Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lost Dutchman Half Marathon

I have to go show homes this afternoon. A Realtor's job is never done. I will do a race report later. But, just to wet your appetite, I was leading the half marathon just past the 2 mile marker. That's right. Every half marathoner was behind me.

The Race Report

It was a beautiful day in Arizona, sunny and in the 60's to start. I got to the start line with more than a half hour to go, so I didn't feel rushed. The parking was great and the shuttle to the start/finish area went very smoothly. We parked in the Rodeo grounds that are about 1/2 mile away.

I got some photos on a disposable camera that I will share, once I get the pics developed. They're similar to the pics from yesterday, but with runners. The course discription is a flat course rising slightly on the way out towards the mountains and heading downhill on the way back, except for one hill at mile 10. I wasn't prepared for this kind of flat. We ran on rolling roads of asphalt and crossed rock. A bit more hilly than flat. I got to see a few of my teammates from the Team In Training program. I wore my TnT Leukemia tech shirt, so I was easy to spot.

I felt really good starting out, running just a bit fast at the start. Now I said that I was leading all 755 half marathoners at around the 2 mile mark and it's true. As we got up to our first intersection about 100-200 runners in front of me turned left. The barricades were up in front of them and they naturally thought that they were to go left. By the time I got to the intersection, the volunteers were scrambling to get us to go straight. I read the map and knew this to be correct, but I usually follow those in front of me and I would have thought there was a last minute course change. As the volunteers were getting the lost sheep turned around, I found myself about 20 runners from the lead. Some of the other runners ran 2 miles total out of their way. I joked with the runner next to me that someone should sprint to the lead. Then I thought, why not me. I went from doing an 11 minute pace up to about an 8 minute pace and took the lead. I snapped a photo of the road ahead and behind for verification. Of course, I then went back to my 11-12 minute pace and watched as 543 runners passed me in the next 11 miles. It was worth it, because it will probably be the only time I can say that I lead a race of this distance at the 2 mile mark.

The entire race we got to see the beautiful Superstition Mountains, the water stops were manned wonderfully and I just kept plodding along. I got to the turn around at 1 hour, 17 minutes and was pretty pleased. My plans for a 2:4o half were still achievable. Around mile 8 I started getting tired and was doing more walking than I had hoped. Miles 9,10 and 11 were not much better. At mile 10 we reached a pretty big hill. I got a drink at the station at the bottom and put my head down and started to climb. At the top, they have a plywood wall with bricks painted on it. It has a doorway for the runners to pass thru as a photog takes pictures. A kodak moment, as it were. That gave me a bit of adrenaline, so I ran a bit more. Towards the finish line, we had to make a turn into Prospector Park. I thought the finish line was right past the entrance and I couldn't see it, but I decided to turn up the pace. I can usually run a sub 8 minute pace for the last 200 feet or so. The crowds went wild, as I started to run faster, but then I saw the finish line and it was still a couple football fields away. I crashed. Luckily there was a gap in fans and I was able to walk until I was about 200 feet away from the finish and I then ran hard again. The fans loved it. I'm such a ham. They didn't know this was my second burst of energy to try to get to the finish.

My time? 2:43:07. This time was about 5 minutes better than my Rock N' Roll time, so it's a PR. 544th out of 755 runners and many of them ran a couple extra miles. The race director apologized at the awards ceremony and told the runners that they will make a decision, but it won't be fair. How could it? They did say that anyone that went the wrong way will get a free entry to next years event. Now, I wish I would have gone the wrong way. I could show them my time and they'd believe I must have gotten lost, but I won't. I hope no one takes advantage of the situation. I will be running the Lost Dutchman next year and will gladly pay for it. It's a great race.

Post note: Several times during this race I thought of Jenny, Thelearnedfoot in the RW forums. She is in a much harder battle, dealing with Hodkin's Disease. She has shown courage, determination and a positive attitude and I know she'll beat this disease and will be a stronger person (and runner) because of it. Take care Jenny, your in my prayers.


Firefly's Running said...

Looking forward to the race report. Sounds like a very busy day.

J~Mom said...

WOW!! Can't wait for the details!!

bigmike600 said...

We can't wait. Sounds like you had a great time.

Jenny (J-Wim) said...

ROFL- At the UW Homecoming run, I accidentally cut a mile off the course and got ahead of many of the elites. The look on Mike's face as he realized I had beat him to the finish line was priceless!
Congrats in the PR and I'm glad you had a great time.

J~Mom said...

Great job, Pat!! That is crazy that the course got messed up like that! I sure hope I don't have to run and extra two miles in my half. :>) Congrats on your great time!!! How did the knee do?

angie's pink fuzzy said...

woo hoo!!! that is AWESOME that you got to lead the pack!!! :) what a fun race, sounds like you had a great time. and way to go on a PR!

Adama Anderson said...

Great job on the PR! When I was lining up for the 10K they did state there were some wandering sheep on the half-marathon course. We couldn't believe it...but getting to the point you were talking about it looked very confusing, and it did look like you were suppose to go left, but everyone was going straight so i followed that crowd.

Firefly's Running said...

WTG, Pat! Awesome PR!

Phil said...

The PRs just keep rolling! Great race report Pat. Congratulations on a fantastic race.