This past Sunday I ran the Tucson Half Marathon. I have run this race twice in the past, the last time was 3 years ago. It is a great downhill course, although there were a few significant rolling hills between miles 9 and 11 that slowed me down a bit. A few firsts happened to me on Sunday. It was the first time I missed the start of the race because I was still in the porta potty line! You may have heard (or experienced) that before a race starts everyone has to go to the bathroom and there are never enough porta potties, however, this was the smallest amount I have ever seen at a race. I contemplated going in the bushes (like many others), but the sun was just beginning to rise and I was not that brave. The other option was to just start running and either try to hold it or find a porta potty along the course, but since I was trying to run a certain time in this race, I knew I neither wanted to be full of fluid and uncomfortable nor did I want to take a minute or 2 to duck into a porta potty “on the clock”. I decided to finish waiting in line, used the porta potty, then ran to the start and quickly hopped into the next wave that went off (the race starts in waves, but you have a chip that doesn’t start your time until you cross the starting line).
Missing the start of a race can certainly give you some anxiety, but I tried to relax and get into my stride and just focus on the race in front of me. I was shooting for a time below 1:42 because I think this will help me get into the New York City Marathon in 2016. It’s a very fast time for me, but I knew this course was fast and it would be my best chance of hitting the time. And since my dad lives in Tucson, it was a great chance to go see him. My sister and I drove out for a quick weekend, and we had a wonderful time.
Back to the race…it was a gorgeous morning with temps in the mid to high 40s to start and warming up from there. My perfect running temperature. I began clicking off miles in the 7:30-7:40 range, a bit faster than where I needed to be, but I knew the hills toward the end would take some time back. I ran by my dad and sister around mile 8.5 and that gave me the extra boost I needed those last miles. I managed to run a 1:40.58, 61 seconds faster than I needed, cutting it a little close, but I was thrilled that I made the time I needed to hopefully get back to the NYC Marathon next November.
After the race, I found my dad and sister and wandered over to check my actual finish time, and that’s when the other first time thing happened to me. I had to check twice just to be sure my eyes were correct, and sure enough, it showed I finished first in my age group! This has never happened to me before (apparently all the faster 40-44 year old women stayed home that day), so I was stunned and still think it’s rather funny!
A huge thank you to my sister for driving out to Tucson with me and supporting me throughout the race. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders both at races and in life and I am blessed to have her. And thank you to my dad for also cheering me on, even as an adult it is an amazing feeling to have your dad see you cross a finish line, it was so special to me!
I know I have not been posting much around here, life sometimes gets in the way. However, I do post a bit more frequently (just a bit!) on my Facebook page and Twitter, so check Miles and Trials out there too!