Last Sunday (11/15/2009), we ran the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.
In an attempt to run a faster, stronger marathon, we adopted a new Bart Yasso training plan which focused heavily on hills and speed workouts. My overall training mileage was 30-40% higher than previous marathons.
The race started at 7:30am with approximately 30,000 (!) participants. The temperature was in the mid 60s with 96% humidity. Being a Bay Area resident, I had never run in weather of this nature. Since this was a large race, runners were staged in corrals (the total length was over a half mile). Our corral crossed the start line 25 minutes after the race officially began.
Starting off, we headed south and ran through downtown San Antonio for miles 2 – 4 (course map). We passed famous landmarks including the Alamo. The crowd was pretty deep during this part of the race as the streets were narrow and twisting. At one point it reminded me of the Mountain stages of the Tour de France! The downtown area was fairly warm as there was no breeze and the humidity definitely slowed the race down a bit.
After running through the downtown, we headed north through some older neighborhoods. There wasn’t much to look at but the course was as advertised – flat.
At Mile 10.5, the half-marathoners went their own way, which thinned out the field. We went south into a more rural area of town, running along a large cemetery for miles 16 – 18, which was a bit … creepy.
The humidity stayed around the 96% mark with the temperature edging towards the 80 degree mark. We headed back into town at mile 22 and somehow I never hit the wall, no doubt in part to the training regimen (thanks Bart!)
The finish was at the Alamodome. Mile 26 had a full, cheering crowd which was very motivational. Right after Mile 26, the course took a hard right and after a poorly placed hill and another hard right, the finish line emerged, looking like an oasis in the heat.
Overall, here's how the run rates in my book:
Organization – Well-organized/staffed with 3,500 volunteers. Course was clearly marked, mile markers were accurate. Grade: A+
Course – Low on the scenery factor. Grade: C
Aid-stations – Truly excellent. Given the humidity and temperature, maintaining fluids is a key part to a successful race. Even though there were 30,000 runners, every aid station I saw was fully stocked. Grade: A+
Swag – Short sleeve, dri-fit shirt. Grade: A