Route: Rock N Roll Arizona Course
It’s been a long, exhausting, fun, action packed weekend in Phoenix! Overall, we had a fantastic trip.
The weekend started with a bang at 10AM on Friday morning, the Expo doors open and runners rushed in with excitement to pick up their race packets. We met first time marathoners, veterans, runners from overseas, and all over the US. The Expo was pretty large, with lots of vendors, clinics, and other fun things to do. Friday was pretty mellow (which is true of most Expos- note to runners, if you want to beat the crowds, go on Friday!!) and we finished up at around 7 and headed for Thai food down the street. We met a few runners at dinner, but Phoenix was still pretty quiet until Saturday morning.
Saturday began with the morning rush as well, the aisles of the Expo were packed with runners and their families. Libby and I both stopped by KT Tape and got all taped up before the race, peeked into the clinics to listen to the speakers, and talked nonstop with the runners. It is a lot of fun chatting and hearing stories, but by the end of Saturday, our feet were aching from standing all day. We headed back to the hotel for the pasta special, I soaked my feet for a while, and we each did our own preparations for race day.
When we woke up Sunday morning, we groggily put on our running shoes, In Training T-Shirts, Garmins, and packed all the essentials into our sweats check bag: Flip Flops, Lip Balm, Water, etc. I squished 1 GU packet and 1 packet of gummies into my pocket.
When we arrived to the start line, it took us some time to figure out if we were at the full or half start (they were separated by a few blocks), and then I got into my corral and waited patiently for the gun to go off. I found the pace team I would follow, listened to the national anthem, and at 7:40 the race began.
It took a few miles of weaving to get myself on pace with the pace team leader I was following (3:45), and there were many others following this group. The sun was starting to come out and we ran for a few miles through downtown Phoenix and urban areas. The course was the flattest I’ve ever run, so the pace felt great and I was confident about the race. There were little local bands every mile or so, but I kept my headphones in for the most part- I had made a great playlist before I left SF.
Around mile 8, I started to drift ahead of my pace group, since the group was so big I wanted some space, and I ended up losing them. We passed by a cute little church and every so often saw the mountain ranges peek out, but overall didn’t notice a ton of scenery. I crossed the 13.1 pad at 1:50, and since I felt that the pace was good, I was determined to keep it up. I’d had one GU and a packet of gummies when I started to get a little bit sick to my stomach. I tend to have a hard time ingesting everything after a certain point, so this didn’t really surprise me. I continued, and at when I got to the GU stop at mile 19, I tried to slurp down the Blackberry flavor, but it just wasn’t settling right. I really like GU, and I think it tastes the best compared to other products, but I have a really sensitive stomach… I was still making great time and hit the 20 mile split at 2:48.
I continued to keep up my pace for several miles, until about mile 23.5. All of a sudden, my right hamstring cramped and wouldn’t relax. I couldn’t even walk. I massaged it and was finally able to stretch, and walked for a minute or two. After I’d gotten back to running at mile 24, I’d lost about 10 minutes. I slowed down my pace for the last 2 miles to make sure I would avoid injury. I crossed the finish line at 3:53, received my medal and found Libby waiting for me.
Although it was a PR, I was beating myself up a little bit about the cramp. It must have had something to do with my electrolytes since I didn’t have enough GU throughout the run. Overall, I was happy to finish and it was a decent run. Libby and I soaked our feet in the ice water, listened to the finisher’s band play for about 2o minutes, and headed back to the hotel.
This race had great weather, but once the sun came out, it heated up fast. It was the warmest race I’d run, and luckily I wore sunscreen! However, even though I drank bottles and bottles of water all day, I had an awful headache all day and night.
We landed in SF late on Sunday night, and headed home. I’m still somewhat sore, but that’s all a part of the game, right? The sun is finally peeking out, so I may head out for a short 2 miles to loosen up my legs a little bit. I’ve got to get ready for the first day of our Training Program on Saturday! We are also collecting shoes the first day to send to Haiti via Soles 4 Souls. To find out more, check out their website.