Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Race Recap: PHOENIX Half Marathon

I wanted to PR the Phoenix Half Marathon but I didn't want to admit it. 

Spoiler: I didn't PR but I was close.

If you missed my pre-race activities recap click HERE.

I had a wake up call scheduled for 3:45am. The race didn't start until 6:30
but we had to take a bus to the starting line and the last one left at 5am.  Jen and her husband Tom offered to give me a ride to the shuttle (about 10 minutes away) which was so sweet! Anyway, for some reason the hotel wake up came at 3:15! I hadn't slept well so I would have loved the extra 30 minutes. 

I changed into my running gear and then ate half a bagel and peanut butter while scrolling through social media. 

I met Jen and Tom in the hotel lobby at 4:15. Because of road closures, we had to take a different route to the buses. The roads were packed as others wanted to wait to catch the last bus. The 10K, Half Marathon and Marathons all have different meeting spots (and start lines) so it was easy to find where we were going. We only waited about two minutes before we were on a bus and on our way. 

We arrived at the starting area around 5:15 and immediately lined up for the porta potties. As we chatted, Jen and I noticed they had about a dozen heaters set up and runners were piled, sometimes 3 or 4 deep, around them! It was a little cool and windy (16 degrees but no sun) but I was wearing a long sleeve t-shirt over my race shirt and felt fine! 

The lineup for the porta potty took about 15 minutes. We tried to lineup again around 5:45 but the lineups were ridiculously long! We easily would have had to wait at least 45 minutes. So, we found a nearby bush. I didn't want to stop along the way!

Before the race, a few of us met up for a few group shots.

Then, it was time to go! I lined up between the 1:50 and 2:00 pacers and hoped for the best. After taking almost five weeks off my proper training I wasn't sure what my body was capable of.

As the announcer began counting down, I started to get really excited. I love racing. 

This race even had fireworks at the start as a send off!

My biggest problem in races is usually going out too quick. I decided to start out really slow for the first mile, or two, and use it as a warm up. About half a mile in I was holding a 9:20 pace and feeling awesome! That's when I saw a "Go Mommy Go. Run Faster" signs and started to tear up! I started thinking about London and how I was running to him. 

After about two miles, the 2 hour pacer caught up with me. That's when I knew I had to decide if I wanted to stick with my sub 2 plan B goal or kick it up a gear and go for the PR! (1:54:14) My competitive side knew I was going for the PR!! 

I started speeding up and began searching for someone to pace me. I settled in to an 8:45 pace and was feeling good. If I could hold it and speed up the last few miles I would be close. I think it was still too early to find a pacer though as most people seemed to be slowing down at this point or speeding up to find their race gear. I decided to just pace myself and see what happened.

Now, as for the course. I think I expected more from a scenery perspective. We were running down a lot of residential streets. Besides the few cactuses, it could have been any city. I believe the marathon had stunning views though so I can only speak from what I saw. It was mostly downhill though, which was awesome! 

I hit mile 4 and realized I had been following a girl for awhile. She was running an 8:30 pace and I was managing to keep up. I decided that she would be my pacer! I was feeling good! I was drinking a lot of water and decided around mile 5 to take a gel. I brought the Salted Caramel GU. They're so good!

Miles 5-8 were so windy!! I felt like we were in Lethbridge. I was really working to keep up with my pacer but knew if I let off I wouldn't be able to catch up. 

At mile 9 I lost my pacer. She dropped off to walk and I never saw her again. Thank you to the random girl in the yellow #1 t-shirt for running with me. You kept me going when it was really hard!

I didn't want to walk but knew I needed to find another pacer or some sort of an extra kick. I decided to grab some Gatorade at the next aid station. I remembered why I don't drink from cups, while running, when half of it went up my nose hahaha! I was giggling to myself when all of a sudden the guy running next to me projectile vomited everywhere. I turned to see if he was okay but his friends had already stopped with him. Poor guy! 

There may not have been much scenery to look at but there were some entertaining spectators, and fellow racers! I saw a lot of superheroes, a guy sitting on a couch eating chips, three guys running with no shirts on (good pacers for awhile lol) and lots of kids cheering on their parents (my favourite!) 

I also saw lots of great signs. Thank you to all the spectators who took the time to make them! They ways make me smile! I wish I would have taken more photos but this race was tough and I didn't want to focus on anything else.

When mile 10 hit, I knew I was in the home stretch. I also knew I needed to speed up to PR. I had lost some time in the wind and it was going to be close. Unfortunately, that's when I felt like there was something in my shoe. It almost felt like my sock was twisted or something. Again, I didn't want to stop and lose time when I was already pushing it. I decided to push through the temporary annoying pain. 

I began chasing another girl who was running an 8:30 pace. I just needed to hold on and eventually catch up but mile 11 was windy. I lost the girl and a bit of my speed. I knew my chances of beating my personal best were slowly slipping away but I wasn't ready to give up yet. 

Mile 12 we finally turned away from the wind and I felt like I could speed up. I kept checking my watch and wasn't seeing the speed I wanted. My legs were dead and I couldn't see the finish line. I just kept telling myself London was less than 9 minutes away. 

Finally, the finish line came into view and I somehow got my legs to speed up. I started scouring the crowds looking for mom and London and spotted them!! They were just what I needed to get myself over that finish line!

Finish time- 1:54:39

25 seconds short of my PR


9:02, 8:35, 8:29, 8:37, 8:37, 8:44, 8:39, 8:50, 8:36, 8:53, 8:57, 8:59, 8:31

I guess I'm actually quite consistent when it comes to half marathon times. Three of my last ones I've finished in 1:54:XX!

Despite not PR'ing I'm actually proud of myself. I didn't reach my A goal but I had a great time and finished strong! I can't wait to see how I do next time with a (hopefully) healthy training schedule!! 

After you finish the race, the runners are kept in a closed off section to get their medals, water, and food. I made my way over to the gate, to see mom and London, before walking through the runners area.

I also got to snag a photo with Jeremy and Corine at the finish line.

 I would have loved some food but the lineups were super long. I ended up just walking out, empty-handed (minus my medal of course!)

They were offering free massages which I happily accepted. My girl stretched and massaged me for 20 minutes and it felt amazing. We let London run around in the children's area before I couldn't handle the cold weather anymore. I forgot a sweater and was freezing!! 

Mom and I decided to head to breakfast at a nearby restaurant a friend had recommended. I got an egg and cheese sandwich but could only have a few bites of it. Usually, I'm starving after a race but not today!

I did get to pig out at In N Out burger later that day though. It was amazing!!!! 

Oh, and that nagging thing/pain in my shoe? It turned out to be a huge blister. Ouch!! I'll spare you the photo! 

Congratulations to all the runners, race organizers and volunteers. Besides the lack or porta potties at the start I would say everything went smooth! I would definitely recommend this race to others looking for a fast, mostly downhill, race with an awesome shirt and medal! 

Also, a big thank you to all those that supported me whether it was in person, texts or online. It really means so much to me!

If you made it through this whole thing
YOU deserve a medal ;) 

Rest of my PHOENIX trip recap and Virtual 5 mile race recap coming soon!

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