Let's get a short recap going. In my last writing I had made a statement, it was the following:
"My body feels like a demolition derby car in the final heat"
I have racked up some serious miles, made some sacrifices and went to Arizona hoping for a PR. With my past history at this race, yes it has always kicked my ass, I didn't think it was possible. If one thing has helped me along they way, it has to be the fact of putting myself through hell over and over again. WHen your racing triathlons and have to start your run after already being exhausted from the swim and bike, you quickly have to learn to embrace pain and push on. If I was able to start a marathon after a 2.4 miles swim and a 112 mile bike ride, it should be easy to just run 26.2 miles right!? So there it is, my secrete to success. I have learned to embrace the pain, the suck and that dark area your mind goes into when you are mentally and physically spent. You think that is crazy? I forking pay to do this to myself!
I left Minny in a snowstorm and arrived in AZ to this glorious view. After getting settled in, I woke up the next day and went for a little climb up Camelback. One of my favorite places in the world. Just took in the sunrise and got a birds eye view of the race course. I've lost track of how many times I've climbed that mountain but it never DISAPPOINTS, just loving being there. With that little climb and run, it felt good getting the blood flowing in the legs. They were feeling a little like sacks of potatoes from both training and then traveling. It was a good thing I snuck in a pool day before the race!
Saturday soon came around and for those who don't pay attention or just new to my journey, the day before a race is spent with one goal in mind. Finding a cheeseburger and beer. Serious, besides getting my race gear ready, that is priority number one! Crap, giving away all my secrets now. But really, nobody gets out of this alive, just try having some fun before your time is up ok?
THE RACE. IT WAS A PICTURE PERFECT MORNING. A NICE CRISP DESERT MORNING TO WAKE UP AT 5AM AND APPLY BAND AIDS TO MY MAN BOOBS, EAT SOME BREAKFAST AND GET SHUTTLED BY MY SIS WHO TRIED TO KILL HERSELF THE DAY PRIOR. JUST ASK HER HOW THE AZ HEAT AFFECTS A JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER! ANYWAYS, I GOT TO THE START LINE AND PUT MYSELF JUST AHEAD OF THE 3:30 PACER. THE FIRST HALF OF THE RACE WAS PRETTY LAME. JUST A BUNCH OF RUNNERS FOLLOWING THIS GUY HOLDING A PIECE OF PAPER ON A STICK. A PIECE OF PAPER WITH 3:30 TYPED ON IT. IT WAS AROUND MILE 15 THAT THINGS GOT INTERESTING. I FELT THE PACE GET SLOWER AND LOOKED AT MY GARMIN, WE WERE RUNNING AT LIKE 8:30 PACE AT THE TIME. THAT IS A BIG PROBLEM SINCE GOING SUB 3:30 REQUIRES SUB 8 MINUTES MILES! A FEW MINUTES LATER THE PACE DROPS OUT OF THE RACE AND LEAVES US HANGING. LIKE SERIOUSLY, I THINK MY LAST 3 OR 4 RACES HAVE HAD THE PACER DROP OUT OR FALL OF PACE! SO THERE I WAS, ALL ON MY OWN AND QUICKLY BECAME BEST FRIENDS WITH MY GARMIN AND PUSHED ON AT ABOUT 7:30 PACE FOR A FEW MILES TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME.
After we looped through Old Town Scottsdale we go through a residential area and sure enough, there was the pacer hanging out in the driveway of people he must have known with the 3:30 sign in thier garbage! Hope he at least finished the race...
I just kept on running and kept an eye on people I had recognized in the pace group. As we neared Tempe I was spent. We had a slight head wind and the only real elevation change on the course comes at the end. It was probably like a 5 MPH wind and a 100 feet of climbing but it felt like a HURRICANE and Mount Everest at the time! As we crest the final "hill" you can then see Tempe Town Lake and all your pains kind of go away. For myself, I have numerous memories from this area. Racing numerous Rock n Roll marathons and a few IRONMAN ARizona events gives me the extra emotion to push on. I crossed the finish line, stopped my Garmin and received my medal from the great volunteers. I then found a great little spot to lay down for 5 minutes. By a gerat spot I mean the middle of the road propped up agains the chainlink fence. I was spent!!!
Don't let the smile fool you, it hurt! I thought it would be a great idea to walk into downtown tempe and grab a beer at Whiskey Row. It has become a tradition to grab a beer at Dierk's bar after my Arizona events but I guess I should have let the body recover just a few minutes longer. On the plus side, I didn't throw up at the light rail station or parking ramp like the last two years. THis time it was at least the bathroom at Dierk's bar. Sorry buddy! Also sorry in advance for any typos and poor writing skills. Just raw un edited thoughts here!
2020 Humana Rock n ROll Arizona Marathon:
- 193rd of 2257
- Marathon PR
Thanks to all my supportive peeps. Yes I am crazy! Thanks Wattie Ink and the Hit Squad crew, Tribe Racing crew and all those glorious cheeseburgers and beer!
After all these miles, I still can't help but think back to the days when I would dread running. In grade school, I couldn't complete the mile run without walking. I took the easy way out rather than pushing through the discomfort. Now, as I look back at 2019, it was a year full of personal best and great memories. Each event was either a course PR or PR for that distance. It was a year that I got to race twice with Dick Beardsley!
I won't go into details on the times and results since you can find those here but 2019 brought these new PR times. A Marathon time of 3:29:42, Half Marathon of 1:29:27 and an IRONMAN 70.3 time of 5:36:53. While I understand just completing the event is a huge win for some, I don't see any enjoyment of just finishing or just racing to race. From the moment that swim cap goes on or the shoes get laced up, I am there to race and push myself to the limit. Am I the fastest, not even close but the real race is against yourself.
I've had my share of bad runs, days you don't feel like training and also great runs and days that you feel like you could go forever. Sure it is fun to collect the medals, T-Shirts and bibs; the real motivation comes from within. What I enjoy about the sport is that you just can't show up and hope for the best. You can't buy your way to the top. If you want to be successful, you have to put in the work. Nobody is going to do it for you. If I want to run a 3:15 marathon, I have to get my ass on that treadmill and road and put in the miles to train my body and mind. Yes, the mental aspect is just as flipping important. If you are weak between the ears, you will forever be stuck being just okay.
Truth is, it sucks. It hurts. I have put my body through hell and I am sure I will pay for it someday. I'm just praying by that time they can 3D print some new body parts for me! ALl joking aside, I wouldn't change a thing besides being able to swim, bike and run more. The sport has brought me to some pretty amazing locations and some even more impressive people into my life. I can't explain it to a non-runner but the bond we share with each other is incredible. While some are there to compete against each other, some are also competing against themselves yet we tend to go out of our way to help and push each other. From giving mechanical assistance, sharing that extra pair of goggles or tire tube, most of us LEGITIMATELY care about the wellbeing of others.
While my last race was in late October, I have been training for Rock N Roll Arizona marathon in Phoenix/Scottsdale. While I would love to set a new marathon PR, the race usually almost kills me and I'm hoping to just set a course PR and whatever happens more than that will be a bonus. Because lets be honest, it has become tradition to find myself throwing up into a garbage can during this race...and I pay money to do this!
With that unconventional review of 2019, how about 2020? Well, planned so far is Rock N ROll Arizona, Grandmas Marathon and IRONMAN WIsconsin. Yes, after a few years of sticking to the 70.3 distance, I'm headed back to Madison to tackle that wicked bike course at IMOO 140.6. I'll most likely end up adding Fargo Marathon and a handful of long course triathlons but kind of just going to wing it. While being singed up for IRONMAN is exciting, I am also racing with Wattie INk again on the Hit Squad team. While it is more like a family, Wattie Ink is an incredible group of people equally crazy as myself. Filled with weekend warriors and elites, our fearless leaders Heather Jackson and Wattie are incredible people and I can't wait to Rock the W with this crew! I am also thankful for the support of Tribe Racing and appreciate the help and support they bring as well. To all you down in warm sunny Arizona, wish you all a successful 2020 as well.
I'LL SIGN OFF WITH THIS, "MY BODY FEELS LIKE A DEMOLITION DERBY CAR IN THE FINAL HEAT"
WORK HARD. STAY HUMBLE. A LIFE FILLED WITH SWIM, BIKE & RUN. 5Ks TO MARATHONS, SPRINT TO IRONMAN 140.6