Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Tucson Half Marathon
My arrival in Tucson was uneventful, I got a car and checked in to the host hotel. The next morning I saw my friends and joined them for coffee. They said they were driving the course later, and invited me to join them. I did, and after we went to the start of the full, we stopped at the Biosphere which is near the half start. We got out and ran 3 easy miles. It was good I saw the starting line for the half because I was able to plan my strategy a bit better. The first mile has a small uphill before we turn to the main road which is mostly downhill. I made my plan to run the first mile slow and then pick it up as we headed downhill.
At the expo I saw Marshall Ulrich, an elite ultra runner, selling his book Running on Empty. I went over and bought the book which he autographed. I talked to him a bit, and mentioned that I knew Harry Deupree. Marshall smiled and said he knew Harry very well. He went on to tell me a Harry Deupree story. When he finished he said he was very happy to know that Harry was doing well.
Race morning, I got up, ready and walked out the door to catch a bus to the start. One good reason to stay at the host hotel. Another was it was going to be tight making my 11:30 flight since the 1/2 started at 7 and I was going to have to get back to the hotel, check out, gas up my rental car, and make it back to the airport.
It was cold at the start, they had heaters but the people were gathered around them and it was difficult to stay warm. I had decided to go minimal with my gear, I wore a long sleeve shirt, and shorts. I did keep long pants and a jacket on till I needed to hand over my tote bag. I was in line to start when a sudden and powerful urge to make another stop at the potty hit me. I decided to listen to that urge since I knew they were having a wave start. The way the start worked was you got in where you could, and then they let a group go and then waited a minute before the next group. After my stop I felt much better. I started almost 10 minutes after then gun, we're off and while I was able to run, there were a lot of slow runners, and walkers ahead of me. After we made the turn to the main street, Oracle, I still had a lot of people to pass, but was able to at times go off into the street. They had us mainly running on the shoulder, and the rules said to stay inside the cones. There was traffic on the road. In the second mile I was running sub 7:30 by mile 2 and from mile 3 to 6 I ran sub 7:15. I ran sub 7:30 to mile 11 then started struggling and ran 7:50, 7:42 and 7:30 to the finish. Time 1:36:42, a new P R, and NYC qualifying time. I didn't hang around to eat or mingle, but went to find my bus back to the hotel. This was a bit confusing as we had taken a luxury bus to the start, but all I saw at the finish were school buses. I asked around and no one seemed to know what was what. Finally I asked the school bus driver and he said this was the bus to the hotel. I got on, and only a few others were there. I thought he's not going any where until we fill up, and that might take a while. Just then someone told him to take people going to the parking lots also. Then the bus filled right up, so even with the slight detour, I got to the hotel before 10. I had already packed, got my stuff, used TV check out and headed to the airport. Made my flight with about 10 minutes to spare, and got home safe and sound.