Thursday, February 21, 2013

IMS Arizona Half Marathon Race Recap

Spoiler Alert:  Pretty big half marathon PR for me on an honest course.  I finished in 1:21:54 which was good enough for 3rd place female and 9th finisher overall.

I am going to basically copy this recap straight from my running blog in order to save me from repeating myself.  It was a really great day for me in Arizona on Sunday and above all I walk away from the experience feeling incredibly blessed and very thankful.  Thankful that I have a body that allows me to run.  Thankful that I have such an incredible support system.  Thankful that so many people believe in me.  Thankful that I believe in me.  Thankful that new and exciting opportunities lie ahead.  Thankful! 

I never want to take running for granted and I always want to remember why I started running.  Setting new PR's, getting faster, and achieving success is fun and exciting but running is so much more to me and I never want to forget that.  Now onto the recap.

I am still processing this race and trying to wrap my head around the idea that it actually happened. It's still a little surreal to me but let's get to the details.

Background: I signed up for this race in July because I saw a deal on fb for $40 for the full marathon. I called my friend Heather that lives in Phoenix to see if she was on board. She was and so I signed up and decided it would be the perfect time of year to get out of Utah. I didn't know much about the course or the race besides the fact it was a total no frills race and it was in Feb in AZ. I switched to the half marathon (smart decision) in January after battling some injuries after TOU.

Pre-race: I wanted to PR (1:28 on a flat course) but I also felt I was capable of 1:25 so that was the goal. My training had been different (more laid back) gearing up for this race than ever before but I knew I had worked hard and I felt ready.

Nutrition: Mostly noting this for myself for future reference. 3/4 plain bagel & a banana pre-race (55 grams carbs?), 20 ounces of Gatorade & 16 ounces of water. Gatorade at every aid station except the first and last (maybe 1oz total in my mouth at each station...plenty on the face) and a gel at mile 7.5. Oh and the 5-hour energy 10 min before the start!

Splits: 6:22 (slowest mile), 6:13, 6:11, 6:11, 6:14, 6:10, 6:11, 6:14, 6:20, 6:09, 6:16, 6:16, 6:12, 5:38 (50 seconds).

Elevation: 186 loss / 48 gain

Report: 1.8 mile warm-up with a few strides before wishing my friend Heather good luck and lining up at the start. There were a few girls that looked fast and a couple of people talking about going for sub-1:20. I was wondering what in the heck I was getting myself into but managed to stay incredibly calm. Staying calm is critically important to performing well in my opinion. I had looked at the course map a few times and some people I met on the bus ride up told me there was a hill at mile 7 and 12.5. I decided before the race I would run on effort and did not calculate goal splits. The race started and I managed to hang back and let people go. Little did I know that my first mile would be my slowest of the entire race! I started as 5th place female and eased into a comfortably hard pace. The first mile felt awkward and hard and it took me 3 miles to find a grove and feel like I was in control and not forcing my body. I was in 3rd place by mile 2. The weather for the race was perfect but there was an 8mph headwind that was annoying. It was not a big deal but just enough to be annoying. At mile 3 I caught up to a tall guy with bright pink socks (Steve) and did my best to draft off of him. I hit the 5k in a little over 19 min and decided at that point to not hold anything back. I was not really following my plan of 6:25 minute miles and realized I was risking blowing up but I wanted to take the risk. Why not? So I just went for it and continued to run off of effort. I hit the 10k in 39 minutes still tucked right behind pink socks friend. The effort was starting to get to me and I contemplated slowing down. As we came into an aid station and I caught back up to pink socks friend he mentioned that the female Arizona Ironman Champion was not too far ahead and then said "how cool would it be to catch her". Although I never actually saw her and had no idea how far ahead she was those words sparked some sort of fire in me and gave me just the boost I needed to fight and keep pushing the pace. Runners were very few and far between and besides me and pink socks friend Steve there was only one runner I could see ahead. We finally managed to catch white shirt guy at mile 9 and after seeing his back for 9 miles I was so excited to reel him in. He was very supportive and would end up working with me until the finish. The effort was getting harder but my splits were coming in consistently and I just continued to work as hard as I could. I hit mile 10 at 1:02:30 and thought about slowing down and just running a 5k in 22 minutes and still reaching my goal of 1:25 (moment of weakness). Or I could really see how tough I was and run a sub-20 last 5k! I wanted to see what I was capable of and I really fought for every step that last 5k. I had caught white shirt guy and stayed in between him and pink socks dude. Having these two to work with was incredible helpful. This was a small race with very little crowd support. My feet started bothering me at mile 11 and my calves were screaming at me but it felt good! This is what I work my butt off for; I train for these moments of complete pain when you are pushing yourself so far outside of what you ever thought you were capable of. This is what it is all about. I managed to stay focused and ran with my heart. I kept repeating in my head and out loud (poor white shirt guy) "run with your heart" "run with your heart". The little hill at mile 12.5 was not too bad (freeway overpass) and I powered up it and then flew into the finish with the biggest smile on my face. My friend Emily was cheering at the mile 13 mile marker and since my family wasn't at the race it was so great to see a familiar face. I was beaming from ear to ear as I crossed the finish line and was so incredibly happy!


Mile 13!  Yes I beat white shirt guy. ;)

Final kick to the finish.

After talking to the first & second place girls and my friend Emily I jogged back to mile 12.5 to run my friend Heather in. 1.2 mile cool down.


Heather, me & Emily after the race.  This picture really makes me look like a midget.

All Smiles!

Right after I crossed the finish line with the famous EMZ.  LOVE her!

Heather and I after the race.  So proud of this girl.  She is dealing with a hip injury and still finished in an awesome time of 1:52.  Now I just need to find a cheap flight back to Phoenix so I can watch her rock the Phoenix half on March 2nd!

Post-Race thoughts: Still processing a lot of this. I feel disappointed when people ask if I won and I have to respond that no I didn't win but I did run really well. Hard to explain to non-runners that winning was not the goal. I am so incredibly happy with the way I ran and at the end of the day I am only out there competing against myself. By far the coolest thing about it all is that I paced 6:15 for the race which is the Olympic Trials Qualifying pace. I want to keep working hard and make that dream a reality!

The race was perfect and everything I dreamed it could be but the trip to Phoenix was memorable for so many reasons more important than the race.  So many magical things happened and it is so crazy how people fall into your life for a reason.  I now this to be true and I cannot wait to post more about the trip in the next few days. 

Thanks for reading my shenanigans!

33 comments:

  1. Great job Rachelle, way to really push yourself hard! What an amazing time, so impressed with you and your speedy little legs!

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  2. Wow! That is an INCREDIBLE time! I was amazed reading your split times! Way to go exceeding your expecations and working hard!

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  3. This is truly incredible! Congratulations!

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  4. Congrats!! I'm friends with Julia AND Michael and Jim that you met there so I need to get with the program and follow you! Olympic Trials! No words for how cool that is!

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  5. This is such an inspiring recap! Congratulations and I can't wait to see what amazing things your running future holds!

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  6. someday i wish to have your slowest mile. hehe. Love it and congrats! and yay for EMZ!!!

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  7. I love this so much! Once again, got goosebumps. I love your recaps. Congrats on such an amazing race, Rachelle! You seriously blow my mind. I hope you come run one with me one day :)

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  8. Incredible! You earned every second of that PR!

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  9. You are the BOMB!!! Way to go! Just amazing. :)

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  10. I'm so proud to even know someone like you!! You are my official running hero!

    Congrats again on such a great run and great finish.

    So glad we got to finally meet!!

    Olympics here you come!

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  11. No words for how freaking amazing you are. Great recap!

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  12. SPEEDY, SPEEDY!!! I can't believe how freaking fast you ran that, great job :)

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  13. Holy crap Rachelle you are so freaking fast. Congrats on an amazing PR!!!

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  14. WOW this is amazing!!!!!!! margot posted this link and I was soooooo inspired by your amazing recap. Thank you for sharing and BIG congrats, this is totally incredible!!!!!

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  15. I love your recap and all your pictures and talk about being so short are really relatable, all my friends bend down to take pictures with me too. It looks like we're about the same size anyway and it's so great to meet another runner who is fast with my build (short, athletic, but looking live we've been running a few years!). Gets to me when people act like the winners are always really tall!

    So awesome that you caught the guy in the white shirt and I love the pic of you passing him at the end! Poor dude! You are one fast, strong, girly Rachelle, congratulations!

    Amy Lauren
    TheTinyTerror.com

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  16. Wow! Fantastic job, Rachelle! Congrats on an amazing race, and I'll be looking to see more great news from you in the future.

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  17. so so fast!!!
    congratulations!
    so great that Emz was there for you!
    Bravo Rachelle!

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  18. CONGRATULATIONS!! You are AMAZING!

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  19. You are an AMAZING runner! It's gonna be really cool to know an Olympian! Keep it going girl!

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  20. you are AMAZING!!!! what a time!!! congrats girl, you deserve it!

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  21. Hard work. Dedication. Dedication. Hard work. I know you can make the Olympic Trials. You are so talented and I love learning from you.

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  22. A million CONGRATS my friend. Thank YOU for sharing your thoughts on your amazing race. I've seen you grown so much as a runner Rachelle & it's been so neat to see how much you've accomplished. 2012 was a great year for you & 2013 is looking pretty darn good too. What lies in front of you?! Anything YOU want. You have the "ganas" (desire in Spanish), committment, passion & dedication it takes to reel in those stars. Olympic trials?!! Sure, why NOT?!! If/when you do I'll be there with my cowbells cheering you on. You're an incredible young lady. Running is just one of the many layers that makes you *incredible*.

    It's great that Emily was there to cheer you in. The running community really is so supportive. Your dedication during this training cycle has been spot on. You didn't make excuses, you were out there in the freezing cold & your positive outlook is what defines a winner. AND you're a winner my friend. :) xo

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  23. Oh how I loved reading this! Never had a doubt that you were going to crush that race! So inspired by you and excited to cheer you to the trials!

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  24. So incredible Rachelle! You are so beyond amazing. I'm so proud of you and know that the trials are truly in your grasp for reals. Way to go!

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  25. I am hanging out with Janae this weekend at a running retreat and she told me to check out your blog! Girl, you are so speedy and such an inspiration!!! I can't wait to read more!!!

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  26. Rachelle, I'm Amylee's friend and we always talk about how incredibly talented you are ... And such a hard worker, too! Congratulations on an amazing PR! I think you have the Olympic Trials in the bag!

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  27. your mental strength and fortitude constantly amaze me. There were several times last week that I didn't want to run and I told myself-- Rachelle just ran a 1:21, I think I can manage and easy 4 - 5 miler... always inspiring without ever realizing you're doing it.

    Can't wait to see what else you put your mind to accomplish, because we all know when you set a goal, it gets CRUSHED :)

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  28. Hey Rachelle! Great job! Looks like we have a lot in common. I am a fellow runner with an Olympic Trials goal, and I also just ran a 1:21 half! I know we will get there :)

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  29. You are amazing! Way to go on smashing your goal. YOu deserve all the great things that are coming your way. How did I not know about this blog? I am glad I have a ntoher way to see,..err read about you? I was bummed you weren't at lunch on Monday, so I am pretty sure we need to schedule another lunch or fro yo date soon so I can see you!

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  30. I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup? I'm
    assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?

    I'm not very web savvy so I'm not 100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos

    my web blog - bmi chart
    my web page > bmi chart male

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  31. you know i was super excited when i saw your recent trip to AZ. I thought you moved there! hehe, and you can ran with EMZ! what an amazing time!!

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  32. this is an amazing and perfect recap. seriously one of the best i have ever read. no definitely the best. it was so raw and genuine. i felt like i was in your head with you at the race. im so proud of who you are, who you have become, and where you are going! i admire you constantly and look up to you always. you have such a good head on your shoulders and mindset about everything. i have no doubt i will be cheering you on in the Olympics:) so proud to call you a friend! Congrats on a well earned, deserved, memorable PR!

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