Last January, I DNFed the Rock â€˜n’ Roll Marathon. After taking a few months off to figure out some health stuff, I decided it was time to get back in shape. I started jogging a few days a week and as I built up my stamina, I decided to sign up for another race â€“ the Runner’s Den/Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon.
My goal for this race was â€œJust Finish.â€ I tried not to care about my time. I just wanted to get a race under my belt.
The race started at 7:30am. I had to get up extra early to walk the dog, put in my contacts, and get breakfast into my stomach by 6:30am so I’d have plenty of time to drive to Scottsdale, check my gear, and find my spot at the starting line. I was so grateful they had heaters near the starting line. It was only 40 degrees outside before sunrise, and I was cold standing in my shorts and race shirt. I opted to wear the same race shirt as Rock â€˜n’ Roll to re-christen it with a good race.
My half marathon PR is 1:52:04, but I opted to line up with the 2:00 pacer. Given my training, 2 hours was the best finish I could have â€“ maybe. By Mile 2, I wasn’t cold anymore. By Mile 4, my pacer had passed me and was out of sight. I tried not to think about it, reminding myself, â€œJust run your race. This race is just the beginning.â€
As I jogged along, I started thinking about my ideas for 2016. Some of the theme words that crossed my mind were â€œsimple,â€ â€œadventure,â€ â€œsunshine,â€ â€œdirt,â€ â€œhappy,â€ and â€œcalm.â€ I suspect next year will be just as busy as this year, but I want the scope of my activities to be more narrow, with more time and energy for recreation and seeing my friends.
I finished the race in 2:03:49 â€“ averaging 9:28 per mile. Beside sore quads and toes, my body felt good coming across the finish line. As I was getting my stuff from gear check another racer thanked me for being a good pacer for him. I think I passed him around Mile 10 and he must have stayed with me for the rest of the race. I love that part of racing â€“ using other racers to keep pace.
When I got back to my car, the thermometer informed me that the temperature had only risen to 48 degrees. My fingernails were purple. It felt so good to get home to a hot shower and a nap.