Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Race Report: Arizona 5K

Apologies for the quietness -- it's been a busy, busy, busy last week or so. Friday I took off for Phoenix for one of my best friends', Tina, bachelorette party in downtown Scottsdale. She completed her first half marathon early in January (RnR Phoenix) so we thought it would be fun if we kicked off her weekend with a 5K (I mean, obviously!). Her sister and former roommate ran with us too, since they've all done the Phoenix half.

We found the Arizona Half a few months back and finally registered for it in January. Now, normally I'd be shocked and appalled at the thought of paying $45 for a 5K, but this came with a tech tee and a medal -- I know, a medal for a 5K? Yes please!

Despite being wired and wide awake until1:45 am (3:45 EST, mind you) and wake up at 5:15 am, I was ready for this run. Ignore the fact that I had run twice last week, which is better than the week prior, but ugh! I need to get moving in this training plan! Anyhow, Tina made us all shirts to wear for our kick off adventure -- check them out below! Tina's was white and we wore purple, one of her wedding colors. Loved the shirts and we got tons of compliments on them.

And that's just what we did...

The day was just gorgeous. There was a high of 80, but it wasn't gonna hit that at 8 am. Our race took off at 9, and by the time I finished I had heard someone say it was 75 outside - warmer than I've been running in lately, and I felt it, but it was just so nice out I didn't care!

All four of us!
The 5K started 30 minutes, after the half marathon, but it was advertised that packet pick up ended at 8. We got there at 7:30, which in the end, really just meant a lot of standing around and waiting. I wish there had been more to see and do around the parking lot, only one vendor tent (Activate water, delicious!) and not much to do otherwise. By the time our race came around, we were kind of antsy and ready to go. We did our fun group photo shoot and got ready to hit the road.
Starting area - there's a lake off to the left and the starting line is behind where I'm standing to take this shot.

Aren't they precious? Tina and Jon.
At the starting line!
Me & Tina. Love her and can't wait for her big day!

Once all the 5Kers had gathered around the starting line, I realized there were not that many people running, maybe 100 at max. Our plan was to run easy, just have fun, whatever, but I got a little competitive (in true Megan style) and realized I had a change of maybe age placing while I was out having some fun. Tina let me take off, even though I kept saying I'd run for funsies. Thanks Tina! :)
Here we go!

The run itself was in a huge residential community; the course didn't go through the neighborhoods, but followed two of the main large streets that broke up the subdivisions. What a change of scenery, literally, to be running among cacti and sand - quite the change from Georgia! The first mile was a little tricky, just trying to gauge myself after I realized I pulled out of the starting line way too fast and would probably wear myself down too quickly if I wanted to make this run work. I slowed up a bit, as there was a slight incline as well. Luckily one whole lane was closed off to traffic with traffic cones, so we had a huge lane and the bike lane to run through. We crossed one intersection, kept moving... shortly after, the cones disappeared! I didn't think too much of it until we got out a little further and the bike lane ended too so we were running on the shoulder of the road -- little scary! At this point, my Map My Run app said I was at 1.55 miles, and had not seen a turnaround in the near future at all. The lead runner just passed me and the two men I was running with, only to hear him say that there was no turnaround, but to go about 100 more yards and turn around; we did just that, so I turned around at about the 1.67 mile marker on my app. While I thought this was all a little odd, again I didn't think too much of it. I eventually double-backed past Tina, Lisa and Erica and told them to go about another 200 yards and turn around then.
Perfect Arizona day.

At this point, a lot of the runners in the back had heard all the leading runners talking about no turn around -- the only reason I started to get frustrated was that some folks then just turned around wherever they wanted! So some folks maybe ran 2.5, some maybe 3... that was a little aggravating, especially when I had to work harder to blow past them in the end.

In the last two-tenths of a mile or so, a girl I'd been playing chase with since my turn-around came up and went by me, but was still trotting along at a pace that I knew I could keep up with. Once I hit the .1 mile marker to go, I took off and finished in my traditional sprint finish.
Check out that ponytail! :)
 Jon was doing most of our personal race photos (props to Jon for the majority of these photos), so he met up with me and we watched the road until we saw Lisa, Tina and Erica coming up quickly. I sprinted to the line again with Lisa and we cheered on Tina and Erica to their finish. Medals for everyone, which is awesome, like I said. Who gets medals for a 5K? Not many people!
Medals for everyone!

After we settled down and caught our breath, we remembered there was an awards ceremony at 11 am. While we were waiting for the half marathoners to finish, we went and found their snacks and bagels and ate on the back patio of this community center, which overlooked the lake and was just gorgeous. One of the race organizers came by and asked our race went, obviously aware of the 5K snafu. Turns out, the intersection where we crossed was supposed to be where we turned - but there was no marker indicating such a thing, so everyone had gone straight! We said we hadn't cared too much, were just a little confused in the end, but no sweat because really, we weren't taking it that seriously. He let us know, in case we had missed the announcement, that because of this error and apparently other runners' anger and frustration, everyone that had registered for this 5K was automatically re-registered for their 5K on the same course in October. Sweet gesture - you could tell this guy was seriously disappointed and pretty upset about what happened. I wasn't going to push it, but Tina asked about me since I obviously don't live in Arizona; he thought for a minute, and told me to email him, that I'm "the girl from Georgia," and to pick a race near me that he would pay for. Can you say customer service? (Thanks, Richard!) Again, don't know that I will, because I was really quite okay with my 5K experience this day.

After eating and realizing we still had 45 minutes until the awards, we went and cheered in the first half marathoners and found the planners, asking if they were still doing awards based on the 5K times because of the mix ups... sadly, they weren't. Sad because they had legit plaques... and I had placed in my age group! Such is life - I got a photo, they're pretty. :)

We then realized we had no point in waiting around, so piled in the car, and headed home for showers, lunch, and getting ready for the bachelorette fun! 

Thoughts for Arizona 5K:
- extend packet pick up time so 5Kers aren't waiting around so long
- more vendors
- volunteers in extra places or arrow signs for course direction change
- 5K before half marathon (another option to avoid waiting around so long)
- keep Richard around! what a great guy... thanks for all his work.
- course was gorgeous and in a great area
- tech tee is legit and I love it; great addition!

Arizona road race #1!
Final 5K time: 31:34 / 3.33 miles / 9:28 pace

1 comment:

  1. i love the t-shirts! weird organization. they defintiely need to separate a 5k and a 1/2 on 2 different days, way too much confusion. but the director was sooo nice! and some new bling is always worth it :)