What to say about the Phoenix Half Marathon?
It’s a 54 second PR. I had a good day. Realistically, that is the general information about it. I guess there is more though.
Anyway, since running the full marathon a few years ago, I’ve wanted to come back and rerun the race but didn’t have a year I wanted too. In fact, I wasn’t confident I would be able to make it to the race this year either. I signed up and booked airfare last minute too. I had been watching flight prices, and it wasn’t that much more to wait.
The week before the race, I felt “too good’. Nothing had gone wrong, I didn’t have phantom pains, and I came off of back to back good races. To be honest, I hadn’t had many issues in training. In conversation with a good friend I said, the weather was looking good, my training was going well, and the course was fast…there was no real excuse to not run hard.
With that, my husband and I got to Phoenix, waited 90 minutes for a rental car (Yay, spring training for baseball) and got to our hotel. The day before was relaxing, I got a longer shakeout run because my legs were stiff from flying. We relaxed, went to the zoo, ate dinner at 4 pm and fell asleep at 8 pm. My brother arrived at 11 pm, to visit.
The morning was uneventful, and my husband and I made it to the bus by 4:45 am. The bus was a little louder than I would like but nothing terrible. The start was wide open and allowed you to have your own space. We started in the dark at a sharp and dark 6 am.
One thing I don’t like is running in the dark. I hadn’t thought about that component of the race, but most of the race was in the moonlight. There were street lights but nothing like running in the daylight. The first mile felt like it took forever. I wondered how I would make it through a half. I was running with a crowded pack, and we hit the mile in 6:22. I thought either I can hold this pace or I can’t but I wouldn’t run even 6:22s the entire race. 6:22 was my exact previous PR pace. The pace didn’t feel difficult, but you can’t judge any race by the first mile or even the first 12 miles.
The next few miles were uneventful. It was dark, and not many people were out. The crowd dwindled, and I was running with a pack of 6 women. I noticed what other people were racing in, and it varied. It was 39 degrees at the start and a lot of females wearing crop tops and shorts, many in runderwear, a few in capris and a few in sports bras. It was pretty much everything. I ran between 6:15-6:18 miles for all of them. It was boring, uneventful, and dark. Each mile ticked off with nothing of note.
I hit the halfway in 38:56. Around the halfway mark, our park started to divide once more. 2 women went ahead, followed by me, followed by everyone else. For the next few miles, I always felt like I was chasing someone, but never running with anyone. Miles 7-9 were the hardest of the race. You’re halfway, but you realize you have a very long way to go. I began to question everything.
Here I was, running in the dark, in Phoenix by myself. I had been dropped by the two women which didn’t help. I had taken the race out faster than I have ever taken a half marathon race out. Sure, I was below my PR pace but I was starting to feel fatigued, and I lost a PR at the Dallas half marathon in the final few miles due to cramps.
Even though they were gaining space, the two females pulled me along for the miles 9 and 10, and we ran 6:08. I hit the 10-mile mark in 1:02.30. At that moment, I knew I should have run my own race because my legs began to feel fatigued.
I told myself: 5k left. You need to run a 5k in 20:27 and you will PR.
Another woman passed me around mile 10 who I did a double take and thought it was Shalane Flanagan. She passed me as if I was standing still. I attempted to stay with her while also weaving in and out of 10kers. The 10k merge was one of the only components I didn’t care for during the race. Many were blocking the entire course or running 3-4 across, and I had to zig-zag around. It was not the energy I had, nor wanted to use.
I hit both mile 11 and 12 and in 6:26. During the final mile, things began to look more familiar from the full marathon, and I remembered the feeling of the last mile of the marathon. Everything was coming together. We turned the corner, and I saw the finish line, the clock. I just powered to the end. I could see it ticking in the 1:21s and I was trying to make it under 1:22 but my legs didn’t have it. I crossed in 1:22.03 and a 54 second PR.
A PR is a PR. I’m thrilled with it. I do know the race course was easier than my previous PR in Carlsbad, but I also know I’m in better fitness too. I realized at the Phoenix half marathon that I don’t like to race in the dark. Obviously, I can run fast in the dark, but it’s certainly not my favorite.
I think I have a lot more to give in the Spring racing scene and I’m looking forward to it. For those who asked, my husband decided a few days ago that he was going to take the race easy for him, and finished in a 1:27.
Questions for you:
When was your last race PR?
Do you prefer running in the morning, afternoon, or night?