollar, might as well add the San Antonio RnR Half Marathon to my 2014 race calendar. The Rock 'n Roll Marathon Series has a Heavy Metal challenge....run two different Rock 'n Roll Marathons or Half's in a year and get an additional medal. Run a third one, get another medal. And so on. So I decided that since I already had Portland RnR Half Marathon done, and had also signed up to do the Las Vegas RnR Half Marathon, I'd go ahead and sign up for a third one for 2014, the San Antonio Half Marathon.
San Antonio is only 185 miles from my house, so I knew it would just be an easy and quick overnight trip. Throw my running clothes into a tote bag, leave the house just before noon, be in San Antonio by mid-afternoon, check in at the hotel, walk next door to the convention center to get my race packet, get up Sunday morning and run the race, hop in the car and drive home. Be home by dinner time.
Couldn't be any easier. Except the traffic in downtown San Antonio on a beautiful Saturday afternoon was a nightmare! Every intersection was gridlocked as cars tried to negotiate left and right turns through hordes of pedestrian tourists in the crosswalks. I did manage to work my way to the entrance of the Grand Hyatt and gladly turned my car over to valet parking.
I checked in, chucked my bag into the room and then headed back down to the lobby, out the side door to the adjoining San Antonio Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Out front was a Mazda test-drive canopy with a dozen different Mazda autos lined up. Traffic was just too busy for them to conduct test drives, but if I gave a representative a few minutes of my time taking a tour of one of the cars, I'd get a $10 Starbucks gift card. Heck! I love my Mazda and always like to keep up with their new models, so I sat inside a 2015 Mazda 6 and let the rep give me the low-down. Very nice car and would definitely consider it. And I did get that $10 Starbucks card!
The Expo was enormous! And so well-organized! Within minutes I had my race bib in hand, despite this being their busiest time, and then through the chip check portal and into the race shirt and bag pickup area. From there it was through another portal and into the larger exhibit area where I spent more money of course! A nice Brooks half-zip fleece pullover with the San Antonio RnR logo embroidered on it.
On my way to San Antonio, I had stopped at a Subway sandwich shop, so I returned to my hotel room and pulled out that sandwich, a bag of chips, a Starbucks cappuccino and turned on the TV to watch college football. Tomorrow morning: race day!
My smartphone alarm went off at 6:00 AM. I loitered in the room having breakfast, getting ready. I've learned my lesson about these RnR races. Don't rush to get to the start line, only to stand in the assigned corral forever! I was in corral #27 out of 32 corrals. Way in the back. My hotel was nearby and I knew exactly where I was going since I've been to the Alamodome several times, which is where the race's start and finish lines will be.
I arrived at the venue at 7:35-7:40 AM, after the 7:30 race start. There were no lines at the porta-potties so even though I really didn't need to go, I took advantage of it. Then I moseyed on over to Cherry Street where the corrals were located and strolled along the sideline until I found the volunteer holding the Corral #27 sign. Each corral is separated by a rope being held by two volunteers. They move forward along the perimeter as each corral is released at the start line. This is something I figured out too late at the Las Vegas race.
|Just past the Alamo Plaza area|
I crossed the start line at 8:09 AM and we were off running. Just a little past the 1 mile marker, we ran through the Alamo plaza, right in front of the historic Alamo which was very cool! The course took us north, zig-zagging across bridges that passed over the Riverwalk several times. We eventually came to the San Antonio Zoo, where we found some really great support from their staff and volunteers, and then we headed up some steep hills toward Trinity University which was at the halfway point of the race.
|Somewhere along the route, near the Riverwalk area|
The streets were lined with university students cheering us up those hills. This is where some of the best hand-made signs could be found. The best was the one that said something like, "Trinity U. is hard to get into. Congratulations! You just got in!" Oh, but those hills!!
|Race course, data from my Garmin watch (red). By tagging|
races in Runkeeper, it overlays the race route (in green).
Obviously the route was changed for this year's race.
We were then sent straight south into the downtown area, across the Riverwalk again, and then through a beautiful historic section on King William Street. Gorgeous mansions! And finally 3 miles of ho-hum commercial/industrial areas and then back toward the Alamodome and the finish line.
|Near the finish line|
I was wearing my Half Fanatics singlet over a long-sleeve shirt and had several call-outs by other Fanatics along the way. Early in the race I ran a bit with another Fanatic, but then pulled ahead of her at some point. She caught up with me again at mile 11 and I was very grateful for her company as I was starting to flag a bit by then.
|Crossing the finish line|
Finally....the finish line! It was visible ahead of us for more than a mile and seemed to take forever to get there. But....it's done! Excellent post-race village area, so well-organized! This was by far the best RnR race I've done so far.
Lots of food at the finish line but I passed on the beer tent. I needed to get back to the hotel and get checked out. I knew I'd miss the 12 noon check-out time but didn't want to push it too far beyond that cut-off time. I grabbed a quick shower, packed my things, got checked out and while waiting for my car to be delivered, I bought a Starbucks coffee for the road.
I already have the state of Texas many times over, so this race doesn't count toward my 50 states quest, but it does count toward by 100 Half Marathons quest.
Here's the finisher medal:
Half #61 is in the books!
Next: A nice week spent in Panama City FL with old friends.