Monday, April 22, 2013

Albuquerque Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, April 20
Albuquerque, NM
Half Marathon #79
New Mexico half #2
Weather - sunny and warm

New Mexico was the ONLY state I didn't have a medal from. It was one of the first 10 states I did, but only people that PLACED at the other half I did got a medal. I did NOT get a medal, instead, I got a salsa dish for participating. So... when L suggested the Albuquerque half marathon - an inexpensive race WITH a medal, I jumped on the opportunity. It did NOT hurt that she also found the most insanely inexpensive airfare in the history of flying - $46.04 AFTER TAX, ROUND TRIP. What. Couple that with sharing a room and a rental car, and my total travel expenses INCLUDING the race entry, were about $140. (You know, about the cost of a Rock 'n' Roll event).

Kim flew out of Portland and we met up with her in Denver for the one hour flight to Albuquerque. We picked up our rental car and immediately went to packet pick up at Fleet Feet. Cotton shirt, personalized bib and a timing chip. We got zero paper in our bags, not even a map. Kim got an excellent shot of me "studying" the confusing route:


The next goal, obviously, was carb loading. We stopped at a Chili's down the street where I indulged in a giant (and delicious beer) and some tasty Cajun pasta.

Checked in at our hotel that was also nearby and lights were out pretty early, before 10:00.

Race Day

The race started at 8, but there was not any parking on site. We hoped to leave by 7:00 to park in the "close" lot, which was supposed to be .45 miles from the start/finish area. (Spoiler: it was actually about twice that far - good thing we had picked up our bibs the day before).

Even though it was supposed to have been a chilly 36 degrees at the start, the sun was shining and it felt HOT. While waiting in line for the bathroom, the race director delayed the start by 10 minutes, giving us enough time to check our arm sleeves.

Pre-race - W, L, Kim, Me
The race start was a giant cluster. By the time we walked to the start and lined up, there was a "moment for Boston" and then we were off. Well. Sort of. The race started on a fairly narrow dirt path and did a u-turn around a canal to really start off. It was congested and crowded and it was slow moving, even for me.

It was already hotter than hot. The first mile of the course (which, mile 1 hit right by where we parked) was on packed dirt along farming area:

W and L took off early, but I manged to keep Kim in my sights until at least mile 1.5. We exited off the dirt path and went into a residential area. The aid stations were well stocked with small cups of both Gatorade and water.

The 10k race had started 15 minutes after the half, and I didn't get passed until about 3 miles in. YAY!!! 3 miles in and we are running by the start/finish area, and that is where the race really begins. I hadn't done any research on the course, but Kim assured me it was "flat." Which was just the boost I needed after 8 months of crappy racing.

My calves got a bit tight around mile 3.5 and I walked a decent amount. I took an Island Nectar GU at the mile 4 aid station and seriously, it was like I was a new person. I won't say that the walking stopped, most miles I walked for at least 30 seconds, and I still walked all the aid stations, but I felt better than I have in ages.

I was actually PASSING PEOPLE. What. I haven't passed people in a race in ages. I felt like I was flying (well, sort of) and by mile 6 I was still feeling good. I haven't been wearing my watch so I had no idea what pace I was running. I sneaked a look around mile 7.5 and was SO HAPPY to see how I was doing.

There was a weird section at the "turn around" where we were running on a major road (one lane was coned off one lane plus the bike lane). There were ZERO police or volunteers at any of the intersections. I took this right before the mile 8 aid station:

We got back into some residential areas and the most "exciting" part of the race was seeing a half dozen bike police harassing a homeless person by the railroad tracks.  I had my headphones in so I couldn't tell what he was saying, but it looked like he was ranting.

Kept passing people, kept passing people. Starting to get tired so I took another GU around mile 9. Once again, it was like I was a new person. The course felt flat for sure (maybe even gradually downhill - maybe because of the "hard" treadmills I have been using for the last few weeks at the gym).

I sprinted in to the finish and was super happy to see my time on the clock when I ran in. Fastest time since last August!!!

Official Time - 2:23:34
Official Pace - 10:58
Overall Place - 468/615
Division Place - 528/80
Mile 1 - 10:51
Mile 2 - 10:42
Mile 3 - 10:58
Mile 4 - 11:09
Mile 5 - 10:42
Mile 6 - 10:31
Mile 7 - 10:52
Mile 8 - 10:47
Mile 9 - 10:48
Mile 10 - 11:07
Mile 11 - 10:57
Mile 12 - 10:25
Mile 13 - 10:56
Mile 13.1 - 9:40

The other girls were ready to go by the time I was done, so after grabbing some goodies for the road, we meandered the .8 (or whatever it REALLY was) back to the car. We had gotten late checkout, so we made a quick stop at Dunkin' Donuts on the way back to the hotel, where I picked up this DELICIOUS maple bacon donut:

Kim and L were kind enough to humor W and I through a tasty and satisfying flight of beer at the Marble brewing company:

We had lunch at the Frontier Restaurant. It was DELICIOUS. I had a satisfying combination of a cheese enchilada, french fries and a tasty cinnamon roll.

By then, the trip was already over and we had to head to the airport. W and I had another flight of beer:

The flight back was uneventful and we landed on time in Denver.

Fun Fun FUN girls weekend. So happy I get to see Kim again ON SATURDAY in Eugene!


  1. 1. The map you weren't looking at at Fleet Feet had the "flat" elevation on it. Clearly, you were confused.

    2. The picture of you two at Marble cracks me up, you can see L is hiding back there. Giggle.

    3. Your pictures capture dry, hot NM very well.

    So looking forward to Eugene. Watch out, ya'll are on my turf now!

  2. YAY you're the fastest!!!!

    Mmmmm. Beer. I can't wait for the beer.

  3. Yet another awesome recap. Your pictures alone always tell a great story.

    Also, props on making it such an economical race!


  4. That first beer is as big as your head, probably bigger! Hooray for a great race!

  5. What a great travel deal! Your recaps always make me want to run races in more states than I have. :) Great job on the half!

  6. You are killing me with those beautiful beer photos. I'd have to pass on the bacon doughnut though, even in my crazy pregnancy state.

  7. Looks like a great time!! Bacon maple donut?! yes please!! Although I would probably pull off the bacon and eat it separate! lol Great race!!

  8. yay for a fast race! the beer and the donut. yum! let's also discuss your packing. still can't believe it. glad yall had fun!

  9. Hooray for a speedy race! I can't believe how cheap that entire weekend was. That's amazing!


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