I kept meaning to write this recap but with packing, work and training, it just didn’t get done until now. When I ran this race in 2014 it wasn’t my best experience. I didn’t get much sleep the night before, I fell and my knee was all cut open, it rained. There were a ton of burnt toast moments in that race and it definitely wasn’t my favorite race.
So why did I decide to come back for another year? Well first off, it wasn’t super expensive, I think I paid less than $70 for this race and all sorts of people were running this race, from the RunEatTweetAZ peeps, to most of the Cave Creek Running Chicks, to tons of bloggers from out of town to friends of mine from other races & run groups. So I convinced Sean to sign up for the marathon and I signed up for the half again.
The Phoenix Marathon is deceiving in it’s name as I mentioned last year, it actually takes place in Mesa, but I think the race name has to do with, not only is it’s near the city of Phoenix, it is also referring to the bird the Phoenix, which was the focus on both of my medals.
When I signed up for the race, I wasn’t quite sure what my work schedule was going to be like, we typically do an out of town event the week of the race, but fortunately this year we did it the week before so I didn’t have to worry about missing the packet pick-up like last year.
First off, quickly, I made it to the official packet pick-up this year. It was held at Mesa Riverview over by the Sports Authority. When you arrive, you get your bib, they ask you to know your number and show a photo ID. They allow you pick up other runner’s packets too with the same info. I was picking up Sean’s packet too and just had to show a photo of his ID on my phone.
I got our bibs & the swag bags in the first part of the expo. Then you could walk thru to see the various vendors, they were selling my favorite Honey Stinger waffles 10 for $10 which is an awesome deal so I picked up a few of those and then looked at what else was for sale before heading in to Sports Authority to get our shirts.
Ladies…I think I did this last year too, but I normally like to have a medium in most women’s style race shirts. This is because they run small and have tight necks, which I hate. I’m just a little picky lol. Well the Phoenix Marathon shirts are by Albion, which is an awesome brand, but they run super big because the fabric is really stretchy. You couldn’t exchange at the expo, but if you brought your shirt to the race you could exchange there. I ended up getting the last x-small. So glad I did because the medium was pretty big on, definitely not something I would have ever worn because of how loose it was. So in case you are wondering what size shirt to get, if they are using Albion, err on the side that the shirts might be a bit looser.
Inside the swag bag was a bunch of random brochures, a pair of arm warmers, a mini sized peanut butter Clif Bar (finally not that horrible mint clif bar or luna bar that I always seem to get) and some sun screen.
All in all the expo was nice and for such a small race, pretty big & I’m glad I got to experience it.
This year, I didn’t want to have to drive the 30 – 40 mins to the race so Sean & I stayed closer to the race location, I got us a room at the Marriott at the Buttes Resort in Tempe, which was about 12 minutes from the race vs. 30-40 from my house. Sean isn’t really a morning person so I didn’t want to have to wake him any earlier than necessary and since we needed to be at the race location by 5am to catch the last shuttles to the start lines. I didn’t want to get stuck in a lot of traffic and have to rush to find parking and then get to the buses. Especially since the buses were in different locations for Sean & I.
I think I set my alarm for 3:30a and I’m pretty good about getting up when it goes off. I made Sean some coffee and then attempted to make myself some of the new Quaker Steel Cut Oatmeal packets. Burnt Toast Moment here or just tired girl moment, I forgot to pull the coffee packet from the coffee maker and so I go to eat the oatmeal and I’m like that’s right. Oops! Fortunately I had another packet so I was able to make another one.
We headed out to the race, it was a little chilly out, probably around 50 or so. I took my gear check bag so I could wear my track pants and jacket to the start line area. We made it to the bus area pretty quickly. There were different exits for the marathon & half marathon bus staging area. We decided to park near the half marathon buses because it was closer to the finish line and Sean walked/ran over to the marathon bus area.
I got on my bus pretty quickly – same set up as last year and then headed off on a 15 or so minute drive to the staging area for the start line. When I got off the bus, there were port-a-potties right there with a lot of heat lamps. There was a lot of space for everyone to wait for the race to start. I think I got there about 90 mins before the race would start. The buses started around 3:30 or 3:45am, I’m glad I didn’t get on an earlier bus, that was long enough to have to wait.
I walked around a bit before I saw one of my friends from my Slowrunners running group – I don’t run with them often any more since I’m trying not to use Galloway as much but I did run the Ragnar McDowell Mountain Trail Relay with them. Joe & I chatted for a while before another friend Trish came up to say hi. We headed over to near the start line to use a few port-a-potties that were over there.
After this I sat down near the gear check buses and just chilled for a few minutes. The guy next to me asked me some questions about my awesome Altra The One2 shoes so I gave him the run-down about them before checking my bag. I wanted to head up towards the start line to find the RunEatTweetAZ peeps for the photo op. On my way over, I ran into Cave Creek Nic so we chatted for a bit, took a few photos and were looking for the others. Eventually they came running past us and we all got a few photos. I haven’t really been able to be at a lot of the RunEatTweetAZ events, so I don’t know most of the other members but I did meet Corine (zucchinirunner), Jeremy (confessions of an amateur athlete) and Issamosley at the Hot Chocolate 15k. If I wasn’t moving to SD I’d definitely want to be more involved with this amazing group of people. Maybe they can come to SD for a field trip for Rock’n’Roll SD in June 😉
We all chatted for a few minutes before it was time for the race to start. I decided to keep my long sleeve lululemon shirt on for the race. I figured that if needed I could always take it off during the race and put it around my waist. I was fine for the first mile or 2 and then I started to get a little warm, but I was like, I’ll wait until at least mile 5 because I was feeling pretty good and didn’t really want to stop. I’m not sure what mile it was when the wind started to kick up a bit but I was glad I had it on because by the end of the race I was freezing.
I still don’t really like the course. I don’t find it very exciting at all and while there were some people out cheering us on, it’s not like a huge race where there are lots of spectators.
Now the finish line area, that was awesome. I have to say of all the races I’ve run and I’ve done a lot of them, this race had the best post-race food of any race I’ve ever done.
Soon after crossing the finish line, we were handed bottles of water, hand towels from 24 hr Fitness and our medals.
There was a section to have your finish photo taken, I passed, but it was there. Then you walked over to the food section. There was a muscle milk area with Muscle Milk shakes of course, yoga mats and foam rollers, an area to get massages and a line for food. The line was semi long but it went pretty fast. In line I talked with a lady who came down from Indianapolis to run the half and she asked me about my Altras too so I was able to chat about them while waiting for the line to progress.
First up was some fruit (orange, apples, bananas), Dole handed out fruit cups as well, then there were some breakfast breads, Sprouts had a small booth with multiple snacks, and then there was a BBQ food truck handing out mini bbq pork sandwiches and a really good mac & cheese with a little kick.
That was just in the runner only section. Then when you went out into the main expo area there were turkey hot dogs, green juice, Sprouts had another booth with tons of stuff, bottles of water, containers of coconut water, Svelte protein drinks, multiple snacks and they were telling us to take some of everything. When I went back with Sean a while later, there was even more & different items out. And all of this was free.
There were other food trucks with things like sodas, mustache pretzels and other things that you could buy. It was like a mini expo after the race. They also had a nice area for the awards, with seats and a seating area with little tables for you to enjoy your snacks, etc.
I got my bag of dry clothing, changed into some warmer clothes before heading back to my car to drop off my bounty, get Sean’s heavier sweatshirt and then headed off to wait for him to come in.
I thought he was going to be in somewhere around 4 hours. He was still recovering from the Sean O’Brien 100k at the beginning of the month and had a few issues with his knee and heel so I didn’t think he was going to push it but I wasn’t sure.
I ran into Olivia (Balancing Mommy) and her friends so I cheered with them for about 20 minutes before I saw Sean come in.
I took a few photos, he semi stopped to wait for me to give him a quick kiss, awwww… lol. He had eaten a ton of red starburst so his mouth was bright red. At first I thought he had fallen and cut himself or knocked out a tooth, it looked like blood, but no, that’s what happens when you eat 12 red starbust 😉
I met him at the finish, got a few photos, he got his medal and went thru the food area before meeting me. He had gotten blisters on the bottom of both his feet because he wore a pair of old Newton Distance shoes with about 600+ miles on them. Oops.
After we went thru the finish area again, we walked back to the car, headed off to get showered and changed before heading off to a celebratory post race lunch at my favorite restaurant, Flowerchild, where we met to oh so lovely Narindipity and her boyfriend Marcus in Charge who are the most awesome peeps (Definitely follow them on Instagram).
All in all it was a great day that I got to spend with Sean and with a lot of other awesome runners. I’m super blessed to be a part of such an amazing community of like minded people.