Arizona: Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona

My first half of the year! I had signed up for this before signing up for Las Vegas. I considered it a birthday gift. My mom came with me, and we stayed in Phoenix with some family.

The Training

After Las Vegas, I tried to do a running streak of at least a mile a day.

And after a week, I stopped that nonsense.

I went back to my three times a week, but I was still doing really short runs of one to two miles. It got colder and colder, and frankly, I let that be my excuse to not run for a few weeks. (I’m really great at letting things be my excuse.) I was not anticipating a great run.

The day before the run, our family took us to Sedona for a day trip. We walked some beautiful trails that I considered a good warmup for the next day.

The Run

First of all, I learned that I had been pronouncing “Tempe” incorrectly this whole time. (The correct pronunciation is Tem-pee, in case you were wondering.)

Second of all, I was so surprised by how pretty Arizona is. Sorry, Arizona. I assumed you were only boring rocks and dirt. I was wrong.

Okay, okay. The actual race. As I understand it, usually the half and the full marathon will start at the same location and then split off at some point. For this run, the 10k and the half marathon started in the same location while the full marathon started on the complete other side. This meant that all of our runs basically enclosed a whole chunk of the city/cities we ran through. Sorry if you needed to get somewhere that day!

I’ve finally started to clue in that I handle miles one through five well(ish). I get really excited about how I’m pacing. I feel confident. (At mile five, my family was waiting by the mile marker to cheer me on, and I totally ran — no walking! — past them.) I start thinking about the finish line as if it’s just around the corner.

Then mile six happens.

I realize that the finish line is not just around the corner. At mile seven I start wanting a Pepsi. My body hurts as if I’ve never walked or run a day in my life. My run/walks become run/walk/walks become walk/walks, and for the next five miles I think about the life choices I’ve made that brought me here. And maybe next time I should just do a 10k. Around mile nine I half-heartedly attempt to run, but my butt hurts at every step. So I think maybe working on firming that up later.

At mile ten, I hesitantly start getting my excitement back. Just 5k more. It can be done. I can do it. Maybe I’ll speedwalk, pump those arms. At mile twelve, I can feel that thirteen approaching. At mile thirteen, I see the finish line and start lifting my feet. I’ll save my tears for later, but I make a very huge effort to run down to the finish line. Huge.

I don’t know why I thought this was a flat course. By no means is it hilly, but I was not expecting inclines at all and was very grumpy when going up them. Going toward Papago Park Military Reserve was both awful and neat. It was so pretty, but it was also mile nine.

What’s pretty neat about this course is that you go through three cities: Tempe, Scottsdale, and Phoenix. And you get to see a lot of cacti. AND the weather is so nice! It was so breezy so that even when I was dying, at least I wasn’t burning.

Despite my low expectations about my time, I shaved off two minutes from Las Vegas!

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