Rock N Roll Arizona

date January 17, 2022 location Tempe, AZ

I consider 2021 a successful running year, setting an annual volume PR of 3,525 miles, along with PRs in the 5K, 10K, and half marathon. The marathon, my favorite event, was a different story. My first attempt at the 26.2 mile distance during a humid, hot day in May was a disaster, and the Chicago Marathon in October was a similar story. With the belief that those disappointing races were due to a combination of weather and an ambitious goal of breaking the 2:45 barrier, I was eager to sign up for a redemption race in early 2022.

After just a 12 week training block, the shortest I've ever done for a marathon, I felt pretty good going into race day at the Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon. Almost equally as important as my training regiment, the weather forecast was promising, with a 50 degree start, a mild breeze, and temperatures remaining below 60 for the duration of the run. After back to back blow-ups in the marathon, I set a conservative goal of breaking my PR from November 2019 of 2:48:40. An important lesson learned from 2021 is that going out too fast in a marathon will result in some of the toughest physical and mental pain during the final miles of the race.

The race was a great success. There really isn't much to say other than I felt comfortable most of the race despite some cramping which came and went. While I didn't negative split, I never got passed in the second half of the race, maintained a fairly consistent pace, and didn't really hurt until the final few miles when I was dealing with a headwind and warmer temperatures. I finished the race in 2:47:54, extremely pleased with a PR, and 11th place overall.

What went poorly:

• Side stitches during the race, starting at mile 6, maybe too many carbs before and during the race?

What went well:

• Hill training: the race was mostly flat but when others suffered during the rolling hills late in the race, I stepped it up
• 12 week training programs, it felt like enough time to get in shape and not a complete grind
• No injuries during training

What to try for next time:

• Hiring a coach? I'm kind of at a loss for where I should focus my training? Volume, speed, MP runs?