I've been a runner longer than I've been a bicyclist and on January 16 the Planner Guy and I headed down to Phoenix to participate in the PF Chang's Rock and Roll Half Marathon/Marathon. I ran the half and Bob did the full marathon. It was a big deal for me because I haven't registered for a race in over 2 years due to a slow and cautious recovery from a herniated disk, an experience I don't recommend for anyone. To my surprise, I was able to complete the race in 2:35:25; though certainly no PR, I ran much better than I expected since most of my training since Thanksgiving has been cross country skiing. Regardless, because I've been running at much higher elevation I never felt out of breath. As I always say, the hardest run at low elevation is easier than the easiest run at 7000 feet. In other words, there really aren't any easy runs in Flagstaff.
Last month's race was not our first experience with the PF Chang race. We both ran the full marathon shortly after we moved to Flagstaff. I spent more than a month prior to the race unable to properly train due to a severe case of strep throat. By the finish line in Tempe, I could barely walk back to our car, my legs sore from the lactate buildup. To my great fortune, a pedicab pulled up along beside us and asked if we needed a lift. Post marathon, the pedicab is the greatest invention known to man. Evidently, other runners felt the same way because they were in no short supply after this year's race.
Bob and I had other plans. We packed our bikes in the Element for our trip so that we could pedal around Tempe a bit after the race before stopping for lunch at a Mill Avenue restaurant. Tempe is pretty well equipped with bike lanes but certainly remains well contaminated by cars - large ones, actually. Most of the cyclists that we saw were pedaling on the sidewalks rather than in the bike lanes or on the road.
My first bib in two years!
Bob with bagel pre-race.
So here we are pre-race. It was chilly, I needed coffee and my fingers were getting numb but the temperatures were predicted to rise into the low 70's. Bob's marathon started first and mine about an hour later. I was in corral 18 and we walked over 30 minutes to actually get to the starting line and begin running. By mile 3 I decided that I would finish the half and even though I wouldn't PR I was excited to have follow throughed with a race after a few years absence. Walking through the water stations, I completed my race in 2:35:25! Bob finished the full marathon about 40 minutes after I came in, and like me no PR, but neither us needed the assistance of the pedicab.
Sore feet need a pedicab post race.
Evidently, a few runners did. Now this is post-race luxury!
And a few other pedicabs and their passengers, now enjoying spring-like weather in January. One way to truly feel the wind through your hair.
Bob and I collected our bikes from the rear of the Element. Seems stupid to load your bike in a car to go pedal someplace else, I know. We stayed at my cousin's house in Glendale and had hoped to just take light rail from the station near her place to the finish line and then bus it to the start, but the station was closed for the morning due to the race but this was the best could do. And pedal we did, through Arizona State University campus and back around to Mill Avenue, where we stopped for lunch at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant . It was our second time eating there and the food is great. If you ever visit Tempe, give it a try. Their hummus is the best I've ever had.
We locked up on the fence separating the alfresco dining from the sidewalk. We took an empty table on the opposite side of our bikes and sat down just in time to see a couple stop to admire the Dahon. I smiled inwardly, resisting the temptation to interrupt as the guy explained to his girlfriend how the folding hinge worked.
Me, holding my badge of honor.
Two glasses of Riesling and a gyro sandwich later, we were late to return to my cousin's and hustled to unlock our bikes. Unfortunately, Bob's U-lock wouldn't open. We both worked on it for several minutes before moving to Plan B - an emergency can of Tef-Lube! Would Tempe Bicycles even be open this late on a Sunday? I pedaled down to University as fast as I could, worried that we'd have to call a locksmith and spend $85 to have the lock cut off. Whoo-hoo! Tempe Bicycles was open and very familiar with the problem. Seems the Arizona dust dirties up the inside of the lock. Yes, WD40 will work but Tef-Lube is much better. I returned with the Tef-Lube. Worked like a charm. We pedaled back to the (heavy sigh) parking garage and returned our bikes to the (heavy sigh) Element.