Monday, December 29, 2014

Whiskey Row Marathon Recap

 In May 2014, I ran the wonderful Whiskey Row Marathon. I know it's been a while since I've run it, so I will try my best to recall memories from the race. I do have photos, so that always helps me remember!

I had planned to run the half with my sister. I bought her a race entry (as well as one for myself) for her 32nd birthday. A few months later, she decided it was too much and decided to drop out. I was pretty bummed, but decided to make the best of it and upgrade to the marathon.

Chance and I arrived at the Hotel St. Michael in Prescott on Friday night after a long drive up from Tucson. There had been an accident just North of Phoenix and it stopped traffic for two hours on the highway. I was planning to card load in Prescott for dinner and now that was out of the question since we ended up arriving around 10pm. I grabbed some food at the grocery store and went straight to bed.

The alarm went off around 5AM but I was in no hurry because the hotel was literally a few steps away from the start line. I didn't know this when I booked the rooms. Chance and I have stayed at this hotel at least 2 times in the past. When we were both in school for archaeology, our field school surveyed in the wilderness surrounding Prescott and we would come into town for supplies once in awhile. They always chose this hotel. And since I already knew about it, I went ahead and booked it. Glad the start line was right next to it! :)

There were 2 start times. If I remember correctly, one was at 6AM and the other was at 7AM. And this is becuase the race promptly cuts off at 1pm. And I mean PROMPTLY. One of my friends finished after 1pm, and they literally left her medal in a pile on the ground where the finishline used to be. I'm not sure why they have to end so abruptly. Maybe the city is cutting them off early, but it sure is annoying. I was nervous about not being able to finish in the alotted time (there is a TON of elevation change in this race) and I was considering the early start time. But, since we got in late the night before, I just decided to sleep an extra hour and start at 7AM.

The 7AM Whiskey Row Marathon start line.

And we were off! The air was cold and my lungs were not used to that. I could feel the cold air being sucked into my lungs as I tried to keep up with everyone. The elevation didn't quite hit me yet, so that helped me keep up with the pack for a little bit. But a few minutes into the race, I was sucking wind and I fell behind. I was upset, of course, but I did this to myself. I didn't train in elevation and that was my fault. I should have run on Mt. Lemmon before the race, but I completely forgot that Prescott was about 5,000 ft. And I was going to feel it for the entire race. I get dizzy, sleepy and cold. I had to fight though these feelings for at least the next few miles. 

Running through the streets of Prescott. The elevation hasn't quite hit me yet. 

I figured I was pretty far behind everyone when a man that looked familiar passed me. I immediately spoke up and told him he looks familiar. I explained to him that I'm from Tucson and run with TTR a lot. And that was it! He also ran with TTR and he was at the OP 50. I had sat and talked to him while I was stranded at Kentucky Camp. 

He ran up ahead and started talking to another woman about me. She also ran with TTR! Crazy, I thought. I guess all of the low elevation natives are in the back of the pack. Makes sense, since we are not used to this elevation. 

The first, of many, hills. This one was definitely a pain in the butt.
They are trying to be cute with their signs. 

It doesn't look so intimidating in this photo. 

After a few menacing hills, I was contemplating quitting. I believe I was about 4 miles in and it seemed to have sapped all of my energy. I felt like I was crawling and I would never make it in the allotted time. I started to freak out. I was pretty certain that I was last. I saw a few people pass me and I kept looking behind and I saw no one. I remember crying a little and then snapping out of it. How stupid would I look if I dropped out at 4 miles. I told myself to suck it up and keep going as far as I could. I would walk if I needed to. But I WOULD NOT QUIT DAMMIT. 

I ate another GU and a salt tab and waited for those to kick in. Once they did, I felt more determined. We all have low points. We just need to remember to push past them and keep going, no matter how slow. 

Finally, the race left the town and started to climb into the mountains. 

These photos really are not doing these hills justice.
They were really bad. Like, hands on knees bad. 

I was feeling better at this point.  :)

The course is completely on road, both paved and dirt roads. I enjoyed being up in the pines. The smell made everything better. :) I felt I could run hike (basically) for hours...which was exactly what I was going to do. The uphills were so steep, there was no way I was going to waste precious energy on running up them. 

I zoned out to my music, podcasts and a somewhat steady pace for another hour or two. 

Then, I finally reached the highest aid station (and the highest point in the race). The view was fantastic! But the kicker...this was the highest point. And we had not yet reached the halfway point. That was another 6 or so miles away. Downhill. So. I would have to summit this monster of a hill AGAIN. 

The highest point in the marathon. 
There were a few, small uphills once in awhile.
The road had turned to dirt at this point. 

Wish I took off that jacket at the got hot! 

Another photo of lovely forest dirt road. Since I was near the back,
it was peaceful and deserted. :)

Finally, the turnaround point! Yayayaya!

Selfie on the way back. At this point I was singing out loud to
the songs on my iPod. :)

The downhills were great! I passed so many people. If I could just harness my downhill speed and transfer that into my uphill speed, I would be so FAST! :D Unfortunately, I am one of the slowest uphill runners EVER. I am working on this, don't you worry. ;)
I finally made it to the 13.1 mile mark and it was such a nice looking sign (I was so happy to be there). The temperature rose and it was extremely dusty, so I was sort of at a low when I reached the turnaround. We had dropped in elevation too, so the temperature was MUCH hotter than I had expected. I drank lots of Gatorade and went on my way. I found out that I was not last, after seeing some people hobble down the hill after me. It gave me that little push that I needed to continue. 

Heading back down to the finish! 

The last few miles were brutal. My legs were super sore so I took some Advil. It helped a little. The constant downhill was finally taking its toll. After a few more painful miles, I finally saw the finish line!

Running into the finish!

Yay I did it! :)

The HUGE chunk of  bling at the end. 

I came in at 5:36 and I was 120th out of 150 runners. They said the finish line would shut down at 1:00pm and it really did shut down at 1pm! They completely cleared out pretty soon afterwards. One of my friends who came in after 1pm told me they just left the medals on the ground in a pile for those who came in later. It was ridiculous! It seems like the City of Prescott and Prescott YMCA need to work out a better deal next time...

Since we had to check out of the hotel after 11am, Chance took me to the car and we went to go find food. I was starving! We found a great Irish place in Prescott, just down the road a ways. It was called Celtic Crossings and it was so incredibly delicious. Although, I could have easily eaten everything on the menu, I went with the corned beef and cabbage. Yum!

A delicious post-race meal. 

Overall this was a great race! Personally, I should have trained in higher altitudes before attempting this race. I would have perhaps had a better experience (especially in the beginning!).Also, hills. I need to train on steeper hills before attempting to run this marathon again.

If you've been thinking about this race, go for it! Prescott is a great town to hang out in before and after the race. The race itself is challenging and has a time cut-off, but they do offer an early start. You will be so proud of yourself when you complete this monster of a race! :)

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