The best laid plans…

Well the day didn't go quite as planned. Traffic was a bear yesterday morning and there were long lines for the shuttle. I thought I had left myself plenty of time to get over to the marathon start at 7. Turns out I didn't get off the shuttle until 7:45 and could just catch a glimpse of the 10,000 or so marathoners heading out onto the course.

I was planning on wishing everyone a last good luck and meeting Commodore and perhaps Bella but after a trip to the bathroom line, dropping off my goody bag and wading through to my corral I was there just in time for the start. I didn't really realize how many people were actually running in this half. Over 18,000 people. 24 corrals. It was big!

I was a bit stressed with all of the people starting with the traffic then wading through all the lines but once I hit the Corral I was good to go. No place I would rather be than a start line (okay maybe transition the morning before a tri, I always get a sense of peace while setting up my transition). I was extremely agitated with a few volunteers and one particular traffic cop but I got over it. Someone should tell these people not to make smart ass comments to people running a race. Before the race I am a ball full of nerves and the slightest thing sets me off.

The half started a few minutes behind time. Not sure what the deal was but it was fine with me. I decided to wear my TNT t-shirt. In retrospect I should have gone for the tank. Just because mid 50s/60s feels cool while standing around I should know by now that I will be boiling within the first few miles.

Note: Extremely ugly sunglasses will make you run faster!

It was a wave start for the half marathon so the first corral started and we moved up to the start line and started a minute later. This ensued for 24 corrals. This was supposed to allow for more elbow room. I think it worked pretty well. It was still a busy course but I can imagine it would have been much worse had everyone started at the same time.

I was worried about the run as my 30 minutes "easy" on Saturday was pretty ugly. I felt dehydrated and swollen. Like I was having the fattest day of my life. The two plate size pieces of pizza I had before the run probably had nothing to do with that ;) The run on Saturday was supposed to be an out and back 20 minutes. I got a bit lost in my new surroundings and ended up out there for 30 minutes. I knew that I was going to need fluids the second I got back 3 minutes into the run. Around 25 minutes I see this station in a parking lot with a huge sign stating WATER. I am like you have to be kidding me. I guess you can fill up your gallon jugs there or something. But it was definitely a cruel sign when I was out there running and desperately craving fluids.

As we started off I felt pretty good though. No swollen hands thank goodness. My left shin started to burn a bit but I just tried to relax my stride and fall into pace. My plan was to try to run 7:27 pace for the first 10 then pick it up at the end in order to PR. I went into it knowing that that might be out of the question considering my lack of training lately, but if you don’t try you won't succeed right? So I figured I would give it a go. The first 3 miles were great, probably a little too fast but it felt relaxed. They blew by in 7:25, 7:21, and 7:12. At this point I am thinking that I am definitely going to PR and to just ease back into the 7:27 pace and I am golden.

The first of many bands along the course.

My perceived effort after that third mile went into my slightly uncomfortable zone. I figured I must be keeping pace; I am usually really good at running a steady pace, so I was a little disappointed to see 7:32 at the next stop. I was cool with it though knowing that I had a few fast miles already "in the bag." At this point I am starting to get hot and I am looking forward to the next water stop. At the water stop around 5 I took a gel some PowerAde and water and started to feel refreshed. It was like a load was lifted, still came through at 7:33. The next mile I was expecting a good split since I felt refreshed and there were some good spectators and bands to pump you up. But I came through at 7:42. I was still hot, considered taking my shirt off but was more worried about sunburn than overheating. I just kept dumping water over my head at every water station. I was really happy that there was actually some shade on the course and tried to take advantage of it. I put my head down and tried to get back on pace but mile 7 came through at 7:38. At this point I figured I needed to back down my goal to a sub 1:40. Still very doable.

I missed mile 8 somehow which wasn't good for morale, looking down at your watch and seeing 9+ minutes since your last split :) I was looking forward to 10. Supposedly the slightly uphill course was going to start heading downhill after that. Came through 9 at 15:46. Took another gel and now we had wind coming at us. The wind and the gel gave me another boost so I figured once I hit 10 I could hammer in and hopefully get a few more fast splits. 9-10 was more uphill than the rest of the race and I came through at 7:51. I had pushed that mile so I was happy knowing I had sub 8 on an uphill mile. I figured with the down hills I could get back down to under 7:30 pace. Well 11 came and went in 7:45. It wasn't as downhill as I had hoped for. I knew I only had 2 more miles so I picked it up and finally got back to the pace I was hoping for 7:24. At this point I am figuring sub 1:40 is not too far out of reach.

Around 12.5 we hit huge crowds and a decent alternative band blaring music at us. Huge surge hits then I look down and realize that I still have over a half mile to the finish. I felt dried up and just tried to focus on getting in on pace. I hit 13 at 7:48 and realize that in order to get in under 1:40 I am going to have to run like I am finishing a 5k. Crud. But I managed to finish strong and snuck in at 1:39:42. I was really happy to be done.

So no PR but still my second fastest half. I am happy with it. I don't like running in "heat" so I feel pretty good about my performance. I definitely didn't leave anything out on the course.

David managed to get a few pics of me passing by. I was drenched from all the water I dumped on myself. But the good thing about that was I wasn't covered in salt.

I’m the one in purple.

I grabbed some food and recovery drink (nasty stuff I tell ya) and headed to the family meeting area to find my husband. He wasn’t there when I first walked in so I decided to take advantage of the medical tent and had them put a Band-Aid on my blister. They pulled out a lance and everything. I told them that really wasn’t necessary, I just wanted a Band-Aid so that it wouldn’t bother me while walking around the rest of the day. After the medical guy put that on I went back and found my husband. We got my free beer and chilled in the sun for a few minutes.

I changed into some fresh clothes and we headed out to the marathon course to cheer. We found a spot about half a mile from the finish and camped out.

We saw Kurt come around the corner and I got a great shot of him!

After that though it was all misses. I never saw Ellie, Tri-Mama, Jayhawk, Josh, or Tammy. I did see a few of my TNT friends from Ohio. And we met up with GC and his daughter who were waiting for R to pass by to the finish.

We did see some interesting characters though :) including a man in a pink tutu, a TNT angel, the hulk, and a Star Wars trooper.

My husband got some good shots of the children’s race coming in before the half marathon.

Around 1:40 we headed to the car. It took us about 40 minutes to get out of the parking garage and another 40 to get back to my brother in laws place. I got in a quick shower and we got ready for dinner.


We went out to Los Olivos for dinner to meet up with Kurt, Tammy, and Ellie. We had a great time, and yes my blogging friends are indeed just as wonderful in person. Ellie brought her husband too. He and my husband chatted while all of us bloggers talked marathon jazz. It was really cool to meet everyone. Hopefully they didn’t find out just how weird I actually am ;)

I did hold up my reputation and finished my whole chicken chimichanga. Wouldn’t want to let blogland down ;)

Tammy and Kurt are both incredibly tall! (Okay Tammy says 5'10 is not that tall, but I believe she is tall enough to be a model and in my 5'4 book that is tall!) I felt like a shrimp! Everyone had great races despite the heat. Head over to their blogs to read their race reports! It was the perfect way to wrap up the whole race experience. It was very cool that the 4 of us from different corners of the states were able to get together and meet. Hopefully we will all be able to do it again at another race down the road.

We made our way back to my BIL’s place and hit the hot tub for a bit. Had some ice cream cake for his birthday and I fell asleep while we were watching TV.

This morning we are just relaxing. I have already had way too many cups of coffee. The internet connection is down so there is no telling when this will get posted. When it is back up you can expect a post about Cavs game with video!

My dad called last night and gave me the race stats rundown. Top 1% of females, top 2% in my age group (22 out of 1,000+), top 4% overall. I’ll take it ;)


Curly Su said...

congrats, liz. you rocked it!
have fun in arizona. looking forward to seeing you next week!

Black Knight said...

Very good performance and don't worry for the PR, it will come soon. By the way your sunglasses are more beautiful than my Ray-ban. Nice pics and I hope that one day this meeting will be in Italy (Rome, Venice or Florence). The Black Knight Army is proud of Lady Elizabeth who butchered the impudent enemies in the Half Marathon of Arizona. Better they don't run if a member of the glorious Army is present at the start!

iliketoast said...

I enjoyed reading your post and felt like I was there looking at the splits with you. I got a little nervous towards the end and congratulate you on coming under 1:40.

Yeah, for you!

Chicalookate said...

I used to work the finish line of the Crim race in Flint. I was always amazed at some of the outfits people would wear while running. OH, and those who got drunk the night before and decided they could run the race.

Congrats on your stats. They looked good to me. :)

robtherunner said...

Thanks for the report Elizabeth. Great Job!

mouse said...

great job, elizabeth!

even without a PR you were in the top 1% of females? that's absolutely awesome!

Chad Austin said...

Congrats Elizabeth. You didn't leave anything on the course - that's all you can ask for.

Okolo said...

Wow, you're fast.

Great race, PR is just around the corner.

BuckeyeRunner said...

Yeah, You!! Great job! 1:39 is awesome! How fun that you got to meet some bloggers - I am headed over to their sites to check out their race reports. Have a great rest of the week in AZ soaking up the sun!!

Bolder said...

nice half! your pace was awesome, especially under that sun!!

ok, so i've totally slagged you on my blog, and i see you've got no word ver on just, moderation... this is ALMOST good enough to have no Mariah Wednesday... I think it's on Sheila's shoulders now...

Fe-lady said...

Congrats on your 1/2 marathon time. I think it's great! It's hard to get a PR when there are so many people racing! Glad you had a great time tho!

Keryn said...

Really, really, really great race! Love all the photos too. And yes...Tammy is really tall!

Rae said...

GREAT race report!! We couldn't wait to see how everyone did so we looked up all the stats Sun night on the official 'thon website. Great job, you are so speedy! Enjoy the rest of your time out west!

monica said...

Hey Esperanza! I dont know much about running, and I certainly don't know anything about half/quarter/deci/whatever-marathons...but I think you did pretty damn good! You were number 22 out of 1,000? And you made the top 4%? I DO know some numbers, and that's awesome! I'd be lucky if I made the last 20 in the race! LOL!

BTW-Did I tell you I'm going to try out for a local roller derby team - the Dallas Derby Devils? I just got my new speed quad skates today...can't wait to get going!

~ Mon

Dallen said...

Congratulations on a great race.

Philena Rush said...


flint cordoroy said...

I'd always though if that many people began running together they'd suck up all the oxygen and die. Maybe ancient scientists thought the same thing. I am glad we were wrong.

*jeanne* said...

FAST!!!! Way to GO!!!


Cliff said...

Congrats..great race and a great race the shades and the guy in pink tutu (i gotta do that some day)

D said...

Can you say SPEED DEMON! Great race Elizabeth. Great rundown. Congrats!

Susan said...

You running maniac! That's super. Congrats!!! Great race report.

Tammy said...

Thanks Chica! It was awesome meeting you... you are just as energetic & wacky as I thought you would be :)

BTW, 5'10" is NOT "incredibly tall", just so ya know! :P

Kevin B said...

Great Race! Impressive time and impressive stats. Way to Go.

Ellie said...

You are a comet!!! And it was so much fun meeting you.
(She talks as fast as she runs, LOL!!!)
Thank you so much for contacting everyone so we could meet up! Loved it!

Kurt in Boston said...

Oh man! I didn't beat the guy in the pink tutu, did I? That would be great cuz in San Diego I was beat by a banana!

We had a great time at dinner! We were really glad you and your husband could join us. We definitely need to get together in Boston.

And you smoked that course! I didn't realize the other night how fast you did it. Way to go! Bask in your accomplishment and enjoy the Valley of the Sun this week!

[And yes, everyone, Elizabeth ate the entire chimichanga. Nobody can keep up with her!]

Cliff said...


I got the bike shoes. There is no clips. So i guess we have to get them ourselves.

Magically it fits my feet. Sweet :)

jeff said...

fantastic race and great time! that race can be hot, no matter how cool the temperature is. the first year it was supposed to be 40 at the start and 60 at the finish...well, 80 != 60. least they had popsicles at the end.

well done!

A. M. Mericsko said...

good job Elizabeth! You are my hero!!

Josh said...

Wow! You rocked! Absolutely rocked! And I had no idea until I got down there that the half would be so much more packed than the full. Congrats on the finish! (and of course, sorry we didn't get a chance to meet up -- I actually was around the tent until about 3, waiting for all of my runners/mentees to finish)

olga said...

That was perfect push! And how you kept everyone wondering with your story...great race!

Running Jayhawk said...

Damn girl! You're fast. Congrats on a great race!! :)

...sorry I missed ya! You guys were just too fast for me ;)

Just12Finish said...

F-A-S-T! I like the build up of suspense in your report. I'm picturing an all out burst to the finish. In my dreams I see myself coming in like a speeding bullet, but on the course it's more like well, 1/4 more mile and then I'll kick it in!