Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Arizona Distance Classic Recap - Part 2

Race Day
I awoke at 3:30am on race day. The race didn't start until 7am but I wanted to get there in time for the 6am yoga warm up. Showered, taped knees and feet, dressed and headed out the door just after 4:40am. I stopped and got a bottle of orange juice, something I don't usually have before a race, from the front desk and started the drive to Oro Valley. The nice thing about driving this early was the lack of traffic so the drive was nice and smooth with the ability to time the lights to avoid as many reds as possible.

As I got to the venue, there were quite a few cars already there...it was about 5:40am. I got a nice parking space at the end of a row where my son could see the car after I sent him a text with a picture. I headed out to the expo area where they were playing the likes of LMFAO and the Black Eyed Peas...loudly. I heard the announcement for the yoga warm up that was starting but instead I just hung out eating a Honey Stinger energy waffle and sipping slowly on the OJ...I didn't want to drink the whole thing and have it backfire on me.

Finally at about 15 minutes before the start, they started having all the half and quarter marathoners line up in the corral. I decided to get in back of the 2:30 pacer, at the back of that group, as I figured that if I slowed down I could hopefully still keep up with the 2:45 group. When the gun went off, I tried to start out slowly but had to pick up my cadence a bit to get over the first two hills. After we got to the flatter part of the road I found myself running about 2 miles at a time...now I know I probably should have shortened that. Things seemed to be going pretty well for the first 6 miles. After the start the hills were more or less doable...at least heading to the turnaround. I did walk some of the higher portions of the hills but for the most part I was still running. I think it was the hill at mile 6 that killed it for me. It seemed like an upward climb that would never end!

At the top of the hill for mile 6 I could almost see the turnaround point...so near and yet so far! I kept on plodding along and finally made it to the turnaround at about 1:23:35. I'm not sure what happened, but I think it was the coming around that turnaround and seeing the hill that I had to go back up. My brain is a bit fuzzy but I think I did run most of the hill but I think it took just what I had left to do it because at about mile 8 I was done. I had already started doing more of a walk/run than a run walk and as I turned the corner I was suddenly joined by my son who was telling me to keep going and who had almost missed me because he was looking for the Chariots of Fire theme song...lol!! He just told me to keep running, keep moving and I told him how tired I was and that I'd probably be walking more of the race but would finish if I had to crawl. After about 1/8 to 1/4 of a mile he turned around to rejoin his fiance and look for somewhere else that they could cheer me on. As they drove past they're both screaming and yelling as they drove past me. :D

I continued along my way finding that my running bursts were getting shorter and shorter and by the time I hit mile 9 or just after I was in full walking mode. I try to run a few steps and I'd start cramping in one calf or the other. Not just a little "hey, I'm cramping on you" cramp but more of a "you'd better walk if you know what's good for you" cramp. And so the nearly 90% walking started from that point on. The kids met up with me at a small park just before mile 10 and the son assured me that the 2:30 pacer was just a few minutes ahead of me. He chided me with promises of a big, juicy, rare steak after the race...yeah, he's my kid...he knows what makes me happy!! ;-)  Again he ran walked with me a short way and just said not to stop. Again I reassured him I would finish one way or another.

At some point the 2:45 pacer passed me up and I sent out a Facebook status saying so. My goal was now was first and foremost to finish and secondly try to beat the 3:00 pacer. I kept on marching along, the son found a place to park across the street at mile 11 or so and was yelling the typical "only 2 more miles" chant. I waved, motioned to him to be quiet (he was loud!) and continued on my way. Passing the 11 mile marker I sent out the status post, "The hills have won...I'm walking the last 2 miles." From this point there were no more attempts at running at all, just walking and swinging those arms as much as possible to keep me going although I just so wanted to sit down and rest. As I pushed into the last turn I was in the mind set of "Where is that damned finish line?" Again it was a so near, yet so far situation. Finally I passed the 13 mile marker. There it was. That glorious finish line on 1/10th of a mile ahead of me. As I got closer I tried to run to at least put up a strong finish...but the calves said no and cramped up hard enough that I stumbled a little. I shrugged my shoulders in defeat at the son and just tried to keep up the pace to finish. When I heard that beep as I crossed the finish line I was relieved that it was finally over, glad that I did finish and didn't give up and wanted to find a patch of green grass that I could just lay down on a die (grass doesn't exist in Arizona apparently).

I got my finishers medal, grabbed a half of a bagel that ended up being dried out and got thrown away, stopped for my obligatory finisher picture, met the kids and headed over to get my medal engraved (which didn't happen since I couldn't see the results for my time). We stopped at gear check and I had my jerky, chocolate milk and banana talked a little since this was my first time officially meeting his fiance. The boy even gave me a little calf massage...say what?? He didn't do stuff like back rubs or such when he lived at home!! lol! Eventually we decided that we'd eat at Joe's Crab Shack, something they've talked about but haven't done even though they live only a short distance from one in Tempe. But first I really needed a shower...I hate that dried salt/sweat feeling...so we headed back to Davis-Monthan AFB before starting the adventure with the kids portion of my trip.

AZ Distance Classic - Pt 1
AZ Distance Classic - Pt 3: Meeting the Future DIL

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