Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Phoenix Rock and Roll Marathon: Before the race

With my friends Cheryl and Jennifer from the Mardi Gras Marathon. They were running their 14th marathon at the Rock and Roll Marathon. I knew they were running this event but was completely shocked when we ended up on the same bus leaving the airport terminal.

It was great to see Cheryl and Jennifer both during the short bus ride as well as several times during the marathon. They are so cheerful and nice.

Cheryl and Jennifer are sisters who are running marathons together in various states. It is really neat to see them running the full 26.2 miles together. I remember fondly running the Disney Marathon with my sister in 2008 and running the 2009 Disney Marathon with Tristan...it is fun to run races with others.
Ryan Hall was an invited speaker as well as a guest of the Rock and Roll Marathon.

Ryan is very nice and such an inspiration. He is super fast but so encouraging. He wrote on my bib to "Run Fast" and apparently it worked.

I had a new 50 km PR and even ran one of my top 10 fastest marathon times.

Olympian Deanna Kastor was an additional guest speaker at the Rock and Roll Marathon.

She is very nice and of course super fast. I wish I had thought to bring my "spirit of the marathon" DVD for her to sign because her role in that movie is so impressive.

She was very encouraging during her speech and the question answer session.

I definitely recommend that any runner who attends an EXPO makes a point to see some (or all) of the presenters. It is interesting to see so many different views and really cool to be in the presence of such fast runners. Maybe it even rubs off...

With my friend and "ultramarathon man" Dean Karnazes.

Dean is really nice and is very encouraging to all runners.

His book ultramarathon man is a great book that makes one believe in oneself. It also provides some insight about what it takes to complete an ultramarathon.

I have been fortunate to meet and run with Dean at a variety of events. During these interactions I have asked him lots of questions (particularly early on in my ultra career).

Now I am so lucky that I have so many friends who are fellow ultramarathoners who I can also use to pick their brains. I think in ultra's it really is great to have a bunch of different opinions and observations because through these different perspectives you can try out a variety of suggestions and see what works for you.

Volunteering at events is always fun for me. It is great fun to see new runners who are running their first marathon.

I recall my enthusiasm and nervousness during my first event and I try very hard as a volunteer to reassure runners both newbies and seasoned veterans.

This year I was in a better position as a volunteer (last year I volunteered as well-but had no idea of the course or other logistics). This year I could provide information about the start, what the course was like and general race logistics.

And of course I got to meet lots of runners and wonderful volunteers.

This past weekend I flew to Phoenix to run the Arizona Rock and Roll Marathon. Recently a 50 km option became available and I immediately signed up to get an extra long training run in preparation for Rocky Raccoon 50 miler in February and subsequently Umstead 100 in March.

The 50 km option was co-hosted by Dean Karnazes whom I have been fortunate to meet and run with several times (I did the Delaware Marathon during the Endurance 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days as well as several fun runs in the MD area).

My trip to AZ had a bit of fits and starts which ultimately worked to my benefit. First my flight was overbooked, but taking the voluntary bump earned me an extra night at home with my critters and husband as well as a future trip of my choice. It is like winning the lottery, all I need is a dollar (or a ticket) and a dream!

Friday morning I did fly to Arizona on the next nonstop flight. After arriving at Phoenix I headed directly to the Marathon EXPO. On the bus to light rail I was surprised to see my friends Jennifer and Cheryl from the New Orleans Marathon. I knew they were going to be at the marathon but was shocked that we happened to be on the same bus. This was a start of super nice and fun surprises during this trip.

Arriving at the EXPO I picked up my packet, then did a bit of shopping. Since I am going to run the San Diego Marathon with my friend Imelda and I had just run the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon, I bought a few items which were on a super sale because the Rock and Roll apparel sponsor is changing from Sugoi to Brooks. I also bought a cute Rock and Roll Arizona hot pink tank. I then headed over to the Rock and Roll Marathon Booth so I could sign up for the San Diego Marathon.

On my way to the Rock and Roll Race Booth, I passed by the Nissan Booth in which Ryan Hall was sitting quietly. I was very startled that the line was just one person. I headed over. But sadly I was so discombobulated and frazzled by the lack of line I did not have my camera out nor something to sign. Finally I realized I wanted my bib signed. I asked Ryan to write something inspirational and he wrote "Run Fast". In my mind I said to myself that this is more of a recommendation than a directive because I don't do fast:-) But he was really nice and polite. I then asked if I could get a picture. I was so thrilled to be in the presence of such a great runner and such a nice person. He was very kind and it was really cool. By the time I walked away the line was about 15-20 people long.

I then went to the Rock and Roll Race Booth to sign up for San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon. My friend Imelda was signed up and I needed to sign up. After completing this task, I wandered around the EXPO. Because this was my 82nd endurance event and about 60th marathon I felt comfortable munching on all the treats and taking all the samples. Some were good and some were terrible.

Having completed my very limited shopping, I went to the presentation area to see Dean Karnazes, Ryan Hall and Deanna Kastor speak. They provided advice and suggestions to runners in preparation for the race. After the presentation, I got a picture with both Deanna as well as Dean. Dean mentioned his parents were lurking around so I kept my eyes peeled for them.

Ultimately I ended up running into Dean's parents and spoke for a while. They clearly are so proud of Dean. And they were so nice to me. They knew my mom from when she volunteered at the Delaware E50 marathon and I was saddened to tell them about her passing in May. But they were so kind and gave me one of the best hugs. It still is really tough to run races without my mom around. She was my biggest cheerleader and I knew this while she was alive and greatly appreciated it. Now I have to get strength from all of my GREAT friends along the course. Dean's dad also spoke about his recent health issues. I am so happy that he seems to be fully recovered and looks really good!

As I was wandering the EXPO aimlessly I realized I had not packed any pajama's. This was the second race in two weeks that I arrived jammie free (actually this was the second race I ended up packing with a list and clearly I need to revert to my old packing strategy in which I check off items as I pack them). I ended up accepting a freebie T-shirt to use as a night shirt. I really do not need any more t-shirts!

After I finished my EXPOing, I headed to my hotel. It was an easy ride on the light rail and a short walk to the America's Best Value Inn. Sadly, my stomach was starting to bother me. I attributed this to a head cold I had been fighting since Monday. In fact Wednesday I had taken a sick day and on Thursday I was still quite congested. Friday I spent alot of time sniffling which I thought might have been a contributing factor.

Because of being bumped my one duffle bag arrived well ahead of me (in fact it arrived on Thursday night). I needed to get to the airport to get it out of hock but did not have enough time before my dinner date with the researcher from Javelina Jundred 100: Tami and her husband Bill. In confirming our dinner plans, I e-mailed and asked if we could head to the airport on our way to or from dinner, which they were agreeable.

Dinner with Tami and Bill was GREAT Fun! We chatted about running, ultra's, their experiences in South Africa, Tami's research in the physiology at ASU, my love of Chompies and Yogurtini at Phoenix and so much more. Time just flew by. Tami was volunteering with the medical staff at the finish at the marathon, so we decided we would meet up after her shift was over and my race was done. Of course because I am food motivated we decided Yogurtini was a good place.

After a very nice dinner, we headed to the airport for my bag. It was kind of sad, my bag was locked away in this glass enclosed cabinet. We could see my luggage but it was locked away like it was being interogated for bad behavior. We also noted that my bag was pretty much the only bright bag with personality. My bag reminded me of the Ikea commercial a few years ago when there was a lamp that was put into the trash and you see the weather change and the lamp neck droop lower and lower. Then the commentator mentions that you are crazy for animorphing and thinking the lamp had feeling. But I know my bag missed me, felt it didn't fit in and was sad.

After getting my bag, we headed to my hotel. Sadly my stomach was feeling badly again. Luckily Tami and Bill had driven round the corner before I pulled a cracker barrel/AMC hut (ie puked!) I ended up feeling kind of badly for a bit but was able to fall asleep after a while.

When I woke up I felt good enough to participate in my volunteer shift at the EXPO. The night before I was wondering if I would be up for it, but luckily I seemed to be able to "puke and rally". I was looking forward to my shift because I like to help out and of course to meet other runners. I was assigned bib/packet pick up. I wanted to ensure I was volunteering for the marathon since I was more likely to know participants. I ended up seeing a few friends including Steve Yee one of the co-founders of the Marathon Maniacs.

My shift was very busy and thus flew by. I was working with a very nice volunteer from the Phoenix area: Sue Iverson. She was a fellow marathoner and triathlete and I think we ended up having a very efficient process in checking ID's, for signed waivers and giving bibs. We also were very good about reminding runners of important things including making sure to secure the D-tag (the tape is really flimsy so an extra safety pin is good) while treating it gently (the D-tag is very flimsy as exhibited by my lack of finish at the Baltimore Marathon in 2008).

After my shift was finished I headed back to Tempe, where my hotel was. I picked up a dinner at Chompie's (a "mile high" turkey sandwich on a bagel). I took my bagel to the Mountain just above Sun Devil Stadium for picnic dinner.

Since I was still not feeling 100% I decided heading to bed about 7 p.m. was a good idea. I had to get up about 4 a.m. for the extra early 50 km race start and was still on eastern time so this was not as pathetic as it sounds (I hope!).

1 comment:

Natasha said...

We love Yogurtini too! Good job and thanks! www.yogurtini.com