Monday, February 18, 2013

IMS Arizona Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, February 17
Phoenix, AZ
Marathon #19
Arizona Marathon #2
Weather - Chilly/mild at start, sunny and hot at the end

Remember that one time I registered, on opening day (for $35!!) for a marathon that was almost 11 months away? Yeah.Who can even pass UP a marathon for $35??? So when Heather alerted me to the IMS Arizona marathon, I immediately signed up. I bought airfare for about $100, and my friend Ruth decided to join me. Her mom lives in Scottsdale, so the entire race cost me less than a Rock n' Roll!


I booked an 11 am flight out of Denver so that I would have time to go to an expo, etc. when I arrived. A few months later, Frontier (AGAIN) eliminated that schedule, so I didn't end up heading to Arizona until 2:00, arriving around 3:45. Luckily, Ruth was able to pick up the packet (and me at the airport). We did some last minute shopping - Target (for sunscreen) and Sports Authority (so Ruth could get a new visor). We had dinner at Applebee's. I got something different (!!), steak fettuccine, a salad and a beer. By the time we got back to her mom's, I was EXHAUSTED. We chatted with her mom for a bit, and I headed to bed around 9:15, although by the time I got everything ready for the morning, it was probably 10:00 :(


Woke up at 4:30 am, and had slept GREAT. Had a Krispy Kreme at the house and grabbed a banana for later. We were to park at the finish line, and then there were shuttles to take us to the start. We found everything without any problems. I had my banana on the bus. There were indoor bathrooms at the start. By the time we cycled through the line and put on sunscreen it was about 20 minutes to the start and we still had to drop our bags. I ran into Chiara at the start (no picture because I am the worst blogger EVER). We talked for a minute and parted ways so we could use the bathroom at the grocery store before the start.

By the time we got out of the bathroom (right across from the start) we had about 2 minutes to get a picture:

Less than one minute later, the race started. With as crappy as I have been feeling lately, I was REALLY apprehensive about this race. The goal, like always, start out slow and hope I don't die.

I had a really big goal to not walk at all this race. There were aid stations on the course every two miles, starting at mile 1. I took the following pictures at the mile 1 aid stations. Sunrise is so pretty!

I spent the first few miles panicky about my calves seizing up. My left one got a bit testy but never cramped up to the point that I had to stop running. I was keeping what felt like an easy pace and even though the sun was already coming up, it was still a bit chilly. I am still boycotting the Garmin, so I had NO clue what my paces were. Which, turns out, is pretty nice.

We entered our first neighborhood around mile 5 (?). The spectators were the cutest, they all had their golf carts and lawn chairs. Lots of enthusiasm! Two ladies circled drove up and down the neighborhood with tambourines.

I was taking GU (13 month expired Roctanes) starting at mile 3, every 4 miles. I stopped to stretch at the mile 7 aid station because my (right) hip was starting to throb, and my IT band (also right side) was threatening to become a problem too. Luckily, the brief stretching seemed to keep the pain at bay.

Mile 11 aid station - they gave out Goldfish crackers!
The temperature still felt fine. It was SUPER sunny, but I wasn't hot yet. I felt great through about mile 12.5. My thighs started to feel super tight and I had to stop and stretch, even though I knew it was less than a half mile to the next aid station. I felt "mostly ok" for the next few miles.

Around mile 17 is when things started to heat up. My (right) ankle was throbbing a bit (this has been an issue on and off for over 2 years, it is hard to tell when it might flare up), even though I had KT taped it. My right hip was hurting. Overall, I was hurting. I stopped to use the bathroom at the mile 17 aid station, and pretty much from there, I took a lot of walk breaks.

Aid stations 19, 20, 21 were all hosted by Eagle Scouts with American flags
I didn't think the course got boring until maybe mile 19. By then, the sun was blaring down and we were no longer running in the pretty neighborhoods. It was pretty bland out. I had hoped to not take any walk breaks when the aid stations were every mile (starting at mile 20). Between the heat and how I was feeling, I still took breaks. Lame. The miles were crawling by and I just wanted to be done.

The only major hill on the course is about a half mile from the finish - an overpass:

I thought I could give it all I got once I hit the downhill from the bridge. Nope. I walked until I saw mile 26, and then barely was able to run across the line. I crossed with 5:20 on the clock, the "fastest" marathon I have run since San Francisco in July. Even though it was "faster" - I was disappointed with how great I felt the first half and how crappy I felt the second half and how much I fell apart at the end. I never used to have that happen in marathons.

Bib #104
Official Time - 5:20:08
Official Chip Time - 5:16:46 (I don't recall starting this far back, so I'm going with the other time) Overall Place  - 279/306 (Time limit was 6 hours so no walkers)
Division Place - 34/38
MMR Time - 5:19:59
MMR Distance - 26.67
MMR Pace - 11:59
Mile 1 - 10:01
Mile 2 - 10:56
Mile 3 - 10:31
Mile 4 - 11:02
Mile 5 - 10:58
Mile 6 - 10:46
Mile 7 - 10:52
Mile 8 - 10:57
Mile 9 - 11:26
Mile 10 - 10:52
Mile 11 - 11:02
Mile 12 - 11:16
Mile 13 - 11:59
Mile 14 - 12:05
Mile 15 - 11:46
Mile 16 - 12:09
Mile 17 - 11:57
Mile 18 - 13:51
Mile 19 - 13:04
Mile 20 - 12:24
Mile 21 - 12:48
Mile 22 - 13:10
Mile 23 - 13:42
Mile 24 -12:52
Mile 25 - 13:43
Mile 26 - 13:08
Mile 26.8ish - 13:32

Somehow, Ruth got me to do a jump at the finish (waiting for official picture). Forgot to get a picture of me with my medal - but don't worry, here is me with a creepy statue at the finish area.


I was able to exchange my size medium shirt for a Unisex XS (which was still big). They had laminated finisher certificates and picking up our bag was a breeze. Somehow, even though neither of us had bothered to look where we parked, we managed to find the car with no issues. On the way back to her mom's house, we stopped and got bacon maple lattes (yes, that is for REAL a thing). Then we sat in the pool/hot tub for an hour or so. By the time we showered and packed, it was time for dinner. Her mom took us to a place named Keegan's, where I had a jalapeno bacon burger, fries, green chili mac & cheese and a beer. THE MOST DELICIOUS MEAL EVER.

The airport was a breeze and our flight left on time. We landed about 15 minutes early, I was NOT the last person dropped off at my car, and I was home just after 10:15. Overall, a success. Thoughts:
  • I went into this race with very low expectations. While the course was described as "flat and fast" - I also heard it was incredibly boring. I didn't really find it that bad. The end wasn't great, but until mile 18/19, it was pretty!
  • The forecast was for highs in the upper 70s. I am happy that it didn't "feel" hot until the last 8 or so miles.
  • I am bummed that my body didn't cooperate better. My legs just did NOT want to run. They were tight and angry and achy. Not cool :-/
  • The medal is awesome.
  • The race is 100% volunteer run, and they did a GREAT job. There were 16 aid stations on the course and they all had water AND different flavors of Gatorade. There were also port-o-potties ALL OVER the course. (THUMBS UP!!)
  • Everything was VERY smooth. Ruth said pick up was a breeze, and the shuttle service was fantastic. Bag drop was easy. There were just over 300 runners, so for me, it was pretty much a perfect sized race.
  • For the first time, I clipped my iPod to my hat instead of my shirt (I've been having chafing issues with the clip) - that was a GREAT idea.
  • I don't think I would travel for this one again, but if you are local or close, I say do it. It maybe isn't quite as scenic as Lost Dutchman, but it's a flat and pretty decent course.


  1. Congratulations! That is a gorgeous medal! I love your cactus photos. I grew up in Phoenix, but now I live in California. I miss seeing cacti all around. That looks like a good race. Thanks for the recap. I'm glad it went well for you!

  2. I like your pic with the creepy statue.

    And, clipping your iPod to you hat is totally the way to go (unless it's raining). Bummer Heather couldn't make this race:(

  3. I'm glad you liked the race!! The medal IS great.

    That statue is creepy. And the kids with the signs are the cutest.

  4. $35 is cheap, but $100 for a flight, man I wish I had that luck.

    My random comments that have little to do with race-- looks like you got some sun judging from statue picture, and i can't believe how crisp your big is in the after photo. Mine would be all wrinkly / torn.. does that make me a sloppy runner haha

  5. I'm sorry the second half of your run wasn't so fun, but you still had a solid finish! I never would have thought to run that race, but the neat course with the big cacti has me thinking that I should check it out. I hope you're recovering well!

  6. Love the medal! And I get so happy when my name is on the bib. It's only happened once but I felt like an elite runner because of it.

  7. The problem with this race is it's the same day as Lost Dutchman. But...I love that this medal is the AZ state flag., it will be tough to decide which race to do in 2014, since I am local!

  8. great recap! love the medal! that's cool that they put the map on the back!

  9. I didn't think it was that boring either! And it was definitely well run.

    I think the weather ultimately bit me in the ass. It was much drier than I am used to, currently - with that much abundant sunshine, evaporation is not your friend when it comes to staying hydrated.

  10. Great job on running this marathon. I hope you are feeling better and didn't end up with a bigger hip injury.

  11. Another FM in the pocket! BTW, are those compression socks?

  12. Your dinner is making me drool! And, what's up with the bacon latte?! More details.

    Congrats on your marathon. Love the medal!

  13. Nicely done! I still have no idea how you run so many long races, amazing. :) Lovin' the orange ProCompression.

  14. Wow, what a good deal on the race and flight! Congratulations on another marathon finish!


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