Famous last words:
"I'll post something here shortly after the race."
The race was on January 17, today is March 10. That's 45 days...I don't think that qualifies as shortly after the race. Sorry.
I just wanted to clear my conscience regarding that promise, so here are some thoughts about the P.F. Chang's Rock 'N' Roll Marathon.
Everyone was in good spirits on marathon morning. Mary and my sister Jojajogger were ready to go. Mary was going to attempt another BQ effort (sub 4:06), even though she had just run CIM only 6 weeks before. Jojajogger was going to run somewhere in the 5:00 range, yet didn't have a specific plan.
Expo the day before was very busy, as many runners stopped by the pacer booth to visit. There are so many that want to run a BQ or personal best and moods are high.
As I got into the start line corrals, all I had to do was hold the 3:40 sign up high and the runners flock to me. At the start, there were hundreds of runners keeping me in their sights. We were in the back of corral 2, and the 3:20, 3:30, 3:45 pacers were not around. Everybody keeps asking me where they are....I almost wanted to say "I think they are at the Porta-potty 3 blocks that way and take a left".
National anthem and then the start. Senator McCain was in the scaffolding above the start line and we ran underneath him as he gave his stiff trademark wave.
I had a plan and stuck quite close to it.
1st mile was in 8:30
We hit the 10K in 52:00 - 8 seconds in the bank.
Approached the half in 1:49:05 - 55 seconds in the bank.
Continued on to mile 20 in 2:47:08 - 41 seconds in the bank.
At mile 22, my parents were there and I handed the pace sign over to David, a strong young runner who visited with me quite a bit along the route.
I pulled over, gave Mom a birthday hug and kiss, and caught back up to the group. I talked David and a few of the stronger runners into keeping a strong pace and pull away from me as I was going to back down very slightly for miles 24, 25 and 26.
This is usually where what used to be hundreds of runners turns into just a few. I remember a young gal (I think her name was Robin). She was running right next to me for the whole time. I could tell she was a local AZ runner because she wore a stocking cap. She was working hard to hold pace with me, I could tell by her breathing. I just told her to stay in my back pocket and not give up. She stuck with me..all the way. I really could feel her pain - she was digging so deep to hang on. We got to the final turn and I told her to take it in to the finish. I slowed down a bit, so that she would get a nice photo. She crossed in 3:39:58.
I crossed in 3:40:03
After the finish, I worked my way through the finish line area (threw away the disposable timing band) and started running the course back, looking for Mary. Saw her around mile 25 and ran with her. She was a few minutes off her BQ pace, but looking good. We crossed the finish together and her finish time was 4:10:19. She will get her BQ soon, she just needs a better training cycle after a good recovery.
Again, I went through the finish area and got back on the course looking for Jojajogger. Saw her at mile 24.2 and ran with her. Wait a second, there was a guy handing out beer....downed one and then ran with her.
She was a couple minutes back from the 5:00 pace group, but was feeling good. She started to pick up the pace, and started to push for the sub-5:00 finish. I didn't think it would be possible, but she was moving very close to a 9:00/mile pace now, and passing lots of people.
She finished with a 4:59:24. That last mile was at least 2:00/mile faster than her entire pace. That's a strong finish!
In the end, I ran 32.2 miles on the course.
Overall, we had a great time in Phoenix. I'll be there again next year.