Love, love, love this race! The Arizona Distance Classic was held in Oro Valley, AZ. This right around the area of the Tucson marathon where I ran sub-3 in December. Matt, Mark, Terri, and I began race weekend with monkey cakes from the Orange Table in Scottsdale. We then headed down to Tucson to pick up our race packets. We were beginning to worry as the wind was pretty strong! We drove the course and Terri and I were diggin’ the rolling hills. It looked like a challenging course, but an excellent Boston practice! After searching for food and Banos, we checked in to our hotel to relax and rest up for the race in the morning.
We woke up at 4:30am, had our breakfasts- I went with my usual rice and honey. No one told us silly Phoenicians how cold the morning would be! It was about 45 and we didn’t bring gloves or ear warmers! Luckily it warmed up quick once the sun was out! When we got to the race Terri and I ran a 2 mile warm-up with striders.
My goal for the race really was sub-1:20. That would have been about a 6:08 average pace. Coach told me to run anywhere between a 1:19 to 1:22. He said that I would be able to keep a 6:15 pace. I was a bit nervous, I have barely run that fast for a 5k much less a half marathon!
The wheelchair division began first. They are so amazing. I cannot imagine how hard they had to push themselves to go up those hills on the course. They are just so inspirational. It is unreal.
We were called to line-up and I got a spot in front. My Bandido friends JT and Brett were up there as well, so it was good to see them before the race.
The gun went off and I went out like a bat out of hell.
I was first for about a quarter mile when I realized I needed to back way off or I would never finish! A group of men passed me and I was perfectly fine with that! The course was an out and back, which I love so that I can see who is coming up behind me. The weather was perfect, I felt the wind a few times, but nothing major.
There was a lot of downhill on the first half of the race, so you know what that means.. what goes down, must come back up. Whew, I was dying on some of those hills coming back. I think of myself as a pretty strong hill runner, but running as fast as I was (or was trying too) the hills were tough! I was thinking of a few things while running that really helped me to push through when I wanted to just stop. 1. My mom gave me an excellent mantra “FAITH NOT FEAR”. 2. Coach John would not have told me to run so fast if he didn’t think I could do it. 3. He also told me to BE BRAVE, boy was I trying!
At the 10 mile mark, my friend Brett and I were running together. It helped me so much to have him there. I was really starting to lose it. I ran a 10 mile race back in November and won with a 1:03 time and I met the 10 mile marker today at 1:01, new PR! 🙂 Brett left me with about .75 left in the race and started with his strong finishing kick. Brett is a VERY fast runner, usually he would be way in front of me, but he just had the stomach flu, so I am very lucky I had him to help me pull through! Thanks Brett!
So I get to mile 12- and I have this thing where the last mile I start to relax and not push as hard as I could or should. Don’t know what that is about! Must work on that. Anyways, I was the first female finisher with a time of 1:20:59. A 1:18 PR!! Yay!! That is a 6:11 average pace. I NEVER thought that I would be able to run that far that fast.
Here are my mile splits- They are all over the place and you can tell where I am going uphill! I wish they were more consistent, but hindsight is 20/20.
Terri ran well and finished first in her age group! She was having some major leg cramping and just powered through like she does!
I also got to meet up with my former Principal whom I worked for when I just started teaching. It was so good to see Julie again, I just love that woman! Her daughter Melissa just started running this year and set a new PR in the half marathon as well. You go girl!
The course was beautiful, the volunteers were amazing. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to run this and I highly recommend it. Thanks Arizona Distance Classic!
Next stop… Boston!!!