Rock n Roll AZ 1/2 Marathon Recap

I DID IT!!! I DID IT!!!

Official Time– 1:58:11

Oh my goodness gracious, that was the hardest race I’ve ran so far ever, ever, ever.

It was pretty clear that I had a lot of jitters leading up to this race. Oddly though, I slept like a log the night before. I think I was so beat from worrying that my body went into shut down mode. Either way, I was glad that I was able to rest.

Our alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. –our real alarm, not my almost 6 month old 🙂 — and we began getting ready. I had my clothes laid out and ready to go so this process didn’t take too long; we wanted to leave our house by 5:45. I ate my usual Nutrigrain bar and we were off.

Do you have a pre-race song you like to listen to before a race? I do. It’s Delta Goodrem’s “Believe Again”. I hear that song on repeat in the car on my way to each race. Luckily, my husband likes it and didn’t mind hearing it for the 20 minute car ride. We had to park and take the light rail to the race as the area where it started was super congested and trying to find parking there would have been ridiculous and expensive.

The race’s starting line was right smack in the middle of my college campus, Arizona State University. This is me in front of the bridge I’d cross each morning on my way to class 🙂 My dorm building is the farthest one on the left.

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I was able to move up corrals, thank goodness!, and hung out there while I waited for the start. I seriously thought my corral had to be the most popular; we were packed in there like sardines. I anticipated the first mile to be a weave through process and it was. Once it was time to go, I moved towards the outside left so I can pass as many as I could to get my pace started. I didn’t feel like I was settled in until about mile 3!

I went into the race telling myself I wanted to maintain an under 9 minute average the first 6 miles. I knew from the map that these were the flattest and I wanted to take advantage of it. Sure enough, each mile I was in the 8:35-8:50 range. Up to that point, I was really enjoying myself. There was a very slight downhill in one spot and you could see the thousands of people running the race–it was pretty cool to see and know you were one of those colored specks. The music was loud and definitely helping to move us all along. Spectators were cheering, holding signs–the atmosphere was just awesome.

And then things started to get a little rough around mile 8. I reached the low incline portion of the course, the one leading up to the hill, and I instantly felt myself slow down. I wanted to stay at the 9:00 min mark and it was so difficult to do.

By the time I got to mile 10, I had had it. My legs felt heavy and I could feel the hill approaching. The mental game had official started.

I was trudging up the hill, it was an up and back so I could see on the other side the runners who had already climbed the hill running back down. As I was snailing, I noticed a runner on the descent bouncing two basketballs, one on each hand. Yes, someone running while bouncing basketballs! Yes, this was around mile 10! It took me a split second to realize that it was Doctor Dribble. If you don’t know who he is, you need to check him out–he’s pretty incredible. I recognized him because he’d commented on one of my Instagram photos and when I checked out his profile, I saw that this is something he’s done in quite a few races. I had no idea he was doing RnRAZ .

Having gotten pumped up by Doctor Dribble, I moved up what was left of the hill. On the ride down, I let the descent carry me for a while. My legs were tired and I could use all the help I could get. I got to mile 11 and told myself that once I got to my 12 I would be sooo close. I just needed to get to mile 12.

The eleventh mile was the longest mile of my life.

Have you ever had those miles? That one mile that just seems way longer than all the others? This was it. This was that mile. I was thinking to myself how I had ran 13 miles quite a few times in my lifetime. How this was not anything new to me. I could do this. I’ve done this!

But I could feel my form falling apart. I could hear my feet start to shuffle. But then all of a sudden, I also heard my name! I looked around me but couldn’t see anyone I knew but I could definitely hear my name being yelled. Finally, I saw a girl jumping and waving her hands hysterically. It was my old friend from waayyy back, Nadia. Nadia ran cross country with me in high school and was one of the elite. She’s so hard core. I love her because she’s a no-nonsense type of gal. But there was my typically serious friend cheering me on, trying her best to make sure I could hear her tell me to Keep Going! You got this!

I could not have seen her at a better time. She was exactly what I needed.

Not long after, I saw mile 12 and I knew I was on my way to reaching my PR. I wanted to make sure I left no room for doubt, so I picked up my pace wanting to get as under 2 as possible.

I turned and saw mile 13 and immediately begin my final kick. I finished that .1 leaving everything I had behind me. Immediately crossing the finish line, I looked down at my watch and saw 1:58:10. I wanted so badly to yell, scream, shout in joy but I had absolutely no strength left. I clumsily made my way through the finisher’s chute to look for my husband and when he found me, he could see that I had given it all I had.

“You did it, didn’t you?!?”

All I could do was nod.

I somehow managed to pull myself together to take a finisher’s photo with him. (I actually loved the pic and ordered it! I’ll share it with you guys as soon as I get it.)

Once were able to get past the crowd of finishers, we came across a grassy knoll that I found perfect to rest my weary bones.

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And this is where I stayed for about 45 minutes.

I honestly don’t think it was until yesterday that it sunk in. I DID IT. I ran a 1/2 marathon in under 2 hours!!

–What’s your most memorable race or the race you’re most proud of ? (This one is mine!)

My 1/2 marathon was dedicated to Meg Cross Menzies.

Pre Race Jitters

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The P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 marathon has been my Eleanor (catch that Gone in Sixty Seconds reference?)

I’ve ran it twice, the first being my first 1/2 ever and maybe because it wasn’t my best showing, I had forgotten my time and had to look it up! 2:42 at a 12:25/mile pace.

I registered again a few years later having done some more prep work but then discovered I was pregnant a couple of months before the race. I finished at 3:20 with a 15:17/mile pace (I was around 14 weeks).

I’m not ashamed of either time and don’t make any excuses for them; my times are what they are.

All I know is that I finally feel truly prepared for this 1/2. I’ve actually trained and have altered my diet and am mentally ready.

I have a pretty lofty goal this time around.

Okay, here it is.

I want to finish under 2 hours.

I totally get that this is considerably faster than my previous two halves. I’ve done a little math on what I’d have to pace to get that time and also considered the other possible times I might get. This is the range I’d like to be in with of course 2 hours being my main goal:

Time Pace
1:55 8:46/mile
2:00 9:09/mile
2:05 9:32/mile
2:10 9:55/mile
2:15 10:18/mile

It’s so crazy how big of a pace difference it is from 2:05 to 2:00. Like I totally feel I could do a 9:32/mile pace but 9:09 seems so daunting! I think back to my 15K a month ago; I ran those 9.3 miles in a 9:11/mile pace so I know I’ve come close but still….

I think with this particular race, what always has me a little nervous is this

Screenshot_2014-01-13-21-48-27-1You see that? That thing that happens around mile 10? Yeah, near the END of the race?! It’s already going to be a challenge maintaining my goal pace but to have that to look forward to–well, that gives me the jitters. It helps (a little) that the very end is a decline but I’ll already be running on fumes by then anyway lol!

I’ve done hill work in my training. I know I’m about as ready as I can be for this. I think what’s left is to just trust what I’ve done. Believe that I can do it. I also know that if I don’t meet that goal time, I’m confident I will have improved from my previous two. And that’ll definitely be a win : )

Do you get nervous before a race?

Do you study/memorize the course and elevation map like a crazy person (me)?

2013 Year in Review

It’s crazy to think that the year is a day away from being over. I feel like since having kids, time goes by at a different pace than before. People would tell me when I was pregnant with my first, my daughter, to cherish the moments because before I’ll know it, time will fly by. Back then, I thought it was just hogwash and would just smile and nod. But whoa! It’s true!

There are so many things I’m thankful for in 2013. So many things that I can reflect on and call special moments. But, I’m going to slim it down to 13 highlights. In no particular order, well, in chronological order… : )

January: I had signed up for the P.F Chang’s Rock n Roll ½ marathon months before and found out I was pregnant the second time two months before this race. I went back and forth on whether or not I should still run it. I decided, literally the night before, that I’d do it and walk/jog the 13.1 miles. Here I am with my husband and my son 13 weeks in my tummy : )

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2. April: My daughter turned ONE this month. I just can’t believer that my little girl is growing up so soon and right before my eyes. She is my little energizer bunny that constantly keeps me on my toes. I
love her.

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3. May: This was my last month of work. It was a super hard decision to leave my job and become a stay-at-home-mom. There are times that I still wonder if I did the right thing. I love being with my kids and sharing special moments with them, but I also miss my other kids. I miss reading literature and teaching writing and listening to my students’ stories. I miss my co-workers and the knowledge they shared with me. There is a possibility of me returning this fall; I have yet to decide on what I’ll do.

4. July: Helping to start and being a part a Healthy Moms group has been such a rewarding experience. Every day I post a Daily Check-in with a pump up song where moms check in with their workouts. I love reading what the women are doing and seeing their accomplishments. So many have said that the group has inspired them to change their lives and being even a small part of that gives me chills. I may never meet any of them, but knowing I’m remotely a part of their change makes me so happy.

5. July: Oh my goodness, my son was born this month. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I called my son a chill dude and that’s exactly what he is. He is such a good baby. He’s happy wherever he’s at and whatever he’s doing. He’s just cool.

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Seeing him and holding him, I knew our family was complete. We have our beautiful daughter and now our son, we couldn’t be more blessed.

6. September: Having been pregnant for what seemed like two straight years (my kids are 16 months apart), I was extremely antsy to get back on the workout field. At 3 weeks post-partum, I began going to hot yoga and at 6 weeks post baby, I ran my first 5k! It was a slow one, but it felt oh so good!

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7. October: I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m pretty obsessed with my husband. I won the lottery with this guy. Our anniversary is in this month and every year we try and do something fun and memorable. Last year, we ran the Bisbee 1000 and this year we took an amazing mini vacation to San Francisco. Any time I think of this trip, I smile. This trip was absolute perfection. Seriously, I could not name or think of one negative thing. It was just perfect.

8. November: Anytime I can run a race with my husband, I get all mushy and excited. We’ve been running our hometown’s Turkey Trot 5K 3 years now and this year we were super excited as I was finally NOT pregnant! Lol! We had goals in our minds as far as how we wanted to do and I was beyond excited at my final time of 25:40. I had been shooting for anything under 27 and boy did I deliver : )

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9. December: This was a busy month for me running wise. I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K early December and was just blown away. I honestly think back at this race and can’t believer that I actually did so well. My goal had been to finish in under 1:30 and my final time was 1:25 with a 9:11min/mile pace. !!!!

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10. I had a 5K race not too long after and I had a lofty goal of finishing under 25 minutes (I still can’t believe I’m even saying that!) I finished at 25:05 and was sooo close. But I’m so freaking excited that I’m even in that range and that I had gotten 2nd in my age group 😀

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11. Christmas this year was so special because it was our first Christmas in our own home. We chose not to travel this year and I’m so glad we didn’t. It was truly something special waking up and seeing my daughter’s eyes light up seeing the gifts under the tree—how did those get there!?!

12. I had a goal to run 5 races, one for each month of my son’s age at the end of the year : ), and I was able to complete that with 3 5Ks, 1 10K, and 1 15K.

Of course another goal was to lose as much baby weight as I could and with the year closing, I am very happy to announce I’m 7 pounds away from pre PRE pregnancy weight!

13. Finally, a highlight of my year has been “meeting” so many people through this blog and other social mediums related to my blog. I was so nervous about starting this but I’m so glad I did. I truly am thankful to my sole sister Salt, as she gave me the push I needed to get started and is a patient helping hand whenever I need it.

—Tell me about your 2013 highlights!!! I’d love to hear them !!