It’s already been over a week since the Phoenix Marathon. Does anyone else feel like this year is already flying by?
Before I start thinking about what’s next, I wanted to fill in some gaps from my Phoenix Marathon race weekend experience that I had to gloss over in my last post in order to avoid it being the world’s longest race recap.
Race Weekend Fun!
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was getting to spend quality time with my good friend (and bridesmaid) Lana and her fiancé Jotham who live in Scottsdale. Believe it or not, I’ve never been to Arizona so its was fun to explore a new state and also get to see a great friend. Lana and Jotham are getting married in Cabo over 4th of July weekend so we’ll be heading down to Baja for the holiday weekend!
Another great part of the weekend was meeting Oiselle teammates at a meet up dinner on Saturday night in Tempe. We had a big table with about 20 people, including 5 Oiselle girls who ran either the half or full, and our family and friends. It was great to meet everyone and the super strong margaritas, delicious food and great company washed away any of my sadness about my non-BQ that morning. I really enjoyed getting to know my fellow teammates and feel so lucky to be part of such an inspiring team. After dinner, Lana, Jotham, Mike and I headed to downtown Scottsdale for another drink and got caught in the rain!
Last, on our drive home we got to stop in Yuma and meet up with a friend of mine from college, Audrey and her husband Rick at their home and meet their baby girl Kyle. She is adorable! The drive through the desert was also beautiful.
Phoenix Marathon Race Review
Although my day at Phoenix wasn’t as I hoped, the race itself was pretty awesome and I wanted to give credit where it’s due. My race recap was long enough without adding much information about the race itself but I wanted to make sure that people know that although I didn’t achieve my goal of a Boston Qualifying time at the Phoenix Marathon, it was a wonderfully organized and though out race and I definitely recommend it to others!
The Phoenix Marathon is pretty new. It’s only in it’s 3rd year and only the 2nd year that the race has had a full marathon distance. However, the race directors didn’t make any of juvenile mistakes. Let’s start with the expo. It was held at the same outdoor shopping area as the finish line. The expo was well laid out and easy to navigate. We were in and out within 10 minutes. Even better, the race scwhag was really cool. The race shirt is a tech-t, super stylish in grey and orange, fits really well, AND even has a zip pocket! Also included in my race bag was Phoenix Marathon arm warmers that match the shirt! Mine were grey but I saw others post photos of orange ones. A great bonus item!
Race morning was well organized. Both half marathoners and marathoners have to take shuttle buses to their respective starts. When Mike dropped me off, it wasn’t confusing at all as to where I was supposed to go. There were plenty of people telling me which direction to head. I arrived at around 4:40 (there was a little traffic getting off the freeway to be sure to give yourself extra time) and the last shuttle was supposed to leave at 5 a.m. However, the line for the marathon bus shuttle was short. I only waited about 5 minutes for the next bus to arrive and before I knew it was I was at the start line.
The start line for the full marathon is at a shooting range. There is a runner’s village filled with energy. There were plenty of port-o-potties (although I did have to wait in about a 20 minute line the 2nd time I went) and plenty of logs and benches and ground to sit on rest while we waited. As an added bonus there were also tons of heaters for people to stay under to keep warm. Unfortunately because of the wind it was kind of hard to feel the heat coming down from them. I really wasn’t sure the heaters were completely necessary this year as it was still fairly warm at the start (60s). But either way, it’s always nice to have heaters!
About 20 minute before the start, they shot off fireworks. I must have missed the national anthem while I was chatting with friends I made in line for the restroom. As I walked toward the start line which was a 3-4 minute walk from the runner’s village, there were musicians playing bagpipes. The energy was high at the start line and it almost felt like a party!
Since this is a small race, the course itself doesn’t have a ton of spectators. If you need a really spectator heavy race, this probably isn’t for you. Each of the aid stations, however, were taking part in a contest to see who had the most cheerful and spirited aid station (there was a cash prize of $1,000 for the best aid station) so the people at the aid stations were really lively. There would be pockets of spectators along the course but in general I felt like most spectators were cheering for an individual family member and not really the entire crowd. There were a few groups of people with signs cheering for all runners but all in all it wasn’t the most spectator heavy race I’ve run.
The course itself is a net decline which is definitely beneficial but can also hurt the quads if you take the opening miles too fast. The decline for the first 4 miles is about 400 feet and I actually felt like it was going to be a more severe decline than it was. It is very gradual which is nice because you don’t actually feel like you are going down but your pace drops naturally. After the gradual hill from miles 4.5-6.5 or so there is a steeper decline but other than that, the hills are very gradual.
The finisher’s area was lively and the announcer made an effort to say everyone’s name as they crossed the finish line. It was my first race finishing with my new last name (officially anyway) so it was exciting to hear it as I crossed. I also heard that if you qualified for Boston they were giving away Boston Qualifier visors which is a pretty cool bonus.
All in all, the Phoenix Marathon itself is a good race. It was well organized and definitely has potential to be a fast course, especially if you are able to hold back on those initial hills! If the weather is how it was last year, you could even end up with a tail wind the whole way!
What’s the best race schwag you have received? What is the most unique thing you’ve ever experienced at a race?