I’m on the tail end of a great weekend competing in Ragnar’s new trail race, Ragnar Trail Vail Lake and the race report is coming shortly. However, in my opinion the best way to start off a race weekend is also registering for another race!
After much deliberation, I’ve decided to run the 2014 Phoenix Marathon on March 1!!! Originally I was planning to run the Mountains to Beach Marathon in late May but I had to cancel my registration due to an important wedding. Finding a replacement race was my next mission and ultimately I decided on Phoenix as my next BQ attempt race for the following reasons:
1) Phoenix’s course profile. 1,000 net feet of descent yet still a Boston Qualifier. If you look closely, the nice little decline at mile 25 was what really got me. Those last few miles are hard enough and knowing a little decline will be ahead of me will be a nice mental boost going into the last push. I also read the blog of a fellow runner who ran the race last year and had a great experience – I then stalked her on Twitter and she gave me the thumbs up that the course is fast and the race is great!
2) It’s a small, local race. I’ve run large races and small ones and I’ve learned that I tend to enjoy the smaller races more. They are less stressful, more laid back and more fun to me. The last thing I need on a big race morning is massive crowds, lines and stress. Phoenix is a fairly new race (the inaugural half was in 2012 and first marathon in 2013) and the marathon is capped at 3,000 runners.
3) I can drive there and have a place to stay. In general, traveling long distances for important races isn’t always advisable. Luckily Phoenix isn’t too far of a drive (5-6 hours) which saves on airfare and the stress of airports and I have a very good friend who lives in Scottsdale who will be hosting Mike and I for the weekend. And, since the race is a Saturday, we can enjoy Saturday night in Scottsdale without having to head back that night!
4) March 1 isn’t very far away. Last year, I trained for about 7 months for the Eugene Marathon (thinking I’d run the Surf City Marathon and then switching to the half because I wasn’t quite ready) and I think I suffered a bit of burn out toward the end. Not to mention, I neglected strength training and just strictly ran which over a couple months is ok but over that long of a period of time negatively affected my fitness. Phoenix is 15 weeks away and I’ve been “officially” training for it for 2 weeks but have built a nice base of training in preparation for the Ragnar Race. I think with 15 weeks of focused training (with a coach – more on that later), I can get where I need to be without getting sick of marathon training before I get to race day.
5) Weather. Although Phoenix can get hot even in the winter, the historical average mean temperature for March 1 is only 62, a max of 73 and a low of 51. The race starts at 6:30 a.m. and if I run around a 3:30 marathon, I’ll be finished by 10 a.m. when it will hopefully still be in the 60s. I’m used to running in 50-70 degree weather so I think this should be fine (a friend did warn me that it is significantly drier in Arizona than California so I’ll need to adjust my water and electrolyte consumption for that).
In preparation for the race, I’ll be working on running downhill and also be incorporating Pilates, yoga, dynamic stretching, AND cycling, at the orders of my new coach. I also want to really get my pre-race and mid-race fueling down as well as work on some mental toughness and visualization. I’m excited to be a well-rounded athlete going into this race and I am hopeful that the next 15 weeks will prepare me for a great race at Phoenix.
So here’s to the next 15 weeks! If you’d like to join me on March 1, please use the discount code fitness10 for 10% off of the Phoenix Marathon or Half Marathon!