Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Fiesta Bowl Half Race Report!

Editors note: I'm about 4 race reports behind. I'm going to try really hard to get these all completed and posted by the end of the year. These are almost literally the only posts that I go back and read so in spite of my blog inactivity I want to record them down!

I love this race. I love that it is flat. I love that it has only a handful of turns. I love that it is in swanky Scottsdale where all the UGG boots and yoga pants live.

Time: 1:27:32
Pace: 6:40
Place: 41/1,117 (top 4% whaaaaaat!?)
AG Pace: 7/39 (Top 18% - BLARG. How can 20% of the people in front of me be in my age group!?)

My 2014 running year is best described like my Saturday nights: a lot of work all year long but the real fireworks were in the first 2 minutes. I set a massive half marathon PR in January but got out of a groove for the rest of the year. Fortunately, I rallied and finished strong with a solid "pace" effort in December.

The Fiesta Bowl half marathon is one of the larger half marathons in the phoenix area put on by one of the oldest running stores in town.  It is simple in design (basically a big square) and flawless in execution (sort of).  As I know you remember, last year I paced the 1:40 pace group in a leopard print pimp hat.  Haterz gotta hate. I always know a handful of people running it and usually try to keep it on my radar if the timing is right.

As of Tuesday race week I didn't even know that I was going to race.  I had my son and unfortunately he is way too big to sit still in the running stroller for a full 13 miles.  Not that I wouldn't love to try, but reminding him that "it is daddy's turn to run" and "no, you can not get out" every 30 seconds for 90 minutes does not seem like fun. Long story short, my schedule changed a bit and I was fancy free for the day!

So, I threw already maxed out Christmas inspired credit cards to the wind and signed up to race on race day.  Over the last 2 years or so, I've found that waiting until the very last minute to race is much better. That is mostly because not being able to race because of scheduling issues quickly eats up saving $10 on doing it early.

Heel strike for the win! 
(Actually, GOOD GOD, what am I doing?! Digging in for tug of war!?)

I am a pretty realistic runner.  I won't run a pace that I don't think I can hold. So, in spite of tapering (read: not running) during race week, I knew that I would not be running all out.  I haven't been training for a half marathon and really didn't want the soul crushing death march from miles 10-13.  Let's be honest, my ego needed a bit of a boost. So, I settled on running somewhere between 6:40 and 6:50 pace.  This is a bit slower than half marathon pace at 6:25 but slightly faster than marathon pace which is likely around 7:00.

 Rockfist?  Maybe. More heel strike? YES!!

I had actually planned to run a few slower miles to warm up and then ease into the faster pace, but my Garmin has been a bit wonky showing paces all over the place until it settles in. So, even though I thought that I was running slower, I was actually running pretty fast. So, I started out running 6:40s.

My ONLY complaint with this race is the mile markers.  They are off. I don't mean "uncle Frank likes to have conversations with the dog during Christmas dinner" off, I am talking more "uncle Frank has tearful conversations with the dog about how he wishes all women were loving and caring like she is" followed with admissions about how he wishes it were legal to marry dogs.  So the 2 mile marker was at least a tenth of a mile off and the 3 mile marker was a quarter mile off. Not a HUGE deal, but obviously not Garmin errors either. It was that way last year too, so I think that it might have been because the markers were supposed to be in the middle of open intersections..... lest the Scottsdale people can't get to Yoga.

Why why why do they put camera people on (tiny) uphills at mile 11?!

Overall, I continued to click off (what my watch said were) 6:40 min miles - with surprising accuracy.  I'd waiver a few seconds here or there, but was pretty spot on w/out looking at my watch much at all.

I hit the 10k mark running 6:39ish pace and felt good.  I slightly considered seeing if I could hold 6:20s, but frankly the miles were making my legs tired and I was quite comfortable running where I was. So, basically I was lazy. That is, until I hit a few of the 'uphills'. Around mile 11, the race goes on a bike path which dips under roads. the resulting 10 ft drop / rise were just enough to be annoying. Yes, you heard me right, I'm complaining about a 10 foot "hill".

Never the less, I did drop a few seconds with a few 180 degree turns and just plain old slowing down, but still managed to hold on at the finish for almost exactly a 6:40 pace finish. Hooray!

I honest to god NEVER throw up peace signs or rockfists while not racing....

Race tested, Santa approved.

Post Race Thoughts:
I really like this race. It was the ego boost that I needed after a string of sub par races to let me know that I still can throw down a somewhat speedy time with minimal race effort. How minimal the race effort was I"m still trying to process.  I think that I could have likely held 6:30s for the second half and gotten right around 1:26.  Fast, yes. But still 2 minutes slower than my PR from 12 months ago.  So, I have some work to do over the next few months to get back to my younger (obviously handsomer) glory!


Gracie said...

You're one of the few runners I know who can do somewhat minimal training and still get back to fast race times. Good job!

Laura said...

I heard nothing about delicious post race food and/or drinks... you're so not selling me on coming to run this next year.

Jamoosh said...

Nice! I want to know why photographers set up after the finish line. I am not sure why they want to catch 99% of the runners pausing their watch (the other 1% forgot).

The Silent Assassin said...

Good post, great race. Good catch on mile 2... i was like, sweet, almost done! =)

Iva said...

Good God! By the time I am finishing a half you are drinking your third beer. Possibly! Merry Christmas! P.S. I love your race photos, you can see the pain! said...

I always enjoy seeing your updates and I'm glad to see you had a solid race. I'm with you about racing smartly. I don't enjoy riding the last 5k pain train of a half...ever.

Sue's Ramblings said...

You're still doing way better than me on the blog posts! Mine turned into a complete stop a few months back! Trying to keep my head above the water at work :(

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Wow, that's speedy! I think it's a race truism that the fastest AG is always your own.