State - #14/50
Weather - 50 degrees at start, 65 at finish, sunny
I honestly don't even remember registering for the Shun the Sun half marathon in Mesa, AZ. I honestly think this one got picked because it fell on a weekend I didn't already have another race and because it was NOT on Sunday. The date is important because there was NO way I could be out of town on my daughter's 5th birthday! Anyway, Saturday races have been rare for me. I had already taken Thursday off from training, and when Friday morning rolled around, I felt like I needed to run a few miles instead of taking yet another off day. My flight didn't leave until 3:30 in the afternoon, so I had plenty of time. I dropped my daughter off at school and got bundled up. It was COLD... less than 30 degrees when I headed out to Lake Arbor.
|There are two bridges on this loop, both were covered in ice|
Getting the rental car was easy... almost a bit TOO easy. I gave the girl my paperwork and she told me to just "pick one." Um. Weird. Anyway, it didn't take long and we were on our way. Go to the expo at Hohokam Stadium (if you didn't know, that's where the Chicago Cubs train in the winter). Strangest expo ever. Hardly anything was even running related. Picked up our packets and shirts, and by now we were STARVING. It was already pushing 6:30 and we needed to EAT. We found an Applebee's nearby and got our usual.
|Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta|
Anyway. The room was nice, but also strange. For starters - shower only... no tub. Don't think I've EVER seen that at a hotel. And my sister wandered the whole floor and couldn't find an ice machine. I still was feeling sick, so even though it wasn't even 9:00, I got into bed and pretty soon it was lights out. But I could NOT sleep. I was tossing and turning. FINALLY fell asleep only to wake up SURE that I had overslept only to see 2:40 on the microwave. What is UP with that? I never have trouble sleeping.
5:00 came REALLY early. I couldn't believe it but I was actually STILL full from the night before. For a moment I thought about skipping my regular pre-race breakfast of a bagel and peanut butter but decided that even if I felt full now, the race still didn't start for two hours and I would need the energy. Bluh. It was hard to eat that. It seems like it has been taking longer... and longer... and longer... to get ready in the morning. I bet it was at least thirty-five minutes later before we finally headed out the door. They were closing the parking lots at the stadium at 6:30 so we wanted to be sure to allow plenty of time to get there. After having to go a bit off course due to road closures, we arrived shortly after 6. We had an hour until the race, so we walked around a bit. They didn't have a bag drop (no need, we were parked about twenty feet from the start line) but they did have a KEY drop, which I loved... stupid rental car keys are sooo bulky. We also got pre
|A few minutes until the start|
First aid station was around mile 2. And I need it. Badly. I already felt really thirsty and tired. I began to feel concerned about this race. I shouldn't be SO tired SO early. By now I had lost sight of L, and I settled in for the long haul. One thing about this course? NO spectators. None. Which made NO sense, we were running through downtown Mesa, Arizona. The roads were NOT completely closed. We ran through business AND residential areas. And yet there was NO one. Strange. The course in my opinion? BORING. Everything looked the same and there wasn't even the fans to make it interesting. I only took ONE picture on the entire course. I took it because it was the only section that was "pretty" with the palm trees.
|Approximately mile 4|
Man. That first lap had been ROUGH. And now I had to do it all.over.again. UGH!!! This time... random bicyclist with a HUGE basket on the back. Just riding on the course. Slowly. While throwing stuff to the ducks in the canal. Seemed completely unconcerned with the race. Getting passed by skinny girls who aren't sweating. Where did THEY come from??? Still chasing the old guy with a knee brace and a limp. I still don't look at my watch while I'm running so I start to feel concerned that I might be going really slow. Why else would this be happening? Get to the first water station of the second lap and look at my watch for the first time. 8.30 miles and it's only been 1:15:00.... um???? If I keep up this pace I can CERTAINLY beat two hours. Damn it. Why did I have to look??? THAT'S NOW FIVE MILES OF PRESSURE.
I had lost track of the skinny blond in all pink (with no iPod) that wanted to pace off me somewhere around the halfway point. I managed to catch sight of her around mile nine, and managed to catch her at mile 10 - to which she says "Oh there you are!" Like I've been out for a leisurely walk. So I manage to gasp "If we can run 9 minute miles I think we can break two hours." And we keep on going. She is still not really sweating, she is waving and saying thank you to all the police officers directing traffic. I'm hyperventilating and wishing I was dead. Finally FINALLY I see the 12 mile marker. I glance at my watch. Confirmed. We have about 10 minutes to get to the end and we can do it. I take off... and literally, I lose her around 12.5 miles. I still can't catch the old guy with a limp but I am bound and determined to cross that line in less than two hours. Turn by the parking lot, and all of a sudden... two hairpin turns to sprint across the field. WHO DESIGNED THIS??? So hard to run fast when you are worried about falling. I sprint as fast as I can, and my watch confirms I've beat my goal time. By about ten seconds. I'm not super happy because I felt like crap AND the course measured short at 13.05. But... I will take it.
|Finally I have an official sub 2!!|
Garmin Pace Per Mile:
Mile 1 - 8:54
Mile 2 - 8:57
Mile 3 - 8:56
Mile 4 - 9:05
Mile 5 - 9:08
Mile 6 - 9:32
Mile 7 - 9:42
Mile 8 - 9:23
Mile 9 - 9:12
Mile 10 - 9:08
Mile 11 - 9:08
Mile 12 - 9:21
Mile 13 - 8:58
Mile 13.1 - 7:57
I actually slammed a whole bottle of water after the race. And also got this free Razzmatazz Jamba Juice. So good!!
|At the finish line|
|Got this instead of a "medal"|
|Well deserved lunch!|
It actually sounded pretty interesting, and with only an hour or so of free time and a $6 entry fee, we decided to check it out. I've never been to a museum where you have to carry around a three ring binder if you want to learn about the items on display though!
There were four different "galleries" - housing many different types of fire trucks. Starting with ones in the 1800's that were horse drawn!
|This one looked like a fancy carriage!|
Most of the trucks and items were on display only, but this ONE truck we were able to dress up and play on!
|I look like a little kid playing dress up!|
|9/11 Memorial Pony|
The museum even houses patches from fire stations all over the world. We found two different ones from our home town. It took a while to find them, there were THOUSANDS of them!
We finished up at the museum, and with a 3:30 flight, we had just enough time to drop off the rental car and take the shuttle back to the airport. I was a bit stressed when I couldn't find a gas station nearby. (Why? Why? Why? isn't there one on site if all the rental cars are???) We get our boarding passes, get to security, and I notice that the boarding time is 45 minutes after we are supposed to leave. Crap. Long story short. Our flight was delayed twice. Over two hours. And did you know that after 4:00 pm on a Saturday in Terminal 3 in PHX that EVERYTHING is closed and even the soda machines don't work? Yeah. I was thirsty and annoyed. At least we got free DirecTV because of the flight delay.
State #14? DONE.