Monday, March 31, 2014

Arizona Distance Classic Race Report - Half Marathon

March 23 2014 Oro Valley, Arizona.

Race day was the most perfect temperature; a typical winter day in southern Arizona at about 50 degrees. 
My favorite aspect of this race, my first Arizona Distance Classic
I could arrive at the starting line 15 minutes before 7:00.
The race director and organizers have this race organized so well that runners can show up minutes before the start because parking is easy with two lots on either side of the road just a few yards from the start/finish.

Race Start (photo courtesy of Arizona Distance Classic Facebook page)

48 states were represented in this race, the mayor of Oro Valley announced at the start. This is a great Spring Break race to travel to in order to get out of the snow and cold. 

I made the mistake of not running the course as part of my training. It would have been easy to do since I live a few miles from the course: Mistake Number 1. I bike Rancho Vistoso (the main road of the course) at least once a week and I should’ve run it. I won't make that mistake again.

I wanted to run this Half Marathon under 2 hours but I got the opportunity to trail run a new trail with a new friend the day before the race and I couldn’t say no. 

Kristen and Kristin on the Wild Mustang Trail - Tortolita Mountains Marana, AZ
I would typically say this was a mistake, but it wasn’t because I met a new ultra running friend and found a new place to run. Plus, I plan to run a 50 mile race in December so I must get comfortable running on tired legs. 

The Arizona Distance Classic course is AMAZING. It’s hilly, but gorgeous. The first 4 miles are up and down long, gradual hills but the landscape is filled with Saguaro and cactus and blooming wildflowers.

After the turnaround on La Canada I was starting to get tired and my pace slowed. At the end I was able to see actual pace on the Strava app on my phone that I carried in my Camelbak. [I like to drink when I want to drink, not just at aid stations; a new thing I like to do in longer races.] My pace was not great, but not too bad either. It’s a tough course compared to so many half and full marathons that are mainly downhill.

 I’ll do this race every year that I am in Arizona. The 2:11 time will be a benchmark for improving my pace at the half marathon distance.

Kudos to the race director who was easy to communicate with and allowed me to transfer my bib to this year’s race since last year I broke my big toe the day before the race. Yes, I was running a trail race in Phoenix the day before the Arizona Distance Classic last year, too. I love running, racing, and the Outdoor Life. If you’ve read this far, you must too.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Running, Triathlon, Signing up for Races and Fun Events

This year I was going to take a break from Ironman, from 140.6. 

Instead I’ve signed up for multiple races of many different lengths and sports. 

I might have a “sign up” problem. In my book, Continental Quotient, I wrote an essay, How I Got This Way, about signing up for races late in the evening when I was highly motivated and telling the story about how I became a triathlete/endurance athlete.

Ten years later, I still have the same problem. I sign up for races and events late at night when I have a need to stay motivated and my desire to see the world is at its peak.

In 2014 I’m signed up for 3 - 70.3 triathlons, 1 Xterra OffRoad triathlon, a week-long backpacking trip in the Sierras, and plans are in the works for a 50mile trail run in December, a few century bike rides, and a 12-hour mountain bike race.

Signing up for these races helps me train every day. 
Signing up for races and events in places I’ve never been allows me see the world.

Maybe it’s not so much a problem as a healthy addiction.

2014 is going to be a good year.