The Phoenix Marathon Weekend was one that I have been looking forward to since last May when I decided to run this event. While Brooklyn and I were driving across country back in July we took the time to drive the entire course to check it out. As the months passed the excitement grew even more as more and more of my running friends were joining in the field in Phoenix. I arrived in town on Friday morning and went straight to bib pickup and the small expo area that was set up. I wasn’t able to go to the condo I was staying at for another few hours and needed something to do to pass the time. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was just a few blocks away from the Chicago Cubs Spring Training Facility! So I stopped in for and watched practice. (Baseball is coming back soon, I can not wait!)
After I picked up Brian from the airport and got settled in at the condo I booked through AirBnB we went out to meet with a group of friends for dinner. The dinner was put together by the legendary @RunEMZ, she’s a phenomenal individual and if you don’t follow her on every bit of social media you are not getting the most out of your time you spend staring into your phone. There were some great friends there and a few new ones, some that I had met before in real life and some that I have only interacted with through the world that is Twitter and Instagram. It is always exciting to get to see @CarleeMcDot! During the January WDW Half Marathon Jeff Galloway asked me if she was my daughter (that’s the kind of connection we have as friends). It was a rock star studded dinner though and a true highlight of the weekend.
Race morning was early, like super early, like runDisney kind of early. We had to catch a shuttle to the start line from the finish area so we arrived at around 3:30 to get in line. We ended up being in one of the first groups to arrive at the start area. It was windy and chilly on the side of the mountain area where we were waiting. There were several heat lamps set out, but we also made a few campfires and waited the almost 2 hours for sunrise to start the race. Our group met up while trying to stay warm and got ready for the morning run.
The sunrise at the start was really incredible and with it the race started. My original intention for this event was a big PR, my legs were still feeling pretty heavy after running hard at the Princess Half Weekend the week before so I wasn’t quite sure how they would hold up. I took the start line and begin my 26.2 mile journey into Phoenix.
Miles 1-4: Initial Descent
The first 5 miles of the run are almost completely downhill. This gives a big start to the runners and really allows you to open the race strong. The danger here is blowing open the gate too fast and burning out early. I knew the course, I knew the elevation, I planned accordingly. I tried to stay between 7:30-8:00/mile pace for this first portion hoping it would conserve plenty of energy to last the later parts of the race.
Miles 5-7: It’s the Climb
The problem with running downhill for 5 miles? You have to run up for the next 2! It’s a climb that never seemed to end. Heading up the hill and waiting desperately for a change in elevation that never seemed to end. I backed off the pace and tried to conserve. I crossed the 10k mark (6.2 miles) at around 47 minutes. My legs were feeling heavy, but I was still making great time through the course.
Miles 8-18: Rolling with the Homies
A big chunk of rolling hills making our way into the Mesa area. I crossed the 13.1 mark with 1:41:00 showing on the race clock. A little slower than last week’s Half Marathon in Disney, but still checking off miles at a strong pace averaging 7:47/mile. My legs were getting heavier and heavier as I pushed passed the halfway point and I could feel my heart rate speeding up. I spent some extra time at the water stations after mile 15 hoping to stay hydrated and moving forward.
Miles 19-23: The Thirst
My body was feeling more and more depleted as I could feel dehydration and fatigue settling in. I adjusted my run/walk intervals to be more open and took extra time at each water station I ran by.
Miles 24-26: The Push
I was constantly doing math, knowing that I wanted to finish sub 4, and that I couldn’t let it slip away in the last 5k. I dug deep and ran through the end as best as I could muster. I felt beat up crossing the finish line. As quickly as I could I found electrolytes and water, then I camped in a line with Carlee for a massage while I waited for Brian to finish. We ran into a few other friends too while we were waiting.
I finished the race with a final time 3:55:15. Sub 4 is always the goal in a new state. This was my 19th overall marathon, 15 overall state, and my 6th < 4:00 state. After the race I set out for lunch at In-N-Out Burger (Always a must do when I’m visiting the West Coast) and we spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Cubs run drills. A really great way to wrap up the weekend!
Finish : 3:55:15
Overall : 644 / 1919
Gender : 418 / 1030
Division (25-29) : 39 / 84