Pat’s Run 2012

Last year, after cheerleading me through my first Pat’s Run, my mom said she wanted to do it this year and last weekend, she kept her promise to herself.

Pat’s Run is a crazy big race in Tempe to honor the Arizona State and Cardinals football player, Pat Tillman, who gave up his NFL contract after 9/11 to join the Army Rangers with his brother and was killed by friendly fire, which was then covered up. That’s the short story, but seriously, read Where Men Win Glory.

His football number was 42, so it’s a 4.2 mile race (and the kiddos have their own .42 mile race), it’s in the spring, it’s reasonably priced and it’s just a good time.

It is a little crazy with the 28,000 participants and I had to wake up at 4:30 to get to the lightrail at 5:30 to avoid a crazy traffic situation and spring weather is actually hit or miss in Arizona and both years I’ve done it, it was HOT, but I’d say it’s worth it.

I signed up to run with my mom and we were in the first of the joggers’ corrals, which took about 40 minutes to start…many people were finishing as we were just starting! Fortunately, ASU recently covered the starting parking lot with solar panels, so at least we were shaded while we were waiting, but eventually, we snaked our way up to the start line and we were off.

My mom had been training with the Couch to 5K, so she was ready for race day and I followed her lead (despite her telling me to go ahead) for alternating running and walking. She was really good about walking for a bit and I probably would have kept walking, but then she’d pick up the pace and we were off jogging again.  Her mental grit was awesome!

We ran the first mile, intervaled the second and third, then decided to run the last 1.2 miles, although we ended up walking into the stadium because it was really congested. My mom even got bumped by some guy with a jogging stroller who decided the narrow pathway and slower pace didn’t apply to him…really, dude?!

Oh, and yeah, the end of the race takes you into Sun Devil Stadium and you cross the end zone and run onto the field, finishing at the 42-yard line. When you’re outside heading in, it just seems like such a party, you REALLY want to get in there. There were volunteers and spectators cheering us on, there were ASU players giving our free high-fives (FREE!) as we went across the finish line. The energy (patriotism + local love + fun + football) at Pat’s Run is amazing!

Way to steal the pic, MJ! (My mom's next to me in the blue hat!)

We finished in 56:23, a 13:23 pace, and were promptly rushed out of the Stadium party (can’t very well have 28,000 people just standing around in there), got some refreshments and walked around the festival for a while before heading back to the lightrail.

Then we treated ourselves with Starbucks, mani/pedis and The Habit. The Habit is a fantastic burger (and veggie burger and chicken sandwich) place that was within walking distance of both of my apartments in California and FINALLY has opened a location in Arizona, just a mile from my parents house. Yum.

Unfortunately, the race high that came with the finish has been met with crickets, race season is over (unless, you’re a crazypants and are doing a mud run in May that doesn’t even start until 9, eek), but I think my mom’s and my motivation for our next races will survive the summer heat and we’ll be ready to fill our race calendars for next fall and winter!

[Obviously, I still haven’t figured out the “carry the camera and/or phone during a race” thing, so no pics, but when the race posts theirs, I hope to grab some good ones!]

Run. Walk. Honor.

While I was excited to be a part of Pat’s Run this year, I kinda scoffed at the race because I’m not a fan of “short” (distances I do on my own regularly) races, but after today, I have mad respect for short distance runners! 

Mad respect for these guys too:

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The race started at 7, but just a half-mile in, it was feeling pretty toasty.  I love servicemen and women and love that these two were truly honoring Tillman.

Now, just because I scoffed at the distance is not to say I didn’t prepare.  I trained for about a month and a half to finish at my goal time and once again, even though at some points in training, it FELT like it wasn’t working, training did not let me down! 

My official time was 35:44 (and let’s all remember, the goal was 38)!

Remember when I said everyone and their mom was at the GAP last weekend?  Everyone and their mom and their grandma and their grandma’s BFF, Ethel, was at Pat’s Run! 

It was my first corralled race and it was mostly a good system, except there were definitely some hoppers, which was unfortunate.  Darting and weaving and avoiding elbows was the name of the game. 

I’m in here somewhere:

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Controlling 30,000 people can’t be easy, but the race organizers did a great job and everyone (volunteers, participants) was happy to be there, which made being in a huge crowd a lot easier.  They had a reunion area and a festival with even more friendly vendors. 

My mom came along and had such fun just watching that she verbally committed to doing it next year!*

This is my reward for a job well done:

…and it should be arriving at my door in 3-5 business days.  A little early for tri training, which (spoiler alert) starts in 2.5 months, but I earned it dang it!

I’m running out of rewards for being so awesome and have my last race of the season coming up next month, any suggestions?!

*You see what I did there, Mom?  I put it in the blog, you HAVE to do it now!  C25K here you come!

T is for Thursday. And Tempo.

My legs have not wanted to participate in tempo runs since I started my Pat’s Run training, but today was different.  I bounced out of bed at 4:30am and completed my first successful (well, mostly) tempo run!

After a warm-up (aka, jogging to Blockbuster to return my latest movie), I did 3.33 miles in 30:08.  If I can do that pace on race day, I’ll come in just under my goal of 38 for the 4.2 miles! 

HOWEVER…I say it was “mostly” successful because there may have been some pausing and walking it off at the miles (I love the auto-lap feature on my Garmin that chirps at every mile – quite helpful when it’s still dark).  A few times I wanted to call it good, but I was feeling particularly stubborn this morning and as cliche as it is, I wanted to finish what I started – 30 minutes at race pace one way or another!

I feel good about it and being just about four weeks out, there’s definitely time for improvement! 

Now, I’m off to wreck my training* for tomorrow with a pint (or two).  Happy St. Patty’s Day! 

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* Tomorrow calls for cross training (hello, Meyer) and strength.  That sesh will definitely NOT be taking place at 4:30am!