PF Chang’s Half Marathon Race Report | 2013

3:30AM: I woke up and was parched. After drinking some water, I ate half-a-bagel with peanut butter and honey. Bill had given instructions of eating about 200 calories about 4 hours before the race. It was actually quite delicious. Since Binita was in California with the Whoopie Babes (wine-tasting), I was comfortable making noise. The pups were not too happy that I was up this early and were following me around.

4:00AM: I showered, shaved and dressed. I have this thing about shaving on race day. Ya, it’s quirky; but it’s like putting on war-paint. It’s part of my prep.

5:30AM: I did a final-check of all the clothes and accessories and nutrition. I was ready. I gave the dogs a treat and was off.

6:01AM: I met Angela and Brett at the tennis courts by Brett’s condo. We picked up Ali on the way and met Maury at the light-rail station on Apache and 101. It was cold out. Caty & company were running a bit behind schedule.

6:42AM: Angela, Maury and I boarded the light-rail with a few dozen other runners. Brett waited for Caty and company. There were marathoners (green), half-marathoners (blue), mini-marathoners (red) and even a few bicycle marathoners (yellow). The race start was at 7:50AM so we had plenty of time.

7:03AM: We disembarked the light rail, used the restroom facilities (yucky port-o-potties), checked in our gear (I was wearing a woolen Ice Breaker jacket) and huddled outside / inside the Starbucks on Mill Ave and 5th. I was also sipping lightly on water as I started to stretch. My iPod and headphones were ready, shoelaces were perfectly tight and nutrition was in my rear right pocket.

7:38AM: We headed to our respective corrals and I did a few calf stretches.

Katy Perry with blue hair

7:51AM: After the national anthem, we started the race. As expected, it was crowded. There was a girl in crazy blue hair and blue eyelashes and a tiara/crown that looked like a guitar. I think she was trying the imitate Katy Perry with blue hair. We took off almost together but her pace was faster than mine! At one point, Katy (that’s what I’ll call her), dropped her tiara and had to run a few steps back to fetch it. I shook my head in dismay, “She’s crazy,” I muttered under my breath.

For the first mile, my heart-belt was reporting wild fluctuations in my heartrate. It does this often. I knew I had to maintain a pace of around 8 min/mile to stay within level 2. I did just that for the first couple of miles (although the second mile was a bit downhill, hence my pace was slightly faster).

8:15AM: As I crossed mile-2, I picked up my pace a bit. I did mile-3 at a ~7:30 pace. As per Bill, I was going to try and maintain this pace until mile 10 and then see how I could finish the final few miles. My time for the first 5k was around 23:52. This was perfect for a negative split. I cruised for the next few miles at a steady pace.

8:38AM: I crossed the 10k point at 47:07 as we looped through skysong and the relay exchange points. I knew the course was flat for the next mile or so and then there was a steady climb. I passed Katy (the crazy girl in blue hair); I could see that people were cheering her on. Soon after passing her, I ate the first half of my stinger waffle to get about 80 calories into my system. I felt good. At about mile 7.5, I took a strawberry GU and ran with it in my hand for the next mile.

8:58AM: With about 4 miles to go, I had almost the entire GU. I had about 30 minutes of running left and I had another gear. I was not quite at mile-10, but I picked up the pace. It also helped that we had crested the hill and had a downhill portion for the next couple of miles. I was now doing sub-7:10 miles. I was certain I would beat my goal of 1:39. I was cruising. I saw a bunch of familiar faces who had passed me earlier in the race. The girl in the sleeveless orange, the guy in the neon green shirt, the guy with a funny gait, the tall-dude with a slow cadence. I kept running at a steady pace.

9:22AM: I was now on the bridge above Tempe town lake. I had less than a mile left. I knew the last half-a-mile is slightly uphill. My cadence was steady. Suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I saw this guy in regular clothes with a camera, running next to me. I looked over and it was Will Rossiter. He had my GoPro and he was filming me (I’ll post the video in the next day or so). I waved my arms wildly and grinned as I ran past him. It was then down the bridge, a sharp left and the finish line. I accelerated for the last hundred yards but was still passed by one of the guys I had just passed.

9:29AM: I finished in 1:37:03. It was a smooth race. I may have given up 30 seconds to a minute at the start of the race. I could have gone just a bit faster!

I met up with Ali, Brett, Mauricio and Angela at the Team-in-Training tent. I also ran into Jen and Megan of TnT. Had I not joined TnT, I probably would never have met Ali and Caty and a bunch of other folks. TnT is a GREAT organization and I owe a lot of my run-bike-swim friendships to TnT.

Mauricio, Brett, Ali, me, Angela

All in all, it was a fun race. I didn’t PR (my PR was in 2010 in Tucson), but this was a much harder course. It was a PF Chang’s PR for me by more than 3 minutes. That counts! I will put up pictures and videos in the next day or three. BTW, at the end of the race, I saw Katy again. I talked to her for a bit and the marathonphoto girl took our pic together! I can’t wait to see it.

Tomorrow, I will blog about my target and actual pace. For now, here’s my Garmin data.

Next race – Ragnar.

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