Monday, January 15, 2007
Cold As Ice
The Arizona Rock N Roll Half Marathon is now one for my history book! I didn't train as well as I should have, but I did finish!
Let me start at the start...
Hubbie and I were invited to stay at a fellow BFL'ers home when she found out we were thinking about running in the Arizona Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I had known Sylvia from an online, women over 40 Body For Life support group. We've been corresponding for the past 7 years, but we never really met. I know it does sound a little weird to stay with people we've never really met, but we did connect because we had the same sort of weight loss and work-out issues, so we related well to each other on line. Once we all met on Saturday afternoon, we really hit it off. Our husbands even got along well. Sylvia and Chuck definitely rolled out the red carpet for us and I hope we're able to return the favor someday. We did our carb-load at one of their favorite Italian restaurants, and went back to their house for an early bed time.
The next morning we woke up at the crack of dark to FREEZING temperatures. To say that it was unseasonably cold would be an understatement. It was 24 friggin' degrees. 24 degrees Fahrenheit. 24! It was much colder in some areas... Arizona has not seen cold temperatures like that in well over 10 years. Perhaps if you're from the some place that gets snow for the winter, 24 degrees seems like nothing, but the coldest I've ever trained in is probably 50 degrees, and that's really not all that cold in the big picture -- I'm just not used to it. We had to park near the finish line, per the race instructions, and take a shuttle bus to the start -- Fine, if we only had to wait a few minutes, but we had to wait for more than 45 minutes in the frosty cold. I couldn't feel my toes. I don't really have uber-cold weather running gear, but I do have long running tights, a long sleeved running shirt with wicking material, and a wind resistant jacket. I felt bad for the people wearing only shorts and t-shirts. The buses finally arrived and we made it to the start just as the national anthem was being played. I didn't think I would have time to make a port-o-potty dash so I got into starting corral. I happened to stand next to a man who had run in this event before and said that it took a good 20 minutes after the start gun went off to get to the starting gate, so I did have time to visit the port-o-potty. I was able to get back in a corral, not mine, but I was able to find hubbie in his corral and we began the event together. We got off to a very cautious and slow start because our feet were so cold and there was no way of warming up before the run. My feet felt like I was running with rocks on the balls of my feet... but it was my frozen feet... I could feel that I was running slower than normal because I was just too cold and stiff. People had really layered for this race, and they did shed their jackets, pants, gloves, ets, starting around mile 2. There were clothes strewn all over the streets and sidewalks. We were still pretty cold so hubbie grabbed a couple of pairs of shedded gloves. It probably sounds kinda icky to wear someone elses already worn gloves, but our fingers hurt, so at that point we didn't care. It did help, though, and I was able to shed the gloves around mile 8. As usual, hubbie ran with me until mile 3 and kissed me good by and began his walk/run pattern. I kept running. The section of Phoenix we ran through was not the greatest. One lady (a local) I ran next to said she couldn't believe the event coordinators let us run through that particular neighborhood because we ran past several strip bars, cheesy motels, run-down buildings, and so on. I guess if you want nicer scenery you have to run the full Marathon because that route goes through a nicer section of the Phoenix area. Oh well. Having the bands every few miles or so did help, as always. I didn't pay attention to the scenery. I just kept looking ahead and paced myself with a few people who were running about my speed. The route was relatively flat, with a few very gradual hills, but nothing treacherous. The half marathon was awkward to finish because the route bottle-necked around the last mile -- towards ASU, it was hard to pass around large groups of people, and we couldn't see the finish line until the last few hundred feet, which made it a little hard to put in that last ditch, sprint effort, but I tried it anyway.
My official finish time was 2:21 and change. Not bad for a sparse training season and running in mind numbing cold... I was thrilled to have the mylar blanket at the end of that race, which actually helped to keep me a little bit warmer. It was about 44 degrees at the end of the race. Hubbie came in at 2:51, and our friends came in at exactly 3:00. Once we were all together and received some sustenance, we all wanted to go home ASAP. We were just COLD. Here's a picture of the four of us ( from left to right: Chuck, Hubbie Michael, Me, Sylvia) right before we went back to the car...
We didn't stick around the expo at all. We made it back to the house, showered and went out to eat and enjoy a celebration martini.
Monday morning, our generous hosts had to go to work, and hubbie and I pretty much packed and trekked into Phoenix to have lunch with one of my high school friends. Lucky for us, she happened to have the day off. I didn't think we'd be able to connect on this trip, so it was nice to see her and play catch-up for a couple of hours.
Fast forward to home. We made it back just fine. I'm a tiny bit sore in my ankles, and hubbie has sore quads, but nothing too bad. My weight has not changed at all. Even with all the carb-loading and indulging after the run, so that's a good thing. Hubbie and I are already signed up for the San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon in June 2007, and training for that will start next week.
Back at home, the Chargers lost their chance at Superbowl, but there's always next year. Now I have to pick another team to root for so it's gonna be the Chicago Bears. Go Bears!