Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 Phoenix Womens Half Marathon Race Report

For me, the best combination in life is family/friends + travel + running. Oh, and wine. And, maybe cheese and bread. Coffee is good too.

If I can put these things together then I stop caring so much about all the other bullshit going on in the world.

This excellent combination was in full effect this weekend when we traveled to Arizona for the Phoenix Women's Half. The main reason to go was to see Sam at Arizona State, but then of course it never hurts to add on a race, especially when it fits perfectly into my training plan.

Like I told you last week - my ass pain was kind of evident days before the race, but in my perfect denial style I figured I'd take a couple days off pre-race and miraculously all would be well. Magical thinking is fun. Until reality sets in (foreshadow).

We got in early on Saturday morning (the race was on Sunday) and visited Sam's dorm. Not much has changed since he left home:

  Ate something too big for my mouth:

Sat in the hot tub and watched the planes fly over because our hotel room was directly in the fight path of the Phoenix airport. TGFEP (Thank God For Ear Plugs):

Someone in this picture needs their own pair of sunglasses

Then I ate a large dose of Chick-fil-A right before bed because that is what you do when you want to risk a poop surprise episode on the race course (not a foreshadow, thank God).

Race morning involved showing up, pinning on a bib, freezing for a minute, then heading to the start. It was a small race (about 320 people) and supposedly was limited to women, but I did see about five men out there. Vagina envy?

The weather was perfection and running in a skirt and tank top instead of 29 layers was fantastic. We ran the first 4.5 miles or so on a combination of concrete and asphalt path along a canal. It was flat with the exception of about 10 under passes (fully stocked with a lovely urine smell). I can't say the course was overly scenic, but the sun was shining and I was running, so I didn't complain to anyone.

At about mile 2, my sore piriformis (right buttock to be precise) started acting up. I knew it would probably be a long 11 miles to come. The pain didn't slow me down much, but I thought about it. A lot. Pain when running equals no good.

After hitting a turn around spot at mile 4.5, we headed back to the start line where we would go out another 2 miles or so, then back. So this was basically a double out and back. Not sure what I think about that, but no one asked me.

I took a strawberry/banana GU at 6 miles and swigged water. Fascinating.

At this point I was hitting my mile splits consistently - about 8:30 - 8:40 min/miles. Being so flat it was pretty easy to stay consistent.

I finished up in 1:52 (8:35 average pace). My goal was to break two hours, so BOOM. Not a PR, but not a PW.

8th/49th in age group (45-49); 34th/313th female.

Now I show you the worst race photo ever. And, for once it's not because I'm crying or sweating or ugly, but because THIS DAMN WOMAN IN THE BLUE COAT IS IN THE WAY.

I saw the family. They were like blah, blah...yeah, another race. Can we go eat? You smell.

Yay for my hype extended knee!

Then I went to find Erika. She's my dear friend and auntie to the kids. She traveled with us to the race. I knew she'd been having hip problems, but she finished strong.

And, there was bling:

Pros of this race:

  • Small and manageable. No parking issues or traffic. Able to stay warm in the car until the start.
  • Great aid stations and support. Water/Gatorade every two miles and GUs a few times as well.
  • Good energy from the particpants
  • Plenty of porta potties
  • The weather!
  • Pretty fast course, being so flat and uncrowded

Cons of this race:

  • Almost no spectators along the way
  • Kind of a boring course
  • By the time I signed up, they were out of the race shirts, so they are sending me one.

After the race, well it was out to lunch to Pita Jungle for food and beers, then more hot tubbing and a nap. Pretty spectacular day overall.

So...with this ass pain, I'm taking a few days off to see if I can deal with this thing before it gets worse. How do you know a runner is injured (or staving off injury)? This picture:

That's funny. I never realized until now that by wearing this swim cap I am advertising for a condom company. Go ME!

Which do you prefer, small or larger races? I like smaller for the logistics and crowd control, but I like larger races for the spectators and other distractions.

Do you bring your family to races? Not always. I usually let them choose if they want to come or not unless it's some really big deal thing.



  1. What is it with men who run women's races? When I ran Zooma a few years ago, I was in the portapotty (natch) and some GUY opened the door. Dude, it's a woman's race?

    Congrats on a strong finish! New AG yet?

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  3. "For me, the best combination in life is family/friends + travel + running. Oh, and wine. And, maybe cheese and bread. Coffee is good too.".

    Perfect stated! Minus the wine, plus vodka. 😊

  4. Small races for sure, especially in small towns which are usually organised by the local folks. Homey atmosphere.

  5. After all this talk about your ass, I was all worked up to enter the polling that you would surely have about it's shape. But no. Sigh. And then there was the Chik-fil-A foreshadowing, and I was filled with dread. Does the swimsuit mean you are going to be communing with your pussy posse again? Congrats on suffering through the race for a MOTRR.

    1. Pussy Posse! You are one dedicated fan.

  6. I'm going to go with medium-sized races as my favorite, because I am a special snowflake. But mostly I care about the scenery, and less about the crowd.

  7. I prefer smaller races.

    My husband has done a bunch of cycling races and I started volunteering at those. He has been at all my races and we've even done some racecations.

  8. Let us know what you're doing about your piriformis. Is the only fix rest? Mine has been hurting for months. I don't run but race canoes, gym rat stuff and yoga and it is truly a pain in the ass. Any suggestions are welcome! Looks like you had a lovely weekend in the sun, which makes any other stuff fade into the background....KellyM here. I don't have any of that other stuff to use for commenting...too lazy.

  9. I have had piriformis issues in the past. Best way to get rid of it is to foam roll. There are also stretches that target that specific area.

  10. Too funny about the swim cap! Did you have piriformis issues before (2012 maybe?)? I think I ran across your blog when Googling that topic. Did the issue ever go away in between then and now? I have been suffering from glute pain for a few years now. It sucks :(

    1. Yes I haven't had it in years and I am positive it is because this is the first time in a few years I've trained mostly on the road. My body likes triathlon and trails better!

  11. Sounds like a great race! The older I get the more I love small races. My town is small and I run by myself often the same streets day after day so little crowd support is just fine by me. The logistics of large races tend to annoy me. Honestly....I could run the same mile over and over for 26.2! Looks like you had a great weekend and I hope your ass settles down soon. =)

  12. Too funny about the swim cap!!
    I would say medium to large size races.
    I don't even ask my family anymore. It's honestly less stressful if I just go myself otherwise we all get stressed about about seeing each other and finding each other afterwards.

  13. Ugh-- piriformis muscle!
    Try sitting on a tennis ball-- put it right where the pain is. Also my friend is a PT and she works on it with her thumb. Sometimes she even bruises me-- feels better later.

  14. I'm all over the board on race sizes. I like them all for different reasons, especially if there is good food/beer/cocktails after :-). Have you ever tried active release techinique (ART) for piriformis issues? I had good luck with that in the past. Hope yours improves soon.

  15. هل تبحث عن شركة متخصصة فى مكافحة الحشرات نحن نقدم لكم افضل شركة مكافحة حشرات فى الدمام كما انه تقدم خدمة متميزة ايضا وهى تنظيف المنازل والمجالس والفلل والقصور وسبب تقديم هذه الخدم انه تهتم بالاناقة والمنظر الخلاب والصحة العامة خدمات شركتنا كاتالى شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالدمام

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