Monday, March 29, 2010

Arizon Distance Classic Results -- Update 3-31

NOTE: On 3-31 I rechecked results to add everyone in our group, and I noticed my finish time had changed. Darn! Not as fast as I thought I was. This seems more accurate though, because it matches the time on my watch.

PS: You don't get race scenery like this in Ohio.

Well, the race was yesterday and I was a little wiped out afterward. So here is my report.

The race started at 7 a.m. which was perfect. Before the sun rose over the mountains, it was a little chilly waiting for the start. It was in the 40s and some of us were debating whether to wear our long pants during the race or not. Luckily Deb convinced me to wear shorts and leave my jacket behind. However, I did bring an ugly sweatshirt with the intention of tossing it as soon as it warmed up and I did keep that with me.

An acapella group did a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. As they reached the last line of the song, the sun peeped over the top of the mountain -- it was breath taking!

As the sun rose, the day did get warmer. About mile 2 I tossed my throw-away gloves, and about mile 3 I tossed my sweatshirt. I am so glad Deb talked me into not wearing long pants! (Yes, I did thank her many times throughout the race.)

The course is an out and back. It is a little hillier than I had expected, but we are in the foothills of the mountains after all, I should have anticipated that. (I have done plenty of hillier courses, so it didn't bother me -- I was just surprised.) The hills here were more long with a gradual incline as opposed to the short and steep hills of either a Cincinnati or Parkersburg.

Deb and I had planned to try to be between a 14 and 14:30 min mile. We did pretty well with faster miles going downhill, slower miles going uphill. We started to get a little toasty in the second half. Though water stops were about every 2 miles, we probably could have used an extra one closer to the end. (Still not bad.)

Usually in half marathons, I will go ahead of Deb around mile 10. This race I waited until mile 11, when I got my second wind. Around mile 12 I started to feel very slightly lightheaded, slowed a bit, took a Shot Blok, drank the entire cup of water handed to me and I was fine. I continued to speed up and finished VERY strong.

Because our Ohio winter had limited my training, I was not expecting to PR and was just hoping to finish faster than 3:15. (In fact, we lined up with the 3:15 pacer.) We passed him around mile 3 and both Deb and I finished faster than we had anticipated. I was 3:07:32 3:08:29 with an average pace of 14:19 14:24 and Deb finished strong at 3:09:07 3:09:50 with a 14:27 14:30 average (4 min faster than her Gasparilla finish!). My watch said my finish was 3:08:28, so I am even happier with my official finish time! (Deb pointed out that I usually do not finish much more than 45 seconds to a minute faster than her.)

There are a couple of things to note about this race. 1) There were fewer than 2,000 people entered in the race. 2) There is very little crowd support, which initially surprised me. 3) There was no entertainment along the way. I'm with a group of 10 people and our opinions were divided on this. Half felt that crowd support and entertainment would have been nice, half did not care.

Let me just say that if you are not from this part of the country, the scenery is so beautiful, bands would have taken away from it. And the race was also held on Palm Sunday, so I am positive that many people who would normally watch a race were probably at some type of a church service.

I personally like the party atmosphere of some races. I also enjoy when cities such as Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Nashville and Parkersburg really support a race and the community comes out to cheer. It's not necessary, but I enjoy it. Because there was not much of that here, it almost made this event seem more like a hometown race. (Not a criticism, just an observation.)

So, the weather was beautiful, the scenery was beautiful, the course was very nice though a little hilly. There were a few glitches with getting our race numbers and goodie bags, but I think those will get ironed out. (They tried something new.) Overall, it was a very good event!

That is it for now. Photos to come.

Added 3-31
Results from our group:
Deb - 3:09:50
Me - 3:08:28
Tom - 2:59:52 (His first half marathon!)
Elaine - 2:57:43
Pat - 2:57:30
Nancy - 2:56:42
Peggy - 2:53:08
Laura - 2:39:46 (Not sure about this.)
Donna - 2:31:58
Renee from Wisconsin: 3:01:23

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