Sunday, March 18, 2007

Valley of Gold Half Marathon

Saturday started off great with a victory by Ohio State Basketball. It was over Xavier, a catholic Cincinnati school. It's always nice to see Xavier do well, but OSU has the best chance to win it all.
After watching the game, I took off for Tucson. My car told me it was 96* outside. It felt it and I realized it was going to get warm during my run on Sunday morning.
I have to confess. I'm not going to drink 45 beers all year, let alone on St. Patrick's Day. Matter of fact, I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day much. I just think you should be proud to be Irish for other reasons than for the ability to get drunk. But hey, I may be the only Monahan to feel that way.

I decided to take a scenic drive down to Tucson, by way of Florence, AZ. Florence is known for the state prison and if someone says they've been to Florence, it probably means they were visiting relatives at the pen. I didn't visit, but I did get pictures of the county seat and this beautiful church. They are raising money to repair the court house clock tower, which reminded me of "Back to the Future". I then drove down state routes 77 and 79, which is just stunning. If you like the desert and want to see Sagauro's, Cholla and other plants of the desert, this is the drive.

Now this road is best known for the site where Tom Mix, the TV cowboy died in a car wreck. So, the good state of Arizona was nice enough to put up a memorial. You'll see in the picture, it is at a rest stop with picnic benches and bbq's. Good thing he didn't have his accident 5 seconds earlier or it wouldn't be so conveinent (bad joke).

I didn't take many pictures at the race itself. Here's the (blurry) start and another one of the Catalina Mountains.

So, here's my race report. I wanted to PR, so anything under 2:43:07 would do the trick. I stayed at the Red Roof Inn ($81.00) at Ina Road and I-10. Right next to the rail road tracks. That's right, all night long I heard trains blowing their horns at the intersection. I mean, several an hour, all night long. I didn't know we had that many trains in the US. I thought there was going to be a health expo on Saturday, but I was wrong. So I learned, don't rely on buying gu's and gels at the expo.
I got up at 5 am for my 7 am race start. Stopped at Circle K (like a 7-Eleven) for coffee and a danish. Remember Circle K, we beat them in softball. In Arizona, there's a Circle K on every corner, except for the corners that have Walgreens. Got to the start line with plenty of time to warm up and see some fellow TnT'ers. I wore my TnT race shirt, since this is a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society race. From parking lot to the start line is uphill, luckily there was a shuttle, but I figured that this was a warning that this race would have hills. And hills it had. This course was in a master planned community. Many neighborhoods named Honey Bee, Sun City, Vitosio, etc. built by a bunch of different builders. The race was on the main road through the community in a semi circle. 6.55 miles out and then we turned around and headed back in. The last 1.5 miles of the route (the middle miles) took a couple of turns into one of the neighborhoods. I kept thinking that each turn would be the last, but I was fooled 2 or 3 times, even thought I had my Nike+ to tell me when we reached the half way point. I guess I was just wishing to get to the half of this half.
Most of the race featured me passing the same dozen people and then walking as they passed me. Four ladies with TnT shirts, two gentleman who looked like father and son (they both were about my size and the son was a bit younger than I), a younger guy (maybe early 30's) who had on basketball shorts (real long, real heavy) and a few others.
Around mile 8, the sun was in full force and I bet we were in the upper 70's. It was beginning to take it's toll on me.
Around mile 9, I did some math and figured I needed to do 12 minute miles for the last 4.1 to have a chance at a PR. I quickly figured I was going to NOT PR. My legs hurt, it was hot and every other excuse for not PR-ing. But, hey - I can have a good time and not PR. It was going to be ok.
Somewhere around miles 10,11 and 12 I decided I needed to cool down. At one water stop, I took one water, told the lady to pour the other water on my back. I poured the first one on my chest and then grabbed a gatorade to drink. At another water stop I poured the water into my cap and put the cap on. That felt good and was probably better than drinking the water. I should have done it more.
The last turn on the course brought us to about 1/2 mile from the finish and it was downhill. I ran it pretty well and even turned on the afterburners for the last 50 yards. As I crossed the finish I looked at the clock. 2:43:11, just 4 seconds from my time at the Lost Dutchman Half one month earlier. That's ok. I had a good run and felt proud that I could run almost as fast. As I finish I have to turn off my HRM and Nike+. I looked down at the HRM watch and hit stop to see a time of 2:42:53. I forgot about my chip time. I had started the race 20 some seconds after the start and I did indeed have a PR. A PR by 14 seconds. I had a great time either way, but a PR sure is nice. Those trains can toot their horns at that.


J~Mom said...

Great job, Pat!!!! You did fantastic!!

I kept looking for you at the switch back when the runners were running past me but never saw you. I am so glad we got to chat a minute as we were leaving. I felt like such a space cadet there as I finished. I was like ok, where is my medal? LOL Yes, I was thrilled, it was so fun!!! I can't wait to do it again! DH was proud (or shocked-LOL) What a great day!

You should be so proud of all your work this past year!! You have worked so hard and it has been awesome to watch your times improve! Great job!

J~Mom said...

PS I was bummed about the expo as well. Oh well!

Jenny (J-Wim) said...

Awesome Job Pat!
You sure take some beautiful pictures and I enjoy the links to the website of the things youtalk about.
Way to go!

J~Mom said...

Here you go (it was on the envelope/packet):

Spark Driver said...

Good effort there with your Half Marathon.

Great Back to the Future site. I really enjoyed exploring that.

Phil said...

Great effort Pat! You're getting to be an accomplished half marathon runner. These will get easier as your weekly mileage and long run distance increases. Congratulations on your PR. 14 seconds is 14 seconds. You can't expect to PR on every race but you seem to be doing it at this distance. Next year stay at the Hilton (much quiter) and get a good nights slip.

Happy running this week.

Firefly's Running said...

Congrads on the PR, Pat. That's awesome. Great pics!

Pat said...

Phil - I'm too cheap to stay at the Hilton by myself. If my wife is with me then I'll splurge.

Jenny - Did you check out the link under Red Roof Inn?