….and My Story Runs On….
This was my 3rd time doing the Sedona Marathon (did the half marathon as well once). I absolutely love this race! It is incredibly scenic and even though I really don’t like road races, the middle part of the marathon is on a jeep road so trailish. I also love the fact that it is a hilly course. I love this because I get to use a lot of my ChiRunning skills and this is one of the reasons I love running. I am definitely a geek about this technique but I love having my mind and body working together to tackle the course as efficiently as possible. Click here to see the elevation profile.
Here my roses and thorns about this race:
- Scenery is gorgeous! I think you get the most bang for your buck on this if you do the half or the full marathon. It’s an out and back course (this could be a rose or thorn) so you don’t get back as far with the 5K or 10K.
- Nice small town feel of a race. I’ve stopped doing the Rock N Rolls because they are too commercial and too big. First time I did this race was 2014 and it has grown but not to an extreme.
- Hills, hills, hills! I love using my ChiHill techniques and Chirunning in general. This marathon is my PR (2014) with a 4:58:49 and it was mainly due to form and strategy. Even though half is on road, it’s technical enough for me to feel like I’m on a trail because I have to match my running technique to the variety of the road coming at me. This makes running fun for me because it’s a fun challenge to see how I can use my technique to be as efficient as possible.
- The finish has always been small but this year they added a few food trucks and a BEER garden! My favorite beer is Piehole Porter from Historic Brewing Company and minutes after my finish, I got a nice cold one and it was possibly the best beer I’ve had 😉 I did a Facebook live at the end…but not before I got my beer!
- I like the out and back because I love to see the elite runners on the top of their game. It’s fun to be able to yell great job at them as they run by you. Although I will say, road runners are not the same as trail runners. Most of the time there wouldn’t be any acknowledgment to the “good job”s where on trail, you normally get a “thank you” and/or “you too.”
- Lots of energy at their aid stations. They have a contest for this but it did dwindle on the way back. Aid stations provided water, Gatorade, Cliff gels and bananas.
- Friends! I went up with a few friends and met other friends that I didn’t even know were going to be there!
- I am not a medal person but it doesn’t seem fair that everyone gets the same exact medal. A 5K person gets the same medal as a marathoner and that just doesn’t seem right to me. I think they can step up their game for sure on this one!
- Not crazy about the shirt you get for the race. I know they have to give props to sponsors but way too many sponsors on front and back. Not crazy about the color. I wouldn’t normally buy another shirt but since I love this race, I sucked it up buying a purple/pink tank top that has the map of the course on the back.
- I am normally a back of the pack runner and this was a training run for me. This was one of my longest marathons because it was just a training run for me but I got to the last aid station and they barely had water (no more Gatorade or food). It seems like the energy at the aid stations really dropped on the way back when you need it the most. There was still people at the finish and maybe because this year it was bigger…but the cutoff is 7 hours for the marathon and I don’t know how much support the other back of the packer received. I remember getting bagels, bananas, etc at the end and didn’t see any of that this year unless I missed it.
- I think for the price you can get a bit more swag in the goodie bag.
- I love the smaller feel of this race but I don’t remember that there was as much traffic on both the paved and non paved road. RECOMMENDATION: I am really glad I had my buff around my neck because the cars made a lot of dust on the dirt road so I would pull it over my mouth and nose when they passed by. Again, seemed like more than usual traffic there.
I love this course because I get to really practice my ChiRunning technique. For some people, running is just a means to an end and is goal oriented. ChiRunning is process oriented. This means that it’s a practice (like yoga is a practice). The more you focus on your technique, the more you’ll have breakthrough “aha” moments and continuosly get better and better. So when I’m running on a technical course (many hills) I love working on my technique. In Martial Arts/Tai Chi, your opponent is a person…in running, your opponent is the environment coming at you. In Martial Arts, you don’t meet your opponent with a force but you cooperate with that force to neutralize it…..we do the same in ChiRunning. Most people will use way too much leg muscle to propel themselves up a hill (meeting a force with a force) and then get to the top and walk down because they are so tired. In ChiRunning, we use specific techniques that help us cooperate with the uphills and then crank down the hill because that’s cooperating with gravity all the way down. Every time I do this race I always chuckle to myself because I will constantly leap frog with people doing this. They pass me on the uphills and then I run right past them on the downhill using less effort up and down.
I knew this was supposed to be a training run. It was my last long run before my first 100K (2 weeks after Sedona). I wanted to really PR and even though I told myself I wouldn’t do it, I did try to PR through the first half of the course. When I reached the half point, I was on schedule to PR….then I forgot the next 5 miles were back uphill…..then I remembered this was only a training run…… so I quickly decided to chill out because the 100K is my priority. The second half of the race took an extra 30 minutes which was absolutely fine with me. My legs were feeling like I had pushed myself and I also felt that I was still recovering from the 52K a few weeks before.
All in all, if you like beautiful scenery and a challenging course, I highly recommend this race! May become an annual tradition for me…maybe it will be my A race next year so I can really train for it rather than use it as a training run.
From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)