Roll 'N' Rock nah man Rock 'N” Roll.
I have been asked every year since I made it known I was a runner, 2011, if I was going to Run the Arizona Rock 'n' Roll (RNR) Marathon. I have always had interesting excuses. Some legit. Like its always the weekend before the Coldwater Rumble, an ultra race at Estrella Mountain Regional Park, put on by Aravaipa. Its basically my back yard so how could I miss it. But also i stayed away because it seemed like it was a huge corporate race with too many people. But my opinion has changed. Yes it has. IT WAS FUN!
|the wife and I race morning|
I singed up for the RNR Marathon close to a year in advance. The price was just to good to pass up. I was also in a bit of a fog mentally, and needed to change things up. I love trail ultras, but I was in a rut, I thought a road marathon and Boston Qualifier race would get me moving. That was until I was inspired to go for a big ultra. I paced my buddy and Chris at the Mogollon Monster. The race is 100 miles with about 20k feet of gain. It was such a magical experience. It made me want to tackle a challenge I had talked about for awhile, the Across the Years (ATY) 24 hour run. It was dream come true, my first sub 24 hour 100 mile run. The RNR was 2 weeks after and I thought maybe I could somewhat recover enough to run it.
Looming in my head, was a tiny stubborn voice, you could still run the marathon. My intention was to fully support my wife in her third half marathon effort and did not want to distract any attention away from her race. Recovering and trying to give her room to get in her last 2 weeks of training I hobbled around and contemplated what to do. I knew I could tough out the marathon, but why torture myself, knowing the half marathon 13.1 miles, would be a challenge on tired legs and could still be enjoyable. I finally threw in the towel and settled on the half.
I dropped my wife off at the Y race morning so she could go to the race with he running group, crew, gang. I know she enjoys running with them and I know how fun it is to share a passion for something with friends. So I drove to the starting line alone with many thoughts going though my nervous mind. The morning before while cleaning my garage I stepped on a board and punctured my left foot with four nails. Not super deep, but punctures, and my foot throbbed. I walked around painfully. i was upset. I would make my decision on what to do race morning.
|punctured foot, four nails.|
Foot bandaged up and a baggie in my pocket with ibuprofen I set my mind on running he half marathon. Soto was running late as normal and met me at the back of corral one minutes before the start of the run. It was not as cold as I anticipated. Which was a good thing. The weather turned out to be perfect. Overcast and cool. The first mile was so uncomfortable. I told Soto I was going to drop. I was surprised he was chilling with me. I think he was there just for fun also. We were right behind the 1:45 pace group. Finally my foot went numb, either from the pounding, or it just accepted that I was going to be running. The miles past steady. I was having fun.
I gestured to each band we past, waved at people holding up signs, and just talked Soto's ear off. It was around mile 7 or so I could feel the muscles in both my legs aching. I was still surprised I was hitting sub 8 minute per mile pace 2 weeks after running 100 miles. Around mile 9 there is decent little climb. But you get a great view of Papago Mountain. I thought It was a beautiful backdrop. Like Soto said, “if you go up you must come down.” I allowed my self to push downhill portion on the road.
|under the balloon and DEEZE Nuts|
We passed the Phoenix Zoo and were almost on the home stretch. I pushed my pace will crossing the bridge over Tempe Town Lake. I could see the finish. I gave a full out last effort and gave a fist pump at the finish. Paparazzi, aka race photographers, were everywhere snapping photos. I posed for a few with Soto, a few solo, and with my wife when she finished her race with a PR. I shivered. It was cold. we all walked sore and stiff like. It's a strange walk, but also a good one, knowing that soreness is from accomplishment.
I was so overtaken by how many people run this event. Seeing all the support from family and friends tears of Joy, many people made a dream come true. I will do this or another big Marathon again. But my heart will always be with the Trail ultras!
As I write this I have decided to go see a doctor for my foot. My tetanus is up to date but Id rather be safe then sorry.
If all goes good be running the OracleRumble ½ marathon on January 28th.
My finish time at the RNR half was 1 hour 40 minutes and 28 Seconds. 479 out of 10,278.
|Brian, Liz, and I|
|Gotta have a beer after a race, even if its a light one|