Monday, January 19, 2009

PF Chang Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon Report


I got to Arizona on Friday, my mom's 83rd birthday. My brother, sister-in-law, nephew and his girlfriend had arrived the day before. That night we did some carbo loading at Organ Stop Pizza and then spent some quality time with our mom and dad playing cards and talking. The next day we did the Expo thing. My brother was having a great time manning the pace team booth and talking about running with other enthusiastic runners for hours and hours. We resumed carbo loading that night and then the runners made the fans watch "Spirit of the Marathon". Of course the runners enjoyed the movie much more than the others. I went to bed early and tossed and turned about two hours and got about 4 hours of quality sleep.

The Marathon

My alarm went off at 4:30. I had my mornin bagel and some green tea. Then double checked my stuff to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. (I had made a list about two weeks ago) Then my brother and sister-in-law picked me up and we were off to the finish area to catch the bus to the start area. It was kind of fun walking with my brother and his 3:40 pace leader sign, imagining people thinking that I must be a 3:40 marathoner too. We did the pre-race porta-potty stops, took our bags to the UPS trucks, I put on my foot potion that I got from Julie Berg here, and we got someone to take our picture.

I'm on the left, my brother with his pace team sign in the middle, and my sister-in-law on the right.

I was in Corral #7 and it took about 4 minutes or so to cross the start line. I tried to keep my pace in check the first 5 miles and I think I did a pretty good job. One thing that helped me was a gray haired lady running slightly ahead of me. I noticed that she was maintaining a very steady pace right at my planned marathon pace. I pulled up next to her and we chatted a bit and found out this was her 10th marathon. I didn't ask her age, but I'd guess it was around 65. I tucked in with her and she paced me for the first 5 miles or so. For the mathematically inclined geeks like me, my splits for the first 5 miles were:
11:46 (this mile marker was mis-marked)
Total for first five miles: 55:40

The second five miles were kind of a blur as I settled into my pace. I took a gel at about 7 miles and stopped at a med station for some vaseline for some chaffing I was experiencing. I do remember a group out in their yard barbequeing and drinking beer as they were cheering and offering cold beer. I was tempted, but kept on running. There was one runner dressed in Cardinal red running at slightly faster than my pace. He stopped at each band station and rocked with the band for a minute or two and then started running again, so we kind of sling-shotted for a long time. Splits for miles 6-10:
Total for second five miles: 55:16

I picked up the pace in the next 5 miles since I was feeling good. I also took another gel and stopped for more vaseline. I was feeling so good that at mile 14 or 15 I was actually thinking about a negative split. Time for miles 11-15:
Total for third five miles: 55:09

At about mile 16, I started counting down to my cheering section. My mom, dad, nephew, and his girlfriend were going to be waiting after the turn on Hayden just prior to the 22 mile mark. I think part of my problem was I was counting down to 22 instead of down to 26 and my body and brain somehow got me running too fast (I would definately pay for this enthusiasm later). I also stopped to change socks which took about 4 minutes. Times for miles 16-20:
14:59 (sock change mile)
Total for fourth five miles: 58:23 (minus the 4-5 minutes for sock change this was my fastest five miles!

Mile 22 was my cheering section! This was my favorite mile of the race. First, I saw my mom and dad and took their picture (for some reason this picture is distorted - my parents are not round shaped)
As I was running by, I could hear my dad say something and after I was past, I realized he was telling me to slow down so my mom could "run" with me. Unfortunately this didn't register in my 22 mile brain until I was about 100 yards past. As much as I love my mom, I wasn't going to add more distance to my run, by going back. More time, yes, more distance, no. Next I saw my nephew and his girlfriend with the sign they made that said "Fly Janette Fly". Here is a picture of them with my nephew taking a picture of me taking a picture of them.
I started paying the price for my earlier enthusiasm during this five mile section. There was one stretch after about mile 21 that was into the wind and seemed to be uphill. This was where I started mixing in some walking sections. My legs felt mostly fine, just a little tired, but my heartrate was edging up above 165 (I'm 49 so my max heartrate is just a little more than 170). Also my stomach wasn't feeling the best and I never did eat my third gel. Although I didn't really have to, I did use one of the porta-potties at about mile 24. Times for the fifth five miles:
14:03 (Porta-pottie stop)
Total for fifth five miles: 59:11

Final 1.2 miles. Still doing a lot of walking, but, I was walking faster than the other walkers! I knew I was going to finish, but I also knew my goal of under five hours was going to be close. Just prior to the 26 mile marker, my nephew and his girlfriend surprised me by being there and cheering, and then just prior to the final turn, my brother was there with a camera and he ran with me about 30 yards. Then I turned the corner and saw the finish line and the clock with just over 5 hours. I didn't sprint to the finish line, but I was moving faster than a walk. One of my goals was to cross the finish line with either a smile or tears of joy, but I think it was actually more of a grimace. The gun time was 5:01:58, my watch said 4:58:34, but the chip time says my official time was 4:59:55. Under 5 hours, but I think the chip times were off a bit. Bloggers that I have been stalking, Razzdoodle and Vanilla also ran this as their first marathon and both beat me, but I'm the first to post my race report so I'm claiming first marathon victory.

P.S. Looks like they've fixed the chip times, my chip time now says 4:58:23. Shucks, now I'll have to run faster to set a new PR.

Post Race

One day after the marathon I'm almost disappointed that I don't feel more sore. Sure, my muscles are sore, but not uncomfortably so, and I'm walking like a normal person. I almost wish I was walking stiffly so people would ask why I'm walking funny and I can tell them, "I ran a marathon yesterday!" Not that that's stopping me from telling everyone. Is there another marathon in my future? I would say definately yes. I've learned some lessons about pacing (ie don't start speeding up at mile 15, because the marathon isn't over at 21 miles) and I would like to better my time. Right now the Leading Ladies marathon in South Dakota has my interest, but I'm still looking, and I will return to run the PFCRNRAZ again, not only was it a fun marathon, but it was a really really really fun family gettogether.


Chris said...

Congrats on finishing your first marathon! And thanks for visiting my blog. Leading Ladies is a great race; my wife is running her first full there this summer after running the half the last two summers. The course is awesome....I'd run it myself if I could figure out a way to disguise myself as a woman and get away with it (an even tougher feat considering I already told the race director I was going to try it sometime).

Have a good recovery!!

ThompsonAZ said...

Way to go, Joja Jogger! Great race report and good job on accomplishing your goal. I hope you enjoyed your time here in Phoenix.

Wish I could say the same about not being as sore. I can't even think about running another marathon now. My friend wants me to try the one in Ft. Collins, CO in a couple months. It's mostly downhill :).

Thanks for visiting my blog!

David Ray said...

Excellent report. Good job running those even pace miles. Congrats on the sub 5 again. That's a big deal.

And your max heart rate is higher than 170. Those age formulas are not accurate. If your max was 170 and you were hitting 165 during the race, you would have been leaning over gasping for breath barely able to continue. I'm almost 50 and my max is over 180.

Jess said...

Congrats on a great finish time! Great report.

Kristina said...

Nice job at the RNR! Vanilla sent me to your blog b/c I was in your brother's pace group. He was fantastic; I just wish I could've stuck with him after mile 20. He's featured prominently in my race report if you want to read it or send him there. Give him my thanks for his great leadership.
Congrats again!

Frayed Laces said...

great race report!

johnmaas said...

Congratulations again on your first marathon!
You really prepared yourself properly for it and got through it without any major glitches.
And you're not very sore - that's a sign that you were in condition for this one.
Nice race report.
Brother John

Jessica said...

Nice job on your first 26.2...I bet there are more in your future! I ran with your brother a bit as well, but it was not my day, finished in 3:44 or so! The details are on my blog. Tell him thanks though and good job to you!

Mark said...

Congratulations! Excellent splits.

Diane said...

Congrats on your finish! That's awesome. And you met your goal time-- great!

Lauren said...

Awesome job! Way to make your goal and on your first marathon too. Congrats!