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Tucson Half Marathon - Run

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Tucson, Arizona
United States
45F / 7C
Total Time = 1h 18m 38s
Overall Rank = 6/1035
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 2/65
Pre-race routine:

I need to stop with these crazy, less than ideal, night before the race shenanigans! Originally had planned to make the 2 hour trip to Tucson the night before, make packet pickup stay the night and be in town for race morning. Of course, Saturday morning didn't go as planned and I found myself messaging a friend midday to have them pick up my packet and I was now committed to waking up at 2am to drive to Tucson the morning of the race.

Managed to sleep well and was actually awake prior to my 2am alarm. Grabbed some coffee, some almonds, some grapes, a bottle of Nuun and hit the road. Got to the host hotel around 4:45am, grabbed more coffee, met my friend and grabbed my packet, hopped on the bus and headed to the start line.

At the start we were allowed to stay on the bus until 6:30am (7am start) which was nice because I didn't have warm clothes and no drop bag due to my situation. Spent the extra 30 minutes relaxing on the bus and listening to music.
Event warmup:

just a brief mile and change warming up the legs, accels up to race pace, nothing much more. Felt really, really good during this warm up.
  • 1h 18m 38s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 06m  min/mile

Hmm, after finishing it said I was 5th overall but pulling results today shows I was 6th OA. Must have been a timing issue with one of the top 5.

Moving into this race I really didn't know what to expect. I had planned and hoped to shoot for a sub 1:20 but really didn't have any specific race prep in place other than a lot of volume and some limited 5k work. (see my 5k race report for that fiasco). Anyway, I decided, like that 5k, that it was go for broke and hatched a plan to run the downhills around 5:55 pace and give myself some wiggle room up to 6:05 for the flats.

Off the gun I felt really freaking good and went out near 5:40 for a short stint before pulling it back to 5:55. I was on the tail end of a pack of about 8 with the front two pulling away slowly. After the first mile I was settled on my pace and the main pack I was with began to pull off as well; no worries, let them go and run my own race. Everything was clicking and it seemed like the 1 mile auto lap was chiming before I even knew it.

Mile 2 passed and then mile 3 came and went at a tick under 18 minutes. This is where I questioned whether or not I could sustain this pace but I felt great so I agreed to just see what would happen. Four, five, six and everything was good! Around mile 3 I started pulling back up to a few of that pack I was part of. Passed one guy around 3.5, another around 4.5 and by 6 I was pulling up next to someone else. We ran together for the next mile and a half or so before I put a bit of a surge in and dropped him, sights set on the next victim.

It should be said that my sights were firmly set on the guy that eventually finished in 5th overall. We started side by side and he went out and away while I was sitting in on that initial pack of runners. By mile 8 I had passed the last guy between him and I and was ever so slightly reeling him in, maybe a few seconds a mile at best. By mile 9 we were off the main road (Oracle) and turning to run the side streets through the communities and I knew that hill (or those hills) were looming just up the road. Made a left, saw him roughly 25 yards in front of me and saw that hill.

I remember thinking "dang, that HILL again" and then suddenly thinking "you know, it's really not that bad of a hill" and I chugged my way up it, pace dropping to mid 6s as we climbed. Crested the top and was rewarded with a fast and painful descent but I was starting to pull the guy in front of me! Hit another slight rise coming into mile 11 and I was 8 feet off his heels, over his right shoulder. He gave a look and noticed me and next thing I know he was PICKING IT UP! Dang, this pass wasn't going to come easy.

We ran lock step for the next mile but just as we crossed mile 12 I started to reel him again and by 12.2 I was shoulder to shoulder. Just as I was expecting to pull ahead of him he found a gear that I couldn't match and he was off the front. By 12.5 he was out of reach and I admitted I couldn't catch him now so just kept it dialed onto my 5:55 and ran it in.

I wasn't sure exactly where I was timing wise but knew I was definitely sub 1:20. (funny enough, at mile 8 I KNEW I had my 1:19 finish and even told myself out loud I did) Looking back, I kind of wish I would have paid a little closer attention to exactly where I was running as I might have been able to give sub 1:18 a go, or it would have blown up.
What would you do differently?:

Not a single thing. I executed that race perfectly from start to finish.
Post race
Warm down:


What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not much.

Last updated: 2014-12-08 12:00 AM
01:18:38 | 13.1 miles | 06m  min/mile
Age Group: 2/65
Overall: 6/1035
Performance: Good
Course: Tucson is a pretty unique course and this was the fourth consecutive year running the half. On paper it looks FAST but executing well takes some work. Yes, it falls pretty major from the start but the hills at the end will keep you really honest and let you know if you got too greedy up top. Not to mention the flat out torture you'll put your quads through on a course like this. If you're prepared for the geography you can have a good day but if you're not, you're going to be miserable.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2014-12-08 11:57 AM

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Scottsdale, AZ
Subject: Tucson Half Marathon

2014-12-08 4:04 PM
in reply to: #5072986

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Scottsdale, AZ
Subject: RE: Tucson Half Marathon

Forgot to mention, I actually ran this race with music. I will plug in once in a while during training runs but normally I'm a fan of just hearing what's going on around me. Knowing that there isn't a whole lot of crowd support at this race I elected to give running with tunes a shot and see how it felt. So I plugged my Yurbuds into my iPhone, dialed up "Ride the Lightning" radio on Pandora and went to town. I will freely admit that I think it helped tremendously during some of the more boring parts of the race and it was nice having something else to key into during the latter stages. I'm not sure I'd run a big race with music, or even something shorter than HM distance, but for an event like this it was great. 

2014-12-08 4:51 PM
in reply to: thebigb

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Subject: RE: Tucson Half Marathon

dat fast!  well done.

nice day for a jog too.  

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Having three seasons under my belt I thought I knew what I was doing. That all changed with a few new challenges and a bunch of new friends.
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