2017 Phoenix Marathon: Race Recap

I know you’re probably tired of hearing this 😉 , but I got another PR!!! That’s the short of it, but if you want the extended version, here it comes….

(By the way, excuse my absence–my last post should’ve also been titled Blogging Blues, lol!)

Okay, the Mesa-Phoenix Marathon. So, I had friends coming in from Texas–Scott who used to blog and that’s how I “met” him (and in real life in Chicago), his partner in crime and better half Marsha, and a cool dude named Roberto.

Me and Scott after Chicago Marathon 2015

Me and Scott after Chicago Marathon 2015

I had convinced them to come because Marsha was looking to BQ and I knew she could do it on Phoenix’s course. When we first met back in Chicago, she had, unknowingly at the time, gotten super close and didn’t need a whole lot to shave. I was certain she’d get the sub 3:45 she needed.

With her goal being sub 3:45 and my PR being 3:58, I figured I’d just hang with her for as long as I could and see how it went. I didn’t mind combusting if that’s what happened; this wasn’t a race I was going for a real time goal anyway. I could risk it.

Marsha also wasn’t putting too much pressure on herself to BQ. While it would be great if she did, she wasn’t going to be fixed to her watch and causing herself race anxiety.

Having that mindset, we went into the race stress-free and full excitement for a long run with friends. That’s how we were approaching it.

Shakeout run with the Texas gang

Shakeout run with the Texas gang

The race started out bright and early at 6:30 a.m. in the middle of the mountains out in nowhere. We saw the sunrise the first few miles and we were in really good spirits promising everyone tequila at the finish.

“You get tequila!”

“And you get tequila!”

“Everyone gets tequila!”

(Spoiler: I did not have tequila at the end, lol!)

Scott had pacing duties so I never looked at my watch, instead, just followed his lead.

This was a pretty steep downhill so I was proud of how controlled we stayed. Thanks, Scott!

This was a pretty steep downhill so I was proud of how controlled we stayed. Thanks, Scott!

I felt good and when we approached the only hill of the race, I knew if I just stayed close, I’d be okay.

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We didn’t skip a beat going up and my pace for miles 5 and 6 were 8:31 and 8:35!

It was a nice downhill for a while after that and our pace stayed relatively steady between miles 7-15.

17091307_10107563239000311_618192374_oOur conversation stayed steady too. We were running calm and enjoying the absolutely amazing weather we were having. We joked, we sang a little, we told Marsha to slow down. It was the most fun and relaxed I’d ever run a marathon… ever.

When we got to mile 16, I felt myself slowing down and I decided then to plug myself in and prepare for the last ten miles. I kept Scott and Marsha in my sight though, so I wasn’t too far behind them.

I stayed steady at around 8:30ish for a few miles

Call me Miss. Consistent :D

Call me Miss. Consistent 😀

and felt pretty good despite having slowed down a little (and really, I couldn’t believe I was still running an 8:30 something in the back end of a marathon!)

Cruising!

Mile 19–Cruising!

At mile 23, the cramping started. But like New York, I just accepted it and ran with it. They slowed me down, and I could feel them with each step in my calves, my shins, my quads, the tops of my feet–but I knew I had a sub 3:45 if I just kept moving.

And would you believe that the miles I ran with cramps were in the 9s?!!??!!  I mean, I honestly am just in shock that that was my pace with freaking cramps!!!

You guys, seriously!!!

You guys, seriously!!!

Must. Get. To. Finish. Line.

Mile 23–Must. Get. To. Finish. Line.

I turned the corner, and I finally saw the person I hoped to see–my husband. I knew that he’d finish before me and be at the finish line waiting, and it was that which kept me going.

Started and finished with a smile :D

Started and finished with a smile 😀

Me and my 3:17 marathoner <3

Me and my 3:17 marathoner ❤

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I saw Scott and Marsha who had also just finished. I could see the huge smile on Marsha’s face and I knew it–she had BQ’d!!!!! Scott snagged himself a nice little PR coming in after her (but before me)– we all finished within 4 minutes of each other!

We're awesome.

We’re awesome.

I cannot get over how amazingly awesome and FUN this race was. I know that all races won’t be like this one, but I’m glad I finally had a race that was absolutely a blast from beginning to end. The PR is the cherry on top but honestly, it’s the people that made Phoenix Marathon unforgettable.

My two halves though--and average pace--I can't believe it. CAN'T.

My two halves though–and average pace–I can’t believe it. CAN’T.

<3

–Have you had a race that was just an absolute blast??

 

 

 

 

A Bad Case of the Winter Blues/Blahs…..Or Maybe I’m Tired

A few people have asked me about Phoenix Marathon training and what plan I’m using. Yeah…..about that….

I’m not using Hanson’s.

I’m actually not using anything.

Phoenix was my back up race in case I didn’t get my sub 4 in NYC and we all know that that was a success. So Phoenix became my “fun” marathon–no goals, no expectations. Up to this point, I’ve never gone into a marathon like that. Each marathon I’ve done has been to reach a goal/time.

I’m lucky in a way, that I got my sub 4 in NYC because holy moly am I struggling to run right now. Once I’m out there, I’m fine–my paces are good. But actually getting out there is a monumental struggle.

So what’s going on??

The Goal Has Been Met

Training for New York City found me waking up at crazy o’clock several times. I never faltered. The discipline was there. I think a reason why I can’t lace up now is because I don’t have that carrot. I don’t have that goal.

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4:34 a.m. WHO WAS I????

I haven’t seen my 5 o’clock crew in a long time.

Go Away Winter

You all know I don’t do cold very well. I don’t like wearing layers. I don’t like not seeing the sun. I don’t like being cold. And while it hasn’t been the worst winter in Arizona by any means, the weather keeps me under the covers. The alarm goes off, but the bed always wins.

You know you guys wanna move here...

Summer: You know you guys wanna move here…

The Calm Before The Storm

The biggie after Phoenix Marathon, is Boston Qualifying. My first attempt will be at St. George this fall. I’m ready to go big in training for that, more so than NYC. The difficulty of the training excites me and since right now I’m not “having” to do that type of training, I’m essentially coasting. Maybe I should be doing some prep or pre-training (which I plan to closer to the start of BQ training), but right now I don’t see an urgent need.

I’m Tired

I ran a shitton training for NYC. More mileage than I’d ever done in my life. It’s not a surprise that my body is tired and not wanting to run as much as before. I’ve been trying to get in an adequate amount of mileage for Phoenix, but if you look at my weekly totals, they’re pretty abysmal. I figure I’m giving my body a little rest while still running some/enough to finish a marathon, lol!

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So the goal for Phoenix is to finish. If my fitness from NYC can get me another sub 4, that would be awesome. That’s the pace I’ll be looking to run at and we’ll just see how it goes. All I really want is to finish the race happy as my last memory of Phoenix Marathon wasn’t.

And after Phoenix comes some legit rest. I plan on taking a few weeks off from running completely and then limiting my running before I began training to Boston Qualify.

So there you have it! A little Helly update 🙂

–Do you get the winter blues/blahs? Suz @Suzlyfe shared some really good pointers on beating the blahs today. Check it out!

–Are you excited for summer? 😀

–How do you motivate yourself to get out there when you don’t really wanna?

Elephant Mountain 12k Race Recap

I haven’t been on the trails….well…let’s just say for a loooong time. But I decided to sign up for this race because a ton of my friends were doing it and FOMO (fear of missing out) hit me like a wrecking ball.

It was also a race on trails I’d never been before and I love exploring my little big state. It was an hour drive and I rode up there solo. Luckily, Aravaipa races do race day bib pick-up. Got there early because that’s how I roll.

I’d done my research and saw that it was going to be a glorious day at 80 degrees (you read that right) but the morning was going to be a freeze fest at 45-50. I parked and then ran into some friends at the potty and then we all huddled in a car together to wait for the start. The race started at 8:30 (there were two other distances starting before ours) so when we began, it was warming up and my shorts and tank weren’t crazy pants.

Post potty pre race pic

Post potty pre race pic

At the start!

At the start!

It was a big group of us and we all started together but fizzled out as we ran. I was near the front of our pack with my friend T$ who is a super strong trail runner. The first mile was all uphill and she lead the way. When we reached the apex, I let myself roll with the downhill, and then I was by myself.

It was up and down after that and on the down I was pretty reckless running faster than I probably should have.

holy rollers

holy rollers

On the uphill, I would take it easy but managed to still do a sort of run. This was HUGE for me because I’ve always struggled with hills, road or trail. To see that I was running up them, big ones too, made me feel so strong and like I’ve come a long way from the scared-of-hills runner I used to be.

I finally reached the lone water station that served as a turn around for the 12k. It was a short way back on the same trail as I’d just come on so it was cool to see my friends as I began my way to the finish.

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More up and down, and on the down (as you can see from my splits) it was WHHHEEEEEEEE!!!!! I totally got caught up in my surroundings–the desert does that to me. It was so darn beautiful out. Everything was so perfect. The sun on my face, the weather, the cacti and nature around me, the difficulty of the trail–I was in my own little heaven for 8 and half miles.

Oh yeah, a 12k is around seven miles. When I reached that point, I thought I was close to the finish but then it never came. I kept running and then I saw two girls up ahead. I caught up to one to ask if we were on the right trail– she said we were. I passed her and then made it my mission to catch the next girl. By the time I did, it was well past 8 miles. At a quarter after, I finally saw the finish, and I was glad as my spunky energy was beginning to diminish, lol!

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I ended up averaging a 9:46 pace which for me is hella fast for trails. When I was recounting the race to my husband, I just said that I ran happy and that’s really what it was. I had an absolute blast and enjoyed myself the entire way. 26th overall and 6th female. I don’t know how many people raced but I was pretty proud with the results as I don’t consider myself a strong trail runner. I never run trail races with an expectation to win anything–we have a super strong trail running community–but I know that this race was a good one for me, in many ways, and more so than a placing.

I needed this. Phoenix Marathon training hasn’t been as exciting as NYC since I don’t have an actual goal I’m going for. Running has felt more like something I’ve had to do, and not so much in a fun way. But this trail race reignited me. I had fun. Sooo much fun. 🙂

–Do you like trail running/racing?

–Are you a cautious downhill runner or reckless like I am? (I need to get better about that, lol)

–Are hills your thing? I’m starting to not be afraid of them, finally!