By Brandon Messerly
The San Diego Rock 'n' Roll marathon was my second race at the 42K distance. I came into this one with much higher expectations than I had for my debut marathon. In that race I was focused solely on not blowing up. This time around I came in with a specific time goal of breaking 2:30. Even with a slight setback (catching a cold the weekend before the race), I was confident that with a slightly easier course and much more consistent training I was ready for a big PR.
I planned to run the first half conservatively, which for me meant running splits of between 5:40-5:45 per mile. I talked with fellow Aggie G-Money before the race, and he had the same plan as I did, so we decided to work together. After running the first four miles much quicker than I had planned to, Gordon continued to pick up the pace. I decided to let him go, knowing that even though I was feeling good at the time I still had a lot of running left to do. This did mean that I would run almost all of the remaining 22 miles solo, but I was confident in my plan and did not want to get in over my head. However, the excitement of the race still got to me, and I ended up going through the half in 1:13:30, well ahead of what I had intended. The second half became a struggle. A giant hill through miles 23 and 24 led to by far my slowest two miles of the race.
In the end I missed the goal I had been so focused on by 14 seconds. I finished with a time of 2:30:13. I don't know if it was due to going out too quickly, or due to misjudging how hard the final hill would be, but I know I will be thinking about those 14 seconds a lot during the coming months. Those 14 seconds aside, I am quite happy with my overall performance. It's hard to complain too much after a four minute PR and taking second place to a runner who has run under 2:11. It was a great experience racing close to home for the first time in three years, and I'm happy that I was able to represent the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies well.