By Eric Noel

Last weekend in San Diego I laced up my HOKA ONE ONE Claytons for my encore 42k this season. This version of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon closely followed my pinnacle Spring race last month: the Lincoln Marathon in Nebraska (that state east of Colorado).  While I’d never recommend engaging in consecutive marathons with such a brief time lapse in between, I couldn’t resist one last opportunity to race in the Golden State before returning to the Cornhusker State for grad school.
It was just before the 21k mark when I quickly realized that this would be more of a character building experience than a grinding race.  That’s a nice way to put it.  You see, in a marathon, experience is currency.  Will power alone won’t see you to the finish.  Fortunately, I have run the distance enough to recognize that the wheels were falling off the bus early, and I needed to conserve enough fuel to reach the famous RNR after party; a place where indulging in adult beverages before 9 AM is publicly acceptable without judgement.
In the final miles, I hallucinated an accidental detour to Tijuana, where I panicked upon realizing I didn’t have my passport in my frustratingly undersized pocket.  Clearly my body hadn’t forgiven me for my previous 42k effort in May.  Despite these adversities, I managed to finish on the podium while sincerely enjoying my stay so close to the border with fellow HOKA ONE ONE Aggies teammates.  I am already looking ahead to the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento at year’s end, where I’ll be focused on shaving two minutes off of my PR to achieve the elusive U.S. Marathon Olympic Trial qualifier standard.
SHOES: Clayton 2