I could honestly leave it at that. But I won’t. Don’t worry, I will give you a long 2000 word post with all the deets.
You didn’t click the little x yet? Awesome. Thanks for that 😉
Lisa arrived into Phoenix Saturday afternoon and we headed over to the race expo. We received these emails about the “record crowds” they were expecting.
The expo was pretty small, so we picked up our bibs, looked around a little bit and I bought a headband.
Definitely different from the Rock N Roll one, but honestly, I don’t know that I need all the bells and whistles. After the expo, we went home for some carb-o loading goodness! I made Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese (YIKES! I need to update that recipe with better pictures. It’s from a long time ago!) and roasted broccoli. Yummmm. Healthy, carb-full, and deliciousness.
After dinner, Lisa and I proceeded to give our husbands a concert of
our favorite show tunes every song we both new with really simple chords that we could actually play. We ended with Do You Hear the People Sing, I sang my best loudest high C, and Steve and Sam simultaneously asked us for divorces we went out to get some Gelato before heading to bed early for our 4:40am wake up call.
This morning, we woke up, had some coffee and toast with sunflower butter and banana, and some iced coffee and we were out the door by 5:30. It was still pitch black outside and collllddddd (for Phoenix). We arrived at Prospector Park where race volunteers literally escorted us into the proper parking space and immediately found our way onto a bus to the starting line. This race was incredibly well organized and all of the volunteers were super friendly and helpful! I was impressed!
We hung out for a bit with the boys while we waited for the start, then did a bit of a warm up jog and made our way over to the starting line. I felt pumped and super excited. I was running a race with one of my long time best friends–her first race, and my wedding gift to her. I just felt so happy for the entire experience.
I was also super nervous though. I signed up for this after Diana highly recommended it, without even looking at the elevation. Then, I heard from other runners that it was super tough and HILLY.
Oyyy!!! Then, I read the reviews which claimed it was “A great course for serious runners”. But I’m a comedic runner. Not serious at all. Nope. Not one bit. I was sure that I was going to run this slower than PF Chang’s. In fact, I even added more music to my playlist so I wouldn’t run out! I intentionally did not talk about pace goals on the blog because I was sure I would end up embarrassing myself. But I did have one, and it seemed totally out of reach, but it was there, burning a hole in the back of my mind. 2:09:XX. I figured there was no way I’d make it just a month after finishing in 2:13:58 on a more challenging course, so I only told Lisa and Steve–and only when Lisa asked.
Anyway–back to the race. We got to the starting line and I was surprised because at 7:15 on the dot, there was no announcement, no Star Spangled Banner, just a sudden gun shot and the race had begun! Well, okay, if you say so! About 1/2 a mile in, we saw Steve and Sam
and kept it totally cool.
Soon after we turned the corner and were running right towards the sunrise in the mountains. Holy crap, it was gorgeous. I felt so honored to be running into something so beautiful and I realized for a second how awesome my life is. I can run into the sunrise. That is something I never thought I would appreciate, but my views and ideas of happiness have change…a lot.
I had told Lisa we needed to start slowly so we wouldn’t burn out. At PF Chang’s, I got tired at mile 8 and had to walk/run until the end. In fact, in every single race I’ve done, I’ve gotten tired from going beyond my pace and had to take walking breaks. Even all of my 5Ks. So when we ran the first mile in 9:33, I was getting ready to yell at Lisa for not starting out in the 10s like we had discussed. I had all of this fear about not being able to keep it up, and how I would burn out, but then I realized I felt great. The pace felt dare I say easy. And I thought to myself… What if I can keep this up for the whole race?
I made a little goal with myself right there–if I ran every mile below 10 minutes, I really could meet my goal of finishing sub 2:10, so I was going to not be a little bitch and tell my friend her pace was not maintainable. I was going to suck it up, keep running and really go for a PR.
For the next 4.5 miles until the turn around, it was pretty much rolling hills the entire way. Nothing super steep, but pretty much just a lot of running and nature. The crowds were sparse to say the least–it was all about me running because I love to run. For the first few miles I was definitely pushing to keep up with Lisa, which was good–it kept me going. We reached the turn around at mile 6.55, I took my Gu, and I realized I still felt really good. I had already maintained this pace for half the race and I really felt like I could keep it up. A PR began to feel really doable and I felt so motivated and excited!
It was an out and back, so the rolling hills continued, but mile after mile ticked by and I kept feeling good. Lisa and I stayed together, but didn’t really socialize. We were both just focused on the task at hand and enjoying being focused on the same thing together. It was perfect because I felt like I had support, but it wasn’t a lets-chat-about-life type of thing.
Before I knew it, we were at mile 8, which is where I crashed and burned at PF Chang’s. But this time, it felt totally different. I felt like I had the energy to push through until the end. I started to get really excited. And even better–we were still completely on track! Every single mile had been below a 10 min pace! We kept trucking along, and then at mile 9.5, we reached the toughest hill of the race, and it lasted for a good mile! I was tired, and I felt like I was slowing down, but we still kept our pace, and finished our toughest mile in 9:58.
By mile 11, I was tired. Seriously, tired. But Lisa was still going and I hadn’t walked yet (excluding for a couple seconds to take water at stations), so I kept pushing. This is the time I would usually think “Oh, if I’m gonna finish strong, I’d better take a walking break”, but I didn’t, and you know what? It didn’t kill me.
At mile 12.5, we saw Sam waiting on the side lines. He came out and ran with Lisa and I started to get a little teary. This was my first time meeting him, and I realized one of my best friends found a husband that will come out and push her to the end of this race–he gets her, and she is so happy, and we are running fast, and I have this awesome life-long friend who has pushed me to the end of this thing.
I started to think that maybe, just *maybe*, I could even finish in a new goal: sub 2:05. I would really have to push it til the end, and I was beyond tired at this point. I could tell Lisa was feeling slightly better than me, and I encouraged her to go up ahead, and I tried to keep her in sight. I wanted to stop about a million times between mile 12.75 and the finish line. Right about mile 13, I saw Steve and tried to look happy in the pictures.
After this point, I looked down at my watch and gave it absolutely everything I had left. I stopped my Garmin just after the finish line, check it and it said 2:05:02. Not quite my late race goal, but honestly, I was ecstatic!!!!!!! I shaved 9 freaking minutes off my time in ONE MONTH!!!! I ran at a pace that i thought was completely out of my abilities. I set a record in a race I didn’t think it was possible. I could not believe that I had done all of these things. It seemed unreal, and almost more exciting than my first half marathon.
2:05???? That’s almost like the times I read about on other blogs!! That’s a 9:32 average pace!!! 9:32!!!!!!! Single digits!!!! Are you freaking kidding me? And this course was not easy! Holy crap,
Lisa had finished just seconds before me, so I quickly caught up to her, hugged her, and told her how incredible she is–or at least I hope I conveyed that! This girl decided to train for this race a month ago! It was her very first race and she practically carried me to the finish line! She forced me to see that I am better than I give myself credit for. That’s what the friends do. They help you to discover that you are better, faster, stronger, and more capable than you knew. I have so many things to say about what I discovered today, that I am going to save my post race thoughts for an other post.
After we finished, we sat in the grass to stretch for a few minutes before getting back on the shuttle.
You wanna know the icing on the cake?
I checked my official chip time. You wanna know what it was?
And now, I’m crying again.
I just can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe the pride I feel in myself since I took up this little “hobby”. I can’t believe how much my life has changed.
Hey Lisa! Thanks for being my inspiration today. I am beyond grateful to you.
Hey everyone! Thanks for reading and making me feel like I have a place to share about my accomplishments. I am a happy girl today. 🙂