Near the finish area as the halfers logged the last mile, the full marathoners turned north to head out for their last 13 miles & again ran on an out/back path, but this time along side the freeway. This was probably my least favorite part of the course- I hate seeing people in front of me and I hate loops. We could see the backtrack that we were about to run & after about a mile, we could see the rest of the full course below us & across the freeway running on Mission Bay and Fiesta Island. Up about a mile & back down the ‘feeder’ road and along the railroad tracks where it was hot & sunny (and a few more cambered roads). We made a small loop in the neighborhood & then head back south to do a small loop in a neighborhood to set us up to cross the overpass and the freeway heading to Mission Bay.
The run through Mission Bay was pretty nice- water beside us, sandy beaches, lots of sun & we ran along a little jogging path. There were some bathrooms for the park in this area instead of portapotties, but I didn’t actually try to see if any of them were open. The bay front run was very scenic & the weather stayed cool and breezy through these miles & I was looking forward to seeing hubby around mile 23 before heading to do my loop on Fiesta Island. Unfortunately, hubby tried for 90 minutes to get from mile 14 to 2 miles away to meet me on the course at mile 23 & it just didn’t happen. I was so disappointed to not see him- I was planning on dropping my belt & getting more Skittles. But I was having such a great time, I was convinced to just keep pushing. I’d heard a great deal of complaining about Fiesta Island- that it was hot, sunny, desolate & miserable. It wasn’t *that* bad- I enjoyed the cool breeze, the great views of water always around us & I was just so psyched to be ‘just a 5K’ or ‘2 more miles’ from the end. I’m not a fan of seeing runners ahead of me for miles- I don’t like seeing them 5 miles ahead of me on the course of the endless road in front of me.
I saw hubby around mile 25.8 & had started sprinting really good around mile 25. I really wanted to finish under 4:40 & all out sprinted the last half mile. It paid off and I finished in 4:39:45- a new PR over (4:49) and 20 minutes faster than my last marathon.
After the finish, the food, water, medical & bag pickup were well organized. Things fell apart though with the transportation and lots of people were complaining. Due to the location of the finish at SeaWorld- there was very limited access for the tens of thousands of people to get in & out. Unlike Nashville, there were no maps for the start or finish areas illustrating where to walk, where to get a cab, where to catch a bus to the trolley, where to catch the hotel shuttles, where private cars were picking up, etc. We probably walked another mile to get to the hotel shuttle lot & then waited another 20 minutes before getting on a bus that went about 20 minute out of the way to drop off at hotel waaay outside of downtown. It was over an hour from when we left until we got to our hotel & was tired & very grumpy. I had a hot date with a shower, a drink & the baseball game!
All in all, most of the race was well organized- great bands, awesome start set up, good expo, wonderful volunteers at the water stations, beautiful medal. The weather in San Diego was amazing- a bit too sunny for my tastes, but still cool & breezy for spectacular running weather. The course was pretty good, but I do think there are some really other amazing places the course could have gone through the city & think the finish at Sea World was horrible.
One thing I will say about the RnR marathon medals is that they are pretty & very solid! Love the incorporation of the sunset, ocean and guitar into the lovely medal.
GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Last minute trip to Lubbock tonight.