Sunday, November 6, 2011

Women's Half Marathon

Not knowing what to expect from the second running of the Women's Half Marathon from Scottsdale to Tempe, I am happily pleased with the outcome.  My co-workers decided to run it and I was terribly excited for them.  To hit that point where EVERY step is further than they have EVER run before gives me goose bumps.  I remember that feeling and remember that knowledge temporarily drowns out the pain towards the end of the race.

Earlier this week on Tuesday I took a run to see how the calf would do and was pleased the four mile run went well. At least I know I could run.  The question was could I run 13.1 miles without a calf issue.  At the expo I spurged and bought hot pink CEP compression socks.  I already have compression sleeves (like the sock but without the foot part) but I had wanted a pair a hot pink in memory of Sally Meyerhoff.  Sally was a local, elite runner who always wore always wore hot pink socks.  Tragically she died earlier this year.  I'll think of her when I wear them and be motivated by her enthusiasm and positive attitude.

One note about the packet pick up. Packet pickup was in a much bigger room this year and it flowed well.  My friend needed a larger shirt and they wouldn't exchange it for her.  She could come back 5 hours later and they would see if they could exchange it.  They didn't want to run out of the shirts for people still picking up their race packets/shirts.  First of all, they order extra because they want people to sign up at the last minute.  Second, if someone wants to size up, there is most likely someone who will want to size down.  In the end everyone is happy.   Refusing to exchange a shirt means my friend will not wear her shirt (loss of free advertising for the race and sponsors) and it sours the experience.

The weather, as often is in Arizona, was picture perfect, temperature perfect running weather.  The start line area with the start, gear buses and port-a-potties was congested with the increased of women from last year.  It's so exciting to see all the women together running a half. There were quite a few men too which probably signed up to run with a friend or spouse and enjoy the "view" of the race.

In the weeks leading up to the race we had "meetings" at work and Julie, who ran it last year with me, mentioned the hills.  I couldn't remember the hills and didn't study the race course and elevation chart before the race.  When I came to each hill my memory came back to me.  "Oh, THIS hill" I would tell myself "and THIS hill".  The race is billed as a downhill course but there are a lot of gradual hills.  I made a mental note to myself to read my race report before next year race to remember the hills.

My first mile was right where I wanted it to be 8:29.  My goal was to start slow, see how it I was feeling and adjust from there.  After the first mile I speed up, maybe too fast.
Mile 2  8:07
Mile 3  8:07
Mile 4  8:06
Mile 5  8:13
Mile 6  7:48 (wow...this surprises me until you see the elevation chart and the downhill)

Mile 7  7:53 - nice pace considering the hill
Mile 8  7:44- This was a motivating mile because leaders were coming back past us.  The leader seemed to have a good 5 minute lead on second place.  I love cheering on the runners when a race double backs over itself.
Mile 9  7:56
At this point I was getting tired and while my calf presented NO discomfort at all, the right knee/IT band was flaring up. Fortunately it was minor and didn't cause me to hobble.
Mile 10 8:13
Mile 11 8:13
Mile 12 8:14
The last mile I was tired but I knew I was almost done.  I was running.  The weather was perfect and I was almost done.
Mile 13 8:22
I ran through the shoot waving my arms up getting people to cheer.  If your a spectator at a finishing shoot your job is to cheer for any runner coming through...whether you know the runner or not.  

I finished the race with an unofficial time of 1:47:19, grabbed a water, banana and granola and headed back on the course to find my friends.  I was a fish swimming upstream on the edge of the street cheering on runners as I ran back almost 1.5 miles to find them (IT band was not a happy camper).  One awesome thing about this race is the names on the race bib.  It made it so easy to cheer individuals on calling out their name.

My friends did awesome and I'm so proud of them for running their first half marathon!
Jessie, Ann, Me, Lizeth and Angelica
And to top off the perfect day, I came home and watched the NY City Marathon on TV and took a nap.

Happy Running!


Black Knight said...

A perfect day indeed. You ran a very good race with a fast finishing time, congrats.
And congrats to the "newcomers" half marathoners.

Lesley said...

Awesome! Congrats on a strong race! :-) Happy for your co-workers too. Finishing 13.1 is an empowering experience, for sure!

Falconer said...

Fantastic job. You are fast. Even better to be with friends. Hopefully, you are now in between races and time to heal.

It only takes one half to be closer to becoming a "half fanatic". :-)

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

glad the ITB remained minor!! I love these all women's races and really want to do this one at some point

Giorgio said...

Great 21 km race Christina! Glad your friends enjoyed their first half marathon!