**UPDATED to include 2019 and 2017 race recaps.**
“Running just as fast as we can, holding on to one another hands
Trying to get away into the night and then you put your arms around me
I think we’re alone now,
The beating of our hearts is the only sound ”
I performed a spectacular dance to that Tiffany song as a second grader. You’ll have to take my word for its magnificence because I’m pretty sure doing it again would hurt something.
Anyhow, as David and I once again crossed a finish line hands clasped, it was flitting through my mind making me laugh because it was anything but our fastest race.5500 to 1000 feet = automatic PR, right?!
That’s what everyone seems to believe about training high and running low.
And maybe it does work a lot of the time, but this time we were just trying to get away from it all and enjoy the fun of running in a new great place. Though I did average 1:10 per mile faster than I have in the last year of training.
2019 Race Recap
Coming in to the race, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect out of my body. I really wanted another post surgery PR, but I was mentally pysching myself out a bit. Couldn’t even tell you why!
In October, I ran the Long Beach Half in 1:59…we ran Phoenix in exactly 1:53:00!This gives me HUGE hope to get back to my pre-injury PR. It’s a process, but I’m doing it the right way by getting stronger, not rushing and staying injury free.
Overall this race was just a mix of me learning to trust myself as a pushed just beyond my comfort zone, but not so far that I was going to crash and burn. This is usually due in part to David, who is really good and going just a bit too fast, which means I go a bit slower and we meet in the middle for a pace we can both hold, ha!
Mile 1: 8:50
Mile 2: 8:37
Mile 3: 8:37
Mile 4: 8:36
Mile 5: 8:32
Mile 6: 8:41
Mile 7: 8:42
Mile 8: 8:39
Mile 9: 8:37
Mile 10: 8:43
Mile 11: 8:32
Mile 12: 8:31
Mile 13: 8:13
.01 – 1:08
Avg HR 157
Lots of fun this year to enjoy having some friends in town as well! I may have forgotten my wallet and that made the air travel very interesting, but once here life was pretty great.
If you can stay at the Hyatt Place it’s literally at the expo, bus pick up and finish line which makes life incredibly easy. We did that in 2017 and in 2019 rented an AirBNB with friends less than a mile from the finish line, which meant an easy walk to the bus pick up as a warm up in the morning and easy access after the race to shower then head outside and cheer for marathon runners.
2017 Race Recap
I promise to keep this part short, but for my own memories I’ve got to recap it!
Start line – Luckily catching the bus meant walking straight out of our hotel, unluckily I didn’t realize that and we got to the start area earlier than I’d have liked since it was 40 degrees. However, David for once listened to me and was wearing throw away clothes or I think he’d have frozen his you know what off.Uncrowded start made it easy to find your pace group. The marathon and half start at different locations since it’s a one direction course.
We settled in to roughly an 8:52 pace and David found pretty quickly that once I find a pace, I don’t waiver, no matter how hard he tries to push or slow. Unless forced to like at mile 9 when he vanished and I spent 2 minutes going in circles freaking out, until his little hooded head waved at me.
(Checkout these tips to run with your spouse sans fighting)
He stopped to stretch his knee without warning, tsk, running partner etiquette. Mostly I wasn’t sure if he’d somehow gotten ahead of me or was stopped because his knee had been acting up. Luckily all was well and the day resumed.After that we settled in, attempting to be nerds when a photographer appeared and just focused on enjoying a sustainable pace. And yes I was being conservative with pushing after everything lately, so instead we found a nice pace that wasn’t red line and wasn’t a normal easy run.
We finished strong, felt good and can still enjoy our vacation. I definitely could have pushed a bit more, but not worth it based on my knee looking like a basketball.
The first 7 miles, I spent looking around focusing on my form and breathing, then I needed a little boost so I finally turned on the iPod. I had my 3 songs ready to go on repeat — yes their is a method to this! Turns out listening on repeat to songs helps you get focused and in a zone!
Breakdown of the miles
Mile 1: 9:09
Mile 2: 8:56
Mile 3: 8:49
Mile 4: 8:47
Mile 5: 8:51
Mile 6: 8:55
Mile 7: 8:54
Mile 8: 8:52
Mile 9: 9:28 (the where’s David mile)
Mile 10: 8:59
Mile 11: 8:51
Mile 12: 8:42
Mile 13: 8:16 – that just makes me happy
.12 – 8:04
Final time 1:56:something
Previous PR 1:44…oye, time to work back
Avg HR: 157 — pretty awesome considering my training in Colorado focuses on LHR meaning I don’t go above 145 and that’s pretty much been a 10 minute mile.
Fuel: Nothing, just my breakfast noted below and carried my pre-workout to sip for most of the race.As David said when we finished, “damn you’re consistent“. He walked at water stations and then would sprint back to me, I just plowed along at the exact same pace. Turns out that’s actually the best way to PR, in case you’re wondering!
Phoenix Half Marathon Race Review
As we started planning for this race, I realized that Arizona has a ton of marathons and half marathons within a couple month span. SO let’s dig in to the good, great and ehh of the BMO Harris bank Phoenix-Mesa Marathon.
This is a pro and a con for me. I love that you get to see different areas, but I hate the nerves of waiting to catch a bus to the start line. For me that’s just added stress and an earlier morning. However, we stayed at a hotel where the buses loaded and the race finished, so that was fabulously easy. Hanging out in the cold for 90 minutes before running…not every my preference, but you forget after a few miles of running that your nose is numb.
Roughly 7000 runners in the half and the full marathon – however you star at different locations, so the course was never crowded which is a major bonus in my book.
Pros (built for a PR):
- The total race elevation is a loss, which means you’re effectively running a gentle downhill
- Almost 17% of runners Boston Qualify
- Not a ton of turns, which makes for a faster race
- Plenty of room on the course
- Plenty of aid stations and well manned
- Run with the sun at your back so no squinting
- No major hills – like none
- Killer post race food – french toast, snacks from Sprouts, (they said Chick Fil A – but they were out by the time we walked through, which meant only a 1:30 half finisher who walked right in got them, BOOOOOOOO)
- I really like the medal
The EXPO was substantially better in 2019! A fun outdoor space with a number of different vendors, free chair massages, Kind Bars, snacks from Sprouts and a band. Made for a great way to hang out and connect with a bunch of other runners from Instagram the day before the race.
Cons (not interesting):
- Catching early bus to start line and hanging out in the cold
- Very quiet course – no music, few spectators
- Mostly staring at brick walls and street lights
- No timing clocks on the course
- All of the roads are cambered, so find your way to the middle if you have any knee or shin issues
If I had been in PR ready shape (i.e no swollen knee, no dropping hormones) this would 100% be a great PR course. I’d do it again for that reason.
Both years it was SUPER IMPORTANT to have throw away gear for the start line. You’ll be there for a minimum of an hour and one year it was 32 degrees, this year it was about 44. Staying warm not to waste energy is huge.
After that, I ended up running on long sleeves and I ditched my throw away gloves around mile 4 in 2019. In 2017 it was colder and I kept on my gloves and hat for the duration of the race.
However, plenty of my friends run in tanks…they’re chilly but like the push. SO you do you!
I’ve come to love the Oiselle Jogger pocket shorts because my phone stays put, it doesn’t pull the shorts down. I can quickly grab it for a photo or on the other side grab a piece of pineapple. I actually have a code for $20 off your first order because so many people asked me after the race.
Hurts so good.
Gloves and Hat
I prefer to be hot over cold and maybe around mile 7 could have taken both off, but I didn’t and was just fine. (As noted this was 2017 when it was in the 30’s).
I’m rocking the compression because it just feels good. I used to get serious calf cramps, which SaltStick helped with, but now it simply makes me feel confident that won’t happen.
yup, I like to carry almonds and dried pineapple as my go to fuel (read more on using whole foods). Gels always leave me with a wonky stomach, while pineapple actually has digestive enzymes and almonds just that bit of fiber and protein.
I also use a pre-workout supplement before running my races and throughout the first part of the race. I cut that out for 3 weeks prior to the race, which makes it work very well for me. Race breakfast was a slice of sourdough (again good for the stomach) with a packet of Once Again nut butter!
Medal earned, flowers enjoyed thanks to my UA Women’s family.
Now time to do some hiking and checkout the rest of Phoenix!!
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