Excursion to TJ’s before Marathon #31 – Rock ‘n Roll San Diego – 6/3-4/17

Marathon #31 / Overall #46
Rock ‘n Roll Marathon San Diego
San Diego, CA

Long story short, this race got added onto my 2016-17 calendar because the Big D marathon in April got cancelled in Dallas. Otherwise, I would’ve never looked into or thought about San Diego. Once again, this shows that sometimes (or often… to be more generous) that God’s plans are different than what we think to be on the path on.

This was supposed to be the last race of the season, but it turned out there will be one more to follow. Since this one was within 3 weeks from Cactus to Cloud 50k (and not knowing how I will respond), I decided to make this a “fun run” rather than for time. After all, this is the Rock ‘n Roll’s 20th anniversary year, so supposedly there would be many running with costumes…

Costume… no cow (this ain’t no Cowtown but a bordertown lol), but time to bust out the ukulele again…

Apparently I wasn’t aware (when I first signed up) that a group of us from Coffee Posse were going together to San Diego! Most of them were running the half, but a few were running the full.

Not to mention, San Diego, while it’s very urbanized/Americanized, is still a “border town” by the location. The last time I was there in 2014 for the USCAP conference, I was this close to actually entering Tijuana, Mexico (TJ’s), but having no passport I didn’t want to risk it and not coming back… lol. This time, I had my passport ready and was determined to go lol.

It was cool to run into familiar faces at the San Diego Int’l Airport on Friday night! That picture is probably Yuma, AZ. Probably the largest place in the middle of nowhere in southern Arizona where the flight flew from (Phoenix to San Diego).

Coffee Posse at the Rock ‘n Roll San Diego Marathon Expo on Saturday… the expo was at the Gaslamp quarter in the San Diego Convention Center, next to the trolleys.

Speaking of the San Diego Trolley… the next stop is…. TJ’s!!! LOL

The UC San Diego Blue Line trolley took you from downtown straight to the San Yisidro transit center, and within feet of the trolley stop, there’s a pedestrian walking bridge to Mexico. It’s clear and you can’t miss it… lol

And once you enter the revolving gates with the word “MEXICO”, it’s the point of no return… LOL. Then you go through some customs and Mexican security…

It was about lunch time and I was starving… the precise reason I came down to TJ’s for… para los TACOS jajaj…. I probably didn’t explore enough, but as soon as you came off the pedestrian walkway, there were a few street vendors selling tacos. So the first thing I did was to get a taco… and the next street vendor was selling birria (lamb) and milanesa (fried steak) tacos… mmm they were sooo good!

And the next thing to do is to walk it off…

According to the street signs, it takes about half an hour to walk from the border to downtown. I had a marathon to run the next day, but I was like, yeah I’ll just take it easy. Lol. And it’s hard to get lost because there are signs saying “USA” everywhere! When I walked over a bridge, I could see how horrendous the traffic coming into the US was. People usually spend 2-3 hours waiting! And note the street vendors that “set up shop” in the midst of traffic… And there is the Tijuana River, which is nothing more than a ditch canal with stagnant water… LOL

After about walking for 25 minutes or so… there was the Tijuana arch. I guess they’re trying to copy St. Louis, but in actuality it’s a lot smaller. And this is where the excitement is downtown with vendors, random shows, and just people walking around in general.

Say “no” to drugs… say “yes” to tacos… jajajajaja

Even at this point I had felt fine, after 3 tacos, half of a horchata, and some water. I decided that it’s finally time to walk back to America… On the way back, I got this mango bowl from a street vendor (logic: mangos = good for digestive tract lol).

But after having the mangos, things started going downhill… I think I was just dehydrated from all the walking outside, but cannot exclude that something was in the mangos or the chili sauce that came with it…. 😦 no bueno ja

At least the walkway back into the United States was covered, but it was sooo loooong!! The end was pretty cool, as they had us going down a spiral walkway back to ground level…

After walking across the pedestrian bridge, there was yet ANOTHER 0.5 mile walk or so before I got back to the San Ysidro transit center… that was too long lol and too hot… And then it took an hour to get back to get back to downtown San Diego, back to the AirBnB I was staying at, and

We (the Coffee Posse) had dinner at Monello’s in Little Italy. The usual carb load… except for what I got ha…


The start line in Balboa Park. Weather was in the low 60’s and overcast, a little more humid than usual…

Coffee Posse and Maniacs before the race… And the ghetto watch of mine – the duct tape actually came off BEFORE the race… So I had to strap the watch onto my waist band…

The first mile started just east of Little Italy. After which we turned into University Ave headed towards Mission Valley.

Miles 2-5 ish… into and through the neighborhoods of Mission Valley. There was Elvis, the female Elvis counterpart… and other people dressed up in various costumes ha. Amongst the others were people carrying blow-up air guitars, while I was carrying a (real) ukulele lol.

Miles 5-6 ish… this part turned out to be emotional for a lot of people – as there were a memorial for all the ones in the military who were fallen. And I came across a firefighter who was running the full marathon in his suit. Hats off to him for wearing his real uniform…

Miles 7-8 ish… of course there had to be total strangers with random signs that make fun of current events and politics… in last year’s Chicago and New York City marathons everyone was talking smack about Donald Trump, and now these girls were talking smack about United Airlines dragging you off your seat with a bloody nose… LOL

Miles 9-11 ish… the half and the full split off, and the full entered the 163 northbound for a little bit.

Miles 11-13 ish… These neighborhoods leading up to Sea World were quite nice…

Miles 14-15 ish… There was a huge drop around mile 14 as we went through Presidio Park, and then crossing the 5 freeway took us into Mission Bay park.

Miles 16-19 ish… This was a nice park… it even started to drizzle a little bit… which meant it got my ukulele a little wet lol.

It’s always nice see familiar faces!! I ran into Mo, MaryAnn, and Mitch (the basketball guy).

Miles 20-22 ish… Now the uphills started to kick in, as we ran next to a golf course (I could feel the incline, and the people around me were bonking out already… but this wasn’t the monster hill on the 163 that people were talking about yet…

Miles 22-24 ish… of course we ate hills for breakfast! We had the entire 163 northbound to ourselves, and after about half a mile in, we started to climb. It was hot and humid, and no perspiration (no wind). Even I had to slow down and walk some, and was feeling the thirst for sure. The 163 hill lasted almost over 1 1/2 miles and was the longest thing. On the oposite side of the freeway we could see cars getting stuck in a traffic jam headed into downtown lol.

Miles 24-25 ish… Then it flattened out a bit, but I could still feel the camber in the freeway lanes and there was no escape…

Mile 26 to the finish…

Hanging around the finish line… this was nowhere near my PR, but it sure was a PR running with the ukulele (4h 33m) haha. And yes, I stopped and played a couple of chords on demand as people requested on the course.

As I found my group of Coffee Posse friends, I sat down and felt nauseated and lightheaded. I was like, “must be the tacos from TJ’s”… And one of the guys said, “you know what I actually no sympathy for you whatsoever…” “what possessed you to go down to TJ’s and eat food from a foreign country the day BEFORE a marathon? You deserved it”… hahahaha!!

A group of us got some late lunch/dinner prior to parting ways…

This was a short but good weekend away from town and a good race…



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