My fifth marathon is now in the past after so many months of training and preparation. I spent most of the race ready to be over with it but also managed to enjoy myself and take it easy. We stayed at the historic Menger Hotel, just blocks from the start and finish lines, allowing me just enough time to shower before checkout. I struggled early on in this race so my mind shifted from seeking a PR to finishing with a good attitude.
Expo: One of the better expos I’ve encountered lately. Lots of vendors (loved seeing nuun) and a celebration of Rock n Roll race series from the year. RnR had gathered all the banners from each race expo and put them together to celebrate their 20th anniversary and the final RnR race of the year. We found our banner from Dallas and I added a message to the San Antonio banner. The expo was also incredibly convenient. We walked past the 5K/10K race on the way to the expo (held at the convention center).
Weather: Horrible! I had low expectations (Texas in December is incredibly unpredictable and the news showed the race was in a rainstorm last year) but hoped for maybe 60s. Instead, we got an incredibly humid start, two rainstorms during the race, a light sprinkling later, and a warm sunny finish.
Support: Friendly volunteers and lots of water, but support ran out of Gatorade during the later miles (fortunately I drink Nuun instead). There were more medical tents than I usually see, which offered vaseline and salt packets along the way. During one of the toughest miles, mariachi bands dotted every corner and a folklorico dancer performed above us on a bridge.
Course: Mostly a good tour of the city. We began downtown and ran right past San Fernando Cathedral (with the priests blessing us as we ran past) and the Alamo early on, then past UTSA before heading north into the newly revamped Pearl District. The next highlight was Brackenridge Park, a delight for anyone who thinks Texas doesn’t get a beautiful taste of fall. The trees were rich in autumn hues and American flags lined the way with photos of fallen soldiers. From there, we turned south along the Mission Trail. Unfortunately, we ran through the back way and could only spot one mission from a distance even though the missions were nearby. Miles 18-20 overlap with 20-24, providing more support than usual on some of the tougher stretches. The last mile took us through the gorgeous and historical King William Historic District to cheering crowds just in front of La Villita. Overall, a good pass through the city but would’ve liked to see more of the missions and run along any part of the river walk, even on its far reaches.
This was my first marathon completely and purposely without music. I planned to listen to the Rock n Roll provided bands every mile, but the frequency was lower than I expected. While it was my slowest marathon ever, I felt the greatest sense of accomplishment at the finish line. I’m so grateful for everyone’s support and excited for my next races in 2018. No more marathons for a very long time! I would run RnR San Antonio again in the future but opt for a shorter distance.