Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mountain to Fountain 15K Recap

On Sunday I ran the Mountain to Fountain 15K in Fountain Hills, Arizona.  It was a beautiful race!  But let me start at the beginning.  After only 5 hours of sleep in a not so comfortable hotel bed, I woke up feeling somewhat refreshed.  I got dressed, grabbed all my stuff and headed out for the half hour drive to Fountain Hills.  It's nice that nobody is on the roads at 6am!  Parking was easy and the buses to the start were right around the corner.  I grabbed some safety pins for my bib and got on the bus.

I haven't been on an actually school bus in FOREVER!  Felt just the same.
As our bus pulls away, some guy says "I can register up at the top right?"  He couldn't, so we got the bus driver to let him off so he could run back and register.  The bus ride seemed like it took forever AND there were so many hills!  I never run hills, so I wasn't sure how I would fare because there were seriously 7 or 8 of them.

Once we arrived at the start, there were lots of people milling around.  So, I did my double duty at the port-o-potties.  I knew it things were starting to align correctly when my second go round to pee, I ended up in the same port-o as the first time!  Weird, but lucky!  I dropped off my gear and stood around for another 15 minutes until the start.  It was pretty chilly up on the mountain, but I the sun was already out and I knew it was gonna warm up real quick.  I was pretty excited because I love running in the sun!  Here's the starting area!
We started right on time, but it was pretty congested.  Over 700 people are trying to run up this one street, but I think everyone started finding their spots, because it opened up quickly.  The first mile was all uphill, so with the congestion and the need to warm up I didn't shoot out the gates too fast, but it was still a small challenge with the uphill and all.

Once we turned the corner after mile 1, miles 2 through 4 were all downhill.  I tried not to go too fast, because I knew there were hills eventually and I wanted to save some energy.  I was very consistent for these 3 miles, and I was running faster than I've ever run before in a race.  My goal going into the race was a conservative 1:35:00.  That's about a 10:30 minute mile, but I wasn't sure how I'd do with the hills.  I was well under this pace, but then again I was going downhill!  This course was amazing.  I had finally warmed up around mile 1.5, so I finally relaxed and looked up (I'm known for watching my feet as I run).  The scenery was gorgeous.  You could see for miles and miles...blue skies, warm sun, mountains and cacti, and lots of bobbing heads!  I tuned into my body and it felt great.

We turned on to the main road after the 4th mile and I can see the rolling hills.  My goal is to try and keep the pace uphill and add a few seconds on the downhill.  There were about 5 or 6 hills for about 2 and a half miles and I was kicking some major hill ass!  I didn't feel like they were that tough.  I would look at my feet going up, so I wouldn't notice the big hill, then speed down the other side keeping a great pace.  At mile 6.5 it came though...the enormous hill!  This sucker lasted an entire mile and felt like it went straight up.  All the people that passed me during miles 2 through 4 were walking up this hill.  I kept my legs moving at a very slow jog, but I never stopped to walk.  It was as if this hill was never ending.  I dropped 20 seconds at the end of 6 miles and was at a 12:30 milie pace as I got to mile 7.5....but, we all know, the ONLY good thing about a big hill, is the downhill on the other side!  I was able to pick up time on the way down and not finish with that 12:30 mile for number 7.  I was so surprised that my legs had any kick left in them though.  It wasn't easy getting up that hill, but they wanted to keep going!

There were about 2 more hills during the last 1.3 miles, but my legs felt great and picked up speed as I finished the race.  We pull around this last corner and there's the big park with the fountain.  It wasn't on when I crossed the finished, but I saw it in the distance as I was around mile 6.  But I was definitely gonna stick around to get some great pics.  Anywho, I could see the finish line about .2 ahead.  The announcer was calling out names and my legs gave every last bit they had.  I'm also not known for kicking it in at the end, but they wanted to go go go.  Final time was 1:30:33!  A 15K PR...only cause I've never run one before!  I was so friggin excited!  Especially with how great I felt and that I can really feel myself getting faster and enjoying what I'm doing (although the downhill bits helped a lot)!

Here's the Finisher's area.
Overall, this was a beautiful course, a fun race, and I had a great time.  I would definitely wanna do this race again in the future...which is another great excuse to come to Spring Training!  Here's how the numbers rounded out:

Mile 1 - 9:52
Mile 2 - 9:13
Mile 3 - 9:33
5K Split - 29:51
Mile 4 - 9:33
Mile 5 - 9:31
Mile 6 - 9:30
10K Split - 59:27
Mile 7 - 9:53
Mile 8 - 10:34
Mile 9 - 9:45
Mile .3 - 9:07

Official Time 1:30:33
Finished 556 out of 780

Not too shabby!  I'll post some fun pictures tomorrow!  And I'll talk a little about my fun weekend in Phoenix!


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