Going into the Phoenix Marathon, my main goal was to finish in under 2:10:00 and I was hoping to close out in under 2:05:00. I was, therefore, incredibly pleased to complete my third half marathon in 2:01:01. A PR of over 16 minutes since November is pretty amazing and what is even crazier is that within a year of training I had lowered my time by 49 minutes. I realized the training I had put in was worth it and that I can continue to get stronger and grow as a runner.
It hadn’t rained in well over a month in Arizona so of course it had to rain the day of the half marathon. Since living in the desert, we never have to run in any type of weather other than hot and nice, we all freaked out a bit on how to run in the rain. Lucky for us, it only rained at the beginning of the race and about midway through, with neither times lasting very long. The weather was actual perfect, around 50 degrees, and it even felt warm towards the end.
It was not a perfect race for me. I stayed with the two hour pacer for a bit but was feeling comfortable enough to move ahead of her after the first few miles. The pacer caught back up with me at about mile six and I stayed with her until mile 10 when I begun to fall back. My last few miles hovered around the 9:15 mark, when they should have been sub-9:09. According to Runkeeper, the course was about a tenth of a mile long and I averaged 9:09 minute miles. My time according to my chip and the course had me at 9:14 minute miles.
Looking back, the aid stations were what killed me. I had a hard time running with water or walking and there were times when I needed water badly. I think in future races, I will grab some at every aid station so it doesn’t hit me that I need to hydrate myself better midway through the race. I may also switch up my nutrition while running. Another area I could use improvement is my closing. The end of the past few races I have had a hard time pushing myself and get down on myself for not being able to. I think I need to do a few more runs on tired legs or even insert a track workout into my training.
Even with these minor hiccups, I was still incredibly happy with how well I ran and the fact I was able to knock so much time off. It allowed me to cross off one goal and create a new one, a sub-2 hour half marathon. The weather is already starting to get warm in Arizona but I am eyeing a small race in July in Morro Bay, Calif.
A few words on the race itself. The expo was quite large and had several vendors. I bought a shirt from Albion Fit, a clothing company that carries super cute and feminine workout gear and swimwear. Albion also made our race shirts and they are Ah-MAZE-ing. They were a very thin tech material that clung nicely to your skin. The design was super cute and it even had a small zipper pocket! I’m obsessed with it, and it might be my new favorite race shirt. The originality fell flat with the race medal. It was nearly the same as the previous year and just went off the Phoenix logo.
The Phoenix (half) Marathon will never be known for being a beautiful race but it is well organized and a fast route. We do run past some nice homes in Mesa but it is pretty dark out when you go by. That’s another thing to know about the Phoenix Marathon, it has an early start. The gun goes off at 6:30 a.m. and you have to be at the bus by 5 a.m. The rest of the race is nothing exciting to look at to be honest. The volunteers at the Phoenix Marathon are great and are happy to hand out licorice, water, oranges and smiles. Last year there were more spectators but I think this year it dwindled because of the rain. The course itself is mainly downhill, making it a popular one for those trying to qualify for Boston. I’ve enjoyed running it the past two years and am debating on making it my first attempt at a marathon in 2015. We shall see!
Looking ahead, I have two races scheduled on the calendar right now – Pat’s Run (4/26) and The Night Run (5/10). I recently developed a new goal of running a race a month in 2014, so I’m on the lookout for fun ones to do the rest of the months! Happy miles!