See how a new course through Alamo City stacks up to previous years in this race recap of the 2018 Rock’n’Roll San Antonio Half Marathon.
I received complimentary entry into this race as part of the Rock’n’Blog team. All opinions are my own.
I ended my 2018 race season with half number 18: the Rock’n’Roll San Antonio Half Marathon. I ran this half in 2017 but heard the course was changing. I was excited to see what San Antonio had in store for me this time around. Without spoiling too much, I’ll say that I was a bit disappointed with the changes Rock’n’Roll made to this race. That said, the weekend started off with an exciting expo.
My friend Jess and I drove to San Antonio Saturday afternoon. Since I visited the city last year, I knew that we could see everything we wanted to see in half a day. We arrived, checked into our hotel and headed straight for the expo.
Rock’n’Roll always makes bib pickup a breeze, but the rest of the expo was super crowded. I guess that’s what we get for getting there late in the afternoon the day before the race. We meandered around a bit and ended up spotting Meb!
I really wanted to have him sign my bib, but his manager was trying to shuffle him away right when we spotted him. I managed to snag a picture of him though, paparazzi style.
Then we heard that Des Linden was going to be by the Brooks booth, so we made our way over. Unfortunately, the line was nuts by the time we go there, so we snagged a drive by picture of her, too!
At that point the expo was so crowded I just wanted to get out of there, so we snuck out a side entrance and made our way to the River Walk and the Alamo.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Jess and I made early-ish dinner reservations at Zocca. We enjoyed a nice relaxing dinner and then made our way back to our hotel to lay out our flat runners and get our
beauty runner rest.
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THE MORNING OF
The race was scheduled to start at 7:15am. Since our hotel was only about half a mile, we didn’t have to wake up too too early. We got dressed, I had my standard pre-race breakfast (oats with a banana) and we headed to the starting line.
Everything was going smoothly until we arrived. The corrals took up the entire width of the street, leaving only the sidewalk for everyone trying to make their way to their corrals. It was so nuts. Some people were trying to move up. Some people were trying to move back. The sidewalk only fit two people wide, so as a result, no one was really moving anywhere very quickly.
Jess and I decided we’d have better luck popping into the corrals and making our way to the correct one once we were in.
By the time we made it to our corral, the National Anthem was starting and we were on our way.
Right from the beginning, I knew this race wasn’t going to be the best. For one, my shoe was rubbing on the top of my foot despite having adjusted it a few times before the race, but the biggest problem was the crowds.
It became apparent pretty quickly that Rock’n’Roll wasn’t managing or monitoring who went into what corral. There were people that should have been ten corrals behind us in our corral. That meant people were walking or running much slower than we were, which meant we had to do a lot of weaving to try to find space and get into a groove. It was quite frustrating.
It took about 2.5 miles before we finally moved away from all the people that should have started in later corrals.
Despite the frustration caused by the crowds, I told Jess the good news: we’d run by the Alamo around mile three, and there’d be lots of supporters on the sidelines to give us a boost of energy. Mile three came. Mile four came. No Alamo.
Oh, right. They changed the course. I thought perhaps they saved the Alamo for the end of the race. That would be a good final boost.
We trudged along.
The problems didn’t stop there. At mile five the Brooks rocker arch (pic below from RNR Seattle) that finds its way to every Rock’n’Roll race was collapsing. Right on top of runners! We ended up having to jump off the course to go around it.
Then at mile 6, Jess was hit with some tummy troubles. We stopped for a porta potty, but unfortunately, that didn’t help her much. A few minutes later, she told me to go on ahead without her.
Neither of us had brought music/headphones to the race because 1) we figured we’d keep each other company and 2) Rock’n’Roll usually has tons of bands along the course to keep runners entertained. Jess and I ran just under half of the course together, and I think we only passed two bands. I hoped there’d be more along the second half of the course now that I was losing my running buddy.
Since I was no longer trying to pace Jess, I picked up speed in hopes that I could still hit my goal (finishing faster than Rock’n’Roll Savannah).
I was feeling great and was keeping my pace solid despite not having any music to push me along.
My foot was starting to hurt quite a bit, but I figured the faster I ran, the sooner I’d finish and the faster I could take my shoe off.
I chugged along. I kept waiting to run by the Alamo and get that boost of energy, but all of the sudden I was in the home stretch. I was relieved the finish line was ahead. I was excited to achieve my goal and score another medal, but I was disappointed the Alamo never came.
We’re in Alamo City. How could we not run by the Alamo?
I also thought about the lack of bands along the course. Was I just not paying attention? I collected my medal and stretched while Jess finished her race. I asked her if I somehow missed all the bands, but she didn’t remember seeing many either.
We were both a bit disappointed in this race from start to finish, but despite not enjoying the miles as much as we thought we would, I have to say we looked pretty great at the finish line.
Did we even run? Our hair is on point!
We made our way back to our hotel with good hair and new medals, and I’m looking forward to earning my Groupie medal for running four Rock’n’Roll Half Marathons in a year.
OVERALL ROCK’N’ROLL SAN ANTONIO HALF MARATHON PROS:
- flat, easy course
- post-race swag
- opportunity to earn extra bling
OVERALL ROCK’N’ROLL SAN ANTONIO HALF MARATHON CONS:
- crowded starting line
- lack of corral management
- course changes means you no longer run by the Alamo
- lack of music along the course (especially compared to other Rock’n’Roll races).
Despite being disappointed in this race, I know Rock’n’Roll usually puts on awesome races, so I have faith they’ll take feedback to heart to make some updates to this race for 2019.
What races are you looking forward to this year?