Running for Anna

On December 12, 2010 our family was devastated by the loss of my niece, Anna Rogotzke, on her fourth birthday, to a rare cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. On December 4, 2011, I ran in the California International Marathon to raise money for the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, a leader in the fight against sarcomas. This blog is created to update those interested in my journey and progress as I train for this event and events thereafter.

....And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Monday, June 6, 2011

San Diego Marathon Recap - from a spectator's point of view

I had been looking forward to this weekend for a long time!  It was the weekend of my husband's first marathon (hand-cycling). 

We left after work on Friday for the approximately 10 hour trip from Reno to San Diego.  We checked into our hotel about 2:00 a.m.  Being it was so late when we went to bed, we decided to not set an alarm the next day.  I was up by 8:00 a.m., basically annoying Bill and Jacob (husband and son) until they got up, too.  I really wanted to go the marathon expo, and the sunshine was SOOO beautiful (if you've been following this at all, you know we've lately been experiencing a great lack of Vitamin D where we live).  We got ready and headed out to the convention center for the expo. 
The aforementioned husband and son
In front of the convention center
We headed into the expo, and it was wall-to-wall people.  I am not really a crowd person, but there were lots of cool things to look at, so I decided to stick it out for a little while.  After about 45 minutes of pushing, shoving, screaming  browsing, we all had had enough.  Even if I found something I liked, it was so difficult to get to that I just gave up.  I took note of some websites and cool-looking gear, and decided I would look for the same things online from the comfort of my own home.  We ate lunch at the Fox Sports Grill which sat by this gorgeous place.
Then, it was time to head over to meet up with Bill's team (Achilles International) to load up his hand-cycle onto a U-Haul for transportation to the marathon the following morning.  After this, we headed back to our hotel.  My son and I decided to go for a little walk to map out our routine for the next day.  Our hotel was about 1/2 mile from Mile 12 of the marathon.  Our plan for the next day was to catch Bill at Mile 12 and take the trolley to the finish line.  We found the walk to be easy and the trolley station to be user-friendly.  No worries! 

We then met up with the team for dinner.  Let me just say Achilles Team is outstanding!  Great bunch of athletes, and the organizers and directors are simply amazing in all that they do. 

Sunday, we were up by 3:00 a.m.!!  The team bus left for the starting line at 4:00 a.m., and we were told to be prompt or they would leave.  I drove him to the meeting place, and went back to the hotel for about another hour's sleep.  Some friends from Phoenix were coincidentally in San Diego for a birthday celebration, so they met up with us to walk to the 12-mile marker.  I knew Bill was starting about 6:15 a.m., and his goal was 3 hours.  I was hoping to get there by 7:30, thinking that was plenty of time.  We got there way before that (before 7:00).  We noticed some hand-cyclists pass by. They weren't in the lane right by us, but on the other side of the street.  So, we hopped to the boulevard in the middle to get a better look when Bill went by.  The wheelchair competitors and the hand-cyclists shared the running lane with the elite runners.  I did not know this beforehand!  Consequently, we saw the lead marathon runners go by at Mile was amazing!!  They weren't even breathing hard, but going unbelievably fast (too fast to get a picture, unfortunately).  Then, at 7:20 a.m., we saw Bill coming up the hill to Mile 12.  

That cone is in the road, and not coming out of the top of his head.  I never claimed to be a great photographer.

  We clapped and cheered as he went by.  He looked great and was still smiling.  Then I realized what time it was!  What?!?  Wait...he did that first 12 miles pretty quickly.  We still have to get on the trolley, take that to the next station, and then walk over 1 mile to the finish.  I figured we better get going.  In the meantime, however, remember that lane we crossed to get to the middle of the road?  Yes, that's where all the other runners were now passing by en masse.  It was curb to curb half-marathoners and relay runners.  But, we had to get across to get to the trolley.  So, at the best opportunity we could find (which wasn't all that great...I apologize to any runners whose pace we absolutely ruined at that moment), we sprinted across.  However, we wasted about 15 minutes just waiting for that break!  We hurried to the trolley station, said good-byes to our friends, and bought our passes.  Unfortunately, the whole population of San Diego apparently wanted to get to the finish line on the trolley, as well.  The first train came to a stop at the station and the doors opened to ... people EVERYWHERE.  There was literally not one inch to stand on that trolley.  We had no choice but to wait for the next one.  About 5-10 minutes later (luckily, they had more frequent trains just for the marathon), another trolley pulled to a stop and...YES...there was room.  We squished on and headed to our next station.  After getting off the trolley, we half-ran and half-walked to the finish area.  There were people everywhere, so there was a lot of bobbing and weaving as we desperately tried to get to the finish on time.  (By the way, this counts as my one run for the weekend.  I tried to run on the treadmill at the hotel, but got motion sickness...yes, I'm a nerd).  We FINALLY made it to the finish line.  The clock over the banner read just past 2 hours.  I felt pretty safe that we had made it on time.  Right after we got there, we saw the winning male runner cross the finish!  It was very exciting to be a part of that.

Do you see him? neither

 We decided to try to get to the other side of the finish line for a better view.  We had just found a spot there, when my phone rang.  It was Bill saying he was at Mile 25.  We got our cameras ready hoping for a shot when he crossed.  While waiting, the winning female crossed the line!  It was so great to see this...she set a course record, from what I heard.  Awesome!!  A few minutes later, we saw Bill heading for the finish.  Unfortunately, there were so many people in the area that there was no way we could a get a picture of him crossing.  We did get one soon after, though.

The clock on the finish line banner said 2:25 something.  Official chip time was 2:29:16!  Over a half-hour better than his goal time!!  So proud and impressed by his effort.

After the marathon, a little of this:

And a little well-deserved this:
And, of course, this:
Yes, that says Cheesecake Factory...we HAVE to get one of these in Reno.  Little side-note:  If you love the chocolate mousse cheesecake there, DO NOT research how many calories is in that...I learned that the hard way.  Don't get me wrong, though.  I WILL order that again. 

We're home now, but the memories of this weekend will last a very long time.  Hope you all had a good weekend, as well.  If you want to get motivated to train for a half-marathon or a marathon, go watch one!!  I was even a little jealous that I wasn't out there running.  It is so motivating!


  1. What a great race!! Congrats to hubby!!

    We need a cheesecake factory here too...

  2. That is totally awesome! Congrats to the Hubs.

    Love Cheesecake Factory!

  3. wow!!! Congrats to your husband! what an awesome experience and a GREAT TIME!

  4. Great job and congrats to your hubby! That is really amazing!
    And spectating is so fun!