A trip to Phoenix for our annual holiday visit to the Outlaws yielded an opportunity to run a the 12k’s of Christmas. I threw my running shoes, clothes and the body glide into a bag and cleared the schedule for Saturday morning for the run.
I paid my registration fee, collected the goodie bag and ran back to the car. This event did not have a t-shirt, it has Santa Hats, socks and arm warmers. (I’m wearing the socks now!)
In this race I ran the 6k. I was too scared too run the 12k and still function for the rest of this trip. When I did my first 10k, I was trashed for a couple days.
As the run started my music malfunctioned and I spent the first kilometer setting up the Breeders (the band with Kim Deal) while dodging strollers, dogs and walkers. I ran along the sides, on the hill side and got trapped next to a wall behind some girls slower than me. I was thirsty before starting.
I was still running off the edge of the trail at the first water stop at 1.25k into the run. I can’t drink and run, so I walked while drinking. More edge running, avoiding mud, pot holes, walkers and dogs until about 2k marker where the crowd started thinning.
At the 3k a water stop, I drank a plastic Dixie cup of an orange sports drink and asked if I should turn around, no one know. So I turned around anyway and ran against the tide of all those walkers, dogs and strollers I previously passed. I ran along the edge jumping over rivulets avoiding the oncoming runners, walkers, strollers and dogs. I stopped a few times so as not to run headlong into other runners. Geez, was a bad idea, am I going the right way?
At the 4k marker and I was past or ahead of the worst of it depending on how you look at it. Its harder to breath here compared to home. I train at sea level, while Phoenix is 1,117 feet above sea level. Certainly this is not a high altitude place, but it is different than home. I’m hot so I took off my Santa hat and rolled up my sleeves as far as they would go.
Last year when we were here it rained all weekend; so a December run in Phoenix is subject to being warm, cold, colder and rainy. Last year I spend good amount of time walking around looking for Geocaches with my phone out in the rain wearing my new jacket. I bought the jacket at Target with Joe. He moved to Kansas this year and I’m still running up to the 5k marker. I’m out of gas.
Maybe it was the half mile run back to the car to stow my goodie bag and the half mile run back. Maybe it was the air quality. Maybe it was the 45 minuet drive across the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Maybe it was a break in my normal running morning routine. I’m not sure but I pressed on.
Normally in this end part I can kick it up and put some speed into it. I did a little bit, it was tough. Instead of me passing other runners were passing me. I finished the race, by my reckoning with the following stats: 3.8 miles in 38:22 at a pace of 10’03” a mile. Well my goal was to have pace of 10’??” something, which is faster then most of my training runs. So I did meet my goal, although I was slower than the Thanksgiving day 5k pace of 9’24” (I surprised my self on how fast I was that day).
So what did the chip time say?
I finished 4th in my age group! I almost got a medal! The chip time does not quite jive with my time. Odd. I do know that I can’t keep up that pace for even a mile. I think the official time is wrong.
After the finish, I ate a banana, a bag of plain potato chips with some local store brand on it, a small cup of crackers and a sports drink. A strange lady took my picture.
I went to the medal ceremony holding out that maybe I would get one. When it was over I hiked the half mile back to the car and got in the queue to leave the place. All in all it was a good experience and a good race for me. I find that its really hard to push myself as hard as a race during training. Maybe next year I’ll plan the holiday trip for the 12k of Christmas race. I think I would like that.