Guest Post: Fiesta Bowl Half-Marathon

I invited my sister Leslie to recap her recent race experience.  I hope you enjoy reading about it!  Also if you like, go to the Riverfront Times poll to vote for my blog for best personal blog!!

Hi, its Leslie, Hannah’s sister!  I’m sure for all of you dedicated blog readers and family members, I need no introduction :p

I first met Hannah when we were seated at the same table for a wedding and after a bit of conversation, we discovered that we had the same mother and father. (Or was it when we were seated together for dinner on a Mexican cruise? There was some event where people were asking how we met and we thought it was hilarious.)

Anyway, Hannah mentioned it and I thought it might be fun if I did a guest post of a recap of my recent half-marathon.  I’m not quite as new to running as Hannah, but I only started running more seriously in the fall of 2009 when I decided to train for the 2010 PF Chang’s Rock and Roll Half-Marathon in Phoenix.

photo ARAI2097

After that race, I took some time off, then decided to run the full marathon the next year, when Hannah came to Phoenix to do the half.   Anyway, all this to say that when I signed up for the Runner’s Den Fiesta Bowl Half-Marathon in Scottsdale, it was only my second.  I am mid-training to do the full marathon again in January, so I was looking forward to this race, as it would be shorter than my long training runs have been lately!


But then, it got cold.  And I mean Phoenix cold, so not really.  But the overnight low on Saturday was under 40!  So I was just a little worried about what to wear, since its always tricky to stay warm at the start line, but not too warm for the race.  Unfortunately I didn’t have my awesome paper jacket that I had at last year’s marathon!


I decided upon my new Adidas running tights, a tanktop, a longsleeved black REI shirt, and my new awesome blue shoes.  DSCF2061

(Don’t mind the cat)

Peter (my fiance) had graciously offered to drive me to the race even though it started quite early (7:30 am) so I was able to wear an extra jacket and my ear warmers as we waited for the start, and then I handed him all this bright pink clothing to carry around.  Luckily he had brought a man bag, so I think he was able to tuck it away to avoid embarrassment.  I had recently run a 10K and had a time I was very happy with (51:17) and I had not listened to my ipod and concentrated on keeping my pace.  So I considered that, but luckily I thought better and brought it.  I usually listen to pop music during a race though, instead of podcasts or classical pieces, which I do during training runs.

The race started out well, it was too small for corrals, so I started about 30-45 seconds or so after the official gun went off.  The route went up Scottsdale Road, so it was quite straight for awhile.  And flat, which is good, since there aren’t many hills to train on near where I live.  I was feeling good, and had decided that my goal was 1:57 or :58, so I needed to keep a 9 minute mile pace.  My previous half-marathon time was 2:03.  This race was smaller so I didn’t have to weave around as many people as you have to in the Rock and Roll one!  After 4 miles, I realized I was holding an 8:30 pace, so I started revising my goals.  The only annoying things happening were this guy near me who had change jangling around in his pockets as he ran (Seriously, what is that? Was he planning to stop if he saw a soda machine? Fill someone’s parking meter?) and also all the men were stopping to pee in the large hedge that lined the side of the road.  Somewhere around this point, Peter drove by in his car with the window down and yelled “go Leslie!” or something to that effect!

I realized I was gaining on the person holding the 1:52 pacing sign, and I passed him around mile 5.  And I realized I knew who it was, Norm Janoff, who runs this Tuesday night track workout that some friends of mine go to!  He also attends symphony events and concerts.  I still get the emails but lately I always have frisbee on Tuesday nights.  Anyway, so around mile 6.5, I decided to go ahead and have something to eat to keep my energy up.  I had brought part of a packet of GU Chomps that would fit in my back pocket, since they’re my favorite for long runs lately.


Over the next few miles, I saw Peter several times, he was following the course in his car and getting out to cheer me on.  He told me he had seen another violist from the Phoenix Symphony, Karen Bea go by.  She is a big runner/triathlete/ironwoman, so I felt good that I was not too far behind her today!

I had a few more of my Chomps around mile 9.  I was only drinking water from the stations because the GU brew they were handing out isn’t something I usually drink while running, so I didn’t want to risk it upsetting my stomach.  One station I messed up though, and missed the water. I was still sticking to around an 8:30 pace and so I hit the mile 10 marker in around 1:25.  For the last 3-4 miles the course followed a bike pathway, which was scenic and nice, but meant that it had a little more up and down because the path would go down for an underpass and then inevitably have to come up again.  Would have been better on a bike, where your momentum could carry you back up the hill!   I was feeling not as strong as this point, but trying to keep my pace.  I had been hoping to have enough juice left to try for closer to 8:00 minute miles for the last one or two, but it wasn’t really happening.

Finally when I could see the balloons at the finish line, I tried to sprint the last bit to the finish.  I knew Peter was going to be there, but the sun was in my eyes and I never saw him. He had missed me at the finish line for last year’s marathon, so it was nice that this was a smaller race and he had no trouble getting there and finding me.  He got a couple shots of me about to cross the finish line.  You can see the official clock time, but my time was 1:51:35.  The volunteers didn’t put the medals over our necks for us, like they did at the PF Chang’s, so it didn’t feel quite as triumphant.



So, I was 17th in my division (females 30-34) and 375th overall.   There were around 1000 total finishers. Clearly, I almost won.

After the race and a shower, Peter and I went out to brunch/lunch with a friend and I had an amazing eggs benedict with lobster cake (like crab cake, not chocolate cake) and tarragon hollandaise.  I would have taken a picture, but didn’t know I was going to be blogging!  Then we had to go play a Holiday Pops concert at 2:00.

Anyway, its been fun sharing my race recap with you.  I enjoy when people do really detailed race recaps, so sorry if this was too much information!