Thursday, January 21, 2010

Arizona Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

Two weeks before the Phoenix Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon I said “I’m in!” I switched out my P-90 X DVD’s for long runs, tempo runs and mile repeats. At the start line my nerves were turned on high. I have run half marathons in the past but a full training schedule always accompanied the race.
Making sure my timing chip was hooked tightly I took a full breath and headed out with my mind focused only on mile marker number one. Before I even thought to check my pace, my Asics already got me to the first mile. I looked at my watch to see a 7:47. I’ll take it.
By the sixth mile I was still on target for my pace to be just under 8:00 minute miles. I was running on the outside of the course taking every high five I could get. I felt the corners of my mouth constantly turning up, I was feeling darn good. Smiling away.
At mile nine, the smile came down a notch. And by mile ten, two notches. I was trying to ignore the blisters I could feel forming on the arches of my feet. My heel to toe running fashion soon was turning to the outsides of my feet. But I would not let anything take me off my pace.
At every mile I developed a pattern. I would count ahead 8 minutes and repeat the number out loud to myself to keep my focus powered on and to make it to the next mile marker in just under 8 minutes, every time.
I didn’t want the pattern to stop. My breaths became deeper and my focus stronger. I powered through to mile 11 and kept telling myself I could do it, and believed it. At mile twelve I decided to take it in. With the finish line in sight, I started to push harder off the ground and reach farther with my stride. My arms pumping and taking me to a sprint I crossed the finish line. I instantly looked at my watch. 1:43:50. I came in with a personal record.
This race was ever so important to me because I felt the power of believing in yourself. I told myself I would do it, and I did.
The Rock ‘N Roll marathons have a trail of success behind them, as they should. Bands are organized and playing at each mile. Supplies are stocked and no runner would ever be left high and dry without water and friendly staff and volunteers to cheer them on. The expo runs smoothly and offers a lot of expert advice along the way, and plenty of samples of every kind of energy bar you could imagine!
With nearly 22,000 finishers in the half marathon, and close to 6,000 finishers in the marathon, the size of this race will surely keep growing because of the organization and energy brought to the course.

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