Arizona, 8 weeks from NY, was the guinea pig to determine if Hal Higdon's eight-week plan between marathons could work for me. I have to confess that I was a total slacker during the eight weeks. I ran a total of 107 miles, for a 13 miles per week, and the low mileage was not due to illness, or too much work, or some "acceptable" excuse. The reason was laziness. Though AZ results would tell me how capable I would be of pulling off a marathon in 8 weeks, the lack of training put me in the verge of a nervous breakdown. The only thing that kept me confident was that I had covered all long runs including the 20-miler.
I traveled on Friday night with fellow runners Shannon and Susan to conquer my 4th state which would be run through Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe. Our flight was uneventful, our hotel cozy and everything was simply perfect. Saturday morning was dedicated to the Expo, and after that, I went back to my hotel to do what I do the day before a marathon: nothing.
My dear friend Gina, from college times in Venezuela, and who lives in Tempe, picked me up for the carboload dinner. She immediately declared herself my personal agent who would take care of me, pick me up at 6 am to go to the race, and spoil me after the race (Shannon and Susan were running the Half which had different start times). Gina drove me through the area, I enjoyed the vegetation and mountains which are of course, so different than my Pacific Northwest (PNW) mountains and vegetation.
Dinner was as delicious as Buca Di Beppo food can be (I am a fan of this franchise). Plenty of food, tons of conversations about our college times, and catching up with life.
On morning race, Gina showed up at 5:50 am and took me to the start line. Temperature was in 47F/8C and expected to climb to 60F/15C by my finish time. I was a little bit concerned about the heat, but it seemed a manageable temperature. I wandered around to feel the Rock and Roll atmosphere, visited the porta-potties a couple of times, and got ready for the 7:40 start.
The course in general was nothing special and the crowd to cheer runners up was nonexistent. Residential areas were pretty and I enjoyed a lot the architecture and home landscaping, but I would loved the race going throughout the desert, at least for some miles, to have the opportunity to run around Southwest nature. Instead, we ran around strip malls.
I was very comfortable the first half of the race. At this point, the temperature was at 55F/13C which was perfect due to the dry atmosphere. When I run in WA, in a cold but sunny day I have to pour water on my head, but in AZ I never felt hot though it was sunny and in high 50's. At mile 16 I started to fall apart, and I thought I was going to be in trouble, but some magic happened. At mile 18 I stuck behind a couple running at 10:45 - 11:10 min/mile. I ran the whole mile behind them at that pace, and felt great. I grabbed water at mile 19 and passed them to continue at a good pace. At mile 20 I had the indication that I could PR and sent a command, bring it on.
The last 10K were great. Thinking on the 20-miler I did with my daughter, I put all my thoughts and energy in one, and only one mile at a time. When I got to mile 25 I saw the 5 hr pacer; then I knew that, not only I had a PR, but that I had the chance to break 5. I sped up and the pace went from 11:20ish to 10:50 for the last mile.
At mile 26.2 I saw myself achieving three things: finishing; PRing and breaking a mark. In short, I saw myself Hitting A Triple.
|PR by 7 minutes and breaking 5 hours|
|With my kids at SEATAC|
|With fellow runners, Shannon and Susan|
|The route: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe|
|With my personal agent Gina the night before the race|
|Eggplant Parmigiana for after the race!!!|