On Sunday I ran the Women’s Half Marathon in Scottsdale/Tempe, Arizona. It was the inaugural event for this location, but Women’s Running magazine is spreading their race out across the country. My mom and I went on this trip together and both of us were doing the half.
We walked to the expo from our hotel to get our bib numbers and goodie bags on Friday night. I’m glad we did it then, because the space for the expo was kind of small. I imagine it could have been pretty crowded on Saturday.
I was feeling good that weekend and made the decision to hang with the 2 hour pace group on course. At the expo I signed up for the pace group. The second I signed the paper, my tummy started rumbling with a tiny bit of doubt.
On Saturday night we went to the pre-race pasta dinner that was to benefit the Komen Foundation, as well as to listen to legendary race directory Dave McGillivray speak. I’m really glad that we chose to do that. The food wasn’t phenomenal, but it was okay. But it was inspiring to listen to the speech. I really wish I had written down some of the quotes and points from his talk, because there was a lot of inspiration. One of the biggest ones that stuck with me was “My Game, My Rules”, meaning that your life is your own game… you don’t have to do things only for other people. (One of the “rules” in his game is that each year for his birthday he runs his age in miles. Wow…)
My mom and I went back to our room, only to be kept awake for quite a bit by noisy people outside our hotel room. There was some kind of “young advertisers” conference going on, and apparently these “young advertisers” can really party… at 2:00 AM… and they feel the need to have loud discussions on weird ways in which to pronounce “Avril Lavigne“. I was about ready to go out and kick some butt in my pajamas!
Miraculously I did manage to fall back to sleep for a couple hours. When I woke up after that I glanced at the room clock and saw that it said 4:01 AM. My iPhone alarm should have gone off at 4:00, so I rolled over and grabbed my phone. It said 3:01… It had adjusted itself for the time change. Problem was that Arizona doesn’t observe the time change, so my phone shouldn’t have changed times. Bad Apple… you FAIL at daylight saving time! So I got out of bed to eat my pre-run breakfast of a Clif bar and a banana. I got dressed so we could drive to the finish line. Here’s the irony… our hotel was very close to the start line. We could have walked there easily… but then we’d be at the finish line without a way to get back to our room (unless we called a taxi). So we had to leave earlier to drive to the finish line area, and catch a bus back to the start line!
After the confusion of closed streets, we made the drive to the finish area and boarded a bus back to the start. There we hopped in the long port-a-pottie lines. I hate those things, but they’re a necessary evil in the race environment!
My mom and I then said good-bye to one another and headed off to our respective corrals. I was assigned to corral 1. While I will probably not get assigned to that corral in very many races, it was kind of fun to be there. However, I think they assigned too wide of a predicted time range to that corral.
I had a good time keeping the pace group leader just off to the side or slightly behind me. We ran a stretch of the course along the canals on dirt paths, I really liked that aspect. It was a little crowded through that stretch though, so I couldn’t take advantage of any of the downhill slopes due to congestion.
Sadly, at mile 5 an all too familiar feeling attacked me… quite suddenly this time. And I made a beeline for the side of the road and upchucked. I am sick of this happening to me in races. It’s not right! I watched the 2:00 pace group pull off and leave me behind. Miles 5-7 were pretty rough. I knew I needed to get more fuel in my tank to make it through the race, but I had no desire to actually ingest anything. I was angry at myself and at the race.
Somehow, after mile 7 I had a feeling of peace where I knew I could just finish and it didn’t matter if I didn’t meet a time goal. After that I just kind of floated through the rest of the race, trying to enjoy the scenery. I cheered for the super-fast front-runners as they came back in along the out-and-back section of the course. I didn’t even feel that much frustration as the course lead us right past the finish line with 5 more miles left to complete.
I ran across the finish line, accepted my awesome medal from the cute uniformed men at the finish line and went to get some food. I could have sworn the time on the clock said 2:08, which it probably did since there were two clocks and they were a little off from one another. But my official time was a 2:09:09.
I carried my food over a table and stood chatting with a gal who had done the 5K. She was so overwhelmed with excitement at her accomplishment as well as being super-impressed that I ran 13.1 miles. She gushed over how awesome that is and how she dreams of being able to do that one day. I was reminded that running 13.1 miles is pretty impressive, just like running 3 miles is and running 1 mile is. Respect the distance… it’s all an accomplishment.
I tried taking a couple bites of the banana I picked up after the race, but that kind of gagged me. The only thing that sounded tolerable was a bag of Cheetos. So that’s what I ate, my Cheetos. After that I picked up my stuff and headed back out on the course to find my mom. I did an additional 2.5 miles in going out to get her and then coming back in with her. My mom did an awesome 3:07. She walked most of it, she had knee surgery earlier this year, and she still came in with a pretty smokin’ time. I was so proud of her for tackling something that she was afraid was out of the question for her future.
So I didn’t get my time out of this race, but:
- I had an awesome weekend with my mom
- I got to have dinner with Alissa and her mom
- I got a sweet medal/necklace
- I learned more lessons from racing
All in all, I can’t count this as a failure. It was still good. (I guess even when racing is bad, it’s pretty good?)