Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Race Recap: Inaugural Phoenix Women's Half Marathon

January 31, 2016 | Phoenix, Arizona

When Tina told me that the big adoption party celebration would be the last weekend in January, and once I finally mapped out my marathon training plan, I realized I had 16 miles scheduled for this weekend. And then I realized Surf City is the weekend after, so I aimed for 13 miles instead and just promised that I'd make them easy and call it good. Many thanks to Running USA, I was able to find a race that wasn't only cheap ($82 with code), but not even 4 miles from the Lyons' front door. Sold.

Funny thing is that I didn't even register until Thursday night before we left. Whatever, I had plans to all along!

Two pair, don't care. And reppin' Long Beach! Woot woot.
Startline Racing hosts tons of races all over the Phoenix area, some of which Tina has done, but seemed like they certainly know what they're doing with their race productions. Being that this was an inaugural race, I wasn't expecting tons of bells and whistles, which held true to my expectations when we got there. A few booths set up from a variety of organizations and partners, but pretty low key. 

Check out this badass mother runner - yep, that's two kiddos. 
We got the kids loaded and ready to head to the park, and got there about 7:30 for an 8 am start (for me; Tina did the 10K that started at 8:15). We checked in in about 5 minutes, got our bibs situated and hung out for a few minutes before they announced the half starting in about 5 minutes. I said bye to Doug and Tina and made my way to the start line. There were maybe 200 half runners, I decided, so naturally we just kinda crowded the start line and waited to go. I met a woman from Nebraska, but saw tons of Phoenix MRTT ladies and knew Nebraska lady and I were quite the anomaly. Ah well, all the more fun! 

The only reason for the elevation change were the underpasses underneath roads. 
The course runs along the canal, which was an awesome little bit of scenery. After a while, it got a little mundane, but it was nice running along water (how Californian of me). There were few folks out cheering, however, with most of those being Startline employees (volunteers?) manning the water stations - but that was literally 1-2 people per table every mile and a half or so. They were super sweet and at least knew the course and when the next water stop would be, but it made for a desolate run. However, I can see why all my Phoenix friends like running along the canal, especially considering how much it makes you feel like you're not in central Phoenix. 

{ sourcehpe } 
My plan for the race was to run easy(er) than my plan for Surf City next weekend - a "comfy sub-2" as I told Doug.I knew the course would be flat so I figured it'd be an easy long training day and that a comfy sub-2 shouldn't be an issue. Serves me right - confidence in a race setting doesn't usually come easy to me, so the few times I do/have... it doesn't always pan out. 

My Garmin lost connection every time we went through the underpasses, so my pace would report back all wonky and skewed. Honestly, that's what mentally got to me most - because I thought I was maintaining such a great pace and then all of a sudden, it'd flash a 10:40 mile and I knew something wasn't right. It wasn't until the third underpass or so that I knew something was wrong - my Garm was nearly .25 mile long at mile 3, but at the finish, I was .16 short (12.94). 

About mile 6.5, I kinda decided I was over it and that I'd make this a really easy day - walked when I felt like it, run my heart out when I determined I was ready. The turnaround point was about mile 7.5 and despite the high only being 77 that day, it had gottan just hot enough to suck. 

And only because in my flu-induced state, this makes me laugh and smile every time... 

I'll take that 2:07:43 finish very happily. Far from a great performance, but a few things that I'm bearing in mind: a) being on my feet almost all day Saturday (and a 5-mile shake out, at that), b) I haven't done a run more than 13 miles in three weeks (since Citrus Half). That being said, I'm also super glad I dropped back enough to take it that easy (a 9:44 pace on average) to save myself for Surf City this coming weekend... 
I love getting to share finish lines with her! :)
Overall, a good race. I'm glad I had the discount code, but Startline really does a great job while still maintaining a low-cost event for participants. The jacket is legit and I can't wait to rock it around on race days elsewhere. 

Half medal is blue, 10K green and 5K purple. Design is the same.
Race Pros:
- Small event (if that's your thing!)
- Jacket is awesome; can't wait to wear it!
- Quality event from start to finish

Race Cons:
- No crowd support - if you run best in a high-energy course, this is not the place to be your best!
- Medal ribbon had the wrong date (just an LOL moment when  we realized)
- Underpasses are a popular place for trash and/or homeless folks. They should have been looked at/cleaned up prior to race start, if not for safety alone. Under one, there was a whole smashed DVD player/VCR and one had half a camp set up. 

I think this race can really develop into a popular event. Don't mind that it's a "women's" race, as there were two men that completed the half too! I think Startline can reach out to local organizations (especially MRTT) that sponsor and support women and have them participate as volunteers to continue to make this a bigger and better event!

Thanks Startline!

What do you think the biggest challenges are for inaugural races?

1 comment:

  1. Great recap! The only thing I think is funny is it's hard to impress a California girl who runs by the beach - the canal is the best we get here in AZ or Tempe Town Lake but that's overdone for me. I LOVE running the canal especially when my kids quack at the ducks the whole time :) Also the video is hilarious, Jaycee is so excited and then realizes she has to run instead of being carried - oh nevermind to that!