This was my overall 28th full marathon and my 41st overall marathon+ultra total count. I did not expect a PR on the course, but somehow I did. This is officially my first marathon after my move to El Paso, and it was a planned one (yes… just 2 weeks and I’m already out of town haha).
The expo was pretty decent. It had rained that Saturday morning in Phoenix, which was unusual for the Sun Valley weather.
This marathon is different compared to most other courses in that the full marathon started at a completely different location than the other races (the half, and the 10k). The full marathon started in Downtown Phoenix, and went through uptown, through Scottsdale, and ended in Tempe, where was the half marathon started and ended in Tempe.
I started out with the 4:15 pacer and thinking that… eh maybe I’ll follow her and not let her pass. At that time, I had no idea that I was going to beat my best time (at this point, it was Little Rock at 4:17), but nonetheless, I thought 4:15 is a reasonable target, and that the 4 hour pacer would be too fast. After about mile 3-4, I went ahead and passed the 4:15 pacer and decided to “take off”… All is good for the first half as I reached the half way point around a 2:02. The course was mostly “flat”… but it was a false flat as there was a slight gain in elevation. The weather was just right for the first half.
Then at around mile 14, I began to feel cramped up, but I decided to keep on going. I figured my pace was probably too fast at the beginning, but hey this is no time to lament and regret. When the race gets tougher, just put one foot in front of the other, just like how I said it to everyone at the singles New Years party that Sunday 2 weeks ago… Right around mile 20, I could feel my legs beginning to cramp up and my breathing starting to turn irregular. The weather was getting a little toasty, and worst of all, there were some roller hills around mile 23-24!! At around mile 25, we merged with the half marathon route. At this point, about 4 hours into it, I saw that there were nobody but walkers and occasional joggers left on the course for the half. Meanwhile, the rest of us were just moving along.
I slowed down quite a bit in the last 5-6 miles and was really cramping up and in pain and I remember asking God for strength and just a little bit more endurance to complete this race. At one point, the 4:15 pacer came up to me again on the bridge. That was encouraging in a sense, for she had kept me going, and I simply wanted to give it my best. I knew I was cutting it close for a PR. It was only when I saw the finish line in sight, and my watch saying only “4:13:__” that I was like… wow.
Long story short, I don’t know why but I was able to get a PR today. I did not do much more special, maybe a little bit of CrossFit, and a little less running that week? I don’t know. Either way, I counted this as a “freebie” given from God that day, counted it a blessing, and moving on… Until next time – Amen.