I’ve been noticing a trend with my races lately–the less I stress and the less pressure I put on myself has proven to be the best race strategy. I went into the Fiesta Bowl 1/2 Marathon last month not sure what I wanted to do and ended the race with a killer PR of 1:55:37 (beating my previous by almost 3 full minutes). On Sunday, I was debating about treating this like a legit training run or going for another sub 2 (but not at all thinking about a PR).
My husband, who was also racing, my daughter (who wasn’t racing 😉 ), and I didn’t spend too much time at the Expo itself. We got our bibs and shirts and took a few quick pics:
After, we started making our way to a group social–I’d planned on meeting up with my #RunEatTweetAZ peeps 🙂
The meet up was so much fun! There were a bunch of giveaways and the grand prize was a free race entry from a local racing company, StartLine Racing. Guess who won? MEEEEE!!!!!
My daughter had had a blast at the social, even getting to meet Elsa and Anna! and then we had lunch downtown. It was such a beautiful, relaxed Saturday.
I carried that momentum to the next morning as I got ready. We arrived to the race early and well prepared. Prepared as in I was not cold. I know, I know, I’m in Arizona but cold for us lol! It was actually supposed to be a gorgeous day–and it was–but the morning was a bit chilly (41 degrees is COLD! lol!). I had on sweats and a sweater and was very comfortable up to the start. We gear checked our stuff and then made our way to our corrals.
I met up with with one of my running buddies and wished him luck. Along the way, I ran into another friend from my running club, Harry, who is super fast (he’s attempting a BQ time at Phoenix). I asked him what his goal time was and he said that he was just going have fun with this one and was going to help a friend pace. Their time was around what I had thought I’d like to be, 9 minute miles. I figured I’d hang out with them and see where it took me.
My husband wished me luck and he moved up to his corral. The gun went off and we were on our way!
We started off at a very good pace and I felt it was smart that I had decided to start easy and relaxed. The first mile ticked off 8:51 and I thought, this is good. So far, so good.
I could feel myself start to pick up the pace a little but still felt good and mile two went by at 8:47. It was here that Harry and I somehow lost our other friend. She had made a pit stop at the first water station unexpectedly and we couldn’t find her. Harry even went back to look and met up with me later when he couldn’t find her. We continued on our way and stayed consistently near 9:00 up to mile 9.
I was very pleased with mile 9. The entire first 3/4 of the race is an incline that culminates with a huge hill at mile 9. This is usually where I bonk (last year miles 8 and 9 were 9:26 and 9:22) so when I saw 9:09 I was so happy! It had felt like a 20 minute mile lol!
Seeing how well I had done up to that point motivated me to continue. I ran the last 4 miles strong and the last mile with all heart. I had done the math, I was going to kill last year’s time (1:58:11)! This fact made me so incredibly happy; I had no idea that I was actually going to be close to a PR. Had I known, maybe I would have pushed it but because I was so thrilled with how I was doing up to that point, I wasn’t at all thinking about even being close to PRing. As each mile clicked away, I became more and more elated!
And somehow, I ended up finishing 15 seconds away from my PR (1:55:37) on a muuuuch tougher course!! I was (and still am) on cloud 9!!! 😀
There was no plan, no strategy, I just started out with what felt good and carried my momentum the rest of the way trying my best to stay consistent.
What capped off the race, how could it possibly get better you might ask, is that my husband did absolutely amazing. He way surpassed his previous year’s time at this course (1:48) and then beat his PR from last month of 1:42, finishing RnR AZ at 1:40:49. One-freaking-forty!! He’s come such a long way for his short running career; I’m so pumped for what his running future holds for him ❤
This was a race that was by no means easy; I felt like I was working the entire way. But, I wasn’t dying at the end (my race pictures show otherwise lol!) or felt like I had overworked my body. I just felt really good.
Strong. I felt strong. And that seriously is the best feeling ever 🙂
–Do you always have a race/game plan/strategy?
–How would you describe yourself (or the way you feel) at the end of a race?