My prior association with the Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon and 5k is that last year when I worked it for the Girls on the Run it was MIS-ER-AH-BLY cold. This year, as a half-marathon participant, I could not have wished for better weather. It was a gorgeous day!
Between shuffling to get my packet, back to my car to stash my swag (in a lovely grocery bag) in there, then back to the start line, I wasn’t even chilly at the start in my tank and fantastic lulu speed shorts. Bathroom lines were epic, but since I had gone to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts for a Bela Fleck show two weeks prior, I decided I was totally allowed to use theirs. Win!
I met up with Stacey for the start and we even caught Ari before her fantastic 5k race. With no concept of time or the race course, we totally missed the actual start! Five minutes late, we found our start line, I turned on my Britney Spears station on Pandora (only appropriate since it was Brit Brit’s 31st birthday yesterday! Is it weird that I just know that?!), started my run on my new Nike app and unceremoniously began.
Since getting my iPhone over the summer, I’ve just been holding my phone when I run, but I really didn’t want to do that this race so on Cyber Monday I bought this TuneBand. By the time it came, I only got in one treadmill mile pre-race to test it out, but it worked out really well during the race. It’s not super easy to access the face (as with any armband), but it was kinda nice to NOT be staring at my pace and miles on my Garmin and only one song came on that was slow enough that I wanted to change it, and it was easy enough. The band itself is made of stretchy velcro and it just barely fits my arm (#skinnygirlwhining), I have to position the phone right against the ring and it attaches a little looser than I would like, but I suppose long-term I could cut and sew to resize it.
I know that racing is all about YOU, but it helps ME to find “targets” and pass them and then find another and another and so on. Rule #1: People in tutus and/or fairy wings don’t beat me. Rule #2: Find a fit looking guy who might be a little peeved when he gets chicked.
If, when you pass him, he’s cute, trip and fall in front of him. Since I was five minutes behind the start, the first targets were pretty easy. Eventually I came up on the 2:30 pace group, then the 2:15 group. I was truly hunting the 2:00 pace group, but (spoiler alert) I didn’t find them.
Either way, it was a gorgeous day for a run with 1,000 strangers, I felt great and I absolutely loved the course. I drive Scottsdale Road so often, so it was cool to run a big old chunk of it and to start in Old Town and get relatively close to my office! The second half of the race took us back down south along the greenbelt. Okay, okay, I didn’t “absolutely love” this part of it. The greenbelt is great for running, but after 8 miles, I was less than excited about switching from asphalt to concrete and the ups and downs of the underpasses.
My average pace (the app tells you overall pace, not mile-per-mile) stayed pretty consistent at 9:22 for a lot of the middle miles and I kept pushing to get it down to 9:15, but between miles 10 and 11, my legs were feeling pretty spent and I slipped into 9:30 and 9:40 territory as the race wrapped up.
Somewhere around, I’d say, mile 12 or 12.5, Stacey found me! I said, “okay, now I guess I’m going to keep up with you,” and I tried, but that was not going to happen! Girl was booking it – she took off and got a great PR! I dropped back to my pace and finished in 2:09:00.
It wasn’t the sub-2:00 I always want, but I’m nothing if not consistent (my other times have been 2:07:48 and 2:09:06)!
I felt great during the race. I really think supplementing my iron in the past few weeks actually helped. After finishing, I felt borderline awful, so I guess that’s how I know I left it all out there! After rehydrating, walking around and stretching a bit, I was tired, but felt better and enjoyed a celebratory brunch with bottomless mimosas at RnR!
My quads are feeling it today, but it’s a great feeling. And, keeping with tradition (of catching the race bug and signing up for another immediately)…I signed up for Pat’s Run today! It recently opened and it’s an annual can’t-miss for me!