Monday, January 14, 2008

My First Marathon - PF Chang's Arizona Rock and Roll Marathon

Mile 1236, Tempe, AZ - The plan was to get up, eat some oatmeal and get out the door by 6 am. I put out my gear the night before and the morning went smoothly. I planned to park south of the university and get on a shuttle at University and Rural. I figured it would be less crowded than were I got on last year. Last year I was in a shuttle line with over 300 other runners. This year, maybe 30 of us. I sat next to Jim. He was running his first half marathon. Jim graduated from ASU back in 1968, which puts him in his 60's somewhere. We got to talk about some early Phoenix history and a little bit about the race itself.

Guess who signed my race bib?

My son says my bib number is binary 20. I like it too. I even passed a building with the address 1010. I should have gotten a picture, but it was early in the race. You'll notice I took more pictures later when I was walking more. I used my Treo mobile phone for the pictures.

The Start and miles 1-5
It was 20 degrees warmer than last year. It felt great. I had my running gloves and my Air Force sweat shirt that I bought at Goodwill. I left it at a water station about 3 miles into the race. The first 5 miles heads north away from downtown. Lots of Team In Training runners with their state names on their backs. I saw and talked with a bunch of them from Wisconsin, NYC, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Utah and Iowa. I wish everyone had their state on their back. It's a great ice breaker. As we headed north, one fan had a sign that said, "I thought Obama was running?". I didn't think of it quickly enough, or my reply would have been, "He's running, he's right behind Hillary." The RnR marathon is full of bands and spirit squads. I tried to give high five's to all the spirit squads. They liked it and since my name was on my shirt and I got to hear their appreciation. "Way to go Pat" "You can do it Pat" "Pat, lookin' good". I didn't worry about finishing, pace or anything at this point, I was just enjoying.

Miles 6-11
We turned onto Missouri Avenue to head east. I was still feeling great. All my splits were under 12 minutes per mile for the first 10 miles. I was under 1 hour and 52 minutes at the 10 mile mark. My hope was to be under 2 hours. 8 minutes is huge and I knew I would need it for later in the race. We crossed over the freeway (51) and many of the cars driving under were honking. I probably heard two dozen horns and it was a short bridge.

And the bands played on. You don't get to hear a full song and you hope their not taking a break when you run past. But, it's a great boost to hear them. Even, if you don't like their style of music.

Near mile 8 you get to see Camelback Mountain for the first time. You know you have to run past it and you see it constantly for the next hour or so.

Miles 12-19
Right as I got to the 12 mile mark, Mike Aish of New Zealand crossed the finish line. He won the race, but I kept running. In my training runs I always started to slow down around mile 11 and today would be the same. After 10 miles of sub 11:55 miles or better, my next three miles were over 13 minutes each. If I was just running the half, I could concentrate on leg turnover and finish strong. With the full, I was just happy to be moving forward. We entered into Scottsdale and I started thinking about fellow bloggers. Katie and Moon running in the Disney marathon today. Irene and Darrell in California, Jeff and Dan on the east coast, Firefly and Runnergirl from last year's race, Cheryl & Emil, the newest runners. The Wisconsin Wimmers. Eric, Chad, Lisa, Karen from Arizona. And the gang I got to meet at the Saturday night dinner. You all inspire me when I read your blogs and it helps to think of you when I'm running.
At mile 14 the marathon course is within a half mile of the half marathoners. I wish I would have thought of this when I was running. But I reached mile 14 at 10:19 am. Karen, my running buddy was at mile 7.5 right around that time. I wouldn't be surprised if Lisa, Marcy and others were around there. Oh, so close. The good vibes would have helped. I heard another runner say she stopped in the medic tent to get some Tylenol. Why didn't I think of that. Right before mile 18, I saw the medic tent. I dropped in and asked for Tylenol. They asked me how I was doing and if it was for general pain. I overheard them telling a women that she couldn't leave the tent yet until she had some more salt water. I quickly said I was feeling great, just general soreness. They marked my bib and gave me my meds and I bolted out of there.
This is a picture of me bolting. I saw a young lady walking so I asked her how she was doing. She forgot her knee strap and her ankles were bothering her. I suggested the medic tent for Tylenol and that they might have a strap for her knee. You know those rubber things they tie around your arm for giving blood. Maybe one of those. I then asked her to snap a couple of pictures of me running. She did and then I'm not sure where she went. We were in downtown Scottsdale at this point.

Mils 20-25
I got a call from Amy that they would be right before mile 20. It was great to see my wife and kids, Tyler and Emily. We chatted for a bit and I got to fill my water bottle with Gatorade G2. I was putting NUUN in my water up to that time and I think I did a great job hydrating and keeping my electrolytes in check. I did stop sweating around the half way point. Salt was starting to cake on my face and clothes. My hat that was drenched in sweat for most of the run was drying out. The second have of the race, I used the water stops for pouring 3-4 cups of water on my hat and head. Each time I did I would think about the Chicago Marathon and running out of water. No chance at this race, it was very well stocked.
It was great to see my family. A big boost. I ran the next mile in 12:18, 2 minutes faster than any other mile in that part of the race. My family, the Tylenol and the DQ all must have contributed. I've gotten many blizzards at this DQ.

But, today I ran past it and two McDonald's. Yes, I counted. The second McDonald's I saw a runner come out of it.
I noticed a lot of folks walking once we were in the 20 plus mile range. I would run for .1 to .2 miles before I was walking again. In that time I would pass a dozen people or more. Some of them would leap frog me when I was walking, but a lot of them were walking to the finish. I talked with one guy about the TnT program for a few minutes. I saw another guy with a 50 States Marathon tee on. I learned that he has done all 50 states. Pretty impressive.

It was a flat course. a few minor rises. I can't remember any downhills. Except at the bridge. This is the rise, not bad except it was around mile 23. As you cross over the bridge you look west and you can see ASU and Sun Devil Stadium. It's 3 miles away and you know that's the finish. At this point my legs, knees, hips are hurting. I've run further than I've ever run and everyone around you is just marking on. It's quiet, not like the start when everyone's talking. Almost eerie. We all just kept moving forward. Some jogging, most walking. No one running.
The Final Mile
I held off thinking about my mom and dad until I got to the final mile. My parents are in their 70's and still doing pretty well. My dad worked a lot of years in the restaurant business. He managed everything from supper clubs to breakfast joints. Lots of long hours and back breaking work so that my sisters, brother and I could have a better life. He didn't get to spend as much time with us kids as I get to with mine. I realize that I'm a lot more fortunate that I even have the time to run and be with my wife and kids. Thanks for everything dad. My mom is going into the hospital today to remove her gall bladder. She doesn't seem to be worried about it, but I am. At a very early age my mom moved from her home in Japan to live in America with 2 babies and no one besides her husband and his family. She taught her kids to be good and work hard. Thanks mom and I pray all goes well today. Mile 25 started with a detour around a water main break. We ran through the Salt River Project compound.

Ran down University past a water station manned by pirates.

And then I get a call from Lisa and Karen, my running buddies with the Tumbleweed Running Club. Yeah, it's just the three of us. Lisa yells, "we see you." I hang up and take a picture. Then we run. Karen tries to keep up, but her legs were killing her. She wishes me well and falls back. Karen, thank you. That short run with you really did help. I really appreciate it. It means a lot. Lisa and I went further. She carried me all the way to the end of mile 26. Lisa, thank you. I'm sure the runners we passed were amazed that someone could be running after 5 1/2 hours. I didn't really realize we were running at that point. I said before that I was Charlie and they were angels. And today they both were.

Lisa told me good luck and quit running. Amy, Tyler and Emily were somewhere near the finish line. I ran past them, but didn't see them. What I did see was a shadow. Someone was trying to pass me at the finish. The crowd was cheering us on and damn if I was going to let someone pass me. I forgot about the 26 miles and it was down to a race of .2 miles. I ran harder than I did at any time that day. My best mile split was 10:25 during mile 2. I was running at a 8:17 pace at the end. I ended up passing two other people and not letting anyone pass me. Thanks for pushing me their at the end. I wish I would have turned around and gotten your race number.

The Conclusion
My official time is 5:51:34. I finished 5738th out of 6453. The first part of the race was a nice steady 10-12 minute pace miles. It was great. The middle miles were fine and I got to talk with a lot of fellow runners. The final miles were hard. I felt like I was running on a bed of nails and I had some toe issues. The medics at the finish asked if I was ok. I said I was, when actually I was fantastic. I was overwhelmed with emotion. A bit chocked up. I got my medal. I shook hands with a fellow runner that just finished his 5th Arizona RnR. I got my picture taken. Met up with my family and drove home.
Today I sit with sore legs and a happy feeling that I got my first marathon done. Time to start planning marathon number 2.
Thank you, everyone for supporting me.


Jeff said...

Way to go, Pat. I got chills reading your account -- couldn't be happier for you. What a superb accomplishment.

For the rest of your life, YOU ARE A MARATHONER!

leathej1 said...

Congratulations! OK, now come back to Kenjutsu.

Cheryl said...

Pat, you are awesome! Congratulations on finishing your first marathon! Thanks for taking time out of your recovery to post a great race report. You look fantastic after your tylenol stop. :-)

Sending up prayers for your Mom today. Hope all goes well.

Katie said...

Pat Congrats!!! I love to read your blog. It is funny, inspiring and makes me want to go out and run. My goal right now is to run a 5k, 10k and 1/2 marathon before April 2008, b4 it gets hot out. I don't know if I'll ever make to a full marathon thou- it sounds kind of crazy-26miles and all. I hope you have a fast recovery. -Katie in Queen Creek

Taryn said...

Soooo awesome - Marathon runner Pat!

Marathoner in Training said...

You are a true marathoner. Keep it up. You did great.

TNTcoach Ken said...

Great job Marathoner Pat! Sounds like it was an enjoyable and memorable event for you, as it should be. It’s amazing that you can recall so much of the race.

J-Wim said...

Awesome race report Pat. Congrats on a strong finish!

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Awesome job, Pat!! A great first finish and a great race report. Sounds like you had a really good time out there. Recover well!

Anonymous said...

Great job, Pat!

You've inspired me to keep running (and hope the knee holds up!)...

Hope to run with you next year!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Yeah Pat, I was thinking about you and the angels. That must have been a great day and a great feeling. I'm so excited for you!! It's great to hear you say you are already thinking about the next one, too.

Take care, and hope your mom does well.

Bob Gentile said...

Congrats Pat on ur First Marathon, Recover well!!

Irene said...

It looks like you all had much warmer weather for the run this year! I loved your recap. Wow. I really should have been there!

Enjoy your recovery week!


Darrell said...

Hey Pat, CONGRATULATIONS! The first one is very special. Too cool to read that you are already planning #2.

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Randy - Maniac #788 said...

Pat, an excellent race report and a super effort on your part...way to RnR. Thanks for stopping by, today my knee is even better and I hope to have my detailed report up sometime today....

Marcy said...

CONGRATS PAT!!! You kicked butt!! I'm so bummed that we didn't get to see you finish. Mendy, David, Lori, and I were waiting by the finish and we didn't realized that you'd be wearing a TNT shirt, so when we looked for you . . .we were looking at everyone else BUT the peeps in the purple TNT shirts LOL

I'm so glad to have met you!

RunningCrazyAfter3 said...

You are awesome!!! You did such an incredible job for your first marathon...can't wait to see where you decide to go from here :)

I'm with Marcy and super bummed that we didn't get to scream and yell like crazy fools for you right there at the end. We need smacked :P

IronJenny said...

Way to go Pat! You are a marathoner now - congrats!
I did a bit of walking at the end, too. The way I see it, if you're not winning the money, have fun instead.
P.s. - thank you for doing Team in Training. You are a hero AND also a marathoner.;-)

lifestudent said...

Congrats! Sounds like you had a tough, but very rewarding experience :)

Firefly's Running said...

Nice job! I laughed at the comment you made about the starting temp of the race.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

pat, that's freakin' awesome!!! way to go!!!

Margie said...

Wow congrats! Are we really related? Great job I'm very proud of your super accomplishment.

Lana said...

Congrats on finishing your first marathon!!! Way to hang in there and be tough...and way to hold your on there at the end! I am the same way about that stuff - if you're gonna try to pass me in the finish chute you've got your work cut out for you!! You have a lot to be proud of...get some rest and enjoy it.

Hope everything went well with your mom!

Mendy said...

Congrats Pat on your first Marathon! You are a Marathoner and always will be now! We were waiting at the corner of mile 26 to see you, and am bummed we missed you. We were going to make a loud scene to help you on it.

It was a pleasure meeting the famous Pat that Lisa always talks about!

CurrentlyVince said...

Hey Pat! Congratulations!

I remembered that we were both going to be initiated to "Club 26.2" on the same day, so I came by your blog to read up on you.

Yes! What a run. 20 miles and on was something else wasn't it?

I hope you're recovering as well as I am!

Database Diva said...

Congratulations on finishing your first marathon -- and finishing strong! I know how brutal those final miles can be. I get a big burst of energy when I can see the finish line, but not with .2 to go! Good for you. I know a lot of hard work went into getting here. I hope you are enjoying a well earned rest.

Jumper 2.0 said...

Congratulations on your first marathon and congrats for remembering all that info.
I don't know what it is but I just go blank when I try to explain what I was thinking or doing during a race.
You have the 26.2 sticker on your car I hope?
I know I will!

John said...

Way to go! And good photos too. I'm surprised you carried your Treo with you.

John -

Sheena Albright said...

I just came across you site and had to stop and read it. I am so impressed. This is my first marathon and it's for TNT too. I turn 50 in less than a month after the P.F. Chang and feeling better than I have ever felt thanks to running and a great team that meets weekly. It is the team that keeps you going when you want to sleep in. It the team that takes time out of their own schedule to incourage you on and make you feel special. Way to go Pat, I am proud to be able to call you a fellow teammate even if we have not yet met. Keep up the great works,

Neese said...

Pat this was great to read. You had me crying when you mentioned your parents and laughing so hard when you described the last .2 of the race. Congratulations on this first marathon finish! :)