Thursday, January 30, 2014

PF Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona 2014 Half Marathon Recap

Bright and early Sunday morning, I met up with Lara and Blake to head down to Tempe for the start of the RnR Arizona. In years past, the full marathoners and half marathoners started together and the marathoners split off somewhere on the course. Last year, they changed the start of the marathon so that the runners were bused to the start location.

Bruiser helping me pack my race bag.

Luckily, the start was not nearly as crowded as I remembered from 2011, which is the last time I ran this race. Weird, right? Especially considering this is the biggest running event in AZ. Parking was crazy easy, too. I was all prepared for it to be a bitch to park with a zillion other runners, but we pulled right into a spot and we were on our way to the start line.

We made the usual stop at the porta potties- this is really my only complaint - the lines were really long and there definitely were not enough of them. We hung out for a few minutes, then said goodbye to Blake (the best Sherpa ever) and made out way to our corrals.

Lara and I before the start.
Lara and Blake

You know how a you can tell right from the start that a good race is in the cards for the day? Well, that was my start. Usually, it takes me a few miles to be able to tell if I'm going to have a good race or not. Everything felt great from the first step. My legs felt great, my stomach felt great. I felt well rested.

I didn't take many pictures and those I did take were pretty much taken while I was in motion. Since I was trying to PR, I didn't want to waste time stopping to get good shots. For the first few miles, I kept myself at a really comfortable pace that felt pretty effortless. I had to keep slowing myself down because I've learned time and time again that starting out too quickly is absolute disaster for me. My legs felt great, though, so I was able to keep a faster pace right from the beginning.

Couldn't resist a picture of this
gigantic VW bus.

By mile 5, I was definitely going to PR. My legs still felt great, as did my lungs, but I was starting to get a stitch in my side the lasted the entire rest of the race. I was keeping about a 20-30 second faster pace than normal and other than the stitch, I still felt great. I only took walk breaks during the water stations.

I'm impressed by people that can walk
on stilts

By mile 10, I was still going to PR. I was feeling great (except for the stitch in my side) and I was totally getting prematurely excited because I just knew I was going to be celebrating a PR that night. Now, I don't typically put all of my emotion into the outcome of a race. Running races is something I just do for fun. I love the friendships and all of the hoopla. But I had been steadily improving as a runner for awhile and I was really excited to see it pay off.

Mile 11 was where things just went to hell and I couldn't get it back. There's a pretty steep long hill at mile 10 and I knew I lost some time, but I thought I had made it up on the down hill. The last two miles of the course were pretty hilly and my legs were just shot. I tried to fight it out and I can honestly say, I gave it my all right up until the finish line, but the walk breaks I had to take during miles 10 and 11 ate up just enough time that even though I ended up running my fastest mile of the race at the end, I couldn't make up for the lost time.

I always take a picture of mile 10,

In the last 100 yards as I entered the chute, I could literally feel the muscles in my calves rippling and I thought that there was a good chance I could trip and fall, but I still really tried. But I ended up finishing 1 minute and 13 seconds away from my PR.

And yes, I did cry a little at the finish, which I never do at races (horse shows, definitely, but not races). I was really disappointed and mad at myself for getting so close and not getting the job done. I whined at my friend, Debra, via text and was getting ready to turn up the dramatics, but she asked me if this course was more or less difficult than my current PR. I told her it was definitely more difficult, but I didn't really give that aspect much thought until just now when I went to look up the course elevation profile.

This is definitely not the hardest course around, especially compared to a lot of courses in California, but it is certainly harder than the Disneyland Half course which is where I got my current PR. I'm almost embarrassed to post my time because it seems like a time this slow wouldn't have taken such effort on my part, but it's my second fastest time. And I can tell I've improved over all as a runner.

My slowest miles were around mile 10
and that giant stupid hill.

It's been almost two weeks and I was over my disappointment within a day or two. I'm hoping I might be able to pull off a good time for Princess half, but considering that it'll be the day after I run the Enchanted 10K and that my lungs are currently a mess from the plague I've had for the last several days, I'll just wait and see how I feel.

Lara missed her PR by 2 minutes...and she had
trouble at the same spot. 
Over all, this is a good race. I had forgotten how much fun RnR races can be and it was nice to do a big race without all of the Disney drama I've gotten used to. It was also fun to experience a race where people were running most of it rather than stopping constantly to take pictures. I love that stuff, too, but it was nice to have a break from it. Unfortunately, the prettiest parts of the course are also the hardest, but I had a good time.

The medal is pretty awesome

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

PF Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Expo

I had more fun at the Rock 'n' Roll AZ Marathon Expo than I've had at an expo in a long time. Usually, I can't deal with the crowds, so I'm in and out as quickly as possible. Plus, I think I may have some left over PTSD from the Disneyland Half Expo cluster.

Lara and I headed down to the expo at the Phoenix Convention Center on Saturday afternoon. I haven't done RnRAZ since 2011. After doing so many runDisney events, I forgot that RnR does a pretty good job with their events.

The only thing I was actually disappointed in was that last year, the race shirts had an awesome design and were long sleeve. Boo hiss waaaah that they weren't good this year. The design is meh and they're short sleeved. Sadly, I couldn't find a good picture of the 2013 shirt online,

Ho hum.

We got our numbers really quickly and cruised around the expo. Those of you that have done a Rock 'n' Roll event, you're aware that Brooks is a huge sponsor. They now have this Run Happy Island thing where you get a passport and get various prizes for doing the different stations.

I don't know if it's different at other RnR events, but this one had 3 stations. If you do all three and get the stamps, you get an extra prize. The first one was a bucking shoe. Similar to one of those bucking bulls in a bar. Considering that Lara and I both ride horses, we had to do that one.

Not as easy as it looks!
Sadly, the other stations had such long lines, we decided not to do them.

We cruised around the different vendors and had to say hi to the dragon. A group of runners runs with the dragon every year and if you beat the dragon to the finish line, you get a prize. Spoiler alert: I did not beat the dragon. But Lara did and she got a PF Chang's coupon.

We also had to get in on this tomfoolery:

We stopped by the PF Chang's booth where they were passing out fortune cookies with a chance to win a prize. I won a $20 gift certificate to PF Chang's, so Lara and I decided to carb load there for dinner.

You'd think that since the race is called the PF Chang's Marathon (it was completely sponsored by PF Chang's until RnR took it over, but PFC is still a major sponsor) people working at the restaurant would be aware that their company sponsors the biggest running event in Arizona. But nope.

Anyway, we ate ourselves silly and went home to rest up for the morning. To be continued where I moan and cry about my perfect race turning into a non PR. Bet you can't wait for that!

Woe Is Me

A plague has befallen my house. Well, just me because my feline roommates seem just fine. I've been at home sick for three days. My body knows that I have a two day sickness rule, so I don't know what the deal is, but I'm still sick. Much improved, but still sick. I plan on dragging myself back to work tomorrow, but at the moment I'm binging on Orange Is The New Black on Netflix. I've learned that I definitely would never survive in prison.

I doubt you get to snuggle with kittens when you're
sick in prison!

I can't believe it's taken me so long to jump on the Netflix train. If I didn't have to be a productive member of society, I wouldn't ever have to leave my house. My iPad is getting the most use it has gotten since I got the thing. Yay. I can't wait to get myself addicted to all sorts of shows.

Anyway, Janathon obviously did not go as planned. Ironically, I worked out a lot this month. The problem is that blogging about that every day is a bitch. And boring. I just could not make it interesting. I did run a half marathon which I will blog about very soon.

I also went to Vegas for several days with a bunch of super awesome people and had an amazing time. If you ever get the chance, go to the piano bar in New York, New York. I've gone the last two times I've been in Vegas and it's seriously the most fun thing I did on both trips.

I have no recollection of this, but it looks like
 I'm having a blast, right?
I need to catch up with my blogging, but life has a way of getting super busy. Stay tuned for my recap of the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half recap just as soon as I come up with an appropriate title. Possible candidates are:

  • Arizona Is Not As Flat As I Thought
  • Missing My PR
  • Tears At The Finish Line
  • Who Puts A Whole Bunch Of Hills At Mile 10?
I've had some time to get over missing my PR by a minute and thirteen seconds, but at the time, I was quite upset. Especially considering I was going to PR all the way until mile 11. So sad.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Conversations With Strangers

Yesterday, I ran some more. It was a really sucky run, too. You know the kind: everything hurts, you don't feel great, the sun is so freaking bright that it's burning your retinas (that might just be in Arizona) and all you want to do is turn around and shuffle back to your car.

But I didn't do that. I toughed it out for 4.6 miles. About 2 miles into my run I crossed paths with and older gentleman coming from the opposite direction. He waved me to a stop and we had the following conversation:

Old Dude: Does this trail lead to Tatum? (Tatum is a road)

Me: Yes, it does. You're about 2 miles away.

Old Dude: I'm training for the PF Chang's Marathon.

Me: Me too! Well, I'm only doing the half.

Old Dude: Oh. Yeah. I'm just doing the half. But I've done 27 marathons in my lifetime.

Me: Wow. I've only done one.

Old Dude: Don't worry, one day you'll do a marathon.

Me: I've actually done a marathon, but only one.

Old Dude: Don't worry, you'll do one someday. Thanks for stopping to talk with me!

And with that, he happily jogged off.

So that adds 4.6 miles on Day 5 of Janathon for a total of 14.79 miles.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I can count 4.75 miles as six, right?

Yesterday, I got up at the crack of dawn to go run. I originally planned on running 6, but my heart just wasn't in it. I'm fairly certain that this in no way had anything to do with the 3 glasses of wine I had consumed the night before.

Early January mornings in Arizona remind me that I am not capable of living anywhere colder. Yes, the summers are hideous. But I can't stand it when it is cold. I would really prefer that the weather be 65-75 year round. Is that so much to ask?

Anyway, I met up with my newbie runner friends that are walk/running the 10K during Princess weekend. I planned to run 3 miles out and turn around and catch up with them but ended up turning around at 2 miles. I did run up ahead a few times, but I only ended up with a total of 4.75 miles. C'est la vie.

Nature. I hear people like that stuff.
Afterward, I hate about 10,000 calories at breakfast. I'm not sure why I'm not losing weight. Hmmm..

I don't have much to offer you in this post, so here is a pic of 2 of the adorable foster kittens we have at the barn right now.

I die.
Day 4 of Janathon: 4.75 miles for a total of 10.19 miles.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Making The Time- Day 3 of Janathon

This whole running (or walking) every day thing is hard. I'm glad I signed up for Janathon this year because I'm getting a taste of what it means to be someone that is serious about working out. I've heard of people that work out like a fiend and make some time no matter what. I just don't happen to be one of those people.

This may or may not be me.

I ride my horse before work most mornings and then work all day. If I'm going to run, I pretty much need to do it after work. If I have any other plans, it gets tough to fit in working out.

Since I had a really long day yesterday that I knew was going to end with happy hour, I had to find another way to get some sort of work out in. I wore my 2012 NYCM tech shirt under my sweater at work and at lunch time, I went out and ran up and down the little mountain behind our office.

The mountain may be small, but it's really steep. It took me more than half an hour to do a little over 2 miles. My legs certainly got a work out, though.

Yes, the sun is super bright here in AZ.
I figure that every little bit helps and doing hill repeats in jeans on my lunch break still got my heart rate up. Day 3's workout? Check!
Day 3 of Janathon: 2.24 miles for a total of 5.44 miles

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Walking Off The Food Baby

I always have a hard time starting my New Year's resolutions on New Year's Day because in my eyes, that's still a holiday and I'm going to use that as an excuse to eat crap and drink. Usually, though, I'm ready to go by January 2nd.

Since I challenged myself to Janathon this year, I actually did force myself to go out and run 4 miles last night. Today was a little harder because my aunt called me at work and convinced me to go eat Greek food with her after work. Who am I to turn that down? I love Greek food.

Get in my belly!
The moment I agreed to have dinner, I knew that running afterward was out of the question. So I did what any serious Janathoner would do: I drove home and before even going into my house, I walked 1.2 miles around my neighborhood... in my jeans while having a gossip fest via text with one of my blogging besties.

I don't know if texting while walking off a food baby counts as a work out, but I do know that I wouldn't have done anything at all without scary Janathon looming over my head, so I'm counting it.

Day 2 of Janathon: 1.2 miles for a total of 5.2 miles.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Apologizing In Advance, but Janathon is here!

For the last couple of years, I've thought about doing Janathon. It's pretty simple: run or exercise every day, then blog about it within 24 hours. Since I'm trying to play catch up on my very lofty goal of 1000 miles before the 2014 New York City Marathon, maybe this will help me out.

I know lots of people are posting about New Year's resolutions and such, but I always have a hard time starting resolutions on January 1st. For me, it's still a holiday. We get the day off of work and there's usually a decent amount of champagne consumed the night before. Resolutions really should start on January 2nd, in my opinion. I consider it a win that I've managed not to be hung over for the last 2 New Year's Eves. Win for Jaime!

Annnnyway... I was (semi) determined not to completely fuck up the first day of Janathon, but there were some obstacles.

First, we had mimosas at lunch today. Apparently, last night wasn't enough. We had to continue consuming champagne today as well. I was still determined not to miss my first run (or walk) of the challenge, so I told myself we could enjoy our mimosas, then I could take a nap in the afternoon and be ready to go... even if I just went out and walked a mile.

Then I got home and cocooned myself on the couch and slept waaaaay longer than I was planning. My kitties had the same idea and planted themselves on top on me for the afternoon.

They didn't want me to get up, either.
So around 6:30, I made a deal with myself. I was craving Pei Wei (if your city does not have Pei Wei, I feel very sad for you). I was craving it like some sort of addict. I promised myself that if I went out and ran 3 miles, I could have it, even though A.) I have no control when I eat Pei Wei and would most likely eat way too much and B.) it's New Year's and shouldn't I be eating things like salad?

Well, I'm happy to report that not only did I run 3 miles, I actually pushed myself to do 4. And by the time I was done, it was 8PM and I decided to use a little will power and keep myself from racing over to Pei Wei when I was done.

I had a gluten free brownie left over from last night instead. Because that's what athletes do, right? All I know is the total calories in that brownie were way less than the chicken Pad Thai I originally planned on scarfing.

Happy New Year everyone! 2014 is the year of the horse and what could be better for this horse lover than that?

First ride of 2014

Day 1 of Janathon: 4 miles