Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rock 'N' Roll Mile by mile

Mile 1 (10:23):

30 minutes to start and then an air horn. Not very exciting. Candace and I are running together at a 10:30 pace. Just the speed I want, but Candace is chomping at the bit. Not that she’s a horse, just using the metaphor. Lots of runners, but plenty of room to run. Some weaving, as expected. The first mile went great. My feet would hurt all day, but I expected that. What I didn’t expect was a weird feeling in my right knee. It would go away, but later in the day it was tender.

Mile 2(10:15):

I shed my sweatshirt onto the sidewalk. Then Candace points out the guy collecting the clothes for Goodwill. Oh well. The run is going well. We are still doing 10:30 miles, but everyone once in a while I see a 9:xx pop up and I have to slow us down. It’s Candace’s first half, so I try to be the sage and not let us flame out in the first half of the race. I was glad we were banking some time. 11 minute miles was the plan and I knew I would need these seconds later on.

Mile 3(10:18):
I suggest to Candace that we take a walk break. I know I told her that was my plan before. She says she plans to maybe take a break at 4 and 8 miles only. I’m thinking, why didn’t you mention this before today? We agree to part ways and I tell her I’ll catch up later. I’m sure she thought, “right, like that’s gonna happen.”. I knew it too. Good luck, Candace and God’s speed. She finished 5 minutes ahead of me in her first half marathon ever.

Mile 4(11:01):
I did take about a 20 second break at the 5k water stop. I’ve been doing 10:xx miles and haven’t been spending time taking in any of the scenery. Just running. Said, “Go Boilermakers” to a West Lafayette runner. He appreciated it. Then a little while later I saw a central Ohio runner and said, “Go Buckeyes”. She appreciated it too. Saw a Michigan runner and resisted the idea of tripping her. This was the first plus 11 mpm due to the walk break.

Mile 5(10:20):
Back on track. Running by myself. Two years ago I remembered checking out all the buildings along McDowell. This year I don’t remember doing that as much. I still saw the weird ‘Chinese lettering’ over the street. It’s not really kanji, but everyone thinks it is.

Mile 6(11:38):
I get to the half way point and I don’t remember any of the bands, except for the Buddy Holly tribute band and the one band that was on break. I’ve passed 8 bands at this point. None of the water stops volunteers had any crazy costumes. At the full marathon last year, the creativity was great. Water stops and cheer squads had themes. Not so much on the half course this year. My pace has slowed and is up in the mid 11’s. This was to be the first of six straight miles over 11. Don’t know why I didn’t do a little self coaching at this point.

Mile 7(11:30):
Turning off McDowell onto 44th. I do remember seeing the Chinese Cultural Center. Throughout the entire race the Team In Training fans cheered long and loud. I wore my TnT shirt from the 2007 race when I was a member. Now as an Alum, I appreciate them yelling my name, which was printed on the front. This will probably be the last for this shirt. It’s a bit big on me.

Mile 8(11:16):
Gu city. This is where they hand out packets of Gu. The volunteers do a great job of yelling out the flavors. I took a vanilla and a tri berry. Ate the tri berry and I still have the vanilla. I had a mint chocolate that I didn’t eat either. For the race I had 5 pieces of Power Bar Gel Blasts. I really like them. One Gu. Half a Gatorade before the race. Seemed to be the right amount. Anyway on mile 8 the road is littered with all these gu packets, then all the water cups. I thought about picking up the packets, because Gu will give you free packets for every so many you mail to them. Gu’s attempt at cleaning up the environment.

Mile 9(11:35):
Van Buren Street. Or the hill. Think of the crookedest street in the world. You know, the one in San Francisco that all the tourist go to see that’s very steep and very crooked. The Rock ‘N’ Roll HM hill isn’t. It’s a nice incline for a quarter mile or so. It’s one of the few spots on the course where you can see the backs of runners in the distance. I ran some of it and walked some of it.

Mile 10(11:48):
The race director needed to added some mileage to the course when they had to detour out of downtown Tempe. They did this by having us go down a street and up a parking lot (Oakland A’s stadium lot). It’s a small hill with a band and bathrooms at the top. My family was at the bottom, so I got to spend a couple minutes chatting before I made a bee line for the porta potties. I do appreciate them coming out to the race to see me for less than a minute.

Mile 11(11:19):
You’re in Papago park, but on a road in an industrial section. Not very scenic. In the distance I could see ‘A’ Mountain. Or the mountain next to the finish line. It looked so close, but still 2 miles away. It seemed it wasn’t getting closer. It’s a slight incline too. I was passing quite a few runners at this point. Seemed like a lot of folks were walking and in the ‘getter done’ mode. Two years ago, I was one of them. I was cramping and miserable. I stopped at a porta potty with no success. It was probably the most miserable I have ever been running. That was then. On this day I was starting to get my groove back.

Mile 12(10:59):
Up and over the Tempe bridge. All I saw was the pavement. I don’t remember the decorative stone sides. I don’t remember the lake below. I’ve run over this bridge many times and it’s beautiful. Today it was just ground to cover and I needed to run if I wanted a PR. All day I was looking to my garmin to keep pace. I needed 11 minute miles. I’d do the math at every mile and I was ahead for the longest time. Here, on the bridge I knew that if I ran I had a shot at beating 2:27:41. My pace was slightly over 11 mpm, but I knew I had a small cushion. Not enough to walk, however.

Mile 13(10:42):
You come off the bridge and make a left hand turn onto Rio Salado Av. Lots of fans to run past. It’s my favorite part of the course. You know you are close and you can feed off the cheering. I picked up the pace and was under 10 minute miles, but had to slow down. I still had a ways to go. I kept running. I think I ran the last mile as strong as I could.

The last .1(8:40):
Off the road and into the parking lot. Lots of fans and cheering. Knowing it was going to be close, I was running in the 8’s. I was weaving around folks and I didn’t care about the finish photo or anything but the time on my garmin. I did see the gun clock read 2:5x:xx. My garmin read 2:25:xx and I knew I had a PR. As I’m walking after I got my medal, it hit me. The garmin didn’t account for my family visit or the porta potty. I must have missed the PR. What did the gun clock say. I think it said 2:59, minus the 30 minute late start and my time will be 2:29. No PR. I stopped in my tracks. NO PR! I missed it by a few minutes. I recalculated. No way I spent 4 minutes with the family and in the porta potty. It would be close and I’ll find out at home.

The Ride Home: I thought about the race and how I felt like I ran a smart even race. I was ok with it, regardless of the PR question. I planned to stop at Firehouse Subs to get a sandwich and then go watch the Cardinals play for the NFC Championship(on tv). Then I realized the sub shop has tv’s and they’ll be watching the game. I dvr’d it and didn’t want to know the score. I ended up going to Baja Fresh instead. Got home and immediately went to the computer where I learned that indeed I PR’d by 18 seconds. The fish tacos I had couldn’t have tasted better.


lifestudent said...

Great recap & congrats! My races are always a blur ... I could never remember mile-by-mile ;)

Adam said...

That is REALLY great Pat. One of my few running buddies always says "run your own race" which it sounds like you did.

I knew of a few other people (family in the PHX area mostly) who ran it and they didn't have as good of expr as you - so you MUST have knocked it out of the park!!

ThompsonAZ said...

Thanks for the great Race Report, Pat! Congrats on your PR. I heard there were some issues with the chip time, so check the site again for the corrected time. You're PR might be even better!

I do love the approach to the finish of the half marathon better than the full. Papago, the bridge and the stadium is beautiful.

Jeff said...

Great report, Pat.

Congrats again on the PR.

Nat said...

Oh .... I am using all these happy fun race reports as inspiration.


RooBabs said...

What an awesome recap! I love the mile-by-mile (with splits). I wish I could get splits from the Nike+, but no dice. Plus, it added almost a full mile to my finish distance. Not too accurate, but it did keep me on pace.

Anyway, that is funny that we both had fish tacos. They were dang tasty!

Viv said...

I loved the broken down race report. Great job, Pat! I am glad you got that PR!!