And major side note before I recap the race...Sedona is the most amazingly beautiful and friendliest city I've ever been to. Literally every person we encountered was friendly, inquisitive, and always helpful. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that town literally survives off tourism and 99.9% of it's residents are retired and happy...it was an amazing feeling to be around for 4 days! I'll fill you all in on some other things Sonia and I did besides running later, but on to the race!
First up...HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONIA!! The whole reason we were in Sedona running a race in the first place was because Sonia couldn't see a better way to spend her birthday ;)
The half marathon started at the late our of 9:05 so we were able to sleep in until 7, eat breakfast and make our way to the shuttle. This also allowed the sun to fully rise so it wasn't freezing temps...much appreciated! We arrived at the start almost too close for comfort, checked bags, stood in the port-a-potty line and literally jogged through the start line with no waiting in any "corrals".
I honestly couldn't give you a breakdown of miles because every mile was either uphill or downhill. LITERALLY...Sonia and I remember ONE small flat part. It was very challenging but manageable and we powered up the hills at a slower pace and made up for the time on the downhills. Every time my heart rate would start climbing and I would think I might have to walk there was a downhill to recover. Since it was an out and back the mind games you play with yourself are pretty brutal... imagining running back up all the downhills was pure torture in my opinion.
|Not a bad race backdrop eh?|
Sonia and I made the turnaround after mile 6.5 with renewed energy and excitement to be done with the race. We were averaging about 10:00 miles which is slower for both of us but considering the course we were happy with the pace so far. We ended up chatting with a local resident for about a mile and a half which made the time fly! There was a nice steady downhill from about mile 11-12ish so it was nice to recover from such a challenging course.
|I have no words for my horrendous form in this pic...but at least I'm smiling! This is about mile 10 up a hill.|
But...oh wait for it...what be the hardest thing to do to anyone running a hilly race? Make the entire last mile a uphill slog ;). Thanks Sedona Marathon! At this point Sonia and I were just dying to be done so we took whatever was left in out tank and pushed it to the finish even managing a short sprint at the end...and DONE!
|Painfest 2013 on mile 13 hill. And seriously...I have the worst running hands...WHAT am I doing?|
Our final time ended up being around 2 hours 11 minutes...a time to be VERY proud of for sure. If I wasn't running with Sonia there is no way that time would even be in the 2 hour range because I would have walked probably most of the last half. We both admitted that we kept each other going with motivation and a bit of competitiveness ;).
|NOT a fake backdrop!|
And I know you are all thinking "man that Sedona finish photo looks so familiar"! Well you would be right, evidently Sonia and I like to finish races exactly the same way...flashback to 2012 Mercer Island half finish:
Some random notes of awesomeness:
- The weather was 100% sunny skies with temps in the 50's. A small wind cooled us off for the entire race, it was PERFECT.
- Altitude? What altitude? We ran at 4,500 feet and I honestly didn't really notice a difference in my running...I must have lungs of steel!
- I got RECOGNIZED! After I finished a lady came up to me and asked me if I blogged?! She said she was searching around for Sedona marathon stuff and stumbled upon my blog. I was so touched and she was so sweet...sorry I forgot your name so please please leave a comment if you read this...you made my day...ok...my month ;).
- There was Muscle Milk at the finish, my absolute favorite post race recovery drink!
- I got a little sunburn, now I'm a shade slightly more offwhite.
- The aid stations were awesome. They all had water and Gatorade and most of them had some sort of food as well (bananas, oranges, gu).
Being my 10th half marathon I think Sedona was the perfect way to challenge my body by pushing through the hills and not quitting.
Sonia and I celebrated our finish and her bday with a delicious lunch, hot tubbin with champagne and an evening adventure I'll talk about later. While in the hot tub that afternoon at our hotel with other runners everyone agreed that Sedona is the hardest course they have ever run and that was partly from 2 ladies who have ran races in 29 states.
P.S. I'm still SORE ;)
Question: Who raced last weekend? Any races coming up? I "may" have the bug to race again in the near future...