P.F. Chang's Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon Recap


On race morning we woke up at 6 a.m. just to make sure we all had plenty of time to digest eat, get dressed and warm up before the 7:50 a.m. start. 

I am one lucky lass as even my #1 supporter (and good luck charm) managed to escape the comfort of the hotel bed to see us off. 


There were plenty of porta potties to utilize, space to warm up and each runner was assigned a corral based on their predicted finish time. Corrals were not strictly enforced and everyone started at gun time as there were no wave starts. 

You can't get better weather than this: high 40s/low 50s to start increasing to mid-70s/low 80s at finish time

After Casey gave me a smooch goodbye, I nestled into corral 3 and shortly thereafter wished Amie and Savannah "Good luck" as they headed to corral 5. 

The weakest part of my running ability is my mind. I have worked hard these past few months on studying running mantras and genuinely exercising my brain to strengthen my mindset and essentially my confidence. 

Usually before every marathon, I psych myself out with thoughts like "Why did I decide to do this again?" and then the thoughts just escalate into self doubt and deprication. THIS TIME, I had a goal damn it, I had trained for it and I was bound and determined to reach it. I had announced to everyone and anyone willing to listen that I was aiming for Sub-4 after October and I was NOT going to finish this marathon without doing just that. 

As I prepared to start this race, my confidence was Ultimate Warrior-esq (if only I had a rope to shake), the mantras were overpowering and I was ready to take down 26.2 miles. 

At 7:50 a.m. the gun went off and we were on our way. 

COURSE

(Click on the photo to enlarge)

The marathon course (pictured in red) cruises through the three host cities: Phoenix (start), Scottsdale and Tempe (finish). 

ELEVATION

(Click on the photo to enlarge)

I'll go into more detail on my splits, but I'm pretty sure every runner I know could PR or at least have one hell of a race on this fast course. I wouldn't say it's completely flat (like Chicago) as I felt like I was actually going slightly downhill for the majority of the race. In fact, the only hill you encounter is around mile 23 which is a doozy after you've been sailing so easily for so long.  

SPLITS (all stats taken from my Nike+ Sportwatch GPS)

Back to the race...

Unlike the World Marathon Majors (Chicago being one of them...I've been spoiled) or any popular races exceeding 40,000 runners the start was only congested for a hot minute before the packs were separated and you could roam freely about the course. There is something electrifying about large marathons, but I have to say I think this experience has made me more inclined to sign up for smaller races consisting of around 3,000-4,000 registrants (granted, there are races much smaller than this) as it felt so good to avoid sharp elbows, constant zig-zagging and runners literally nipping at your heels. 

My 3:55 PaceTat (picture taken post-race so it had worn off a little bit)

I was a little too exhilarated by the refreshing start, but once I settled in I found my "zen" and focused on achieving the goal I had set forth; a 3:55 marathon. 

Mile 1: 7:56 Rookie Mistake. 
Mile 2: 8:22 
Mile 3: 8:34
Mile 4: 8:29
Mile 5: 8:37
Mile 6: 8:29
Mile 7: 8:35
Mile 8: 8:35
Mile 9: 8:30
Mile 10: 8:59
Mile 11: 8:52
Mile 12: 9:15 Terrible. Tiny incline and I wussed out.
Mile 13: 8:20 For every uphill, there's a downhill. Weeee! 
Mile 14: 9:09
Mile 15: 8:54
Mile 16: 9:07
Mile 17: 9:23 Uh oh, stomach is starting to rumble. WHERE are the porta potties?!
Mile 18: 10:20 FOUND ONE, Phew! Shortly after I saw Amie and Savannah on the switchback! 
Mile 19: 9:02 
Mile 20: 9:01 Take THAT, wall! 
Still smiling...
(Thanks to TG, smiling has become a staple. I swear flashing your pearly whites increases confidence)

Mile 21: 9:02

Mile 22: 9:22 My playlist runs out. Music Stops. 
I can run 4.2 miles without music, PSH. 
No, I can't...No, I can't...OK, Seriously, NO. I. CAN'T
This is when I need it the most! 
Stopped to quickly rip my phone off my arm and restart my running playlist. 

Mile 23: 9:55 The only hill on the entire course. I witnessed runners eye this beast and literally stop in their tracks as if their body and spirit had been depleted. I took a moment to pump myself up and tackled that hill! BOOM!

Mile 24: 9:33
Mile 25: 9:25 Alright, Jenny...You screwed around in the beginning, made a pitstop at the porta potties, restarted your playlist, you've gotten sluggish running these horrific positive splits and now you've lost ALL the cushion you had (3-4 minutes). It's NOW or NEVER. Finish what you came here to do! 
Mile 26: 9:12
0.2: 02:31

(The marathon and half marathon merge at the finish--marathoners finishing on the left and half marathoners on the right)

WATCH TIME: 3:55:46 (26.28 MILES)
Avg. Pace: 8'59"/mile

OFFICIAL TIME: 3:55:44 PR
Overall: 883 out of 3223
Division (Female-Age 25-29): 50 out of 225
Gender: 235 out of 1373

I DID IT! 

I felt like Jake Taylor as if I had made the call at the starting line, pointed to the finish clock at 3:55 and like a scene straight out of Major League, Bob Uecker was screaming "She did it! She did it! OH MY GOD, SHE REALLY DID IT!" 


I couldn't WAIT to clobber Casey and tell him the good news. Without him, none of this would be possible. 

The Three Musketeers

Savannah absolutely slayed her first marathon coming in at 4:22:23 and despite encountering knee problems Amie flew in at 4:46:15! I am so proud of these ladies and felt so honored to be apart of Savannah's first marathon. There's nothing better than sharing something I love so much with two of my best friends and Casey. 

I can't really plan anything in advance due to our sporadic tour schedules as you always work weekends in experiential marketing, but this race falls at a great time (when tours are usually dry or just starting back up) so I could see making the P.F. Chang's Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon a yearly tradition! 

THE HARDWARE


IMPROVEMENTS/SUGGESTIONS

-Course: The start and finish are the most scenic parts of the course, however if you want fast and flat this is your jam. It would be nice if the course incorporated more landmarks, but there were parts where I really liked running through one of the local neighborhoods. 

-Porta Potties: Dude, RNR organizers, event planners, whomever will listen....we are runners...the porta johns get pretty disgusting. The porta potty at mile 18 I used and the ones I hit up post-race...not a SINGLE ONE had hand sanitzer or soap. Gross and not sanitary. 

-Finish: If we're going to fork out the $$$ to pay for a pricey RNR race and the temperatures reach nearly 82 degrees at the finish...I'd like to think I'd be handed an ice cold water at the end. WRONG. Gatorade wasn't even present. It seems they were so focused on gaining so much money between the marathon, half marathon, bike race, mini marathon, kids mile, etc. that they forgot to use some of that moola for ice. Runners were handed a warm bottle of water right out of the plastic box that had been baking in the sun. It was a joke. I know...major first world problems. 

SPECIAL THANKS:

-My arm buzzed with a text message on my phone around the 20-something mark. Obviously, I couldn't tell what it said or who it was from but deep down I KNEW it was my brother, Nate, who was following me via runner tracking telling me to stay strong and keep going! Sure enough, after I finished the race I checked my phone and it was him saying "Keep pushing! You're almost there!" Thank you, Nate for that extra boost during the race. You have no idea how much it helped mentally and physically. I am blessed to call you my bro and I am ever so thankful for your love and support!

-Casey, you make me one lucky girl. Thank YOU for waking up at the crack of dawn (multiple times) to support me on my crazy endeavors. I love you more than I can ever express and I am so thankful to have my good luck charm and my best friend always by my side. 

-And of course, thank you Amie and Savannah for inviting me to come along on this race. You two should be so proud of yourselves!

-Much love to my family and Casey's, as your support and kind words of encouragement help to strengthen and motivate me every mile of every race. 

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