It’s been 5 days since I crossed that finish line and I am still not over the post race high. The Tucson Marathon will hold a special place in my heart forever for so many reasons. Not only did I earn a 12 minute PR but I broke through so many barriers as a runner for the very first time. So here it is, the full race recap! *WARNING THIS IS A LONG POST*

Saturday morning I woke up naturally 10 minutes before my first alarm and was able to turn them all off without having to bug my family. I had pre set everything out the night before so everything I needed was a quick grab before heading to the bathroom to get ready. The first thing I always do is drink an energy Nuun tablet. I popped one into a glass and waited for it to dissolve before chugging it down. I also like to drink at least one full bottle of water before even eating breakfast. I have been doing this for my long runs and it has helped so much with dehydration after a long nights sleep. After getting everything all set up I headed to the hotel lobby to grab coffee/breakfast. I had brought my own oatmeal just in case there wasn’t that for an option at the hotel. Luckily I did because I ended up using it and having them just put some hot water into a bowl for me! During breakfast I had another full water bottle and sipped on some black coffee. After breakfast I was able to go to the bathroom and then head to the bus to take me to the start line which was conveniently at our hotel!

When I got on the bus I settled in and made sure I got comfortable because the start line was pretty far away. As the bus made its way to the start I took note of all the hills we were going over knowing that they were the ones I was going to be running on pretty shortly. We sat on the bus for what felt like forever when finally we all realized our bus driver seemed to be lost. This ended up being a blessing in disguise because it was around 32 degrees at the start so we didn’t have to wait too long in the cold. Once we finally got to the start line I raced off the bus and got immediately in line for the bathroom. The lines weren’t terrible so I was able to use the bathroom pretty quickly.

After my bathroom run I looked at my watch to see how much time I had left before the race started. It was about 30 minutes till go time so I decided to keep my fleece throw jacket on as long as I could before I had to give it up. I headed over to a table where they were handing out gatorade and decided to grab a cup. Toni and I had talked about fueling with electrolytes as early as possible to avoid any dehydration. This method worked VERY well for me. When it was about 15 minutes to start I decided to give my bag up and head into my spot. Because this is a smaller race there was a lot of room and no corrals. I spotted the pacer who was holding the 3:40 mark and decided to put myself right next to him. What seemed like 5 minutes later they were playing the national anthem and then the countdown to go time. I was surprised at how fast my watch caught GPS because we were up so high in elevation and pretty much in the middle of no where.

The first 10K of the race was rolling hills. Toni and I had talked about a plan of keeping my pace a little easier because I was nervous about how my legs would hold up. Once I started moving I realized my legs felt good and wanted to move FAST! I made a last minute decision to just roll with it. I kept up with the 3:40 pacer for the first 2 miles but fell a little behind at the water station because I tend to slow jog them to avoid choking. I wasn’t upset about this because in the back of my mind I knew I needed to run my own race. At the first water station I took 1 cup of gatorade and 1 cup of water. This was very successful for me and I continued it on for the rest of the race.

From miles 6-10 I was cruising and finally settling in on a solid pace. I was running next to this girl knowing that we were subconsciously pacing each other. Miles 10-14 were probably one of the most difficult times of the race. It was a section of rolling hills and a turn around so you got them on both sides. After the mile 10 hill there was a bathroom. I decided to make my stop now because I was worried if I held on I would slow my momentum during the most critical miles of the race. After my stop I struggled to get up the rest of the hills, I even remember getting to the top at mile 12 and literally saying “f**k that was hard.” On the turn back I was finally starting to get back into a groove of my pre bathroom stop pace. I passed the half mark at 1:52 which was a race PR! YAY!

After the halfway point I immediately got into a different mindset. I made a commitment to myself not think about the last 10K until mile 20. I turned my music up and put my head down. From miles 14-20 I felt on fire and it pretty much all blurred together. Every time my watch would lap a mile I would think to myself “wow that didn’t feel like a mile.” This was something I had never experienced during a race. The stars were just aligned and everything was right. I even got a little emotional during this time because I knew it was my day.

And now we get to the good part. Before this race I had expressed to Toni that my biggest fear was that I was going to sell myself short on the last 10K. Every other marathon I have ran I have decided to walk during this time. I wanted so badly to not do that during this race. It was actually my only true goal I had set for the day. So once mile 20 came I knew I was going to have to set a new mindset. I turned my watch face to just say the time and told myself “the pain is temporary, but the success lasts forever.” From miles 20-23 I ran in a line with 2 men. I kept my eyes on the road in front of me and did not let myself think of any negative thoughts. I knew I wasn’t dehydrated, and my legs were moving so I was doing just fine.

By mile 23 I was starting to feel the pain. It was consuming me in all levels so once again I repeated to myself “the pain is temporary, but the success lasts forever.” From that moment on I knew I had beat the “wall” and that I wasn’t going to stop or slow down. I kept myself side by side with a man who I had been following for almost 10 miles at this point. I told him I am just going to stay with him as long as I can. We were moving at a pretty consistent pace and I was okay with whatever happened from here on out. At mile 24-25 there was a straight up hill. I took headphones out and just focused on my breath. At mile 25 I saw the 3:35 on my watch and I got emotional. Not because I was shooting for a BQ but because I was THAT much closer to it. At mile 26 I saw the curve and could hear the finish line. People were yelling my name and all I could think is MOVE Amy MOVE! I passed by my mom and my sister and before I knew it I was crossing that finish line with the BIGGEST smile on my face.

Once I crossed that finish line I cried. I cried because I did something I never thought that I would ever be able to do. It wasn’t about the 3:43 even though that was really awesome. This race was about so much more. It was exactly what I needed for confidence as a runner. It transformed me from thinking I was a runner to BELIEVING I am a runner. TUCSON MARATHON I LOVE YOU!

Whats next? I am itching to lace up again but will be taking 2 full weeks off of running before diving back in. I know I need this time to recover and get ready for the next training cycle starting very soon!

Splits:
1 – 8:21
2 – 8:28
3 – 8:29
4 – 8:36
5 – 8:21
6 – 8:13
7 – 8:17
8 – 8:18
9 – 8:18
10 – 8:22
11 – 8:41
12 – 8:45
13 – 8:29
14 – 8:16
15 – 8:20
16 – 8:24
17 – 8:20
18 – 8:11
19 – 8:17
20 – 8:29
21 – 8:27
22 – 8:42
23 – 8:39
24 – 8:46
25 – 8:58
26 – 8:32
.33 – 7:55
26.33 miles total @ 8:30 average

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2 Comments on Tucson Marathon Recap!

  1. Jennifer
    December 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm (2 months ago)

    Ahhh so so happy for you! It has been truly a privilege to watch your journey to this point! What an amazing race you ran. What pants did you wear on race day also?! HUGE congratulations!!!!

    Reply
  2. Breezy
    December 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm (2 months ago)

    Just incredible! You inspire me!!!

    Reply

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