RACE RECAP: Rock N Roll Arizona Half Marathon (A New PR!)

All smiles after a huge PR!

All smiles after a huge PR!

I did it! I finished a half marathon under two hours!

I went into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona with little expectations – I just wanted to have fun and get a good training race in before the Phoenix Marathon. While my training runs have felt good, they were by no means fast and my times on my short runs were far from what they were when I was training for the Phoenix Half Marathon a year ago. I told myself the week before that I would gun for a sub 2:05 but would be happy with anything under a 2:10. I’m beyond ecstatic that I crushed that goal and finished in 1:58.02 (a 3 minute PR)!

I had put sub-2 when I registered and was placed in Corral 5. From the back of the corral, I spied the 2:00 pacer. Could I? The thought briefly went through my head but I brushed it off. The gun went off and off I went. My throwaway gloves and arm sleeves came off at mile 1 and I noticed the 2-hour pacer was not too far ahead. I decided I may as well run with them as long as I could. This was just a training run and if I died halfway through it wasn’t going to kill me.

Katy and I prerace

Katy and I prerace

The rest of the race I ran with the pacer in my sight. Occasionally, I dropped a bit behind them but always managed to stay close. Shortly after mile 10, I made my move and passed the pacer. My final four miles were all sub 9 and I sprinted to the finish line, looked at my watch and immediately fist pumped! 1:58.02. A new, beautiful, shiny PR.

A few reasons I think everything went right for me

1. Nutrition – My previous half marathons, I had no idea what I was doing when it came to hydration. I bought a few gummy things for the races but had no idea when a good time to take them was or what I was doing. This time I actually had a plan. I’ve been taking a Gu every 4 miles and washing it down with water at the aid stations. I made myself not scared of pausing for a second or slowing down at the aid stations either. I think both of these helped me from not crashing and from staying strong at the end.

My beautiful new medal!

My beautiful new medal!

2. Hills – There are basically no hills in Gilbert. None. Ok, maybe one but it is tiny. Luckily I had a 12 mile run over the holidays at my parent’s in California. There were several large hills on that run and conquering those helped make me stronger. I also took advantage of the hills. I pushed myself a bit but not too hard when going up and I made sure to gain some ground while going down.

3. Relax – My mind had a huge thing to do with my PR. Going in with no expectations made me relax and enjoy the run. It made it fun and I did not feel stressed that I would miss my goal time. I smiled at every photographer, gave people high fives, yelled Go Pack Go when I saw green and gold (let’s not talk about that game though), rocked out to my head phones and just had an overall blast!

A few thoughts on Rock N Roll Arizona

I loved the course. It started at my alma mater, Arizona State University, which made for a a very happy start. We ran right past my dorm and it definitely prompted me to throw up the pitchfork whenever I saw a photographer. The course went across Tempe Town Lake and through a part of Scottsdale I used to live in with several of my sorority sisters. About midway through we had a hill to climb. Luckily, it was one of my favorite roads in the Phoenix area, up McDowell in between two bluffs with a gorgeous view of Phoenix. We dropped back and the rest of the course was downhill! The final part of the run was through Papago Park with beautiful desert views and over the Mill Ave Bridge across Tempe Town Lake. It was a fun course with moments down memory lane and scenic desert views.

Relaxing with a beer and listening to the Wallflowers post race!

Relaxing with a beer and listening to the Wallflowers post race!

The volunteers and crowd support were great! I was thankful to have both Gatorade and water at most aid stations and the rock bands were a nice touch. My favorite was the drum group at Mile 9. It was right in the middle of the hill and their beat was so motivating and powerful!

The medal was awesome. The colors looked like ASU and it resembled the shape of the state. I liked the shirt, it was a red tech shirt and the women’s shape fit well. That is until I was FaceTiming with my friend and realized it looked like I was wearing a U of A shirt! Major fail there folks!

Post race was pretty solid. We were give chocolate milk, snacks, gatorade and a free Michelob Ultra. There were a few concerts post race, including one from the Wallflowers which was pretty cool!

Yesterday was a great day for me and for my prep for the Phoenix Marathon. I have 20 miles lined up this week and I’m actually really looking forward to it!

Next Race: The Phoenix Marathon!



  1. […] the 4:25 minute pacer for as long as I can. Sticking with a pacer worked really well for me at the Rock N Roll and would have worked well at last year’s Phoenix Half […]

  2. […] and I’ve used them several times in races. I actually lost mine from last year during the Rock N’ Roll, so I was happy to see they were in the race packet again. I used them during this race and handed […]

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