Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon 2014

It’s been over a week since this great race.  While I didn’t PR, I did go under my goal time of 2:30.  I’m still recovering, or telling myself that I’m recovering.  I believe this was the most underprepared I’ve been before a half in my running history. Don’t get me wrong, I had a decent cardio base since I’ve been swimming recently but I didn’t get the miles in before this race. I was making some newbie mistakes even if it was my 7th half marathon.

I didn’t pick up packet in advance.
I went to happy hour the night before.
My longest run in this training cycle was 9.3 miles (the Hot Chocolate Race week before).
I didn’t fuel very well the week before the race.
I couldn’t decide what to wear.
I tried something new (4:1 intervals) for the first time for the entire run.

Pre-Race:  Parking and packet pick up were super easy!  We parked in the Library Garage and got there in enough time to pick up our packets, have a potty break (in the real bathrooms, with no wait) and still warm up in the car before heading to the start.

Race time:  There were no corrals, you just lined up with the pacer, sang the National Anthem and then it was time to go!  Since I train along the flat canals in the East Valley, I noticed the incline in the first mile as we started the race.  I did my best to stay with the 2:30 pacer, and still maintain my 4:1 intervals.  I may have pushed it a little hard early on.   I peeled off my sleeves by mile 2.  I didn’t properly warm up before the race, so I stopped to stretch a couple of times in the first 4 miles.  My hip was bothering me around mile 6.  While I had my Gingersnap Honey waffle pre-race, I ate some of my Honey Stinger chews around miles 3 & 9 to give me that added boost.

The aid stations & volunteers were great.  There were also a number of awesome spectators!  There was a family handing out Jolly Ranchers at mile 9 and my favorite sign was “You’re My Favorite Runner”!

There were a couple of short switchbacks after the halfway point and I saw some of the AZTNT runners, so I was able to cheer them on.   Mentally I tried hard to keep it together.  The hardest part were the rolling hills in the Scottsdale greenbelt section for all the underpasses.  They were about a mile a part, so I had to adjust my walking breaks to be shortly after the hills so that I wouldn’t loose too much momentum.  I noticed some of the photographers later in the race, so I tried to represent my FL Gators with the “Gator Chomp.”   Race photos:  http://www.actionmedia.photos/2014-fiesta-bowl-half-5k?eq=709.  This time around the photos weren’t so bad.  I was too tired to try for a finish line jump!

I tried to tell myself that I could hit mile 11 and finish the last two miles without my walk breaks.  Yeah, I didn’t listen!  I caught up to some AZTNT ladies and walked with them for a little bit right at mile 11.  Then I had to take a mini walk break after hill at 12.5.  I thought was done!  I mustered up some more energy and I was able to have some kick at the finish, so that was pretty awesome.

Finish line video:  http://results.chronotrack.com/athlete/index/e/10625375

Fiesta Bowl Timing

Strava:  http://www.strava.com/activities/229374138/overview

I finished almost 5 min under my goal time, so I was a happy clam!  The awesome race medal was orange and blue, and a perfect match for my Gator gear!

A number of runners in AZTNT finished with PRs.  It can be an awesomely fast course, but be prepped for those little hills in the last half of the race!  No negative splits for me.  I need to work on my starting pace and warming up prior to the race.  I know that I perform so much better when I warm up.  Mentally, I knew I wasn’t ready.  I had already planned on just slogging through to get the miles.  I thought I could break up this race in to 5k chunks, but I just couldn’t keep up the pace to PR.  I was about 20 sec off of my pace for the Hot Chocolate 15k.  Since I really did push it the week before, I don’t think that I gave myself the appropriate recovery time between races.  Note to self:  Don’t sign up for ALL the races next year!  (or at least give yourself 2 weeks between the longer races!)

The run/walk intervals weren’t bad.  I would use them again with more practice in another long race scenarios.  I’m glad to say that I survived the race, but unfortunately I didn’t practice my recovery plan (yoga/stretching/running) after Monday so I have a pain in my piriformis!

Now that I’ve taken this past week off, I’m ready to catch-up on training for my “A” race, the Lost Dutchman Half!  I just have Christmas, a little New Year’s family 5k (the hubby’s first!) and an IndoorTri next on my calendar.

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