The Rock and Roll events are like Disneyland for runners. Great first time events, but IMHO, way way way too much fluff. Too much money, too many people. Funny how I don't seem to say the same about Ironman, huh? Potat-O, PotAHto.
I did my first RnR even in 02 in San Diego. It's the race that ruined me for years. I gave in and did one more, the Phoenix RnR in like 03 or 04 maybe…. had my worst half time to date (2:14 or something) and swore I'd never do another one.
I think I'm finally learning not to use that word never…
Shane jumped on the bandwagon after Tucson to help pace our friend to a NY Marathon Qual time of <1:37. I didn't have it in my head that I could possibly EVER go any faster than I did in Tucson, but since we were in Mexico for 10 days and I needed some outlet to work off all the calories, I did all the training with him. The paces were hard, but I did them, even sometimes with a hangover. I finally registered for the obnoxiously overpriced race last Sunday.
A couple of "VIP warm zone" tickets were purchased, which at the time I thought was a complete rip off. $45 for parking and a special area to hang out indoors before the race. Turns out this was BRILLANT. I won't tell our secrets but all of us got into the VIP section and it was awesome. Traffic was insane and the freeway exits were backed up (both directions) for miles. We had just a small delay to get into the VIP parking, and a 5min walk to the warm zone and we were all able to gather our stuff, use inside bathrooms and then drop our bags right out the door just 15mins before the start. We jogged a half mile to the start and got right into the line. Of course due to the traffic it still started late but it wasn't too bad.
I didn't really have a "plan" for this race. My training was the same as Shane's and while I knew HE could do sub 1:37, I wasn't sure about myself. To me it's just so hard to fathom going faster than you have ever done? His job was to get our friend June to the finish and I would try to stay with them. As we started the race Shane's Garmin must have been a little off cause he just bolted out way faster than I expected. It felt a little less than easy for myself so I decided right there just to do my own thing. I stayed with them for about 2 miles, but then our friend seemed to slow down. I turned my music up and just went off on my own. The pace felt pretty good. I was working, but not using too much effort. Every opportunity I had I tried to pull behind someone to get a "draft," but somehow I still ended up on my own. I noticed my arch enemy in front of me and just kept this person in sight. No reason really for the arch enemy, except that this person has NEVER EVER been nice to me in races and I always try to talk to them, but get nuthing. So, now I've made it my mission to be competitive with this person until they are nice to me :) I've tried being overly nice but that isn't cutting it, so we'll see if this does - AND, I finally did make the pass (and STILL tried to make conversation with nothing in return) at about mile 8.
The weather couldn't have been better. About 50degrees and cloudy. Unfortunately, the course wasn't my favorite. Several turns and a net increase in elevation. The most "up" happened between miles 5-9. I felt it. My avg pace was slipping closer to 7:30 on my Garmin but I just didn't think I could push any harder or I'd blow up. About mile 8, Shane came up behind me. He said our friend just didn't have it today and sent him to come get me. He looked STRONG and I was doing just fine by myself to I told him to go have his own race… GO for it! I don't remember the last time he did a run race that wasn't for me so I was happy to see him doing so well. Within a few mins he was GONE. Turns out not only did he catch up to me after being about a minute behind, then he made up 2minutes on me in the last 4 miles finishing in 1:35…. Not his PR, but a solid solid race with a huge negative split!
I mentally started to give up on <1:37 when I hit mile 10 where the "down" was supposed to start but I wasn't feeling the benefits of gravity so much. As I went by aid station number 11 I got a second wind as my friend T told me to get my ass moving. I looked at my garmin and did the math. If I could pull out 2 miles around 7min pace and sprint the last .1 I would have a chance. I gave it EVERYTHING I had, however I soon realized that my garmin was .1 mile off of the official course so that cost me almost a minute. I did a few too many sub 7min sections that made me feel like I was going to vomit (including this picture where I darted over to high five my niece!).
I finished the race with my last 1.1 miles being my fastest splits and a new PR of 1:38:24. I went from telling myself at mile 9 I never wanted to try to run this hard again, to 5mins after finishing saying I was "going for it" in 2 weeks at another half marathon.
I've never really run for a goal. I've set some times, but I've never tried to qualify for anything. NY marathon isn't the cherry on top for me, but I'm giving myself one more shot at putting it all out there and going for it. It wasn't too long ago when I couldn't break a 2 hour half marathon for anything, and yet somehow now I'm running a 7:30 pace? Sometimes I have to really just stop and think about it. I don't want to get greedy or start going crazy about running, but I have to admit…. the past few months sure have been fun! Who knew there was a runner inside of me after all? I'm hoping all of this work and confidence will help me through my tri season… and after these next 2 weeks, it's all about the BIKE!
He might have a cast… but he knew exactly what that medal meant :)