ROCK N ROLL PHOENIX
Well my friends we've got quite the mixed bag here... With a marathon start like that who can complain, right? Phoenix was beautiful. Perfect weather. Even had a cloud cover most the morning to keep the heat away...
But first things first. I flew into Phoenix Friday night and my friend Emz picked me up. Being her amazing and gracious self, she invited me to stay with her for the weekend. First up that night was a blog dinner.
Next to me is Lauren, who is super funny and would rock at Race Trivia on Jeopardy. Seriously, this girl knows things about every race course in the US! Memory of steel... Then of course is Emz. Hilarious from beginning to end. Love that girl. And then DRog. He is amazing. Has completed a handful of marathons in the past few years and has his first Ironman coming up in the summer! And on top of that he is dairy free and gluten free. I am in awe of his willpower. If you haven't already, be sure to keep up with them on their blogs - they're all amazing!
The next morning Emz and I headed to Costco...I mean the Expo...to try about 20 different samples of new endurance goodies. We arrived early enough to miss the huge crowd, thank goodness. We found Lauren at her booth...
And then on the way out from the Expo we ran into...
Allie from the Biggest Loser! I totally spotted her, but I give all credit to Emz for tracking her down and asking for a pic. Allie was beyond nice and super friendly.
That afternoon we relaxed and went out for a nice pasta and pizza pre-race carb meal. We planned to go to sleep early but just couldn't resist watching the Miss USA pageant... : )
Race morning was simply beautiful. A little chilly, but I started with no jacket and was just fine. I had my game plan. This was a TRAINING RUN. I was going to hold back at least til 15 and then if I felt strong I'd pick it up. That was Plan A.
This race was similar to RNR San Antonio in that it was all city street running. Phoenix city streets far out win San Antonio in beauty, but they're still just city streets. I caught myself several times just staring at the pavement, tuned out to where I was at. I just don't love city running. Sidenote: when I come back to race in Arizona in the future, I would go back to Tucson before Phoenix. I now will probably never do a Rock n Roll marathon again. Just not a fan.
I checked my Garmin often and kept myself between 10:00 and 10:20 miles in the first half - a lot of the moments that I checked I would be around 9:30 and 9:40, so I'd slow down a bit.
When I got to mile 15 I felt good, but not overwelmingly good enough to speed up. So I thought I'd wait til mile 18 or 19 and if still feeling good then speed up for the last 6 or 7.
I don't know what happened in those late teen miles. Some kind of brain freeze I suppose. I really slowed down and could not physically push myself to get back in my groove. I wrote the worst blog post in my head. Do you ever do that? So weird. I found myself writing in my head what I would say about this race, myself, running, life and it was the most depressing thing ever. Maybe sometime soon I'll write the 'Mile 18 Post'. I'd have to make sure you had the world's smallest violin ready to play in the background for that one. For now it's just too sad. Even included tears. Reminder to all: miles 18 through 21 is no time to make big life decisions. Should I quit my job? Should we move our family across the country? What am I doing with my life? Should I quit running? Should I switch phone companies? You're just not in the right frame of mind to make these kinds of choices...
So, obviously, I didn't speed up. I found it impossible to keep pace and fell back to 12:00 miles while holding back tears. I know, so sad.
Around 20 miles I forced down a 2x caffeine GU and pulled out of my funk. I managed to finish the last 4 miles with a pace of 11:00's. And somehow when I crossed the finish line I managed this...
I totally chicked that dude behind me. Check here if you are unsure whether or not you've been chicked. Homeboy doesn't look too happy bout it... Sorry dude.
Emz and her cute fam waited over an hour for me to come across the finish line. It was nice to be able to compare stories the rest of the afternoon and commiserate a bit from the day's race. Even though she didn't quite hit the mark she was hoping for, she's still smokin' fast!
I was happy to finish...not so happy with the 4:43 finish time though. But I succeeded in this being a training run. I held back, ran it at a pretty steady pace from beginning to end. Even though I was hoping for a negative split, the main goal was to finish feeling strong and ready for more. Mission accomplished, even though I was 10 minutes off from what I was predicting.
In hindsight, I should be satisfied with my finish time. For only running one day a week for the last 4 weeks I feel like I did ok. However, with a training run, you don't get a recovery week. So I'm going to keep pushing hard, no days off. I've been such a slacker for the last few weeks that I definitely need to kick it into high gear to be ready in 3 weeks. I want Surf City to be a great 'RACE'. I already hit the gym yesterday and ran 5 miles. I wanted more but that's about all I could muster. I will cross train today, easy run Wednesday and some speed work on Thursday. We'll see how my week goes. I will taper though.
I'm also changing my eating up. I'm going as Paleo as I can stand. No dairy and as little grain as I can will myself to live with. No soda. No refined sugar. Nothing in a plastic bag. I'm going hard for 3 weeks. I'm hoping to gain some speed, I've got the endurance covered. Hoping to drop at least 10 lbs before race day. Not messin' around. Holidays are over, no excuses.
Mantra from here on out...
Don't Talk About It, Be About It. Game On.
Farewell Arizona... Until next time... : )