Rock & Roll Arizona Half Marathon

Odometer (Legend):  518,646


Odometer (ILX):  25,519


I put some miles on my tennis shoes this weekend instead of on my Acuras.  Thirteen point one miles, to be exact (see blue route in the below map):


This was the 5th time I’ve competed in the race, which is held in January each year.  Weather was just what the doctor ordered.  Look at those highs!



Since my mom was in town from Utah for the occasion, we celebrated at dinner with a few friends at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in town:  Nando’s Mexican Cafe in Chandler, Arizona.  Here I am pictured with Linh and Kevin:


Matt, Josh, Todd, Tia, Tyson, Linh, Kevin


Matt, through his work at Nissan / Infiniti, had access to a right-hand-drive Infiniti M35 Hybrid that he brought over to show us.  It’s a real trip going for a ride in the front “passenger” seat yet being on the left side of the car!


Our first stop on Saturday morning was for the exposition at the Phoenix Convention Center. We picked up our “goodie” bags, race bibs, and other swag.

Jim, Tyson, Tia, Joey, Aaron.  Joey and Aaron were registered for the full marathon, so their bib colors were different.


Brunch at Fez on Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix.  I highly recommend the Breakfast Pasta.  It’s got scrambled eggs, sausage, and bacon bits!


Fez brunch bunch


Here it is:  The awaited day.  After an early arrival at historic Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe in the Acura ILX, we walked over to the starting line “corrals.”  In this race, since there are literally thousands of runners, runners are grouped according to estimated finish time and released in waves.  I think the interval between waves is 90 seconds or so.

Tyson, Tia, Jim


The temperature just prior to race start at 7:50 a.m. was 45 degrees Fahrenheit so we held onto our hoodies and jackets as long as we could before putting them into “gear check” trucks which would hold them until we completed the race.  The crowds were crazy.  We waited about 20 minutes just to use a port-a-potty (and there were probably 20 port-a-potties in a row with lines just as long as ours!).  Official race results are not yet posted, but I believe last year there were 18,000 participants in the half marathon.


One of my favorite things to do while running a race is reading the inspirational words that people have on their shirts.


Motivational posters also keep runners from becoming preoccupied with the task at hand.  I thought this one could very easily be applied to a drive to 500,000 miles.  It only takes a mile at a time to get there.


And this one:  The Journey Is The Reward.  Perhaps this could be a new Acura slogan?


Some of the other signs that I found entertaining:

  • Chuck Norris never ran a half marathon.
  • Worst.  Parade.  Ever.
  • That’s not sweat.  It’s your fat cells crying.
  • Your feet hurt because they’re kicking so much butt.
  • You’re not a wimp.
  • You inspire me.
  • Hurry, run!  There’s someone chasing you!
  • Running is 90% mental.  The other 10% is mental.

Here you can see my race results and split times.  I started out pretty strong with an 8 minute, 40 second pace per mile, but by the 10 mile mark I had slowed down to nearly 10 minutes per mile.  In the end, I finished in 2 hours, 2 minutes.  I would’ve loved to break the two-hour mark, but it wasn’t meant to be!


Here’s a look at mile 10 where I hit that “wall” of sorts.  At each of the major distance markers, there are clocks showing elapsed time since the race start.  In this case, it said 1:34:17.


Just 3.1 miles, later, the long-awaited finish!  Best part of the race was crossing the Mill Avenue Bridge which I’ve blogged about before.

Tyson, Tia, Jim.  Still looking fairly alive after all that.


Back to the ILX after a few minutes of recovery.  It felt amazing to sit back down!


It was a perfect day for moonroof-open cruising as we headed back to my place in the ILX.


Here are two badges that I’m proud of!


Over the couple of hours that I was running, I had some time to ponder on the tie-in between long-distance running and long-distance driving.  It’s amazing how closely they relate.

  • A cross-country drive takes planning and preparation, just like a marathon takes training.  I need my body to be in shape for a run, so I work out and I pay attention to what I’m eating.  My cars get treated with equal care to make sure they’re in mechanical top shape before a long drive.
  • When I embark on a 2,000 mile drive across the country, I set a manageable pace for myself.  I don’t push myself so hard each day that I wear myself out.  I take time to enjoy the scenery.  As a runner, I do the exact same thing.  I break up a 13-mile run into 2-3 mile sections and just take it a piece at a time.  I keep a consistent pace that keeps my forward momentum but doesn’t drain me.
  • And most importantly, no long-distance run is complete without a powerful soundtrack.  I BLASTED my music for the entire time.  When I take a road trip, there is nothing that helps more to keep my mind off the task at hand than rocking out to some great tunes.

Are any other Drive to Fivers, “Run” to Fivers?  I’d love to hear your feedback on how the two activities parallel.

Time for an airport run in the Legend.  There are very few places where shorts & flip-flops are weather-appropriate attire in January.  Phoenix is one of them.


Adios, until next time mom!  Hopefully soon!


6 Responses to “Rock & Roll Arizona Half Marathon”

  1. I am very partial to this blog entry, obviously. I cannot come up with one single “if only” that would apply to this weekend. I guess going from 75 degrees back to 1 degree in Logan might be applicable — “if only Logan’s weather could be like the weather in Phoenix”….. but only for the next two months or so. Thanks for being the host with the most. I don’t think I have sat in a different car for transportation every day for four days ever before — and even one with a steering wheel that is on the wrong side! What a trip, literally! See you soon, your turf or mine. Until then, it’s one mile at a time!

    • Absolutely! Come back and see us (and the Arizona sunshine) as soon as your schedule allows. Thanks for the visit. I’ll be jealous of YOUR weather as soon as it hits 120 here.

  2. Congrats to all of you on the run.

    • Thanks, Terry! Very much appreciated. “Final” results today were posted and it’s striking just how AVERAGE I am. Finished 2,233 out of 5,500 men. Dead center. Ha!

  3. I personally prefer either driving 13 miles in my Acura or biking 13 miles. Running is a whole different universe. I tried running a mile last year in a track without stopping. Forget about it! I want at this time to personally thank whomever is responsible in ancient history for inventing the wheel. I consider the wheel one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind 🙂 Thrown in an internal combustiion engine with that wheel and all is good in the universe 😉

    • Carlos, I definitely appreciate the invention of the wheel too! No doubt about it. Running is just a “release” for me and a way to stay moderately in shape, considering I spend half my life sitting at a desk in an office, and the other half my life in a leather-wrapped seat of an Acura watching miles go by!

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