Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Race Recap

Ok, we’re back in business… kinda.  I don’t know what the deal is, if it’s WordPress, my computer, or just me, but I was so frustrated with the whole wide web this morning that I threw a People magazine across the room with such force that my husband mistook me for Mark McSteroids McGwire.

Everything’s still a little janky but I can’t do anything about it until the computer savior gets home later.  So if this post is not funny, full of  rage and tries to beat you up, blame it on the ‘roids.

Per usual, I layed out all my gear out the night before.  I narrowed down my outfit choices from 4 to 2.  I was deciding between a white skirt and shorts and finally went with the more manly yet safer for looser bowels option: black shorts.

Wake up call was at 4:30am.  The race started at 7:40, and we left the house at 5:45am.  It started in downtown Phoenix, and we weren’t really exactly sure where to park or how long it would take us to get there.  The start and finish are about 10 miles apart so we ended up parking at the start and taking the Metro light rail back after the race.

Before we left the house, I had my standard pre-race multiple cups of coffee and then I had another half cup at the start camp along with a Clif bar 45 mins before race time.

We had so much time that I started stretching routine #2.  Before I leave the house I always fully stretch everything and then if I have extra time at the race, I do a little more.

We saw Dean Karnazes giving an interview before the race.  He’s in the middle there with the white shirt and black shorts.  There was a 50k race option where you paid $50 extra and got to run the 5+/- miles with Dean before the marathon start and then run the race with everyone else.

Senator John McCain also gave a quick SkinnyRunner shoutout hello to all the runners.  He is right under the palm tree with the white shirt and navy suit on.

There were 9 marathon corrals and 29 half corrals.  I was in corral #2 and started very close to the front just because there weren’t a whole lot of people in front of me.  I crossed the start line 30-45 seconds after the gun went off. (In RnR Vegas, I didn’t cross for nearly 14 minutes).  I think this was a huge reason why I ran so fast.  From the very get-go, I got into a faster than normal pace, around 8 min miles.  I didn’t even mean to, I was hoping to run about 8:15′s but everyone around me was cruising faster so I did too.

The first 10k went by super slowly in my mind.  The course was kinda boring, and I kept thinking, Man I have a long ways to go.  I ran the 10k in 49:46.  I felt good physically and kept telling myself to go one more mile at this pace, 8 min, and then I could slow down.

Race Eats:

At mile 9.5 I ate 4 of the gel blasts cola chews.  I crossed the halfway point in 1:44:16 and ate the other 5 which was 190 calories total.    These things are ok tasting, but I rather have gels because they go down so much easier.

In my first marathon, it got really difficult mentally around mile 14-19, but that didn’t happen this time around.  I honestly think it was because the course wasn’t an out and back.  I wasn’t waiting for a switchback or turn, and I kept telling myself that every step is closer to the finish line.  (Of course, that’s true for an out and back course too, but your mind goes crazy in a marathon so you have to play games to keep the sanity)

I had my first GU at mile 16.5.  16 was a hard mile for me because I was running with the 3:30 pacer for awhile, which was a huge surprise to me, and then he dropped me like a bad habit.  I couldn’t keep up that pace, and that was mentally hard to adjust to.  I still felt good physically, but it was a downer to see the pacer get farther and farther ahead of me.

I had my second GU at mile 20.  I crossed the 20 mile mark in 2:39:24.  My body was starting to ache and the miles seemed to stretch out.  The last 6 were like a Jessica Simpson movie, they just took forever.  I couldn’t see the 3:30 pacer and was hoping to keep enough of a pace to finish somewhere in the 3:30′s.  I had my third and final GU, which they had handed out a couple miles back, at 22.5.

The last few miles were killers; they just didn’t end.  The last 5 miles seriously felt like they took 5 hours.  It didn’t help that they were all on one long, straight road.  It was like Groundhog Day or something, no end in sight.

I kicked hard at the end; for the last quarter mile I ran as hard and fast as I could.  I passed the 3:30 pacer with about .1 mile to go.  My official time was 3:29:05. 618th out of 5711.  104th woman and 22nd in my division.  As soon as I crossed the line, my whole body promptly thanked me with a full-on body ache.

I walked through the secure zone and the medic tent stopped me to see if I needed anything.  I wasn’t going to pass up the offer from these ice angels so I said, load it on! They iced my knees, gave me ibuprofin and an extra bag of ice for my hips.  The guys were super nice and helpful, and my legs are still thanking them today.

After waiting awhile, I finally found my fam.  They were just as surprised at my finishing time as I was – they actually missed me crossing the line because they didn’t think I’d finish so quickly.  When the clock hit 4 hours and they had yet to see me, they thought I was injured and my dad starting walking the course backwards looking for me!

All was well and we headed towards the light rail to get back to the car.  We probably walked 2-3 miles, looking for my dad, to the light rail, and then to the car where we finally met up with the wandering father.

I was really, really surprised at my finish time. I wouldn’t even believe my garmin until the official results came out.  I started at a fast pace and was able to keep it up somehow.  I was hoping to run around 3:38 so it was definitely a nice surprise.

Another heavy duty RnR medal.  They always give out weight lifting medals.

I am pretty proud of myself.  Really surprised but proud too.  I never thought I would run this race this fast because I didn’t run any long distances since my last marathon December 6: the farthest I ran over the holidays was 11 miles.

I guess running is more mental than anything.  If you think you can do it, you probably can.  Your mind can make your body do what it doesn’t think it can. I am happy with the fact that even though there were some tough miles, this race wasn’t as mentally difficult for me as my first one.  Physically, I think it was harder because I pushed myself more and never settled into an “easy”, comfortable pace, but mentally I kept my cool and rocked it.

Lastly, I have to give all glory to the ultimate awesome runner, God.  I ran hard, but He gave me legs to start with.

Edited to add: For you foodie/GU lovers/calorie counters out there, I ate 490 calories worth of crap during the race: 3 Gu’s and one pack of the Powerbar cola things.  I also alternated between water and Cytomax.  I drank one or the other at every aid station.

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