It Went Down In Phoenix–The Expo

It happened. It went down in Phoenix.

3:29:33

I’m honestly still registering emotions and coming out of shock so I’m starting with recapping the Expo as I try and collect myself, lol!

I’M GOING TO BOSTON!!!!

Whew, okay… expo.

My friends Scott and Marsha were here to get married (on the course) so we all did expo together. I had convinced my buddy Carlos (you know him as Carlos The Runner on IG) to come down to Phoenix for the race and he joined us on our expo-dition.

Photo courtesy of Carlos 😀

I’m biased, this race is my favorite, and a big part is because I get to meet SOOO many people (partially because I convince many to come, LOL). I met Heather from Heather Runs Fast and her BRF Jolene from Zebra Girl Runs. These speedy ladies rocked the half marathon (Heather) and full marathon (Jolene).

They gave me speedy vibes ❤

I got to see Emily (RunEMZ on IG) and it was Carlos’ turn to fangirl (I did when I first met her in 2014, ha!).

Another Carlos original

After expo, we went back to my place for Scarsha’s rehearsal dinner….and I FINALLY got to meet Elle from A Fast Paced Life!!!!! You have no idea how long I’ve waited for this day!!! Elle has seriously been with me on this crazy running/blogging journey since the beginning and knows how far I’ve come–all the ups and downs and craziness.

I didn’t get a pic of us before the race, but here’s one of us drinking bloody marys after 🙂

YAY!

We called it an early night as we had a SUPER early wake up call (2:30 a.m.!!) the next morning. My flat me was ready and I was ready for bed! I wasn’t nervous…I felt good, I felt relaxed–probably the calmest I’d ever been the night before a race. I was excited! ❤

 

 

 

 

Rock n Roll Arizona: Race and Half Marathon PR!!!!

I previously wrote about how my pre-race jitters going in to this race were at an all-time high. I didn’t have my fuel, and I was a nervous wreck about breaking a cardinal running rule: Nothing New on Race Day. But, I figured a Huma gel was better than no gel, and I just had to deal.

Luckily, my husband and training buddies Ashley and Dallas were with me at the start. A calming presence for sure. Dallas and my husband planned to run together and Ashely and I would see how long we could last with each other. We’ve yet to finish a race together, ha!!!

My coach had given me a plan. Start miles 1-4 conservatively. And like a good student, I followed direction, holding my pace the first couple of miles. But when we turned the first corner, we were met with a head wind that all of sudden, made staying at half marathon goal pace difficult.

Seeing that 7:55 bummed me out, but I told myself to keep to the plan. Coach had said miles 5-8 needed to be slightly faster than goal pace and to move by effort up the big hill at mile 9. I slowly started to separate from Ashely as I tried to pick up the pace.

It was shortly after mile 5 that I found a buddy who is also under my coach’s direction. He was seriously a Godsend! I took the Huma gel and tried to just swallow that thing down. I could taste the tart strawberry and feel the texture of the chia seeds (way too healthy for me. Give me GU any day). But I was feeling okay.

We coasted along as best we could with the wind and slight upness when we finally reached it.

The hill.

I told myself not to freak out. Stay with Alex as close as I could. It was a short hill. I would be fine. After the hill, it’s down the rest of the way.

JUST GET TO THE TOP.

7:49!!!! Y’all have no idea how insane that looked to me. It was such a confidence booster seeing that split considering how awful I am at running uphill.

But my happiness was short lived once we turned to go down because WHAM!!!–headwind!!! I let out an expletive as I ran, so angry that I would have resistance going down hill.

But I had to deal. Nothing I could do.

According to the plan, once I reached mile 10, I was supposed to “Last 3, fast 3” as I’d been practicing during training. I wasn’t sure I could muster “fast” at the end of this long race, but I knew I had to give it a shot. I was cutting it close.

Mile 11 was a blur as I tried to concentrate on my form and moving my legs. I was expecting my coach and teammates after mile 12 but instead caught them right at the mile mark. My coach yelled out words of encouragement and I felt a rush of pride at how well I was doing–I wanted to show her I COULD DO THIS.

Her instructions had been to ignore the watch the last three miles, so I didn’t know at the time what paces I was hitting. All I knew was that I. Had. To. Move….FAST.

When I turned the corner at mile 13 and saw the time clock at 1:39 (I started about 30 or so seconds behind it) I gave whatever kick I had to the finish.

I was NOT going to let this opportunity pass. I ran knowing that it all came down to those final seconds and if I didn’t do it now, the chance would be gone and I would regret not giving it my all. Close but not succeeding wasn’t an option. I needed to get it done NOW.

I sensed two men increase their speed as I passed them and I hit turbo. NOT TODAY. NOT RIGHT NOW. This was MY time. I was going to be the fastest one to the finish these last few seconds.

I don’t know who this person is.

There was no picture of me stopping my watch. I ran that thing all the way through like a maniac. As evident by that 5:10 pace, lol!

Oh man, I was so happy. I was so happy when I finally looked down and saw 1:39. 1:39. I never, ever in my life thought I would be in the ’30s, that I would run a half marathon averaging 7:30 something. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept reality–that I really am running the way I’m running right now.

I don’t take progress for granted. I don’t forget the long journey it’s been to this moment. I’m not sure how much longer the desire to continue to improve will last, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. I’m so proud of how I’ve overcome negative thoughts, feelings of insecurity to get to this point. I am fast. I’m not bragging, but I need to tell myself that so I can accept this craziness that’s happening. That it’s not a fluke. It’s not luck. It’s freaking hard ass work I’ve done.

This was a hard race. But I know the real hard is coming next.

And I’ll be ready.

Rock n Roll Arizona: The Expo and Pre-Race!

 

I’m back for a second year as a Rock ‘n’ Blogger (RnR Ambassador) so I was excited to represent this year and take a closer look at things so I can (always truthfully) relay info back to y’all.

This year, there was a 1 miler race on Friday and a 5k race on Saturday morning. I had friends do both and who said both were fun. One said the band playing after the 1 miler was legit–a Tom Petty cover band! I was already having FOMO and that just intensified it.

@runlaurarun28

There were some changes made this year (new company!) and I noticed it as soon as we walked in to the expo on Saturday. There were computers available at the entrance of the expo building where you could search your bib number and fill out your waiver–away from the crowds and totally convenient (because I forgot to print mine out, lol!)

Easy walk through to get my bib and shirt but when we entered the actual expo, there were these cool computer screens wishing us luck… by name!! I’m thinking they “got” the info from our bibs?? but either way, I thought that was a nice, new touch 🙂

The expo seemed small, but I don’t mind small expos. I did a loop and half, snagged some Honey Stinger waffles then took a quick ProCompression pic and I was done!

I like that the expo is in downtown Phoenix (where the marathon starts) since we rarely make it down there, and it’s a good excuse to take our time (that, and parking costed $12 so I was going to milk it!). If you’re coming from out of town and doing the half marathon (which starts and ends in Tempe, not downtown Phoenix), you can easily take the light rail to the expo.

We ate a new-to-us restaurant and enjoyed the beautiful 75 degree weather day 😀

RACE DAY

As I mentioned, the half marathon starts and ends in Tempe, Arizona (but goes through Scottsdale and a tiny little section of Phoenix). People complain that it’s not “scenic” but you’re in the city, and I’m not sure how scenic it could be. I think if people are coming to Arizona because they want desert, they need to hit the trails. RnR Arizona does what it can in providing a visually appealing course–it’s start in Tempe’s Mill Ave district and ends at Tempe Town Lake. The middle portions are city streets which is unavoidable–you’re in the city. There’s a nice section (where the big hill is at at mile 9) that takes you around the Desert Botanical Gardens area and is a bit more desert-y. I like that it ends at Tempe Town Lake because it’s a huge area where you can hang out with friends/family afterward (with plenty of food options walking distance). Plus, the band is literally right there. Super convenient. By the way, this year Everclear performed and I totally relived my 90s youth.

Anyway, my husband and I are pros at this race as we’ve done it the past….oh 5 years?? We drive to a park-n-ride off the freeway (in Mesa) and take the light rail to the start line in Tempe–which happens to be at my alma mater, Arizona State University. Big reason why I love doing this race. I love coming back to my old campus stomping grounds 😀 Go Devils!

We arrived suuuuper early, because that’s how I roll, and because I also had to squeeze in 2 warm up miles and attend 2 group pictures, LOL!!

Moms Run This Town AZ

Pro Compression Ambassadors

Rockin’ the Arizona PC sock!!! ❤ #keepittight

It was while I was handing things over to my husband for gear check that I realized I LEFT MY SPIBELT WITH GU INSIDE IN THE CAR!!!! And remember, my car was back IN MESA!

I could feel my anxiety rising and tried hard not to panic. “It’s only a half, I will survive,” I told myself. But because I was shooting for a PR, I really wanted everything to be perfect. This was not perfect.

One of my MRTT girlfriends said she had an extra Huma gel she could give me and even though I hadn’t tried Huma gels before, I figured something was better than nothing. I mean, it’s not like they say to not try anything new on race day or anything.

Sigh……

I tried to get back in the zone. Like I said, I’ve done this race many times. I know this course. I know exactly what’s coming.

Race deets: Always on MLK weekend, always at ASU.

I knew that from the beginning, it’s a slight uphill that at parts you can see/feel and at parts not. I also knew there’s a “big” hill around mile 9 but that after that, you’ve got a fast finish 5k. I told myself to work it to the hill.

Get. to. the. hill.

Actual Race Re-cap tomorrow ❤

 

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