Thursday, November 3, 2016

A-Mountain Half Marathon

Sunday I competed in the final race of the "Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown Race Series". Remember that big shooting that happened in Tucson where Gabby Giffords was shot? Well, one of the victims was Gabe Zimmerman, who was an avid runner in the community. Tucson has started a charity race series in honor of Gabe. It's a great series full of good people, community, and support -- and the 3 races really showcase how beautiful Tucson is.

It starts with the Downtown 5K in May, which is a night race. It's a fast, flat race through Downtown Tucson as the sun sets. And the post race party has a giant block party with bands, food trucks, and all the bars/restaurants give discounts to anyone wearing a race bib!

This is the crew of ladies on Race #1. Ryan and I did get a photo together, I just cannnot seem to find it ;) I PR'd my 5K in this one and ran the 5K in 20:19, which was a 6:30 pace. My goal is to break 20 minutes next year! 

Race 2 is the Saguaro National Park 8 miler. This is a very difficult race. In fact, it is listed as one of the toughest road races in the USA. The elevation profile is insane.
This is the crew at Saguaro race! My goal was to sub 8 min/mile, and my pace at 7:52/mile. I was very proud of myself, as when I last did this race in 2008, I had a 9:20/mile pace! 

And the final race #3 is the A Mountain Half Marathon. This is hosted in Downtown Tucson, but it loops you around the "famous" A Mountain - which is a mountain, which a giant "A" painted on it! And yes, you run up and around that mountain around mile 7 of the half marathon. And yes, it kind of sucks!

Here are Ryan and I pre-race! Ryan really did not want to do this race. Lol. He is a very fast 5K man, and not so keen on the long distance races. While we were waiting for the race to start, he kept staring at the coffee shop across the street saying, "I could just get the newspaper, grab a coffee, and have a nice morning while you do this..." (But his competitive drive always kicks in, and he ends up enjoying it!)

The obligatory girls' picture! 

What did I learn during the race? Well, it was the 1st half marathon that I really set out to push pace. And my calves were on FIRE the 1st 2 miles because I skipped the warm up. In the past, I would run about an 8:20/mile pace. But I learned that when you're running between 7-7:30/mile, you HAVE to warm up! It took me a long time to settle in, and I had to drop back a bit in the beginning to allow my legs to warm up. 

I finished 11th for women, 4th in my age group, 58th overall! There were 612 runners, so I'll take those numbers! I finished in 1:42:17. When I hit mile 11, I couldn't push as hard as I wanted, and that is probably because training I never ran more than 11. I really think I could have done better, but I'm not going to beat myself up! As this is such an improvement from my past races! 

Ryan finished in 1:46 - which is amazing. He only ran 1 day/week in training and this is his 2nd half marathon! I'm super proud of him! 

Next up? Phoenix Marathon. But 1st I have the El Tour de Tucson Bike Race. Which is a great little cross training reprieve!