May's race took us to the birthplace of Arizona, Prescott, for the Whiskey Row Half Marathon. Ever since moving to America I had a strong desire to run this race. Its reputation precedes itself as tough, challenging, hilly death, and a true test of strength.
Well, it certainly checks the box of being the hardest half marathon I've ever done.
Mile 1-Loving the downtown feel. Running from the courthouse was neat. Kimmy and I ran together and noticed the girl in front of us that had her elbows pointing straight out-just like I always do. It was good to see how it looks...that's my worst problem. I didn't look at my watch to see my pace. I don't like to do that. I feel better about finding my comfortable pace rather than stressing that I'm too fast or slow.
Mile 2-3-I started thinking this wasn't so bad. Then the first hill came up. Ok, that wasn't so bad. Then there was a sign that said "What the hill is this?" That was a steep sucker that didn't get me but still reminded me what I was in for. At this stage I also noticed that it was freaking hot. Sun was beating down, and I already felt hot. That was a bad sign for a long hilly race. I also saw an older lady exit the course to take a poop on the side of the course. That annoyed me. More on her later.
Mile 4-6-Hard. hard. hard. The hills became relentless at this stage! It was the kind of climb that leaves you wondering where the top will be. I knew it was bad when I saw the treeline with my own eye. Literally from brush to legit ponderosas. Yikes. Admittedly, I made a tough decision that ended up being smart. During one of said climbs, I made an executive decision to briskly walk for 4 minutes rather than continue to barely climb with legs in pan and out of breath. Doing this was shameful for me but really helped me restore balance and get back on my feet.
Mile 6.5-The turnaround had us go on a dirt forest trail for a mile or so. It was shady. There was only one real incline. It was nothing compared to what I had just endured. I love races where you can see who is behind you because it is an out-n-back race. I was able to count the females in front and behind me to see that I was easily in the top 10 females despite there being hundreds of females. That's a neat feeling.
Mile 7-9 Downhill easy fast. What more can I say? All of those hills I climbed were now cake walks where I felt sorry for those still climbing up on the other side. At mile 9 I noticed the lady that left the course in the beginning dart from behind and pass me. What the freak? Where did that come from? I had never seen her return to the course. She certainly didn't pass me. I would've noticed and been annoyed. I was convinced she cheated.
Mile 10-12 I battled with a couple that was running the race together. They would pass me, and I would pass them. Again, the course wasn't too tough because I was mostly descending back to 5000 feet. The last mile was really really hot. There was not a cloud in the sky, and I was feeling tired and hot and thirst. I held my kick until I knew I was at the last corner.
Mile 13.1 I managed to pass one girl that was in front of me the whole race. I was happy about that.
Overall time 1 hr 44 min. Freak. Not too bad for one of the toughest halfs around this state. I'm happy.