Haight's Hangout

From running to music... just a place for random thoughts and observations. No real thinking involved. A short escape from the mundane.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tucson Marathon

Well, there we are....the day before the Tuscon Marathon. Willie, Alex, Nicole, Megan, Lora, me and Anu. What a bunch of happy campers!!!

The weather was perfect. About 45ยบ when the race started. Alex, Nicole, Anu and I were doing the 13.1, while Megan, Willie and Lora were BROC by doing the 26.2.

Here we are just before the start. Just a little chilly, but hey, we're in Arizona having left a snowstorm in Chicago the day before. So no complaints.

For me, I'm just happy to be there and 'able' to participate. If any of you have been following my so called 'running journey' (or lack there of) over the last year, you've noticed it was basically nonexistant. I attribute it evenly between laziness, nasty shin splints, actually not being a 'runner' and did I mention laziness?

At any rate, I did conquor on aspect of those elements. Shin splints. After all this time dealing with new different shoes, different insoles, various stretches. I figured, why not start from scratch. Maybe i should go back to how I started back in 2005 where I had absolutely no injuries and was able to my first marathon. i went back to the first brand of shoes i used - Brooks Addictions 7. And presto!!! Shin splints disappeared after TWO runs.

OK, this doesn't mean Big Daddy is ready for Boston, but at least it's a start. So since about October-ish, I've been back at it. OK OK OK.....let's make this relative to me. Longish runs on Saturdays and about 8-12 miles during the weekdays up to the Tuscon Half. This big boy has a long way to go.

Coming down to Arizona I did have a goal of breaking 3 hours. Last March, I finished the Sarasota Half with a very smoooooooooth 3:20ish. But at that time, my goal was just to finish. The only race since then was the Bucktown 5K in September, which was fun but still not a true indicator of what was ahead of me.

If your not familiar with the Tucson Marathon, it starts about 4800ft elevation and ends up around 3000ft. The Half starts around 3900ft. Sure, sounds easy. All downhill. Piece of cake. No problem. Well, think again Cha Cha, if you're not used to this, your quads are gonna feel like they're going to explode if you start off too fast. Luckily, 'fast' is not in my running vocabulary. Along with that, I actually have pretty strong quads like most big fellas (one thing we possess over you skinny runners). So my game plan was this....run/walk at a 'very' easy pace until about the halfway mark. It worked. Yes, I wasn't making any landspeed records, but I was feeling pretty good at about the 7 mile mark. And considering my longest run during this stretch of training was only 9 miles....I was feeling good.

So here is where I drank some nitrous oxide and blew past the people I was going back and forth with for the first half of the race. My only walking was during some slight uphills and ocassional flat areas. But downhill I was cruising. Anyone remember John Candy when he got off course during his army training run and went down the hill in 'Stripes'? OK, there's your visual...ha!

The scenery was fantastic. Mountains were glorious. This was the polar opposite of the Chicago Marathon. 100,000 fans with skyscrapers vs. maybe 100 fans with cactus and schrubery. Awesome. The last couple miles weren't too scenic since we had to finish near civilization, but the finishline was insight and that was the sight that put a smile and this big boy's mug. Under 3 hours - 2:53:25. In my best 'Puddy' impersonation, "High five."

As for all our Chicago running group buddies, here's a brief recap......


Willie - just over 4 hours and even had a beer around the 25 mile mark

Megan - the roadrunner of the group, unfortunately missed BQ by 2 minutes :( 3:42

Lora - well, I'll let you check her adventure on her blog.


Alex - new runner but a natural...1:47 and some change

Nicole - just over 2:06...she'll break 2 soon

Anu - the runner that had no aches or pains the next day....a smooth 2:21....again

Here are some snapshots from our fun filled adventure.....

Stay tuned for Part II of the Arizona Experience....hopefully in a day or so


At December 16, 2007 2:45 PM, Blogger Full Metal Lunchbox said...

I think the picture says it all.

At December 19, 2007 9:10 AM, Blogger adam said...

Hello I just entered before I have to leave to the airport, it's been very nice to meet you, if you want here is the site I told you about where I type some stuff and make good money (I work from home): here it is

At December 24, 2007 8:47 AM, Blogger jkrunning said...

Sounds like you did awesome. Congratulations.

At December 24, 2007 2:00 PM, Blogger Firefly's Running said...

It's SO beautiful out there. **sigh** Maybe next year!


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