Monday, January 21, 2019

Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday morning I ran the Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Half Marathon.

Twinning is winning!

This was actually my second year of running it. If you read my recap from last year's race, you may remember it wasn't necessarily my favorite race (it's fairly boring, with not much to see), but I had run it because I had a free entry due to my #RockNBlog relationship and a free place to stay because a friend lives in the area. Well, I would say the same held true for this year's race. Although the #RockNBlog program for 2019 is still up in the air, we were allowed to register for the Rock 'N' Roll Arizona event (they offered a 5K, 10K, Half and Full) as a rolled-over perk from our 2018 partnership.


As you hopefully remember (seeing as the news should be fresh in your mind since it happened like 8 days ago ;)), I ran my first official 50 Mile Race the previous week, but seeing as I have the Mesa-PHX Marathon in less than a month and a 50K race on the calendar for March I figured this would be a great (and free) way to get in some miles with friends.


The plan for this race was always a quick jaunt over to Phoenix and back, so the hubby decided to sit this one out (we had been traveling for the holidays and then he was in Florida for a photo shoot only to arrive home and leave for Catalina Island less than 8 hours later, so he was spent and opted for a relaxing weekend with friends and the pup - and who could blame him?!). I ended up jumping in the car around 1pm on Saturday afternoon with some snacks and a couple audio books, ready to hit the open road. The drive is pretty boring, but it's a straight shot and thankfully it went by quickly.

Don't worry, this selfie was taken while I was parking at the gas station, refilling the tank!

I got to my friend's place around 8pm (due to the time zone difference you lose an hour, so the drive was really only about 6 hours) and made sure I had everything ready to go for the following morning.

When you're #FlatCarlee revolves around the Arizona PRO socks you've gotta break out the red, yellow and blue! One Yellow
Marathon PRO Compression sock
and one Arizona PRO Compression sock, red Handful bra, red Sparkle Athletic skirt, quarter zip
from Target (a few years old), red and blue QALO silicone wedding bands, blue and red Momentum Jewelry wraps, Elite RoadID,
Nathan handheld, PROBAR BOLT chews, Arizona hat (I made), Garmin Forerunner 935, and Brooks Ghost 11 (with blue Shwings).

After scrolling through social media, I set the alarms and hit the hay (why is it sitting still for 6 hours makes you so tired?!).

The race didn't start until 7:50am, but our meet-up was at 7:15
and I wanted to get there by 6:45 to pick up my bib. I parked by
the finish and walked to the start (about 20 minute walk), so shot
to get to the parking around 6:15am, which would mean leaving
my friend's by 5:45am. Like I said, I always allot for extra time!

As I bet you could imagine, I was up before my alarms had the opportunity to ring. Another quick scroll through social media and then it was time to get ready and head over to the race. Brian and I were 'hosting' a #WeRunSocial meet-up at the start line of the Half and 10K (the Full started at a different location and the 5K was actually on Saturday morning), so I gave myself tons of extra room to get to the start (I'd rather be 30 minutes early than rushing around to arrive on time).

Source: @werunsocial's Instagram feed

Because I had gotten into town late on Saturday (the hubby and I are sharing a car and I didn't want to leave him without one for longer than I needed to, not to mention I wanted to spend time with him), I missed the Expo. Thankfully I was able to grab my bib from the Solutions tent on race morning (and when I arrived I was the only one there so it was easy peasy).

Bib acquired! These are the size of CAPES!

I was thankful that the rain was done (not only because it had been bumming me out to not see the sun for multiple days in a row, but also because I was sort of 'over' running in it), but the temps seemed to be staying on the cooler side.

I didn't "need" a long sleeve shirt, but it was the only one
that went with my color scheme ;) Pretty decent running weather!

Right across from the gear drop trucks (they've been UPS trucks in the past but this year they were an assortment of whatever empty box trucks they could gather) was a Starbucks so I popped in to keep warm and use a flushing toilet ;)

Obviously you didn't want a picture of the flushing toilets, right?! ;) 

Eventually it was time to head over to the meet-up so I grabbed my gear and went to meet the crew. The sun had started to rise and it looked like it was going to turn out to be a beautiful day.

The turnout for the meet-up wasn't anything crazy, but it was a busy weekend of races (the Pasadena Half Marathon, the Carlsbad Marathon, the Houston Marathon, and a handful of other popular events were taking place on the same day) so folks seemed to have been spread out throughout the country. Even still, it was great to see friends and make new ones!


After chatting for a bit and snapping some pictures it was time to head to the corrals. We were actually quite surprised to see they were actually checking bibs for corral 1 (for most Rock 'N' Roll events it tends to be a free-for-all {and for the rest of the corrals it seemed to be that way}). Brian and I showed our bibs and made it towards the starting line.

Not sure what happened, but the race ended up starting about 20 minutes late.

If you remember, Brian's knee felt a little off towards the end of the Avalon 50-Miler the previous weekend, so our "goal" for this race would be more of a game-time decision. I asked him how he was feeling and he tossed out the idea of running a sub-2 hour race (which averages to a 9:09/mile pace) with some 8 or 8:30 miles thrown in. Sounds good!

Ready to get the party started!

Well, apparently we were going to run those 8 or 8:30 miles at the beginning of the race because we started out a it fast ;) Maybe it was the fact that corral 1 is full of speedsters and we got pulled along with them for a while or maybe we were just having too much fun and didn't notice our speed, but after a couple miles we finally settled into a rhythm.

Jeremy (@runner_blogger_az) snapped this picture of us chugging along

As expected, the course is pretty boring. It's mostly just commercial road running with not a ton of interesting things to see. I will say there was a decent turn out of spectators which is always much appreciated.


Eventually I saw a character stop (a group of November Project folks were cheering us on and one of them had on a T-Rex costume with a sign that said "You're DINO-mite") so you obviously knew I had to stop and snag a picture!

I'm thinking one day I might need one of these costumes...

Surprisingly Brian and I were plugging right along, feeling great. Apparently after running together for 4ish years we found the secret to a strong race... a rainy 50-mile shake out run the week before - HA! But honestly, it's always great to run with this guy - he makes the miles tick off, no matter if we are discussing sports or serious topics like if worms have blood. Shoot, we even were able to knock out a sub eight minute mile for our last mile of the race!

In case you cared about our splits... this is what my Garmin had us at.

And just like that, the race had come to an end. We grabbed our medals (although it's small in comparison to other race bling, I thought the cartoon-y cactus was cute), our post-run refreshments and made our way to the family reunion area.

A sub 1:54 half marathon?! BOOYA GRANDMA! 

We were CRUISIN'!


Okay, you caught me, I didn't take this picture AT the race (I snapped in at a rest stop on the way
home when I needed to go potty, but still figured you would want to see a picture of the bling)

The headliner was the Plain White T's (much better than recent entertainment like Sir Mix-a-Lot but not quite a band I'd be stoked to see), but since I had a six hour drive home I hit the road after Brian and I snapped a couple finisher photos.

This girl was holding the "llama head" (I think it was a llama) and I asked her if she's put it back on and become
a character stop for me, HAHA! Yep, I'm 'that' girl!

We high-fived, wished one another safe travels and said we'd see each other back in Arizona in just a few short weeks when we join forces yet again to tackle the PHX-Mesa Marathon. (PS You can still register for the Half Marathon {the full is sold out except for a few charity bibs} and save with code "WERUNSOCIAL10".)

High fives all around!

I hit the road and the traffic gods were smiling upon me because I got home in about five and a half hours! All-in-all the trip was 26 hours long and I'd consider it a success. If I had to venture a guess, I'd probably say I wouldn't run this race again (there's nothing wrong with it, just not one I'd say is worth traveling for other than to see friends), but never say never.

See ya later, Arizona! Be back real soon!


Do you run races solely because friends are running them?

No comments: