Monday, January 16, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona (Race Recap)

Phoenix, AZ
Sunday, January 15
Half Marathon #53
Arizona Half #2
Weather - Overcast, perfect for running

Since we have already raced in Arizona, Rock 'n' Roll Arizona ended up on our schedule only to fill a period of non-racing. Obviously one of the things I dislike about the Rock 'n' Roll series is that 1). They force you to pick up your OWN packet (NO EXCEPTIONS) and you have to do it at the expo 2). They close the expo at 5:00 pm on Saturdays. For people who are traveling, they essentially have to waste an entire extra day just to get there in time for the expo. It's stressful and annoying. Instead of being able to take an early afternoon flight, we had to be gone by noon, landing by 2:00 to give us time to get out of the airport and to the Phoenix convention center.

We had a few friends from Colorado that had flown down a few days earlier, and they were nice enough to pick us up at the airport and take us to the expo. Saved us SO MUCH STRESS. As my long-time readers know, I don't really do well when I'm under a time crunch and trying to find somewhere I haven't been before. Like most big races, the expo was held downtown and we had to pay $12 for parking. But (roll eyes) the expo was free and open to the public!

We normally do not have time to do anything at an expo but pick up our stuff and go. This time... we actually wandered around for about an hour. It was really nice and stress-free! Got my bib, a pretty decent race shirt. Picked up some new AWESOME BANDS from Razzy Roo, tried on some shoes, looked at some apparel, but really was able to get out without having spent really anything at all.

Colorado Runners
Our friends dropped us off at our hotel near the airport aLoft. Have any of you stayed there? What a fun hotel!

Imagine our luck that right next to the hotel was a Ruby Tuesday's. We weren't going to starve to death after all! L from Because I Can and her friend, B, had arrived earlier in the day. They had gone to the wrong aLoft on the other side of town. Oops. While we were waiting for them, we went ahead and got some dinner.

L and B finally arrived and we hung out in the room, watching the Broncos get massacred and talking. My L was exhausting from having worked the night before, so the rest of us went down to the lobby to down a few more carbs before heading to bed.

Should I have stopped at one??
We headed to bed around 9:30 since we were going to be out the door by 6:00 am. I, however, barely slept at all. The pillows were super tiny, one of the sets of blinds was left partially up and I couldn't find the cable in the dark to close them, and messing with the thermostat it was either too hot, or too cold. I never got comfortable. Alarm went off at 5:27 and I felt like I hadn't slept at all.

B and L were already experts at the light rail, so we met her two Ragnar friends and heading to the station shortly after 6:00 am. Arrived with no problems at the starting area, although I realized I had forgotten my sunglasses. At least I had brought a visor this time though. We had fun taking pictures and walking around, and even ran into our friends from CO on our way to the bathrooms.

Left to right: Me, B, L, my L
Me, B, L, my L

Colorado Runners
Due to our matching outfits, it appears people thought we knew everything about the race. We had quite a few people asking us where the corrals were, bathrooms, etc. And, we somehow got video-interviewed. Um, maybe I'll come across where that film is someday. I'm sure I sounded like an idiot. We cycled through the bathroom lines twice, then headed to corral 5 with about 20 minutes to the start.

Corral 5!
The race was supposed to start at 7:30. It was delayed for some reason we weren't ever told of. And our corral was delayed even further because we had to wait for a light rail train to cross. That was a little annoying. So we all planned on running "together" (with the exception of the other L, she is crazy fast). So me, B, L, and Ruth (from CO) started out. Pretty much immediately I felt like crap. My legs were tight. I was having the calf cramping again. It was getting pretty painful and before we even hit the first mile, everyone ran off without me (sniff, sniff). Shortly after the first mile, I encountered my next problem. My feet fell asleep. Both of them. I know that it is not the shoes, I have been racing in these shoes since the Rock 'n' Roll Denver marathon last September. I wear my running shoes very loose, and I don't even tie/untie them. The numbness was very painful and annoying, couple that with the calf tightening and it was a miserable time. I walked much longer than usual through the aid stations, and the numbness would let up a little, and come back full force as soon as I started running again. At the second aid station I noticed I had blood all over my right thumb. Don't even know what happened there, but as soon as I noticed it, it hurt. I was definitely having a pity party in my head. I've been spoiled running with L the last few months. I was having a hard time and it would have been nice to have someone to complain to.

Next problem. My iPod quit working just past mile 4. Sigh. I have run without music only a handful of times, and only ONCE during a race, and that was my terrible "naked" 5K I ran last fall. So now I am in pain, running alone, AND I don't even have any music. With NINE miles to go :(

The course was nice though:

I stopped a few times to stretch my legs, loosened my laces sooooo much that if I loosened them any more they wouldn't even be tied. NOTHING HELPED. Other than that race I ran in New Hampshire, I have never struggled so much during a race. This was so mentally defeating for me. I know what I am capable of, and my stupid body was just NOT cooperating. The few times L has run without music, she said she kept herself entertained by listening to conversations other people were having. Only. NO ONE WAS TALKING. I could hear people's music blaring through their headphones, but it was a quiet race. And for a Rock 'n'  Roll race, there were only a handful of bands. So awful.

FINALLY make it to the halfway point and relay exchange. This was kinda neat:

Shortly after turning the corner, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and told me she reads my blog. I said thank you, but very rudely didn't wish her luck or ask her name. I'm sorry! I was having a really tough race.

Somewhere past halfway
Spent my time people watching (which I normally do anyway) and trying to talk myself out of just giving up and walking. Somehow I was able to keep going, and mile 7.5, I ran into the P.F. Chang dragon! I didn't see any of the people wearing bibs that were running with this, they might have really been doing this JUST FOR FUN:

I had done ZERO research on the course. I didn't know where the aid stations were, I didn't know what the course looked like. At the GU aid station though, I only took three this time :D - all roctanes!

I honestly spent probably 90% of my time bargaining with myself not to give up. I was in pain, cranky, tired, and just not feeling it. Which is really too bad, because this would have been a fun course I think on a better day. I think this balloon made dragon arch was somewhere between mile 8 and 9?

And I just loved the scenery. Ignore the guy in the blue shirt that is probably peeing.

According to L, the last three miles were a gradual downhill.  I was hoping that would help my legs. It didn't really, but I was mentally determined to finish and tried to give it all I had. I think I picked up the pace a little bit, and the last few miles were sort of a blur. I remember the last aid station being 1.6 miles from the finish (sob), but then at the start of the bridge, there was a beer table. YAY! I grabbed a beer and kept going. And then... OMG!! I saw some cheetah skirts and gave it all I had. I managed to catch up to B and L. B was really struggling, she was having trouble with her hip, she said to go on without her. I caught up to L, talked for a minute, then per her norm, she took off. I saw the stadium, which I knew was the finish, and we were in longest chute ever. And I walked. :( I totally walked in the chute. But I saw the clock around the corner, and started running and SOMEHOW finished in a pretty respectable time. Could barely walk after crossing the line, but I finished.

I think this is the finish. My hands look weird.
Me and B
Bib# 25157
Official Time - 2:15:30
Official Pace - 10:21
Official 5K - 31:36
Official 10K - 1:04:06
Official 10 Mile - 1:44:02
Overall Place - 6941/15663
Gender Place - 3348/9505
Division Place - 626/1570
Garmin Time - 2:15:29
Garmin Distance - 13.17 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:17
Mile 1 - 9:38
Mile 2 - 10:49
Mile 3 - 10:04
Mile 4 - 10:21
Mile 5 - 10:31
Mile 6 - 10:27
Mile 7 - 10:05
Mile 8 - 10:38
Mile 9 - 10:31
Mile 10 - 10:34
Mile 11 - 9:35
Mile 12 - 10:38
Mile 13 - 9:57
Mile 13.1ish - 10:12 (totally walked part of this)

I have NEVER experienced such a clusterfuck after a race. It took like 20 minutes to get from the finisher chute to the exit. We didn't even stop for a picture, just grabbed a handful of food on our way out. Being wrangled like cattle and we STILL got separated from each other on the way out. Luckily L and I carry cell phones, and we found each other. POOR signage didn't tell us how to get back to the light rail, but luckily some people helped us out. And then again AT the light rail station, we asked for help so we didn't get lost on the way back. We managed to successfully get where we needed to go. One last picture of the awesome WINNERS:

I am miniature!!
I was in a complete rush/panic because my flight was due to depart at 1:15. We arrived at the hotel at 11:15. Super super fast shower. Then while I was getting ready, I noticed I had a voicemail. My flight had been delayed one hour. Which meant... time  for BURGERS AT CHILI'S!!

Best. Food. Ever. L and I were in different terminals, so we parted ways. My flight ended up being delayed almost another hour. At least I was not sitting next to anyone weird this time, and even managed to fall asleep for a bit.

More pics to follow...


  1. Mad props for running NINE MILES sans iPod - I honestly don't know how you did it. I'd be dying. I thought RnR races were known for their bands playing at every mile - sad that they only had a handful of bands. Sounds like you were mentally tested during this race and you still pushed through - awesome, awesome job!

  2. You girls looked fantastic! Love the skirts.

    Sorry that your race didn't go better. 3 Gu isn't too bad of a haul...

  3. Sorry you had such a tough race, but way to push through and earn that burger!

  4. Great job for toughing out such a hard race for you!

  5. Hi Becka I am the random lady that ran up to you during the race to tell you that I read your blog! I am sorry to hear that you were having a tough race. I wasn't going to say anything initially because I knew I was going to come across as a little awkward, but I knew I would be mad at myself if I didn't.

  6. Hey! It still sounds like you had an ok race! We totally should have tried to meet up, but it sounds like we were both sans auto, so probably would've been tough. Someday though!

  7. sorry the race wasn’t your best-but glad you had a good time with the other L & B! medal seems pretty cool-better than most RNRs.

  8. Missed you again! We were there for the full and it was a challenge, but as you pointed out great running weather. I was told the delay was due to the traffic at the half marathon parking (which some marathoners parked at and took the light rail to the start) - screwed up our nutrition a bit, but we made it to the finish.

  9. PS - the dragon was actually a "beat the dragon win a free lettuce wrap" contest PF Chang's had going on:

  10. For feeling so bad, I'm still in awe of your time. I could only dream of running a half that fast!

    I'm glad you didn't have any crazy travel stories. You know those always make my tummy tense!


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