Arizona Road Racers held this first race of the summer at ramadas 9 & 10 at Papago Park. I parked in the Phoenix Zoo's parking lot and walked to start line along with the 1,080 other people registered for this "hot" race series. Papago Park makes a beautiful start line backdrop.
This first race had a staggered start which was admittedly, a little odd. If you were 80 years old, you got to start first. From there, the start times went down by your age group. I was slated to start 12:15 after the starting gun. Understandably, my age group encountered a bit of gridlock at the start line. Luckily, this was a chip timed race, so it didn't matter when I actually crossed to start line - and the pack did even out quickly. This staggered start meant two things:
1) Sometimes I got stuck behind slower runners and wasn't able to pass.
2) I got to pass a lot more runners than I usually do in a race. Even though I knew the reason, it was still a boost to my self esteem. Since distance running is mostly mental, this was a great perk!
I met another runner before the start and we ended up finding each other again on the course and pacing one another. Sometimes, the only thing that kept me running was seeing her right up ahead. If you haven't experienced a race before, you have a strong desire not to leave someone you know - even if you just met them. This only works in the "I really want to walk" stage of a race and not the "I can't breathe, I'm really pissed off and I'm going to die" stage. I've only seen the latter stage in marathons and yet I still really like the marathon distance. Go figure.
|My Summer Series race number.|