Monday, February 27, 2017

Mesa-PHX Marathon Race Recap

This past weekend was the Mesa-PHX Marathon (which offers a 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon). It marked my TENTH full marathon (and third Phoenix Marathon: 2015 & 2016).


The hubby and I drove to Phoenix on Friday morning. We decided to leave the house by 5am to avoid any of the normal morning commuter traffic (and also get us into town with plenty of time to eat lunch, check into our hotel and get over to the Expo before I was helping to host the #WeRunSocial meet-up).

Yup, I pulled over on the freeway to have Ry take this picture for me

The drive was easy and I even made sure to stop for gas before we hit a half tank because I did NOT want a repeat of last year's incident...

Pit stop on the way to PHX!

When we got into Phoenix we were sure to stop at Ike's Love & Sandwiches. It is one of our favorite sandwich shops to hit up when we go to Arizona. They have so many vegetarian and vegan options - and they are all DELISH! {And when I was getting the website to link the restaurant I noticed they have them in California - SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!}

Yummy in our tummies!

Before we knew it, it was time to head over to the Expo. The hubby and I met up with Brian, Dave and Sarah (we were all staying in the same hotel) and made our way to the Marriott where the Expo was. We grabbed our bibs, walked through the maze of vendors and grabbed our participant shirts (males received tees and females received tanks).

You know how we do... 

Once we had everything we needed we made our way back to the PRO Compression booth for the #WeRunSocial meet-up. I was super stoked to meet new friends, chat with old ones and be amongst the most amazing community EVER ;) Meet-ups can be difficult to organize, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many folks were able to make it.

A few pictures from the meet-up, including some of the PRO Compression Ambassadors and the
Mesa-PHX Marathon Race Ambassadors. This wasn't even everyone who stopped by!

After we said our good-byes and wished everyone the best of luck, we went to dinner. A few of us hit up La Grande Orange Grocery for some pizza. The food was yummy and the company is always amazing.

Apparently we didn't get the memo from EMZ about the pose... ;)

With the Mesa-PHX Marathon being a point to point race, you are required to park at the finish line area and take a bus to your respected starting line. In the past there has been some user error with the race morning arrival, so this year we vowed to be there early and prepared ;) Well, as I'm sure you could guess, that means an EARLY wake-up call.

I was actually out of bed by 2:30am... which was 1:30am PST... OUCH!

Last year's race was abnormally HOT! I remember sweating when we got off the bus (before we even started the race). This year I decided I would rock the arm sleeves that the race gave us in our goodie bags from 2016, and planned my outfit around them ;)

Like I mentioned, my #FlatCarlee was going to revolve around my sleeves, so
I guess it was ROYAL BLUE FTW! Jailbreak PROs, black Handful bra, royal
Sparkle Athletic skirt, gray tank, #WeRunSocial hat, blue and white QALO
silicone wedding bands, gray and blue Momentum Jewelry wraps, blue RoadID,
my Garmin Forerunner 735XT, and my Brooks Ghost 9 with silver Shwings.
Also, since it was a full marathon I ran with my Nathan handheld and fueled
with PROBAR Bolt chews.

The only thing I didn't really take into account was the fact that the abnormal heat would be gone... I mean, I was stoked when I saw the weather man calling for "perfect weather", but didn't really plan on the cooler temps at the starting line.

Source: @phxmarathon's Instagram Page

Thankfully Brian was checking a bag and let me throw my coat in with his stuff. Also, the race allowed us to sit on the buses until closer to the starting time which was AMAZEBALLS! When our bus got to the starting area, we got off and got in the port-o-potty line and once we all handled our business we got back on the toasty buses.

The temps at the start were chilly! 

[I did want to mention, even though I was an ambassador for this race, you know I've gotta #KeepItReal... And one area I believe they could improve on is the potties at the start. The set up is two aisles, so the lines are at either end. The issue is that this causes four VERY LONG, single filed lines. Two of the lines are between the buses which are still spitting exhaust for the runners who are escaping the elements. I realize there's limited space at the start, but I think adding more port-o-potties and arranging them so that you could have lines for groups of 3 or 4 would work better.]

Anywho, back to the race. Brian, Sarah, Stephanie and I decided to stay on the bus as long as possible, but finally had to brave the cold and made our way towards the start around 6:10am (the race was set for 6:30am). Sarah and Brian dropped bags at gear check (which was two U-hauls that drove the goodies to the finish line) and we got ready to run.

Dark photos are hard... but "there's an app for that" ;)
Photo Credit: Sarah

I had ZERO time goals in mind for the race (you can read about that decision HERE if you haven't yet), but Brian thought from his 22 mile run that he could shoot for around a 4-hour race (and he let me tag along). We actually knew the pacer for 3:55 (sweet Jen), so we figured we'd attempt to run with her for a while.

Still early in the race because I hadn't tossed my gloves yet...
Source: Jen's Facebook Page

At 6:30am the announcer did a quick countdown, some fireworks went off and we were on our way to another 26.2 mile adventure. (I was surprised there was no national anthem, but maybe we missed it while we were on the bus?)

The first few miles are fairly dark. The road is flat and straight, so you don't really have to worry about your footing too much, but the sun doesn't rise for about 30 minutes after the race starts so there's not much to see. It's a bit of a bummer because I think that the first 3 or so miles of the course are the prettiest.


I'd say from the start until about mile 3ish you are coming down out of the mountains, so there is a decent downhill with views of the hills, cacti, sunrise, etc. Around mile 3 you start coming into the residential areas. The homes are beautiful and the neighbors are kind (I'm always so surprised at how many spectators are out along the course). By the time you hit maybe mile 12 or so you are back down in the city of Mesa and among the industrial/ business areas. Although the views the second half of the course aren't super inspiring, the crowd support definitely picks up and keeps you going.


Along the route I stopped for a couple pictures. (Seeing everyone's pictures from the runDisney Princess Half Marathon weekend left me with a little FOMO so I tried to alleviate the feeling by finding my own "characters" along our course.)

A T-rex, a teddy bear, and some metal dinosaurs... 

Can I also say how much I LOVE free race pictures?! I think I mentioned this during my Pasadena Half Race Recap, but it's my favorite (especially when the hubby isn't there or is running himself and can't snap a couple pictures for me). They may not always capture the best/ most flattering shots, but at least I have proof that I was out there ;)

If you can't tell... running is NO fun... ;)

Heading in towards the finish line!

Brian and I had a great morning (okay, maybe if you asked him he might not use the word "great" to describe it, but I would ;)). We had a strong 17 miles and then decided to back of the gas and listen to our bodies. We chatted it up, gave out high fives, encouraged those around us (checking in on runners who looked like they might be struggling), and crossed yet another finish line.

This guy... He's the best! No words to describe how much his friendship means
to me and the hubby! His family's AWESOMESAUCE too!

I've said it before (and I will continue yelling it from the mountain tops every chance I get). Not every race is about your finish time - shoot, the majority of races (at least for me) have nothing to do with the time on the clock. What matters is the time on the course, the time spent with friends and the memories made! I doubt I will ever win a race or become a professional runner, but I hope to never outrun my love for this sport (or the amazing community/family/tribe I've found).

Oh yeah, and I can't forget to mention that the hubby ran his EIGHTH half marathon! He was lucky enough to run the race with Dave and they had a BLAST (although, if you have met my hubby, you probably know it's hard to hang out with him and not have a great time).

So proud of the hubby! For someone who picked up running for me, he has done some AMAZING things! 
He's my number 1!

While they were waiting for Brian and I to finish they were able to live it up in the finisher area - eating french toast, playing all of the games, getting massages, etc. And somehow they were even able to pull themselves away from the party to come give us high-fives and cheer us into the finish!

Photo Credit: Dave

Like I mentioned at the beginning, this was my THIRD time doing this race, and it will stay on my calendar for at least the next three years (the bling for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 fits together to make a giant STAR). If you want to come join me, registration is already open for 2018 (and if you register today it's only $80).

Will I see you there next year?


jillconyers said...

Carlee you look so happy! Love it! I never have race photos that turn out like yours. I'd have to order them :)

Have a wonderful day!

Jamie Komadina said...

woohoooo see you there!!!!