Race Review: Tucson Half Marathon

Saturday, I signed up for the Tucson Half Marathon. Yesterday I ran it. And seriously, I never would have if it wasn’t for my co-worker, Mike. Not only did he stop at Avis to make sure I was on the rental car agreement, but he took me to the expo so I could sign up, and took me to the mall because I didn’t have ear buds or warm enough clothes for the race. He never complained or seemed annoyed. The dude’s a saint. But I would never tell him that to his face because I wouldn’t hear the end of it. Smile

After four hours of sleep, I woke up at 2:30 in the morning to get to the race on time. I was not amused.

Luckily (kind of), I didn’t sleep that well so it felt like I never went to sleep to begin with. So I was wide awake. Good thing since I had an hour and 40 minute drive to Tucson ahead of me.

I got dressed and gathered all my things – including my new blingy Hello Kitty ear buds.

Inside, I am a twelve year old.

Anyway, the ride up was pretty uneventful (i.e., I didn’t get lost) except for the fact that I had to go through border patrol and have a Doberman sniff the car for drugs. (That was new.)

The race started at 7:00am but I left so early because I had to be there to catch the shuttle between 4:45 and 5:30. I got on the second shuttle and made it to the start almost two hours early. Not normally a big deal, but it was about 36 degrees out and I was freezing my ass off.

I hopped off the shuttle and made a b-line for the port-o-potties before a line could form. I was the first one to use it! I even had to take the wrapping off the toilet paper and everything. It’s the little things.

After my super clean port-o-potty experience, I got back on the bus to keep warm until we were kicked off 30 minutes later. Then I snuggled some other runners by the heat lamps.

I gotta say, being alone at a race kinda sucks. I was seriously missing this girl. I talked to a bunch of nice runners but having someone at the end to share your race with makes all the difference. /end lonely girl talk

Ok, so we all made our way to the start after a very cold wait. There were no pace markers, just a woman with a megaphone shouting “8 minute milers line up here!” Very strange. I just got in the back.

After an exceptionally good National Anthem, we were off.

For the first mile or so, my feet were numb from the cold. Once the numbness wore off, I was feeling pretty good. It was cold out but the air was so crisp and nice to run in.

The first five miles were exceptionally beautiful. Most of the course looked like you were running to the mountains and the desert on both sides of the road was so beautiful and peaceful.

I don’t think those pictures do it justice.

Usually I can’t handle slow songs when I’m running, but Lana Del Ray and Massive Attack were my jams for this one. It just kinda fit the mood, ya know?

Since this race was so last minute, I didn’t set any goals. I just wanted to enjoy myself and take in the scenery. I wore my Garmin but never looked at it once because I wanted to keep my hands warm. Plus, my nose was running since it was so cold so my sleeve was doubling as a booger rag.

The course was one long-ass road and mostly downhill.

But the parts that didn’t fall into that “mostly” category were sure as hell uphill. One of them had to have been a mile long or more.

At mile 4, I lost the cap to my water bottle.

At mile 5, I walked so I could take off my hoodie. That took way longer than it should ever take a normal person. I was trying to hold my water bottle with my teeth so it wouldn’t spill all over me. That did not go well. I also may have blown my nose in my hoodie. Twice. It was either that. Or this.

I also walked at mile 6.5 and 10 to eat half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then I walked again through a water stop at mile 12.

The last two miles were rough. I didn’t feel like I had anything left in me. Maybe it was because I didn’t have any Nuun in my water? My run literally felt like a walk. I had no clue what my time was but I thought I’d be around a 2:15 or so.

I ended up coming in at 2:08:05.

Super surprising. Of the 15 halves I’ve ran, only three of them have been faster than that, and all three of them were two years ago. I am really happy with that time. I’m finally starting to get back to the speed I was at before marathon training slowed me down.

So yeah. Super runner’s high after this one.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a race run so efficiently. The marathoners and half marathoners started in completely different areas. We even parked in different lots and took different shuttles. It made it super easy to park, get the shuttle there and back, and get out of the race parking lot. No traffic, no waiting. Just an all around good experience.

I didn’t even mind the hour forty ride back to Sierra Vista. I was feeling good. I cranked the heat and music and opened the windows and sunroof while I drove back with views like this.

#15

So, this happened today.

I didn’t even know this race was happening until Michelle told me about it on Friday. Then I felt all giddy like a school girl and wanted to run it bad. After sweet-talking my co-worker into taking me to the Expo yesterday, I registered and then ran that puppy today.

It was a really great race. I didn’t PR (I also wasn’t trying to) but I did run the race faster than any of my halves this year. So I’m feeling pretty bad ass about that.

I’ve had a great weekend. It almost makes up for the full week of mind-numbing work I’m doing here.

I’ll be back with a review later, but in the meantime, enjoy this picture Michelle put together of us at the Orlando Half last weekend.

That’s right. Two photographers directly in front of us and neither of them got a picture of us together. Even though we were holding hands. Lame.