Masters Running


RNR Arizona Marathon Pacer RR (Read 378 times)

    P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon Race report: Short version: 3:40:05 chip time 1014/6453 Overall finishers 781/3487 Men 125/510 Men 45-49 Long version: This last weekend, DW and I traveled to Phoenix, AZ for the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon. This is the third year in a row that I have run this marathon, and the second year for DW running the half. Last year I was the 3:40 pace team leader, and had committed to pacing the 3:40 group again this year. This marathon has a special place in my heart, as it was two years ago when I got my first BQ on it. Two weeks before the marathon, I was seriously considering cancelling. I had suffered a stress fracture of the 2nd metatarsal on my left foot on October 29th during the last 0.5 mile steep downhill finish of a local 5K race. After I crossed the finish line, I felt the pain in my foot. After 4 weeks of attempting to run on it slowly, I went to the podiatrist and got the diagnosis that I already knew. He advised that I stop running for 3 weeks and then gradually start back with the running. I started running on it Dec. 18th and gradually started ramping up on the mileage. A lot of the training runs were painful, especially a 16-miler that was 2 weeks before the marathon. The next week, I started feeling stronger, healthier, and the foot pain would lessen after every run. That week was when I knew that Phoenix was a go! The expo on Saturday was nice, and I visited quite a bit with many runners who intended to run with me the next morning. I really do enjoy talking with the runners and hearing about their goals and strategies! Sunday morning was perfect weather, 43F and calm. As we lined up in the corral, I had many runners gathered around me (many of them female and 18-34 years old-hey it’s better than getting a ‘vette). We were off and running and the early miles went smoothly. There was lots of chatter, and the people around me were in good spirits. We got to the 10K mark at 52:10, only two seconds off perfect pace. At mile nine I started to have some bad back spasms, but didn’t say a word to anyone, just kept running steady. We hit the half at 1:50:00 – Yeah perfect pace!! The back spasms finally lessened at mile 15. I guess those muscles finally figured I wasn’t going to give in…. It was about mile 16 where I started losing runners from the group. You can tell that everyone is working hard because there is very little chatter. This is always a good time for me to encourage the runners around me. Just telling stories, tell them when the next turn is coming, reassuring them we are right on pace, etc. We hit mile 20 at 2:47:47, two seconds ahead of pace. Now, the contenders were with me. We kept on pace and shortly after mile 23 I hollered out -“We’ve only got a little 5K left!! It’s going to hurt a lot, but the finish will be worth it!!!” We kept on, and when we hit mile 25, I encouraged many from the group to go ahead and push hard to the finish. I kept steady, and when I hit the final 100 yards began running backwards, cheering wildly to anyone behind me to finish as strong as they could!! The crowd started cheering loudly, especially when I started flailing my pace sign and arms wildly in the air urging them on. I crossed the finish at 3:40:05, mostly because I was acting like a lunatic in the final stretch. The scene after the finish line was incredible. A gal from SD had just BQ’ed and was sobbing uncontrollably…… Cry wow!!! I talked to at least 6 gals (including two from my home state of MN) that had BQ’ed with me. I heard lots of other really neat stories….. I met up with DW at the family reunion area, and she finished in 2:04:12 on the half. It was a good run for her, as she hadn’t been putting in very many miles this winter. We visited with some new friends, had some beers, and went back to get some food and rest later that afternoon. Overall, it was such a rewarding experience for me this year. Just the thought that I am able to help one person in the smallest way qualify for Boston makes it so worthwhile…….insert warm fuzzy feeling here…. I hope to pace this group again next year. It really is one of those experiences that I want to relive as often as possible. P.S. almost forgot the fashion report – can’t leave Ilene wondering…. Brooks Burn 3 Blue/white shoes Thorlo crew length socks Black Race-Ready shorts with 4 AccelGel (used 2 of them) White dry-fit short sleeve AZ road racer/Southwest Airlines pace team shirt White Timex cap Mr. Garmin 305 3:40 RaceTat on my left forearm. (These things are cool, but I think I looked kind of funny trying to hold my forearm as far away from my eyes as possible so I could focus on the numbers…..) Thanks for reading, John

    Marathon Maniac #957

      John - I found my pacer to be hugely helpful in my September BQ - you guys are so important! Great job, and in spite of your SF and back spasms. I wish I could join your pace group there next year.... Smile

      Life is a headlong rush into the unknown. We can hunker down and hope nothing hits us or we can stand tall, lean into the wind and say, "Bring it on, darlin', and don't be stingy with the jalapenos."

        Same here... you sound like a perfect pacer! I wish you'd been in Seattle in November... that pacer guy I started out with for the 3:45 group sucked. He wouldn't talk to anyone, had no sign or anything (so I lost him several times) and I think he went out kind of fast. For my first experience with a pacer, it wasn't good. So... what other marathons will you be pacing for? Thanks for the report, I always like hearing how you speedy guys do it...
          wow, great job john! sounds like an awesome reward for a job well-done. (sorry we didn't hook up; i remember reading once that you were going to be there, but i was too frickin' spaced out to send you an email, rats.) the weather was perfect! but given your description of the runners around you, you got me thinking that i might opt to be a pacer for a warm weather marathon sometime in the future... Roll eyes ps - did anybody in your group actually drink the accelerade? i tried once, and i tried the week before, and i couldn't stomach the stuff. i have a feeling that gallons of accelerade flooded the phoenix sewar system that day...
            Echoing MC, Wow! Great job helping everyone across the finish line, not to mention spot-on in your pacing. Thanks for the RR and sharing a great marathon with us. Paul
              WTG, John. It's interesting that you nailed the 3:40 chip time. That means that gun time was maybe a couple minutes slower? Which means that you made up those couple of minutes in the first 10K (assuming 52:10 is chip time). I am not clear on whether pacers are trying to hit a certain chip time or gun time, and whether this varies race-to-race or pacer-to-pacer. Is ther a standard? Nice story about the BQer. I think tears are common in that situation.
                Great job John! It must be an awesome feeling to help others meet their lifelong goals. huskydon
                  that is sooooooooo cool!! nice job!!


                    Simply finishing 26.2 was work. To keep pace for others is amazing. I want to be like you when I grow up.



                      What a great report John and your efforts an excellent gift to the community. A joy to read. jjj
                      Iron Mt. Trail Runners blogsite .... JJJessee blogsite ....Spring is here. Go outside and play.
                        Great job getting those with you over the line right on time. Pacers are a huge help during a marathon. I track them even though I typically do not run with them. I am really glad they are there even if the pacers do not know it.

                        Live like you are dying not like you are afraid to die.

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                          Fantastic job, john. You not only ran a great marathon but you helped a bunch of other runners do the same. Congratulations on a job well done and a service to the running community. TomS
                            John, this is so impressive. Thanks so much for writing it up. Must be so cool to help others reach their goals!
                              WTG, John. It's interesting that you nailed the 3:40 chip time. That means that gun time was maybe a couple minutes slower? Which means that you made up those couple of minutes in the first 10K (assuming 52:10 is chip time). I am not clear on whether pacers are trying to hit a certain chip time or gun time, and whether this varies race-to-race or pacer-to-pacer. Is ther a standard?
                              Fortunate One, Yes, gun time was 1:04 more than my chip time. I was 1:04 offset from gun time (it took me 1:04 to reach the start mat). The splits I gave were chip time, so there was no speedy running involved to reach the 10K in 52:10. In almost all cases, pacers will deliver chip time results. Good to hear from you, John
                                Nice work and really good RR! I do all my running alone and have wondered about getting in a pace group when I do my first M. Still undecided but will at least do like Twocat mentioned and keep one in sight. thanks for posting, John
                                Quit being so damn serious! When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. "Ya just gotta let it go." OM