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P.F. Changs Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon - RunMarathon

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Phoenix, Arizona
United States
Elite Racing Inc.
50F / 10C
Total Time = 3h 11m 10s
Overall Rank = 242/6411
Age Group = M3034
Age Group Rank = 42/500
Pre-race routine:

This was my first marathon besides Ironman. I wanted to qualify for Boston on my first try and race it next year.

I selected this race after bailing on the Richmond marathon in November due to a chest cold. I was out of vacation time for 2008 and there were no marathons within driving distance, so I had to wait until 2009. Danielle had wanted to go to Arizona to see the sites, so we signed up as soon as we got back from our trip to Virginia. I hoped I could maintain my fitness for two months by redoing the last 8 weeks of the marathon plan, but I knew it would be hard to get the runs in when it was cold, dark and snowy. I missed several short runs and had some of the weeks mixed up so I only had one 20 miler, which I did on a treadmill. In the weeks and days leading up to the race I was not feeling very confident because of the missed runs plus I was carrying almost 10 pounds of winter chub.

Anyway, we flew out to Phoenix on Thursday, went down to Tucson Friday morning, saw some cactuses, a spanish mission and some indian ruins, ate some Guatamalan food and then came back to Phoenix on Saturday. Got ready Saturday night and Danielle drove me to the runner drop off point. Traffic was a little snarled, but used our magic GPS to find an alternate route and got real close to the drop off area without much hassle. I got some water and stood in line for the portapotties. The line was moving slow and I was getting nervous that I would have to abort, but I eventually got in with less than five minutes before the gun. I took my gear bag to the dropoff and jogged to my corral.
Event warmup:

Jogging from toilets to gear drop off to start line and a little stretching while wating for the gun.
  • 3h 11m 10s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 18s  min/mile

I had my 3:10 marker on my back and started with the pace group. The group leader must have gotten a little carried away at the beginning because he went out at a fast pace. I decided then that I was going to keep an eye on the pace group, but trust my splits from my Garmin before the pacer. My splits for the first 10 miles with average heart rate were:
1 7:15 176
2 7:13 177
3 7:16 177
4 7:14 178 (gu)
5 7:13 181
6 7:14 177
7 7:14 179
8 7:14 177 (gu)
9 7:12 176
10 7:18 178

At this point I really had to pee so when I saw some toilets by the water stop, I ran over and went. As fast as I could, I got back out on the road and estimated it cost me about 75 seconds. I was just behind the 3:15 pace group, so I figured I would need to do 7:05s and would catch back up to the 3:10 group within 5 miles.

Passing the half point the clock said 1:35 and change, and I was surprised that I was almost perfectly on schedule since I still could not even see the 3:10 pace flag up ahead. Around mile 16 the green flag of the 3:10 pacer was in sight about a quarter mile up. There was still time for me to make up the distance, but it would mean a few more fast miles. There was another guy with a 3:10 tag on his back, and I saw him reach around and tear it off and a couple minutes later I passed him. My splits for these ten miles were:
11 8:00 177
12 6:56 181 (gu)
13 7:02 179
14 7:02 181
15 7:13 183 (gu)
16 7:17 183
17 7:16 182
18 7:18 186 (gu)
19 7:05 189
20 7:06 190

I was feeling reasonable at this point but it was taking more and more effort to keep my pace. There seemed to be some little hills and some headwinds plus the temperature was starting to get up into the 60s. At various points in the last 10k I was trying to figure out how my time looked and had given up on trying to catch the pace group. With two miles left I thought that if I stayed under 8:00 pace I'd make it in time. My quads were really tired and my heart rate was up in zone 5. The clock at mile 26 was around 3:10 and this was when I realized I wasn't going to make it. My splits for the final 10k were:
21 7:12 191 (gu)
22 7:26 192
23 7:12 194
24 7:30 194 (gu)
25 7:42 192
26 7:46 196
.2 7:17 199
What would you do differently?:

Go easy on the water before the race. This is not a triathlon when I can overhydrate and pee in the wetsuit or on the bike with no problems. If I had known I'd come up 11 seconds short of BQing, I think I would have peed my pants and stayed on pace.

I also did not have the major splits memorized so I was not sure of the times I needed towards the end. I could have also displayed average pace on my Garmin.
Post race
Warm down:

The finishing area was a big maze that you had to work your way around to get out. My quads were shot and I was moving real slow. Eventually I made it over to the gear check area and got my phone to call Danielle. I told her I missed by 15 seconds and we arranged where to meet. I wove through the crowds near the half finish and hobbled to the stadium where Danielle had found some parking. I used some wet naps to clean up a little and we made our way up to Flagstaff where were staying for the next two nights. I was hobbling around like an old man while we went and saw the Grand Canyon the next day and then saw the Tuzigoot and Montezuma's Castle ruins and looked at some arts and crafts in Jerome before taking the red eye home on Wednesday morning.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Cold snowy weather and too much candy and cookies in December. I was far better prepared in November for Richmond and if I was not sick I would have nailed it there. I actually surprised I came as close as I did here since my training was kind of half assed.

Event comments:

The rock and roll deal where they have bands along the course is pretty much a useless gimmick. The athletes could hear each band for 30 to 60 seconds as we run past, so I supposed the bands are more for the spectators. The expo was pretty big, and there was a concert, so that would have been cool, but we were more interested in seeing more of Arizona outside of Phoenix, so we didn't stay around for the race related stuff.

As far as the course and race day, it doesn't get flatter or better weather than here. The race start and end were set up well and since I had someone to pick me up and drop me off it was really easy for me. It probably would have been more annoying if I had to use the shuttles and worry about parking.

Although there were plenty of water stops, they only had one place where they provided Gus and that was at mile 19. I had to carry 5 Gus in my pockets to have enough. The on course energy drink was Cytomax, which I did not take since I never trained with it. I wish they offered a more main stream drink like Gatorade, Powerade or HEED.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-12-05 12:00 AM
03:11:10 | 26.2 miles | 07m 18s  min/mile
Age Group: 42/500
Overall: 242/6411
Performance: Good
See run comments
Course: Almost perfectly flat course run on mostly big main roads throughout Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-01-22 9:12 AM

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Middletown, CT
Subject: P.F. Changs Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon
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