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Tempe, Arizona, USA

where's that confounded bridge?

The weather was perfect, warm and slightly overcast. I had my usual weatbix and fruit breakfast, and brought along a caffeinated brownie to munch on at the start.

This was the biggest race I've done so far, my second half-marathon, and my first *flat* half-marathon. So it was my first chance to get a good feel for my pace and whether I'll be able to complete the Lost Dutchman full under the time limit - so - no pressure there! I tried not to push or focus too much on my time, but strayed from my strategy around mile four when I couldn't ignore my bladder any longer and lost 6 minutes waiting in line for the part-a-loo. I put on a spurt and re-passed a lot of familiar racers (the pair of power walkers in pink glittery capes were unmistakable), finally catching up with the 2:30 pace group. I stayed a little ahead of them until near the end. At about mile 7 a couple friends who live on the route were supposed to be there to cheer me on, but as I found out later they'd had a family emergency the night before and didn't wake up until about the time I crossed the finish. I'd had a non-caffeinated GU at this point, and about a minute after passing the cheer squad with the cookies I wished I'd grabbed one. I'm familiar with most of the course, which runs through central Phoenix, but there's a section right before you cross the Mill Ave bridge into Tempe and the final stretch, where the route meanders around picking up a few extra miles, and I got totally disoriented.

I was going strong between miles 10 and 11 (someone yelled "Go rainbow socks!"), and then ran out of gas when I hit the bridge, along with having a wardrobe malfunction. I had Body Glide slathered on my inner thighs because the shorts on my orange skirt tend to ride up, and by that point it had worn off. The 2:30 pace group passed me and the people behind me were probably wondering why this weirdo kept stopping, swearing, and yanking at her crotch. My lower back and abs were pretty tight too, because I was so focused on my time that I hadn't stopped for any stretch breaks. Then suddenly I was across the bridge, the stadium was in sight, and I sprinted the last yards to the finish yelling like an idiot. The medical team were keeping a close eye on finishers as they came over the line, and one of them made me sit down until I could breathe normally again. I also had them put ice on my right knee, although it wasn't bothering me much.

One of the interesting and fun aspects of these big races is all the people who show up in costumes. The weirdest sight I saw, though, was after the race among the crowds walking to the light rail station. There was a bicycle rickshaw driver with a chain around his neck that one of his passengers was holding onto, and another passenger had a riding crop! I hope they tipped him well.

Time: 2:33:41. Not bad, and I'm feeling more confident about my full next month.

Lessons learned for the Lost Dutchman:
Schedule some stretching and walking breaks ahead of time, and stick to that schedule.
Get some portable-size BodyGlide or other lubricant that I can re-apply en route. (Or else get some of that sticky spray beauty contestants use to keep their swimsuits from riding up!)

Pack some more GUs, and make them caffeinated.

Note: This was originally posted in the 1/2 Marathon Trainers Race Results thread.

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