Monday, November 8, 2010

Grand Canyon and Women’s ½ pacing running party weekend!

I am on the flight back to OR from AZ thinking about my amazing running party fun filled weekend and so happy that I was there and had such a blast, but somewhat dreading getting off the plane in OR.  I loved the beautiful weather (SUNSHINEJ) in AZ as well as spending time with my awesome friends and of course my sister.  It was a great time out there and I always feel slightly sad leaving AZ to go back North.  I did get a speeding ticket on my way to the flight this morning, because I was already running late to get to the flight and then thought, well you know if I miss the plane oh well, I stay in AZ longer, and this really didn’t bother me at all.  But with the ticket (56 in a 40), I was still able to make it in time and I am on my way “home.”  I know I will be excited to get to OR once I do and see all my great friends there in the NW, but the transition between the 2 different worlds is always hard for me and it is not getting any easier- if anything harder.  Ok ok enough sad face; let’s get on to the fun!! 
So I ran the Grand Canyon Marathon on Saturday.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!  I headed up there Friday after work and really enjoyed the drive and seeing all the beauty AZ has to offer in November, especially when the weather is just so perfect!! 
To give a bit of history here, this marathon was my third ever back in 2008 when they first offered this course.  Due to permit issues they were not able to have the race in 2009, so I was glad they let me in for the 2010 version!  The marathon went off at 8am and the weather was chilly, but as soon as the wonderful SUNSHINE hit us it was warm.  We had extremely cold weather in 2008 so I prepared for that and I was just cooking!  I was stripping and ditching clothes at every aid station along the south rim, gloves, beanie, sunglasses, long sleeve shell, rolling my pants up to make shorts, LOL I was thinking about ditching the pants too, but drew the line at making “shants.”  The first 16 miles of the run offered spectacular views of the canyon and I was just soaking it in, so much so that those first 16 flew by as I never once looked at my watch and just was having a great time out there.  After mile 16 we head away from the rim and into the forested area long dirt trail over rolling hills to the finish.  These last 10 miles were pretty spread out as we did not have any more ½ marathon runners with us.  I ended up passing a few people on these later miles as I was feeling very strong and this helped me feel even more confident.  The legs, lungs, body, mind, and spirit were all working together out there on the course.  I had time to reflect about one year ago when I was running the NYC marathon at this time and then the year before when I was running the GCM at the same time and it really made me happy to remember all of these great races, people, and places.  I have had the opportunity to see a lot through these running adventures and I thought about how happy and lucky I am to be healthy and out there feeling so alive.  I was doing the number one thing that I love to do at one of the most beautiful places on earth and really soaked up every second of it and enjoyed the HECK out of it!  The chase to the finish was pretty intense!  I passed 2 women that were still moving pretty good around mile 21 so I knew they would be on my heals, but I was targeting one more lady in front of me who I passed for a bit, but we switched back places as I made an aid stop to get more water around mile 24.  I kept her in sight for the last 2 miles and tried to stay close enough to make a move, but I was really pushing it to hang.  For the last half mile I went for it with all I had left, but the elevation and climbing had caught up to me and what I was pushing for as a “sprint” was not working out so well, so she did beat me to the finish by about 1 minute.  It was close, but I am happy that I was out there doing my best and pushing myself.  I ended up getting second place in my age division and 4th woman overall, which was very exciting.  I also beat my 2008 time by 40 minutes!! 

I came across that finish line SO out of it!  I think the elevation and running hard really get’s to me and I was totally out of it.  Could not walk straight nor did I really understand what people were saying to me.  But after popping a squat on the curb for a hot second I got it together and was good to go.  I hit the post race tent for some food, friends, and a WONDERFUL massage!  I also met Dick (pictured below)
Dick was doing interviews with runners post race and has worked with some great runners in the past.  It was awesome chatting with him and I hope to see some neat footage later on. 
After synching up Jeanie, the RD, about getting my stuff that I left all over the course, I had to jet to get back to PHX for the Sole runners dinner party.  I had a really nice drive back into town and made it right on time to dinner with the ladies!  I haven’t seen my girls in a bit so it was so super exciting to get to Kim’s house and catch up with all of them.  They are so happy and positive and just amazing that I can’t get enough time to hang out with these girls.  They are all so interesting, outgoing, smart, athletic, successful, wonderful people that I just love spending time with these peeps.  Very good peeps!  Oh and Lara found me the best surprise ever- a 100 mile sticker that I have been looking for ever since I fnished my first 100 miler!  This was an added surprise for me! 
As we were heading out I got to talking with Mollie and she offered up her BMW Z3 for me to borrow!  I jumped all over that immediately and handed over my rental.  So now that I had hot wheels and it was 9pm it was time to create some fun!  I swooped up my lil Sis and we hit the town!  This was a ton of fun because we were able to meet up with some old friends as well as spend time together and talk and catch up.  It was a very good night- although getting ot sleep at 2:30am after the marathon and full day was nuts, I was feeling great. 
After 2.5 hours of sleepy it was wake up for race number 2 of the weekend.  I was helping out my amazing running friend Mr. Emmet and being a part of the Sole Sports Pace team leading one of the groups.  So it was off to meet up with the girls to get a ride to the start to meet Em, get clothes, get pace sticks, and start the race.  This was a ton of fun, and I was surprisingly awake and ready to party after my little nap. 
I wanted to make it a ton of fun for my pace group so I dressed up and just had a blast talking with the ladies for the 13.1 miles.  It was sunny and beautiful and we were able to see many friends along the course as we went through Scottsdale and Tempe.  It was fun to have a lot of friends out there running it and on bikes helping the RD watch the course and it was like running and catching up with more friends as I went.  A seriously wonderful Sunday morning run! 
After the race our group headed over to 4 peaks for some post race celebration fun!  It was an amazing perfect day so I was more than happy to cruise around looking for a parking spot with the top down soaking up the sunshine.  Post running celebrations are always so awesome because everyone is so relaxed and happy with the post run endorphins flowing it was a good time to catch up with many! 
After 4 peaks it was on to my next goal for the day- more bling!  So I grabbed my sis and we headed to the shop to get some new additions.  I wanted to add more bling to my ear, and then decided to go for it with the surface piercing on my neck.  I am really happy with both and it was so much fun to go with my sister and get everything done.

Overall it was a really amazing weekend back home in AZ with good friends, family, and of course running!  Loved the adventures that this weekend brought me and I am very much looking forward to many more. 
Side bar- after our flight was diverted today due to bad weather I finally made it back to my car with a flat tire!  So to say what a crazy start to a Monday is an understatement.  Thank goodness for smiles even with the craziest of stuff going on.  Everything is all good and happens for a reason right? 

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