Race recap for the @azdistance Valley of Gold Half Marathon

I'm a little late in getting this done, but better late than never. We drove up to Tucson on Saturday and got checked in at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort, the official race hotel. AWESOME place!!! Since I got the VIP upgrade by staying at the hotel, my race bag, shirt, number, and race JACKET (another perk of being a VIP!!) were waiting for me at check in. How cool is that!! And my name was on my race number – that's a first for me. After settling into our room for a bit, we got suited up and headed to the pool area. That was really nice, too – outdoor pools, but it was 80+ degrees out so it was nice. They had a kiddie pool area and a slide and even a little kids pool where the water didn't get deep than 1 1/2 feet. We all had a great time, Thomas included, and then we headed back and relaxed in the hot tub near our room for a while. We went to Red Robin for dinner and then spent the evening relaxing in our room.

Sunday morning was race day, and my alarm went off at 4:15, but I snuggled under the blankets until about 4:35 and then I got up and ready. Shortly after 5:30 I headed up to the hotel lobby to catch the shuttle to the race start. I had a VIP pass, and they had some breakfast stuff and private porta-potties, so that was kind of nice. There was pre-race yoga/stretching, so I went and did that – partly to warmup/stretch and partly to warm up – it was about 55 degrees out and I only had my t-shirt and skirt on. After yoga, I hit the porta-potty and then headed to the start area.

The course was a little hilly, but definitely nothing I couldn't handle. The race was at 2000 feet elevation less than what I train at, and I've got some good hills here to run on. I passed A LOT of people on the uphills!!! Yay for all my training runs into the wind uphill. The course was BEAUTIFUL and the volunteers and police support was awesome! They had police officers at EVERY intersection along the course. The water stops were well placed, although they could maybe have had a few more. I hit the turn-around point and started back. I was getting a little tired at this point, but still doing well. I grabbed fluids at every water stop and had 2 GU – need to find something else for the later stages of races/long runs. I didn't even attempt my 3rd one as I'm pretty sure my stomach couldn't handle it. About the last 1/2 mile I was starting to think I wasn't going to make it – my mouth was SOOOO dry and I knew that I needed some salt. But I did make it to the finish line, and of course my husband and sons were right near the finish waiting for me!! I love seeing them and it helps me finish strong.

I finished in 2:29:13, an 11:23 pace!!! I'm loving how I'm getting faster, even over long distances. My run 9 minutes/walk 1 minute seems to work really well, so I'll keep doing that for now. This race was a new Personal Record (PR) for me by almost 4 minutes and I'm really excited that I'm finally under 2:30! Someday I will be under 2:20 – maybe this year. I have 3 more possible half marathons planned for this year, so we'll see.

Here are a few pictures of race stuff:
My goodies from my race bag.

My race outfit

My medal from half marathon #7

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