(Originally Published on Runners World Loop 10/17/11)
Variety is the spice of life, and variety in running helps keep it fun and interesting. One of the reasons I enjoy running so many races is that they are all different. New courses, different distances, changing weather, and so many other variables make each new race an adventure.
There’s a race in Tucson that has evolved over the years – historically, it’s been a 10-miler, but the latest edition of the Get Moving Tucson was a half-marathon. (I have to admit, I was hoping it would stay a 10-miler, because last year I was injured with a pulled groin muscle and ran a slow time, so hoped to improve it this year). The course was new this year too, and it was a challenging one. We started in downtown Tucson, and after about 3 miles, ran up “A Mountain” (so-named because it hosts the traditional huge “A” that the college students paint each year, which overlooks the downtown area). A race photographer was at the top, which was also roughly 4 miles into the race:
The climb up was slow, and the run down was fast but also extremely tough on the legs. In fact, I actually considered dropping out at the bottom, because one of my calves was tightening up so badly that I feared a strain was coming on. But I held on and it calmed down. Mile 6 brought a headwind and slight uphill, then we turned back and eventually wound our way back into the downtown area.
Mile 10 passed directly by the finish line, and just after I came through, the winner of the race (Craig Curley, who is preparing for the Olympic Marathon Trials in January) was coming back to finish – and I still had 5k to go! The last 3 miles took us up towards the University of Arizona, then back.
My final time was 1:26:46, which earned me 23rd out of 680 finishers, 2nd in my age group. I was surprised to get that time, considering the “A Mountain” climb, but I also was pushing to get below 1:30. There were no finisher medals :-( but I did receive a gift certificate to The Running Shop for the age group award. I also got a mug.
I had a lot of fun there and saw many friends. My buddy Bruce ran an awesome half – he’s definitely going to go sub-2 on a flat course soon! Also met up with another RW Looper, Phillip, aka GruveB. Lots of fellow members of The Workout Group ran fast races, including some PR’s…basically just a good fast day at the races!