2016 Phoenix Marathon–Half Marathon Recap

They say it comes in 3s!!!

For the 3rd weekend in a row, I was able to snag a PR! I can’t believe the month of February. Can’t.

For those who want the Cliffnotes version, I PR’d my half marathon time by OVER SEVEN MINUTES! 1:55:37 —> 1:48:04!!

And here are my splits:

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 8.56.16 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 8.56.32 PM

For those willing to hear the long version, here goes:

The Expo was on Friday, the day before the race (which btw, I really like Saturday races) and I really wanted to meet some Instagram/We Run Social friends from last year’s race.

Carlee, Me, Kindal, and Brian

Carlee, Me, Kindal, and Brian

We Run Social was started from last year’s Phoenix Marathon and has blown up to become a year-long running party 😀

Both the marathon and half marathon started at 6:30 so my husband and I had to be there at the same time which was nice because we could drive together (he was running the full). Runners had to arrive suuuuper early to catch busses that would drop off runners at the start of the point to point courses, so we left at 4:30 and scooped up my BRF Runner Jenny along the way. It was pushing it because the last bus left at 5:15 and we got there right at 5. Traffic was insane and we decided to drop my husband off and he ran to where his busses were. But me and Runner Jenny had no idea where the half marathon busses were! I asked a volunteer who took out a map and pointed me towards the direction we had just come from. What?!? We went back and saw my husband and run club coach who told us, no, the half busses were the other way! Runner Jenny and I scrambled (and ran seriously about a half mile) to the right place and luckily on time.

After about a 20 minute bus ride, we reached the drop off point and I immediately got in line for the porta potties. It was a long line but I was able to do what I had to do just as the announcer called runners to the start line.

My long time buddy Nadia was with me and planned to help pace me to a PR (which was my goal, but I seriously had no idea I would do it by so much). She wanted to make sure I started conservatively, while I really had no idea what I was doing. Thank God for her because I know I would’ve started out too fast.

My beautiful friend, Nadia. Friends for over 20 years <3

My beautiful friend, Nadia. Friends for over 20 years ❤

In my overly ambitious head, I wanted to be at 8:15, but Nadia wanted me closer to 8:30, at least at the start. We found the 1:50 pacer and decided we’d stick with him for as long as we could as he said the pace was an 8:23/mile and that was a happy medium for me and Nadia.

I began my attempt to get my I-pod ready; I had purchased a little shuffle thinking I’d avoid another FroYo music fiasco, lol. No such luck though because I had no idea how to make my playlist play. It would play the songs out of order and I didn’t know how to fix that. I started panicking a little, frustrated that I was dealing with this, but Runner Jenny was nearby and calmed me down, reminding me that before then, I never listened to music anyway. She was right. Music or no music, I’d be fine.

I never got the shuffle to play the songs in my playlist order and it ended up not being a big deal at all.

Mile 1 was navigating through crowds and it went by quickly at 8:24. We settled in and I just got in a zone, only looking at my watch when I felt it buzz a mile split. The pacer was actually going a little faster than planned as miles 2-7 were between 8:14 and 8:19. This pleased me as it was what I had wanted and I was feeling good. Really good. Sometimes I would feel myself start go a little ahead and then I would pull back, go a little ahead, and then pull back. Nadia’s presence a reminder of the plan.

And each time I felt the watch buzz and saw the mile split I would just grin. I was doing it! At mile 7, I unplugged an earphone, turned to the pacer and Nadia and said, “This is officially the longest I’ve ran at this pace!” I was doing great!

At mile 8, the pacer returned to his plan as the split buzzed at 8:21. I was a little bummed to see a 20something after feeling so good in the teens, and I told myself that if I was feeling good at mile 10, I would let myself pull away.

Mile 9 buzzed away at 8:20 and mile 10 at 8:26. As soon as I saw that mile 10 split, I decided to let go of the pacer. I was going to finish this on my own.

Even without Nadia.

After mile 10, I dug my heels in and picked up the pace. I didn’t look behind me or next to me. I didn’t say a word to Nadia (who later ended up stopping to call 911 for a runner!), I just went, telling myself I had a 5k left and to leave nothing on the pavement.

Mile 11, 8:17.

Mile 12, 8:03. 

Knowing I had a mile left, I was going for it. I knew the last mile was a decline and I used that and the adrenaline of having a sub 1:50 nailed to give it all I had at the finish.

Mile 13, 7:37.

HELL YEAH!!!

HELL YEAH!!! 1:48:04!!!

I roared my way into the finish line. I was so ridiculously happy. I couldn’t believe that in 3 weeks, I’d managed to PR in my 5k, 10k, and now my 1/2 marathon time. With the adrenaline I was feeling, I could’ve signed up for a full marathon this coming weekend! (Spoiler alert, I didn’t LOL)

This was the first race, in all distances, that I felt good the entire way. That I felt confident and strong the entire way.

I never once felt like I couldn’t do it.

Nadia’s plan to start with the pacer was perfect. I think had I tried to do it on my own, starting off right away at an 8:15 pace, I might’ve tried to go faster and lost control. I was lucky that the pacer went a little faster earlier in the race, closer to what I’d wanted, because that let me be consistent and I feel that was huge in allowing me to feel so good the entire way.

I’m also extremely freaking proud that I took the risk of pulling away after mile 10. I think the “old me” (I’m not sure what that means yet) would’ve been too scared to leave the pacer, afraid that I would burn out.

But I felt so confident in myself. I’ve never felt this way before. It’s like I just knew that I could go faster–at mile freaking 10!

Ringing the PR bell :D

Ringing the PR bell 😀

When I finished, I immediately grabbed my stuff from gear check. I had signed up to receive tracking alerts from my husband and sure enough, he had crossed the half way point already right on target.

Not long after, Runner Jenny and Nadia met up with me and we waited for my husband to finish. I got the 20 miler alert and then finally, we saw him. I screamed my head off as I saw him cross at 3:37:46!!! A PR for him too!!!

12768042_10105961590376991_40210649_o

It was an absolutely fantastic day. Being surrounded by friends (my running club is amazing), having my husband with me, and finally feeling like I ran a race the way I knew I could has me the happiest girl on earth. I’ll be taking a break from racing (but not from my blog, so don’t worry 😉 ) and plan on riding this high for a long while 😀

Thank you all so much for your kind words on Instagram and Facebook and here. Thank you for following my journey. ❤

–How do you build confidence in your running? 

–When’s the last time you felt you “nailed” a race?

 

Nick’s Run Double Challenge 5k & 10k Recap

I FINISHED 3RD FEMALE OVERALL!!!!! 

Okay, I just needed to yell that. Oh, and it was the 5k where that happened. 😀

Lemme start at the beginning.

As I’d mentioned before, I was the ambassador for this race and was very, very excited to be a representative out there. I went in with the intention of have fun and using it as a training run for Phoenix Half next weekend. That was the plan.

My high school running buddy Nadia was also doing the double challenge and she also planned on taking it easy. This pleased me because I’d have a running buddy and really, it would be my one chance to run with her (she’s way faster than me).

The 10k was first and we plodded along nicely at around a 9 minute pace. We chatted the entire way and eventually had no idea where we were in the park. Luckily the race had ample volunteers directing us because we were not paying any attention, lol! We rolled along and around mile 5 Nadia wanted to slow down and I decided to stick to the groove I was in. I finished the 10k at 55:05 with an 8:49/mile pace. Felt good the entire way.

The 5k was next and started about 30 minutes after the 10k. Nadia was going to stick to 9 minutes but I wanted to be around the 8:30-8:45 mark so we decided to go at it solo. I looked around the crowd one last time in search of my husband–he was meeting me before the start as my daughter would participate in the Kid’s Run after the 5k. I didn’t see him so when the horn blew, I began to run. I was going along nicely when at about a half mile in we approached the first turn. From where I was, I could count the people in front of me and saw that I was the third girl at that point. When we rounded the corner, I could see the crowd behind me and saw that the next couple of girls were a bit aways. This might be my only chance to place overall! Any plan I had at that point was out the window and I picked up the pace.

Just after the first mile, 7:55, I saw my husband and daughter and he caught this pic of me capturing how happy I was to see them

I kept it going, feeling good and mile two beeped at 7:58. I was still 3rd female.

When we reached the final mile, I began to speed up a little as I saw I was close to a PR. I figured I was so close, I might as well give it a shot. The race ended with a little uphill but I finished mile 3 at 7:39 and managed to beat my previous 5k time (and remain 3rd female!) at 23:55!!

As soon as I grabbed my medals I walked towards my husband and dragged him to the screens displaying runners’ finishing times. There I was, my name next to third female overall!!!

I know that this will very likely NEVER happen again (and thank goodness for small races, lol) so I’m glad I was able to finish strong despite having ran a 10k before.

But my bad luck with race awards continues…

Remember how at FroYo 10k my chip time never registered so I missed out on an Age Group award? Well Nick’s Run only awarded 1st and 2nd overall places ONLY!!! 

WHOMP, WHOMP!!!!!

No 3rd place overall award for me 😦

It’s all good though because I can still say that at one point in my life I did that, lol!

On a positive note, they mail out Age Group awards and my times put me at 1st in my Age Group for both the 5k and 10k so I should be getting those! Super yay!

The best part of the race though???

THIS

Waiting for go time to start her Garmin <3

Waiting for go time to start her Garmin ❤

I think she likes to run.

I think she likes to run.

My daughter had an absolute blast running her race. The 2-4 year old distance was perfect for her and she ran the entire way by herself. I was such a proud mommy!!!

Admiring our medals

Admiring our medals

This was such a great race. Very well organized–like I’d mentioned earlier, the race was in a huge park and the course took you through several loops. There was a volunteer at EVERY turn directing you. I even saw the race director himself on the course pointing runners in the right direction.

And the medals. GORG.

12719282_1037630692967898_1121870732648654132_o

I strongly encourage runners to race locally. So much thought is put into it and you can see how people truly care about the event taking place.

Plus, running smaller races gives you a chance to place 😉

–Do you run local races?

–Ever placed overall in a race? (Like Suzy, winning the whole damn thing in her first 5k)

–Have you raced two (or more) distances back to back?

 

 

FroYo Race Pics and More

Happy Friday!!

Short post today but wanted to share with you pics from FroYo. There were a couple I liked, but it wouldn’t be Helly’s blog if I didn’t share the ones that weren’t so great, lol!

If you recall from my recap, I wrote that I fist pumped my way through the finish line. I wasn’t lying 😀

1016001_1035277333203234_2752648351527572823_o

12755054_10105929519666951_965292977_o

And while they didn’t get me with full pumps in the air, you get the idea. I was so ridiculously happy to snag a PR.

I also mentioned in my recap how I struggled with my earphones. It was right at the start actually when they started to fall out and here’s proof:

12737128_10105929518953381_846421348_o-1

LOL @ my face!!!

Of course, I got it together and just went with it.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 8.20.45 AM

These pictures were free so that was another cool feature of the race. I finally did get a response from the race director and while it’ll be a while for them to fix/add my time, it will get done. I’m a little bummed they’ll be using my time and not their chip time (you know, sometimes you gain a few seconds 😉 ) but it’s okay, I’m just glad it’ll be taken care of. As far as my age group placement, I had to be there to accept the award anyway…

I have Nick’s Run this Sunday and I’m super excited. Their medals look super cool and I’ll be getting the Double Challenge one since I’m doing the 5k and 10k back to back. I don’t plan on “racing” as I figured this would be my long run leading up to Phoenix 1/2 next weekend. The 5k is tempting to race but I don’t want to do anything foolish.

I had originally not planned to “race” Phoenix 1/2 as I didn’t think I’d be ready with less than 6 weeks to train, but now I’m toying with just going for it and seeing what I can do, given I had a good 10k last week and have been doing well with the training I have done so far. What are your guys’ thoughts?

My only qualm is that I haven’t done any double digit long runs. I did a 9 miler 2 weeks ago, (my 10k last weekend), and I’ll be doing 9.3 this weekend (BUT, I plan on adding a warm mile and cool down mile to make it 11.3–it just won’t be done consecutively).

Anyway, those are my random Friday thoughts (not as short as I had said, lol!). I hope everyone has a great weekend!! Who else is racing??

Local peeps, there’s still time to register for Nick’s Run!! Check out the bling!