My Race Report is pretty long and drawn out, but it's my personal notes on the race and I wanted to jot them down before I completely forget about the painful and traumatic ordeal. So, I apologize for the length now. If you just want the nitty-gritty times, feel free to scroll down to the bottom.
Sitting in the shuttle going from the Blue Lot at the finish line to the start line is so depressing. The ride is pretty long and all I could think about was "I've got to run all the way back to my car now."
Since this is my third Rock N' Roll Arizona Race, the pre-race activity was all familiar. Wait in line for a porto-potty, grab some snacks and water (bagels were missing this year), peel off the layer of clothes and check in your gear bag, then get in your Corral. I was in Corral #8. It wasn't too long before they sang the Star Spangle Banner and we were off!
NOTE: Pacing was according to my Nike+ pedometer which started deviating after the half marathon mark, slightly and I've abandoned pedometer readings altogether after Mile 20.
Mile 0. 10:45 min mile First song on my iPod was Eminem's "Lose Yourself". Great way to kick-off the race. Mile 1. 10:51 min mile Some "lady" about 8 feet in front of me turned her head to the left and spat. If I were following her any closer and she would've spit on my leg! Mile 2. 10:58 min mile Decided to skip the line at the porta-potty and wait for the next one. Mile 3. 11:19 min mile You know how I like my ipod songs to kinda be the soundtrack to my run? Like my 1/2 marathon 2 years ago, when Allen asked me at Mile 7 "What song is on now?" and I told him "A Little Less Conversation". About this time I was wishing I had the Beyonce song "If I were a Boy." Because if I were a boy, I'd simply find the closest alley to relieve myself. I had no idea when the next porta-potties would be. Mile 4. 10:53 min mile FINALLY, a bathroom break! I didn't care that I had to wait in line this time. I saw Allen run by as I waited in line and yelled "Go Allen!" I'm not sure he heard me. My pace didn't suffer too much. It must've been the extra spring in my step after :) Mile 5. 11:38 min mile Took my first Power Bar Energy Gel Mile 8. 12:03 min mile Took my second Power Bar Energy Gel Mile 12. 11:36 min mile Took my third Power Bar Energy Gel. Made my second and final porta-potty stop. The one I chose was totally off balance. The slightest move I made in it sent the thing shaking wildly. I thought it was going to tip over on me! Ack! what a nightmare that would have been! Mile 13. 11:52 min mile Half Marathon Time split. 2:33:38 2008 Half Marathon Time split was 2:45:41, so my pace for the first half had definitely improved. Half Marathon PR is 2:26:36 Mile 14. 12:30 min mile I could really use an orange slice about now. The citrus and juice would quench my thirst more than the water I've been getting at the water stations. Plus the pasty energy gel coated my mouth and water couldn't wash it out. Mile 15. 12:37 min mile Finally tried the Cytomax energy drink they were offering at the water stations. Yumm! I passed a lady at the water station and thanked her for volunteering. "Sorry about the mess," I said, pointing to all the empty discarded paper cups, "I'll come back and clean up later." She laughed, yeah right. Mile 16. 10:32 min mile The Indian Bend hill starts. Took my fourth Power Bar Energy Gel. Mile 17. 15:41 min mile God Bless the lady who set up the little table on the side, giving away pretzels and oranges!!! I love you Orange Lady!!! My prayers were answered. Mile 18. 12:18 min mile At this point, the crowd had thinned out some and I was able to recognize a lot of the runners around me. Two in particular were Elvis and Fitzgerald. Elvis was dressed in a white, long-sleeved, bell-bottom jump suit with a white cowboy hat and a red inflatable guitar. Fitzgerald had on a wig painted red, A Fitgerald jersey and a football that he would pass to willing runners or volunteers. I really benefited from being around these characters because as they ran by, the volunteers, cheerleaders and spectators would be fired up as they passed. I kinda milked that excitement. Mile 19. 10:50 min mile I turned a corner around Old Town Scottsdale to find someone who just slowed down to walk. I pointed toward the lift at the end of the block with photographers on it and told him, "You better get ready for your photo-op!" This got him back running and we crossed the PF Chang's carpet with our arms up and running. This quickly changed as we passed under the lift. At least we looked like we still had energy. Mile 20. 10:24 min mile Seriously, I tried to take my 5th out of the 6 Power Bar Energy Gels I had for the race. I only finished a quarter of it and threw it to the side. I really couldn't stand it any longer, the taste, the consistency, and thinking that this is the only thing that is in my stomach right now. I felt that if I actually ate the whole gel, I would throw up. I believe this may have been my downfall because my pace seriously tanked after this. I never even took the final energy gel. This is like losing to a question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and still having a life line left-over. Take your life-lines people!!! Mile 21. My Nike+ mileage starts deviating from the official race mile markers. This is either because at this point, my running is more like a shuffle so that my Nike+ thinks small steps are my normal gate or PF Chang's Race Officials have spaced out the Mile markers farther than they should. I do believe it is the former, although it honestly seemed like the latter and the miles were getting longer and longer. Actual split times and pacing are below. Mile 22. A coach with a Team In Training Hat cheered from the sidelines. I realized then that going with TNT as the Team in Training Acronym was a smart move. Who wants TIT on their hat? Mile 23. It had heated up considerably. Every water station was an opportunity to pour water down my back and over my head and get sprayed by the hose from one of the volunteers. The breeze during the run and the wet clothes helped cool me down.
I poured water on my right shoulders and found the cooling effect on my arm felt good as well. I decided to try this on my left arm at the next water stop and realized too late that my iPod was on that arm! Luckily, it didn't hurt the iPod at all. Mile 24. Seriously considering NEVER doing this again. EVER. Mile 25. NEVER EVER. Seriously Mile 26. Shuffled for most of mile 26 and only started running at the turn into the home stretch. The finish was an emotional one and I only wished that my family was there at the finish line to greet me. But they've got a wonderful and perfect excuse for missing it, the Cardinals were playing the NFC Championship. I couldn't let them miss that!
Tonight, before I head off to the Suns game, I'll be taking my Final Confirmation Sheet to the Health and Fitness expo in Downtown Phoenix to pick up my Race Number.
This is it, people! Can I PR???? I've got the same mantra as I had last year. "Beat Katie Holmes." Her NY Marathon time was 5:25. I couldn't do it last year, with a time of 5:46:44. Can I really shave off 21 minutes?
You can follow my progress here using my race number 8567 http://www.liveraceresults.com/mobile/
Don't let me get me. Following Hal Higdon's Novice II Marathon Training schedule, yesterdays run was 3 miles. It was an unusually warm day in January, 75 degrees, so I decided to take it at an easy pace. The mysterious pain in my knee I had on Sunday and Monday, mysteriously disappeared. But this morning I awoke to sore leg muscles.
What?! That was a 3 mile run, at an easy pace? Why am I sore? Was it cuz I ran so slow? Are my muscles always this sore and I never even noticed it?
I'm my own worst enemy. These last two weeks of tapering are leaving me antsy. I needed something to do, so for some stupid reason, Monday night, I decided to do the initial testing for the two hundred sit-up training program.
The initial test consists simply of doing as many crunches as you can to determine where you should start in the training program. Knowing I could've done a few more, I stopped at 47, just to be conservative. That number of crunches at my age places me at the "Good" level.
All day yesterday, I thought, Wow! I don't feel those crunches at all! I should have kept going. But then, I woke up this morning. HA! NOW, I feel them!
Its bad when you annoy yourself...so irritating Geez! What am I doing to myself?! I'm supposed to be taking it easy before the marathon - take in a movie or a nice leisurely game of golf. This training is making me crazy. I should be relaxing, not tripping out on every ache and pain I feel (Oh yeah, during this morning's 2 miler, I felt like I was getting shin splints. Really? 2 miles?).
I just can't wait for this whole thing to be over. So much so, that I'm going to start looking for my next race!
And the countdown begins. 12 more days until the PF Chang's marathon. My schedule calls for a 4, 3, 4 and 8 mile week. I feel like I have so much time on my hands that I don't know what to do. This leaves me with way too much time to think. Too much time to think about the challenge ahead and what mistakes I made at last years marathon. Then, how am I going to over come those mistakes this year. My stream of conscientiousness. I can't believe the minutia that flows through my head during this time. "What am I going to eat for breakfast before the race...I better not drink too much coffee or I'll have to take too many bathroom breaks...I wonder if they make adult diapers for marathon runners...they make them for astronauts...what should I wear...what should I eat the night before...why am I doing this again..." I'm running how far? I know, it's far, but what really bugs me is the elevation gain. I remember running up Indian School Road last year and thinking, when is this hill ever going to end??? So, today I decided to look at my elevation profile from my 20 miler and compare it to the race elevation profile.
I gain a maximum of 200 ft in elevation over the course of 2.25 miles. The actual race has a 130 ft elevation gain over 7 miles. I guess it's not much of a gain, but over 7 miles!! No wonder I felt like the hill never ended.
I know, I know, all you experienced racers are laughing at me. Compared to other marathons, Phoenix is fairly flat. But a hill is a hill. Doing this little analysis will help me get it through my head that I'm ready.