On the weekend Chad and I ran the Phoenix Half Marathon, it marked my 10th and Chad’s 4th half marathon. It was a about a year ago that at 8 months pregnant I signed us up on whim. But I knew I needed motivation at that point to start running post-partum. From the very start I had a goal in mind but honestly deep down I felt that goal was pretty far fetched since it was almost 3 minutes off my PR from 2010, since then life has changed a little 😉
My goal was to run the race in 1:45. So in the fall I started to research training plans to learn more about training in general so that this goal became more attainable. I also knew that running more than 3 days a week was not going to happen 90% of the time so I needed flexibility. I came across the 80/20 Training and instantly knew it would be the key to running a 1:45 half. Disclaimer – I modified the half plan in the book to work for me and then stuck to that plan 80% of the time, I rarely ran more than 3 days a week (4 max) and my max weekly mileage was maybe 34km.
Now onto the RACE!! I absolutely love big races, the energy of them are just amazing. With over 10,000 runners this was fairly large but so well planned. The day before the race we went to the race expo which was at a Mariott conference centre.
I probably could have parked walked in, got my stuff and got back to car in 15 minutes if I wanted to – WIN! We looked around at the expo, grabbed some samples, then got our shirts and headed out. I am not one to stick around expos too long. Oh the shirts – women had tanks! Something I will actually wear versus a t-shirt. Only downside is the XS is still massive on me but still a great tank for sure.
So I never looked until a week before the race where the race start was – haha. Turns out it was an 1+ hour drive to the start and the last bus from the parking area was at 5am which meant a 3am wake up call. I broke this to Chad only days before 😉
Despite an early wake up and drive went well until we went to merge off the interstate and the traffic was backed up, so what should have taken 5 minutes it took us 30 minutes. Luckily we had a ton of time still. We parked then ran over to where to half marathon buses were. Everything was very well signed so it was almost impossible to get confused.
I made a slight error when I only wore a tank top and shorts and brought nothing to wear beforehand thinking it is a race in sunny Phoenix! ha. I should have known better than the dessert gets darn cold at night until the sun comes up. Luckily they had a ton of heaters which we huddled by until 10 minutes before the race.
Once we made our way to the start it was very weird since the race had thousands of runners but there was nobody at the start line! Everyone was by the heaters.
It was not until they gave a one minute warning that people finally filled the shoot. I was shocked the start was self seeded but also really liked it. We started near the front since we could and that way there would be less dodging of people that way too. The fireworks went off and away we went!
I was FREEZING COLD you guys. My hands were numb and turning red from the cold for the first 5km. Since it was still dark out I figured once the sun came up I would warm right up.
Chad and I agreed to run together but he had to keep my pace 😉 I figured out approximate paces and times to meet my goal and after the first 5km I was feeling more confident since we were running a 4:45min/km (5min/km was to meet our goal). I made sure I was sipping water throughout the race regardless of if I was thirsty and taking sport (jelly) beans every 15 minutes as well.
At 10km I planned to slow down if needed but felt great still so kept my pace at 4:50 and told myself I could do that to 15km and then re-evaluate again. Around 13km I started to doubt that I could hold that pace much longer and nudged Chad to see how he was. He felt good so I knew I had to keep going. By 15km I felt good again and at that point I was really excited as a calculated our finish time if we could maintain that speed. At that point I knew there was no slowing down and found some good songs to keep me going and just did not think about much else.
The last 2km I stopped checking my pace and just ran hard. I felt great crossing the finish line and told Chad after I had more kms in me 😉 I really think it came down to the weather. It was the perfect running temperate once the sun came up and the sun was never in our face running – for me this makes me feel almost sick sometimes!
I had started my watch a bit late so was not sure our time but the clock when we crossed the finish was 1:43:14 so I knew we were sub 1:43!!!!
Here are my stats:
How on earth we ran a faster second half of the race baffles me still!
We grabbed our medals then headed over to take some photos:
Then to the food – I expected the usual, fruit, water, bagels and cookies but was blown away at all the free options. Our restaurant was giving out free french toast – brilliant! We grabbed some other things then sat down to eat. It was so good I did not remember a photo until it was all gone!
The race start and finish was at different points which I really liked since you did not have that mental mid way turn around and then we ended right where we had parked to catch the bus to the start – so smart! We had a 2 minute walk to our car, changed and headed back home.
In all honesty never did I think I would beat my goal by over 2 minutes and my previous PR by 5 minutes. And now I am ready to push myself a bit harder – who knows one day maybe I will run a sub 1:40!