Woke up 2-3 times thru the night and finally got up at 3:15, showered, dressed, drank EmergenC and ate a banana. Karen had a restless night as well. Hubby gave me a blessing in which it says I would be able to push through the pain that would come. (Wait!!! PAIN?!?! Push through?! This is supposed to be a long run with hundreds of friends, not a race!!! Pain should not be in the equation! :) We confidently told hubby, Gary and David we will finish under 5 hours! :)
At 4:15 we went to pick up the breakfast-to-go-bag (orange, energy bar, danish) provided by the hotel for marathoners and rode the hotel shuttle van to the bus pick up. I ate the danish with cup of oj in the van. Ate the Greek yogurt I brought on the bus ride. My body was still under the influence of the TylenolPM...so groggy! Karen and I asked ourselves why do we do this, why do we not just do the Half.. we'd finish way before lunch, go swimming, shopping, movie and night out on the town! Haha!!! :)
Got to the start around 5ish. Rhett spotted me as we walked past him and his friend, Jeff sitting by a kerosene heater. SO SO SO happy to see him! :) We chatted a little bit and got separated at the pop lines. I kept an eye out for BeMo and AmyG but never saw them. :(
All the snacking on the drive yesterday, lunch and humongous dinner last night came back to bite me. Karen and I made 3 pop trips before the race started in pitch darkness. They had fireworks display (like a 4th of July celebration) after the National Anthem then everyone walked to the start. I shed my 2 light fleece, long pants for the drop bag; and kept the gloves and arm warmers (that were part of the race swag) as the temp was a bit cool, probably high 40s.
The race started on time at 6:30. We crossed the mat about 2 min. after gun time marching with the 4:40 pace group. The first 4 miles were downhill from Usery Mountain on newly paved road in the dark under a bright half moon. Caught up with the 4:25 pace group. The pacer was on our bus...he was not very talkative...other than announcing his time and pace just before every aid station...he did not speak one word. I had fun talking to fellow runners. Mile 6 was uphill in a very nice neighborhood. The hill didn't seem to be as bad as what the elevation chart shows. We kept a steady effort. The spectators were enthusiastic and fun...told us it's all downhill to the finish! :)
I have never seen such majestic cactus up close. They have got to be 100 years old. It is awesome! I love the scenery and beautiful homes. Took a gu at mile 7. We walked through every aid station, stopped and waited for the pop at mile 11. After each aid station, we'd slowly caught back up with the 4:25 pace group. Each time we caught up to them, we'd stir up the conversations again. The pacer would say:"There you are! Wonder where you've been!" We made friends with Terry (the smooth glider gal), Judy (the foxy Teena-look-alike), Mike (the steady trotter), 4 girls/gals wearing identical shirts with the message: Some wish...some want....some MAKE it happen, a lady I dubbed Ms Punctual (her shirt says ON TIME), a guy with the shirt (No Speed Limit), several sets of sisters wearing identical outfits, Mr. India, and finally Mr. Aussie (the Marathon Man) who was wearing a shiny blue unitard with a red cape and a "M" shaped like "Super Man" logo in front. The middle of the pack was a lively bunch. :)
I think we got to the half in 2:13 and everything felt great. The course had a lot of turns so sometimes we'd get a nice welcomed breeze because it was getting really warm with the sun beating down on us and NO shade. Running past a grove of orange trees was lovely. The spectators were awesome...the same groups of families cheering over and over including Choo Baka and Princess Leah...girls with pomp pomps...mothers with pots and pans...lots of great posters. I also saw two bottles on the road discarded by elite runners and a blue sponge (wondering if they belonged to Jake Krong).
We were able to stay with the 4:25 group (they started 2 min before us) and were on target for 4:30 until mile 20. At the mile 19 aid station I took a Gu, 2 salt caps and 2 ibuprofen. My shins started to cramp. It was getting really hot, my wheels were falling off. Karen was so good to me. She patiently, cheerfully, kindly stayed with me every step of the way, talked to me with positive stories and encouragement. We even sang "Called to Serve". Her legs would threaten to cramp when we slowed too much so she'd say: "just keep moving, just keep moving." I felt like I was running, but really just shuffling in pain with every step. I did not look at my Garmin except when it beeped at the mile lap. Karen encouraged me to keep moving: "We can walk when we get to the aid station. Larry will be there at the finish. David will be so proud of you. The missionaries have to learn to get along with their companions...but you get to cuddle with yours every night! :) :) :)" What a great friend, good influence and blessing Karen is in my life! :) She refused to leave me. She stopped to use the pop at mile 24 and told me to keep going and she quickly caught back up to me. The last mile was slight downhill which was great and we saw hubby at the corner with half mile to go. He ran us in telling us all the wonderful food waiting for us at the finish.
Karen and I felt like a million bucks with the spectators cheering loudly on both sides of the shute and the announcer said our names as we ran cross the finish together. :) :) :)
They have so much food provided by vendors at the finish, chicken, fish taco, protein drinks, otter pops, breads and baked goods, energy drinks, chips, fruits, snack cups. There's a huge tent with PT, people to wrap your legs in ice bags and ice water kiddy pool to take care of your legs and feet plus a massage tent. Outside of the recovery area are food vendors who offer free chicken, fish taco, hot dogs, pop corn for spectators. Needless to say we did not need to go to restaurant for lunch.
We heard and saw MelodyJ (Runningafterbabies) went up to the podium as 2nd place overall women as we headed to the clothing retrieval. I clapped and cheered but I don't think she heard me! :)
I think this is a very well run/organized inaugural marathon, great support, race shirt, swag, medal, food, finish line festivities, etc. The only thing I did not like about the course is the many turns and scary crossings at major road intersections. The police did a wonderful job controlling the traffic which was rather heavy on a busy Saturday morning in these Mesa roads with many retail stores and restaurants. The motorists were very patient however but I heard there was still a fender bender accident. Finishing temp was in the 80s (my car said 86 when driving back to the hotel) and with no shade to be found, it was a scorcher. Other than that, I had a lot of fun!
After showering, we took an "ice bath" in the hotel's outdoor pool (the heater was broken so the water was rather cold). Then we laid out under the AZ sun for some VitD therapy. There were quite a few guys from UT at the pool and we had a nice visit! :)
Side note: my daughter was running the Woodlands Half Marathon the same morning in Texas and we were thinking about her during our first half. She finished in 1:51 for her first half marathon! I am so proud of her! :) :) :)