Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Race Report: Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon

Rock 'n Roll Arizona Half Marathon | January 19, 2014
Phoenix, AZ

Lucky half marathon #13! Well, we know that after my Vegas experience, I wasn't sure how RnR Arizona would play out. I wanted to give Rock 'n Roll another chance, and wanted to be sure that this was an awesome weekend - especially considering some of my favorite people ever would be there. I was up 'n out early on Saturday morning to pick up my rental car and make my way to Phoenix (for weekend #1 of two in a row in the desert city!). 

Four and a half (short) hours later -- I was there, it was lunch time, and more importantly... EXPO time!
Kristin (first half!), Tina, me, Erica, Cheyanne.
I was actually a little disappointed in this expo. It didn't seem as full-blown as Las Vegas, and I felt less entertained by all the on-goings. I did get to stop by the session that running superstars Pavement Runner and Run Emz did, which was awesome. But overall, we took one lap around the convention room and headed out. We were all worn out anyway and had a long day ahead on Sunday.

I am LOVING these race tees - hooray for good ones!
Sunday morning's wake up call was rough. 5:30 isn't terrible, compared to some other alarm clocks, but after driving and expo-ing all day Saturday, it was brutal. But whatever, up 'n at 'em, it's race day! After a quick stop for bagels and a last-minute throw-away sweater purchase at Walmart ($7, woot!), it was go time. A quick (re: 45 minutes) lightrail ride through all of Phoenix and we were there!... with all of 10 minutes until race start. 

We quickly got our photo, said good byes and good lucks, and split up. I was in corral 5 (ended up in 6), Kristin in 11, and Tina and Erica back in 15. After last week's Citrus Half (2:32), I knew I could do better, but obviously still being undertrained, I wasn't sure what I could do. I figured I'd run some intervals like at Citrus and just see how it went.
Starting line - let's go!
Naturally, I took off at the start and threw my interval idea out the window. I felt good the first few miles and decided I'd run through at least the 5K mark and see how I felt (29:54). Pretty good! Heck, let's run to at least mile 5 and see how you feel. Not bad, not bad. 

I ran through to mile 8. EIGHT! Say what? And felt pretty darn good. It was at mile 8 that I walked about .15 miles and ran through to mile 10, walked .10 or so again and then ran-walked the rest of the whole way home. Noteworthy: I followed a 2:15 pace bracelet I wore just for ha-has (again, to see how things went). It wasn't until mile 9 or so (re: the only hill on the course) that I actually felt tired and a little slow. 

One of my favorite 'fun' aspects of the course was, being that PF Chang's is the title sponsor, there's about 8 folks that (I assume work for PFC) run with the dragon - your goal is to beat the dragon and you get something cool at the end. I caught up to the dragon about mile 5 and beat him in! ... I don't know what you were supposed to get, because I didn't get it. Oh well! PF Chang's entertainment booth was beyond awesome too - huge drums that rattled you up the hill,  back down, and at least another half mile before you stopped hearing them. Pretty amazing.

Nearly the entire race I was 2-3 minutes ahead, so when I walked, I'd catch up to the time I was "supposed" to be at, while still maintaining a 1-2 minute lead. Talk about perfect timing... 
I don't think I could have planned it any better!
And of course, post-race shenaniganery (it's a word)... the best part!
Top: everyone who ran the half (31 half marathons among us!
Bottom: all the Desert Double Down-ers!
Overall, and I said it to myself not even at the 5K mark, RnR Arizona as a whole gave me a significantly better experience than Vegas. Tina commented this morning after race photos were out that I looked relaxed and happy the whole time - I think this photo captures it best. And truly, I was. I wasn't stressing about a time, I wasn't sick, wasn't putting it all on the line for myself... I enjoyed just being out there, running, enjoying a stunning morning in Phoenix (and Scottsdale and Tempe) and where I was. It was a happy race, certainly. 
Desert Double Down, done! 
Did you complete the Desert Double Down? Or either Vegas or Arizona? What are your thoughts?


  1. Love this post but I'm sad you didn't post the picture with the dragon - that's my favorite! Also I'm sad you didn't get whatever you should have won. Oh well - I still LOVE the Phoenix half, always a gorgeous race and this year it was with a bunch of gorgeous ladies!

    1. The picture with the dragon went on Instagram for that reason. :) So much a better race, better time, better everything!

  2. That looks like a fun race! I'm glad you had a better RnR experience this time around!

    1. It was a great race - and beautiful. So much a better experience overall! Success. :)