Yesterday I ran the Women’s Half Marathon in Scottsdale/Tempe, AZ and had an amazing experience. The race is put on by Women’s Running Magazine, and as the name implies, it is a women’s only race. That’s not to say that there were zero men running. I believe that the law prevents them from banning men from the race, however I only saw three or four men on the course.
The race, in my opinion, was the perfect size. There were just over 3,300 participants in the half marathon, which meant that it was never crowded, yet there were always people around you. The entire race was also extremely well-organized. Everything from having plenty of port-o-potties at the starting line to having good spacing of the water and aid stations was spot on.
I also really enjoyed the race course. I will admit that I was not expecting it to be quite as hilly as it was (hilly by Phoenix standards anyway), but the scenery of the course was nice. It started in Old Town Scottsdale and went South, ending at the Tempe Town Lake Beach Park. My favorite part was cutting through parts of Papago Park and getting off of the streets for a few miles.
The weather was quite chilly yesterday (to Phoenicians at least) because of a cold front that came in the day before. It was 47-degrees at the starting line and probably in the low-50s by the finish. I, however, think this is perfect running weather and loved it.
Okay, so how did I do? I set a new PR, which I couldn’t be more thrilled with! My goal was to come in under 1:45 and I did it by 5 seconds. My official finish time was 1:44:55. I went out a little fast, but it felt good and it felt right, so I just decided to go for it. On the flats and downhills, I ran around a 7:45 pace. On the uphills, it was about 8:30. I gave it all I had and I finished feeling spent, but still strong. My marathon is only 5 weeks away and this race gave me confidence that I could actually qualify for Boston. The Tucson Marathon is all downhill, so I really think I could keep a steady 8:00 pace. My 1:44:55 half marathon was a 8:01 pace and to qualify for Boston I need to run the marathon at an 8:10 pace. This half-marathon proved to me that I am getting faster and stronger and my hard work is paying off. Boston might not be so far-fetched after all.
The finisher medals are also very cool. The charm in the middle comes out so that you can wear it on a necklace or charm bracelet.
There are currently four locations for the Women’s Half Marathon: Nashville, TN; Scottsdale, AZ; St. Petersburg, FL; and Bloomington, MN. If you live in one of these areas, or are looking for a fun destination race, I would highly recommend this one!