Is the best way to get over a marathon to just do another half marathon... within three weeks and just a few runs in between races?! Because that was my theory in signing up for Rosarito. Coming off of Big Cottonwood Marathon, I was REALLY sore- the sorest of any race I have run to date, got super sick (evidently if your immune system is teetering on the edge for your entire training cycle, a marathon will knock it off), and then was mentally dealing with the fallout of a tough race (the hardest part of ALL). After a hard race, you can expect things to take a while to get back to normal- speed and energy-wise as you cash out when you do a hard marathon- leaving everything on the course.
So having run Tijuana and loved that race, I had decided pre-Cottonwood to go down and do Rosarito for fun. To be fair, I told myself (not sure where this FALSE info came from) that this was a flat, easy course next to the beach. I lied.
I knew there was trouble in Paradise when I checked the weather a day before and saw Rosarito would be a chilly 93 degrees. Well, at that point, it was still a flat easy course.. just now in 93 degrees. No big deal. We struggled with the logistics a bit the day before since none of us wanted to drive in Mexico or wait in a several hour border crossing on the way back. We figured out how to get down there thanks to my friend Elle and met up at McDonalds at the border and walked across. Then we took a taxi to the bus to Rosarito, got on that and were dropped off right at Bib pickup.
So the Pro's of this race:
- Mad cheap- just $13 (which is an expensive race in Mexico- Tijuana was FREE!)
- Race day pickup- if only EVERY race had this convenience- and it took all of three seconds
- Smaller race (like 1000 people) so getting to your corral wasn't an issue
- BEST race support- while there weren't a million people cheering us on, the ones that were out there in the BLAZING hot sun were so friendly and cheering us on (warmed my lil exhausted heart)
- Cute race tee given AFTER the race (logical, that's how they do it here- you do the race, you get the shirt)
- Great post race party- club music, cerveza and entertainment. Mexicans know how to post-race.
- The last few aid stations had these Powerade pouches (and no agua)... and as I have not yet mastered the art of opening one of these while staying in motion, I passed on these in favor of dehydration (ALWAYS a good choice!)
- Start time- while I LOVED sleeping in later (sleeping in = waking up at 4:45 am, I live a GLAMOUROUS life) races in this heat are better when they start at 6 am, not 7:30
- SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN. the entire race was run LITERALLY running towards the sun. zero shade.
- The course was beautiful along the ocean. BUT the road that we ran was a hill, followed by another, followed by another (repeat approximately 30 times) (AND THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MY FAST AND EASY BREEZY HALF MARATHON WELCOME BACK TO RUNNING... joke was on me)
Right before we started was the first "hint" I got as to what laid ahead on the course. My friend Judy said, the course keeps going uphill but you see the ocean and it's so beautiful that you barely notice. The water couldn't distract me. I NOTICED. We started out and my legs felt like almost my normal legs. 6:45 pace, first mile. And RIP to anything in the 6's after this. This was also the coolest mile of the day... and the least sunny. It started heating up, and started feeling like WORK out there. I tried to maintain a decent pace in the beginning, pushing each hill- but it's always hard to keep goal paces on a hill. I also started having serious worries about this course profile after the first 7 hills- thinking- there is no way that this is all hills. Sweet innocence. You would think after Cottonwood I would have chased down the course profile to prep myself for what laid ahead. NO. I went in blindly.
I tried to stay in the game knowing that I was working with legs that still need some more recovery time- basically by the end was just trying to keep myself from embarrassment. I had so little control over my body/pace with the heat and my exhaustion. I was so hot and overheated and the hills just kept coming that I would close my eyes trying to deal with the exhaustion. The thing that made it a little easier was seeing the people standing in the extreme heat and crazy sun smiling and cheering us all on. It definitely gave me a burst of energy passing all of those saints on the marathon course. Seriously. Saints. It was miserably hot out there.
The end couldn't come soon enough. I sprinted in to a 1:44- definitely NOT my best showing and I wasn't racing it, but I'm always happy to get to do a new race and I'm excited for when my legs feel fresh and I feel like me again. To add insult to injury on a tough day, I missed the podium for a third place AG finish by three seconds. Luckily- there are many more races in my future.
Now that I am done with this half.. I can focus on the Ragnar Trail- Vail Lake happening this Friday. No rest for the weary! ;-)
A couple more photos of the craziness of Rosarito-Puerto Nuevo...
Trying to catch our ride back to Tijuana. The hitchhiking is not a photo opp... but a reality.