It has been four days since I completed my second full marathon at the Phoenix Marathon! I have so much to share but will try and not to bore everyone here!
Backing up to pre-race. Going into this race my confidence was all over the place.One day I would be sure I could BQ (3:35), the next I would just think to run a sub 3;50 to PR – my first full I ran in 3:51. I kept reminding myself I was well trained, prepared and the course was a “easy” full course. So I guess you could say I had these two goals going into the race.
I went back and forth what to wear for the race, it started at 6am, so I knew we’d be done by 10am BUT the temperatures for that time was anywhere from 2-9 degrees. I will take a cooler race day over hot but 2 degrees was cold! I wore shorts, a tank with a cotton throw away long-sleeve.
The night before the race we stayed with friends, had our go to meal of spaghetti, sauce and garlic toast and a lot of water! With a 3:15am wake- we all were in bed by 9pm.
Race morning went smoothly. I like running races more than once for this reason, you know what to expect, the processes etc. Since it is a point to point race they bus you from the finish line to the starts – each race (full, half and 10km) has a different start line.
We hopped on the full bus and took a long bus ride up a mountain in a park area. The full course is known to be a fast course since it has an overall elevation loss of 800ft. Once off the bus we made our way over to the fires and heaters they had out. I was not too cold but it was chilly for sure! After a bathroom stop it was time to line up. We went in around the 3:40 pace bunny. One cool thing about larger US races is that they have fireworks at the start!
The first bit of the race is downhill – but in the pitch black. It was weird to run in the dark with so many people. Since I could not see my watch I had no idea of a pace so settled into a comfortable pace and did not worry about it. The first 4 miles flew by, the sun came up, we had some great cheer stations and I was staying under a 5min/km pace – and felt great. The next 2 miles was a gradual and long incline with a chilly wind. I knew it was the only incline so just took it in stride.
After the hill – mile 8 or so I started to feel my quad. It was not painful but it was a sensation I had never felt before so instantly set off alert sirens in my head. A few more great cheer stations and good music pulled us through the next 6 miles or so. I was shocked when we hit the half way point, the first half flew by! But the now so great news? My quads were mad now. I had intense pressure in both making it hard to keep the pace I wanted. I soon slowed to a 5:15min/km and Chad took off in front of me.
I had fully expected my legs to get tired and heavy but expected it to happen a lot later in the race – not at half way!
I took it mile by mile the whole second half of the race. I knew stopping was not an option and walking would only make matters worse. I tried to focus on my music and just move my legs. Over the next 6 miles my pace slowly dropped more and more.
It was at mile 19 that I fell behind for a Boston qualifying time. While I was bummed at this, I also knew that that goal was ambitious with it being my second full marathon. So goal #2 it was!
All of a sudden around mile 20 I found Chad! He had stopped at a water station and I caught up to him 🙂 We had both slowed to a 5:45mins/km pace and the next few miles were ran silently just both wanting to be done.
Lucky for us our friends were there to take photos!
The finish line came up and unlike my halfs there was no sprinting across the line – I actually doubted that my legs could stand once I stopped running!
My final results – a 8 minute PR!
I had previously thought my second half of the race might be 5 minutes slower, it was double that, but taking into account my legs I am darn proud to have kept under a 6min/km pace that last 10kms!
Ringing that PR bell!
I love the finish line of this race, unlimited french toast, ice cream bars, Clif bars, chocolate milk – just to name some goodies! We had a bite to eat then made our way back to the car. I am not one to stick around after races, usually I just want to shower and try to feel human again!
Recovery… HA. I don’t really remember my last full recovery but wholly. I still cannot walk normally, bending over is almost a no-go and getting up and down is rough. So yeah it has been a fun few days 😉 I have walked as much as I can, gone for light bikes rides and swam. Maybe later this week I can try and run but my legs need a lot of rest right now so that is what they are getting.
Final thoughts – I think my angry quads were/are from a combination of the pavement running I was not used to (treadmill downside) and the downhill race. The frustrating part of that was my cardio and everything else could have ran much faster. I finished the race not feeling physically tired – a good and bad thing I guess! Mentally I had a darn good race, with my legs yelling at me I pushed hard to keep a good pace knowing that was the only way to finish the race, believe me there were a few times I wanted to just quit! I have been asked if I will run another full, and of course I will I have a loose plan right now that involves some time working on a new half PR, more longer runs, and a couple more fulls in the next two years. I am a firm believer in having time off in between races, and for me I need a good break after a full to be ready to run another.