Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rock n Roll Arizona

Cindy and I raced the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Phoenix on Sunday, the nicest thing about the weekend was just getting away from Seattle for a few days and having time to ourselves to just relax and catch up. Its funny, even though we both 'work from home' there are still days that go by without us really spending any quality time together. Phoenix provided that opportunity.

The weekend got off to an auspicious start. On the plane I was reading Runners World and saw an advert for the Rock n Roll races. I glanced at the dates and saw that Phoenix was on the 18th, hmmmm I thought to myself, surely that is a printing error as we were due to fly out early on that day! Well it was not a printing error and indeed the race was on Sunday not Saturday as I had first thought! No drama, upon landing and checking into the hotel I rebooked a return flight to leave at 3pm on Sunday to ensure we had time to race, shower, relax and then fly! The bonus was it meant that Friday was now wide open and could become a training day, sweet! My favorite Phoenix/Tempe trailhead is South Mtn (near the golf course) and the running there is awesome. I did not want to get carried away so only planned on an hour. I think some of the climbs surprised Cindy a little but I kept assuring her it would not effect her performance on Sunday, I think I was right! The Garmin had me at 5.47 miles in 47.40 (avg 8.42) given the terrain this was a solid run and it was sooooo nice to run shirtless for a change.

One thing that stood out on this trip was the amount of food I ate. I must have consumed half my body weight in food in the two full days before the race, don't know why, just the gluttonous Taurean coming out in me I think! On the Saturday (as penance) we went along to the ASU student rec center for a swim. As I was waiting on the deck of one of the three pools (yes three pools) a group was forming around me that turned out to be the Sun Devil Masters, how could I resist joining in especially when the coach turned out to be from Liverpool (small world). A brief warm up and a set of 5x200 (best average) I climbed out and went to find Cindy who was sunning herself across at one of the other pools (she did swim, honest!).

Race day dawned and transit etc was made very easy as we were lucky enough to be registered as VIP's, this is huge at these events as it opens up free shuttles, nice bathrooms, places to change etc. I have to thank Kim Williams at Sugoi for hooking Cindy and I up here, thanks Kim you are a star. Cindy and I warmed up and used the bathroom and headed to corral 1 (for athletes between 1:00 and 1:35). The start was smooth and I quickly settled into a rhythm. No HR strap (forgot it) so relied on PE and pace. Felt 'okay' all the way through the race and genuinely nothing eventful happened. Finished strong, no dramas in a time of 1:24.44 (6.28 avg). I was not overjoyed as I know I am in better running shape than this. Honestly I put it down to carrying a few extra pounds at the moment (don't laugh) and just not really feeling it on the day. Cindy had a similar performance, solid but training has indicated she could run faster. Her time of 1:33.45 was a new PR (never to be sneezed at) and placed her 10th in her division (great considering 22,000 athletes competed). I managed (somehow) to finish in the top 100 and will live to fight another day and will hopefully replicate my times of old (1:20-1:22) this season.

We both had an awesome weekend and will be back at this race in the future although next time if the Seattle Winter cooperates we will do the Marathon (this would be my first open Marathon). Don't hold me to that though.....

The Tucson camps are fast approaching and I can't wait to get down there. Cindy and finished the itinerary today and it looks awesome, we were both really excited about how the days have worked out. Week three should be very special as my best friend (Ben Garrard) is over for that week. Cindy has given me permission to ride with him lots that week while she does support, hopefully my limited computrainer riding will allow me to keep up!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bridle Trails - The Season Opener

For many of us Bridle Trails is the first event of the New Year (except if you were disciplined enough to do a resolution run) and boy what an event! Last year several of us took part in the 50km relay and as much fun as this was I think it dawned on us that standing around in the rain when it is cold and muddy is not a whole lot of fun. So this year we opted for the individual events (5 and 10 mile races) and decided that the extra time could be spent eating pizza and drinking beer at New York Pizza in Kirkland, a smart option I think most of you will agree!

It was a great way to start the year and I think that the decision to do the individual events worked out as we all actually got to spend even more time together (in good moods) than we did last year during the four or five hours that it took us to get through the relay.

Conditions were a little muddy but not as bad as I had expected, the most difficult element of the run was navigating around some of the five mile runners who started five minutes before the 10 milers. I spent the majority of my second loop alone which was soothing in a muddy kind of way. The team all did great, we had some awesome performances and more importantly we all had fun and enjoyed pizza and beer afterwards (well me not so much as my stomach was a little churned up from the effort).

Looking forward to the next team event likely to be the Mercer Island Half Marathon, come join us!