Today was the Valley of the Sun Half Marathon in north Mesa. This course has a lot of downhill, and it was F-A-S-T. This means another medal for the collection
The timing of today’s run was worrisome- after 143 days of no rain, yesterday was greeted by a major mother of a storm that yielded all day/all night rain in the desert, and likely 18-20 inches of snow in the high country.
I thought I heard rain through the night, but when I awoke at 3:30 AM (that is no typo), the sky looked clear, stars and the moon were out. Yes, it was an early start- the race organizers suggest getting out there between 4:30 and 5:00 AM. I was there enough time to park not too far down the road and get a seat on a warm school bus. We were driven 6 miles or so to the starting point near Usery Mountain Park. It was pretty damn cold, and there was not much to do except shiver and listen to some annoying local DJ. Oh, I did 3 rounds of turns at the port-o-potty (Too Much Information).
It was cool to meet up with Team Diabetes veterans Jose, Scott, and Rob, who ran in the PF Changs run in January. Just about race start time (6:15 AM) the sun was just lightening up the sky in the east. And it felt good to get out and move.
Like I said, the first 2-3 miles were downhill, and I was going faster than I thought I’d ever gone, like in the 9+ minute per mile range where my previous runs were in the 11 minte/mile range. There was a climb around miles 4-5 through a residential area, but another drop into the 10k time (I think I was under an hour at that point). The views of snow on the McDowell Mountains was inspiring. It was good and flat our Power Road, and then a huge downhill to the Salt River. Then a sharp climb around mile 11, and relativc small ups and downs to the finish line.
From my watch my splits were:
- 0:18:25 (0:09:14 pace)
- 0:27:32 (0:09:07 pace)
- 0:37:11 (0:09:39 pace)
- 0:48:18 (0:11:07 pace, with an uphil mile+)
- 0:57:36 (0:09:18 pace)
- 1:07:00 (0:09:24 pace)
- 1:17:00 (0:10:00 pace)
- 1:27:00 (0:10:00 pace)
- 1:37:00 (0:10:00 pace)
- 1:48:00 (0:11:00 pace, slowing with some resting here)
- 2:00:00 (0:12:00 pace, estimated, I never saw the sign to record my splt, slower up that last hill)
- 2:11:16 (0:11:16 pace )
I owe that last bit to Jose and Scott who came up and said, “Let’s cross the line together” (thanks for th elift, I was fading).
The 2:10 finish is a guess, still waiting on the official results. I forgot to stop the watch right at the crossing, so it is anywhere from 2:10:00 to 2:11:32.
But who cares about numbers? It was a great run.
The results are in… my official time was 2:11:16… I must have been a bit behind on starting my time, but I am not going to quibble seconds over a 12 minute improvement over my best time. Here are the results:
The 5k split of 28:41 (9:14 pace) shows how fast the first 3 miles were. The 10k split was a har (8 one hundreths over an hour, wow I thought I snagged a sub 60 minute time, but the chip does not lie– 1:00:08 or 9;41 pace, still much faster than any 10k distance before.
My final pace of 10:01 is right where I hoped to be. The pace definitely lagged the seond half, and with some more longer distance runs and/r some better pace training, I could have done better. Next goal might be getting close to 2:00:00.