My very first half marathon was the Rock n’ Roll Arizona in 2014. When I finished I told my husband that I never ever wanted to do that again. Well, here I am 2 years later and I did it again (in 2015) and again on January 17th. If you’ve read my blog forever, you might recall that as I was heading to bed before my first half marathon, my dad ended up being taken by ambulance to the emergency room. I ended up rushing down there and staying with him for half the night until I was kicked out of the ICU. I ran the race, but then faced a short but stressful hospital stay, a transfer to hospice, then losing him less than 2 weeks later. So, needless to say, my emotions are a little wrapped up in the memories of that race. Although they are painful, I also hold on to a strong conviction that it is important for me to keep running and to keep trying to stay as healthy as I can to do my best to prevent the congestive heart disease/failure that took my dad.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about the race other than … I ran it. I am now used to this particular race and all of the details … where to park, where to go for the start, where the route will take me. I have trained for it during the fall but I, honestly, didn’t follow a plan religiously – just enough to make the race not totally suck. I am up about 15 pounds from my goal weight and that extra weight takes a toll on my speed.
My time (and still my PR) for the first half marathon was 2:30:41. I am still always chasing that finish time although I knew I wasn’t ready this year. I did, however, decide to get in the corral with the 2:30 pacer and see how long I could keep up. I stayed back about 50 feet from the start but was following along for the first mile or so. When I decided to get up a little closer, I noticed that one of my Kilty Pleasure teammates, Shannon, was running alongside the pacer so I called out to her and ran closer. We talked for at least 1-2 miles and I was able to keep up just fine. It totally took my mind off the running. They ran through one of the first water breaks but I wanted to walk a few steps and get a drink and, eventually, the gap between us grew and grew and I decided to quit trying to keep up with them around mile 5. But I was happy that I had started out strong. Actually, I was happy with my effort for the whole race. It seems like the last few 1/2 marathons I have been walking more than I needed too and I wanted to shorten those walking times up with this race. I definitely feel like I accomplished that. Unfortunately, my running pace just isn’t what it used to be. It amazes me how my perceived effort/pace seems so much faster than what I think it is until I look at my Garmin. That is just depressing. But, nevertheless, I feel like I worked hard during the race. My legs held up pretty well again – no big discomfort, although they were definitely sore as I finished. The strength training is helping my knees hold up, for sure. My finish time was 2:41:04 – a full 11 minutes + more than my first race. But, I keep telling myself, that is better than not running at all.
After the finish I made my way over to the extra medal tent and picked up my 2nd medal for running the RNR Vegas back in November and then RNR AZ. They call it the Desert Double Down. So that was kinda fun.
I wandered around the finish area for a bit and had my post-race beer. The band, Better Than Ezra, was starting to play so I listened to their first few songs. I couldn’t really find anyone else (I had friends running the full marathon but it would be a while until they came in) so I decided to just head back to the light rail train and get back to my car. It would have been much more fun with a group there.
Erin had her first gymnastics meet of the year back down in Chandler but, unlike past years when I’ve had to run the race then race over to the meet, I had a good 4-5 hours in between to take a shower and rest. I was grateful for that. We left home around 4 pm and I was pretty stiff and sore by then and sitting on metal bleachers to watch the competition was challenging. But, she had a great first meet and we were relieved that she seemed to be ready to compete early in the season – only because we were flying out to Dallas for another competition in 4 days so I wanted her to feel ready and confident.
So, another race is in the books. The Rock n’ Roll folks have come up with a clever gimmick to keep the runners signing up year after year – the medals all fit together to form a big medal…and for Arizona they are 4 parts of the state. So, now I have 2 of them and I guess I’ll run at least 2 more…