Rim Country Challenge Had My Number

The good news is yesterday I completed the Rim Country Challenge Half Marathon in Payson. The bad news is this course (see map) really whipped my butt, and I barely finished. I am not sure if it was the altitude (perhaps, I got here about 36 hours before), my drop in miles this week (resting sore shins), or just that the hills here were hard, but my time was horrible, well over 12 minutes per mile, my last 2 miles closer to 14:30, barely moving.

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But I was just determined to finish, i ugh… something like 2:50, whereas the front runners did it in about half of that!

My first mile pace was on target (9:30), but I decided to let it up, knowing there was a steep hill on Airport Road around mile 7. The plan was to pick up the pace after that climb, but there was no juice at all.

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The course would back and forth through neighborhoods west of highway 87, almost snake like, climbing up the hilly areas, within sight of the top of the mesa, then dropping again, to leave that hill climb up to the airport. I completely missed a sign for mile 7 in tracking my splits.

At least the views were spectacular, great vistas of the Mogollon Rim (I was in no mood to stop and take photos), and around mile 11 I was doubting I had the energy, and just plodded along to an inglorious finish, somewhere like 5th from last place.

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But like I said, I ran the whole 13.1 mile course, and find myself wondering… how the *#$%*@ am I going to go twice this distance? The best news is that I am feeling none of the shin pain I felt last week…

Anyhow, the sad mile splits were:

  1. 09:31
  2. 11:45
  3. 12:10
  4. 11:35
  5. 12:40
  6. 13:05 (neighborhood hills)
  7. —-
  8. 14:39 (the “challenge” hill(
  9. 12:22 (steep descent on Vista Dr)
  10. 13:52 (90 second walking rest)
  11. 12:31
  12. 14:55 (out of gas!)
  13. 15:25 (gasp, uphill finish)

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Definitely not the most proud moment on the road, and thinking very much about the title of this web blog!

2 thoughts on “Rim Country Challenge Had My Number

  1. alan, this was a great run. getting through it is a real accomplishment. your training has been admittedly difficult and to get out there and put in a solid effort like this is awesome.

    don’t worry about the front runners, concentrate on your own race. and that race is the marathon. there are more than two months left to go. plenty of time to put in the work you need to do in order to have a good performance.

    most importantly, you have reached this point and gone through actual race conditions and avoided injury. listening to your shin and cutting back may have meant you didn’t have the time you wanted this weekend but it means you have a realistic chance of accomplishing your goals for the marathon.

    even though you might feel like you hate running again, you are building mental toughness. come mile 23 on Jan. 14 when the going get’s real tough – you already know what you got way down in there keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    you, my friend, kick ass. please do not doubt it.

  2. I totally agree, Alan. That was great, a “character builder.”
    All of the things you mentioned, the altitude and the hills and the distance, were reasons this was a tough race for everyone who did it. I didn’t want to try it.
    For future reference, concerning altitude, the science says you do not acclimate in a few hours or days, you only get weaker. It takes at least a couple of weeks to acclimate. If you’re not going to be at altitude for a long time, you’re better off to go up right before the race. At least that’s what I’ve heard.
    Way to get going when the going got tough.

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