Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 RNR Arizona Marathon Race Report

More like heaven and back;
I freaking love the marathon.
I must admit I have mixed emotions from Sunday’s marathon. Rock & Roll Arizona has been the first race of the year for the past 3 years and in 2010 and 2011 I had smashing PR’s. But I had huge PR’s those years for two reasons: 1) my fitness had improved, and 2) my run training had changed. This year, between recovering from one Ironman season and gearing up for the next, there wasn’t time to focus on very many tempo runs and speed workouts. My coach had me put the amount of run miles that I’ve become accustomed to training for my most recent PR’s, but the past couple months have also focused on increased bike power and volume. And although my fitness improved over last year, the month of December also focused on some pretty fatty, delicious, holiday eating and Christmas parties (that I’m glad I did not sacrifice).
So going into this year’s race, I was relying on improved fitness and experience running a ~7 minute pace. But I also went into it with tired legs and missing the “race ready” I normally feel going into any type of “A” performance. And honestly, you can’t expect a PR EVERY race, which has very fortunately been the trend over the past couple years. I had told people that I’d be happy with anything under 3:10, so my 3:06:57 (58 seconds from my current PR – so no whining and good enough for 12th place overall) was very satisfying. But, it also led me to evaluate a few questions about where marathons currently fit into my life.  
Don't be fooled by his white guy
dance moves. Metler ran a 1:10 half.
First a quick RR: Sydnie and I flew out Friday and were picked up at the airport by my cousin and her adorable little family (kids Owen – 7 and Ella – 5). We stay with them in Cave Creek every year and are extremely grateful. Saturday we did our little 2.5 mile shake out run and then headed to Phoenix to meet up with our Puke & Rally teammates from Hood to Coast. Our group of friends laughed and laughed over lunch before heading to the expo; it is such a great group of runners. Saturday night was pretty chill with a pasta dinner and a movie. Sunday we were up at 5 and headed to the start line at 5:45, which put us there by 6:30, ample time for a warm-up and plenty of bathroom stops. There was a 30 minute delay for the start, but everything else was completely seamless.
My crazy friends ran the 1/2 and still
had plenty of energy for headstands
I took off at a decent clip, but kept things under control. I came through the half at 1:31 and felt like it was a little fast, but nothing crazy. The second half worked me over, but my pacing didn’t let up too much. The last 10k wasn’t pretty (46 minutes), but nothing disastrous. I had a cramp in my right calf for the last 5 miles, which prevented any kick and maybe cost me a minute or two. Post-race I met up with friends to rock out to the B-52’s followed by some homemade pizza on the grill, naps, and Mexican food for dinner. We flew home Monday after a relaxing day in Cave Creek. Overall, it was a great trip and a really good race.
Now back to my current running philosophy. First off, I love and always will love being a runner. It warms my heart to see a 20 mile run with race pace on my workout schedule and I will likely run marathons for the rest of my life. But for now, I need to be patient and work on run fitness in a way that compliments my Ironman training. I began doing more journaling this year with the help from the Believe I am training journal. I jotted down these questions and answers to myself:
Was it fun? Yes
Am I proud of my performance? Yes
Do I think I have faster marathons in me? Definitely. And would I someday like to prove that? Yes.
Was it the best thing for Ironman training? Probably not. Did it sabotage Ironman training? Of course not.
Do you still like running marathons? Yes. I love it and wish I could do it more often and go into a race feeling like I gave it the type of training and focus it deserves.
There is a space in this journal for Race Reviews to include what you learned, what you would’ve changed and how you were brilliant. One thing that stuck out as I was reflecting on my race was what I learned: I don’t like going into races not feeling 100%.
So now I’m looking forward to shifting focus and going back to putting 100% into Ironman training, so that I’m ready for my “A” races this year, meanwhile wondering if I can put in better training for Grandma’s Marathon in June or perhaps a late fall marathon. I realize I’m in a funny spot of making decisions to race based on either what sounds fun or what is best for my “triathlon career.” But for now, I’m not going to worry about it and just enjoy the run workouts that are fit in between swimming and biking.
Thank you to my dear friends who tore it up this weekend and my wonderful team for all the support during this race. Marathon #49 was a success and I’m looking forward to many more (including the ones that come after swimming and biking), this year and beyond.
4 of the 6 Puke & Rally girls from my Hood to Coast team - we all started
with strong races. Next stop: Oceanside 70.3!


  1. Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations, congratulations, congratulations...you can now take off your race medal :) As always an amzing effort, awesome result AND (most importantly) laughs, stories and jokes to last months!

    1. Yes, the only good thing about you getting sick post-race is that you couldn't talk me into embarassing dares that resulted in wearing my race medal on the plane. Another race trip down, more and more inside jokes! And congratulations to you on your new PR. You are chipping away one marathon at a time!