As per usual, I’m a little behind on my recaps 🙂 lol, but this was my first of 4 planned races for November. I signed up for and had targeted the Women’s Half Marathon in Scottsdale way back in January, at the P.F. Chang’s Marathon expo, but unfortunately in late September they sent an email saying that the race was cancelled. So I took this opportunity to look at other options. There were 2 here in Phoenix, the 3TV 10K/Half Marathon in Downtown Phoenix or this race, the NYC in AZ Marathon, Half Marathon or 4 miler. The price was right, it was a smaller race and it incorporated the NYC theme and since Sean was running the New York City Marathon this year and I did last year, I thought it would be a nice way for me to be with him in spirit.
I picked up my packet on Saturday at the Scottsdale Road Runner Sports, which consisted of a pretty nice tech shirt and my bib. Road Runner was offering 20% off to race registrants, I didn’t really need anything and I had a team meeting for the following week’s Ragnar Trail relay so that gave me an excuse to not buy anything I didn’t really need.
The race didn’t start until 8:30am, which is pretty late for most races but I think is was a way to start at the same time as the New York City Marathon (or at least one of the waves). There were 3 different distances available, a marathon (started at 7:30a), a half marathon & a 4 mile race (started at 9a). The marathon was USATF certified course making it a Boston Qualifier. All the races were on the New River Trail System starting & ending at Rio Vista Park in Peoria, AZ.
The course was 90% paved trail and then there was a short section that we ran twice that was a nice, canal type trail. It was a lot hillier than I expected with an elevation gain of 384 and loss of 453. There weren’t a lot of people in the race, I think it was about 199 total for the 1/2 marathon so after the first few miles there weren’t a lot of other people around, which was good & bad.
It was kinda cool out that morning, high 50s, low 60s, which for us is cool. I decided to wear my fav lululemon speed shorts and a short sleeve shirt, put on my recently found nike visor, sunglasses and newton fate shoes. Now that I think about it, this was the longest I’ve worn these shoes, which may have contributed to my calf issue. I started the race with some minor tightness in my right calf, but as we all know, it can take a few miles for things to loosen up so I didn’t think anything of it and just ran.
I had absolutely no expectations for this race especially after having a horrible long run the week before, that resulted in my walking 8 miles back to the car because of extreme dehydration. I started the race fast, as we do, running the first 3 miles in 25:43. It was around this time that the sun came out for a few minutes and it got hot so I slowed down a bit. I didn’t feel great after the 4th mile so I took a minute to walk and get my heart rate down, eat a probar gummy bite and then started back up again.
A little tangent here – until this year, I was a Galloway runner, I ran/walked every race with strict intervals and did well. I started running straight in January after a back injury, but I still really think that Galloway is useful and really does work. I took about 8 short walk breaks during this race, ranging from about 20 seconds to 1 min. My slowest mile was 9:26 and my fastest was 8:29 even with all the walk breaks.
I PR’d this race even with all those walk breaks by over a minute and I now have 2 sub 2 hour half marathons under my belt :). Could I have run faster without them? That’s the question, isn’t it? I know from having worked with Jeff Galloway that the philosophy is that by taking walk breaks early on, it helps you to recover faster and run stronger. Without those walk breaks would I have been able to maintain my pace, you know I’m not sure. But even with those short breaks, I was able to run a 1:57:29 so I must have been doing something right!
Now back to the race, it wasn’t the most exciting of courses, it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t horribly scenic. There weren’t a lot of people so were I was I was practically by myself for most of the race. I could see 2 people up ahead of me and I kept thinking if I can see them I’m good and I would try to pass them. I was passed myself around mile 11 and then I picked it up and just kept running, thinking, I was almost there, I could do this. I was thinking about Kara Goucher, Meb and Sean out there on the streets of New York running my favorite marathon and how if they could run on those cold, windy streets, I could get my butt in gear & finish this half. I managed to pass 3 people who I had chased the entire race and finished strong.
I finished the race, got a few snacks, they had cups for water & gatorade (I think), bananas, oranges, apples, bagels and some sort of protein drink from Core Power. Which was great for such a small race.
I had to head home pretty quickly because I had family in town, but I looked at the results the next day and I was super surprised to see that I come in 3rd in my age group!! I think the closest I’ve ever come to an age group placing was probably 6th place in a 10k. There were only 17 people in my age group, so it was really small, but it was still pretty exciting to me :). Maybe that’s the trick, run smaller races 😉 lol.
Next up, Ragnar Trail Relay at the McDowell Mountains.