Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon Race Report

My boyfriend David and I arrived in Phoenix on Friday. That day utterly sucked because I had one of my cats put to sleep, so the less said about that, the better. We went to the race expo to pick up my packet. I spent a ridiculous amount of money to buy the official race jacket as well as a cute pink fleece hoodie with the race name embroidered on it. On Friday evening, I met with my TNT teammates to decorate our singlets.

On Saturday morning, I met with our coach Sandy and a teammate, Kimberly, for a quick 2-mile run. Some TNT people from Oregon joined us as well. It felt great to run in 50-degree weather after all the cold at home.

On Saturday afternoon, we had a wonderful experience because we had lunch with a friend from an online forum and her husband. I've known her on the forum for 5 or 6 years, but this was our first meeting and it was really cool. I was really nervous about it, but they were great. Very easy to talk to.

Saturday night was the TNT pasta party. I didn't actually eat anything because I was still so stuffed from lunch. There were about 2,000 TNT runners from all over the country. Amazing! They announced the biggest fund-raiser. One girl from New York raised $34,000! Wow, made me feel like a total slacker! John "The Penguin" Bingham was the emcee for the event. I absolutely love him, since I am a penguin myself! He lost his first love to a blood cancer back in the 60s, so TNT is near and dear to his heart. We also had a speech from a woman who lost her daughter a few years ago. It was very emotional and touching, and reminded us all why we were there.

After the pasta party, I laid out all my stuff so I'd be ready on Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning, I wanted to be up by 5:30 because the 1/2 marathon folks were due on a shuttle to the start line at 6:15. I set the hotel alarm clock and also set my cell phone alarm as a back-up. Unfortunately, I forgot that my cell was still on Eastern time, so it went off at 3:30am Mountain time. Whoops! But despite that, I slept surprisingly well the night before the race. I ended up waking up at 5am so I got dressed and went downstairs to get some pictures of my full marathon teammates, who were leaving on the 5:30am shuttle.

When the time came for my shuttle, I met up with my Michigan teammate Becca. We rode over together and then wandered around checking everything out. I don't know why they made us get there so ridiculously early since the 1/2 didn't start until 8:30, but at least we had a chance to hit the porta potties and watch the start of the full marathon.

Finally our start time was coming up so I checked in my gear bag and we headed for our corrals. Becca was a few corrals behind me so I never saw her again until after the race. The half has so many runners (about 20,000) that they do a wave start, releasing one corral at a time. John Bingham was back, releasing each of the corrals and making lots of jokes about how the people in the back have a lot more fun. :) My corral was released at about 9am. I was so excited to finally get started, I wasn't even nervous at all. I made sure to keep a nice slow and steady pace instead of leaping out of the corral like a maniac and wearing myself out.

I highly recommend a Rock 'n' Roll event to everyone. It helped so much to have the bands there at every mile. I always found myself picking up the pace when I ran past a band. I wish I'd brought a camera with me to take pictures of all the bands.

Having my name on the front of my singlet was great, because lots of people were calling out encouragement to me by name. It's amazing how much it helps to hear a total stranger say "looking good, Cathy!"

I really don't remember a lot of individual details of the race. I know I made a pit stop around mile 6 or 7, which took 4 minutes because there was a line. I ended up missing my goal time by fewer than 3 minutes so I really regretted that bathroom break!

I made a few cell phone calls during the race. I talked to my sister, my sister-in-law, my TNT mentor, and David. Perhaps that was a strange thing to do, but I enjoyed it.

I felt really strong through the first 9 1/2 miles. Then I sort of conked out and took a little walk break. I probably walked 5-6 minutes in all, but never more than 2 minutes at a time. When I got down to the last mile, I saw our Coach Sandy so she ran with me the rest of the way. I was so happy to see her and was glad she was there to run with me.

When I crossed the finish line I was so happy! I was just wandering around and totally walked past where they were handing out the medals. Needless to say, I went back and got one!

After I found David, we went back to the hotel so I could get a shower. He went out to buy me some pain killers because my legs were so sore. And he was considerate enough to also bring me some chocolate milk - exactly what I needed at that moment! Then we took a walk, which made my legs feel a lot better.

I'm proud and happy to have completed my first half marathon and I'm looking forward to the next one in May. I will hit my goal time next time around!


Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you on so many levels. First for coming in so close to your goal; and second for meeting that Crazy Purse Lady. But, I also have a bone to pick with you (or I need to admit to being a complete dork)... why didn't you ever mention we could sponsor you? or Why didn't I see it if you did?

Next race.... count me in. It might not be a huge amount but you are running for a cause close to me.


Cathy said...

Hey Vicki! I did mention on the forum that people could donate to the cause, back in September when I signed up. But I bet it was in that one folder that nobody realized until recently that you couldn't see it. I also sent out an email but I don't think I have your email address. Trust me, I would have loved to have your donation. And actually, it's not too late to donate - I will give you a link elsewhere. :)

Annette said...

Great race report Cathy!!!