This may have actually been the hardest race of the year – not because it has some crazy tough course or something. But just because I think I was still feeling the effects of the Goofy Challenge.
Marathons are hard. And they wear you out. (Or at least they wear me out.) So my legs and back and just general body were still carrying around that a little (though I did a pretty good job of resting and slowly doing more walking throughout the week).
Before this race, I had this amazing blog follower write me out of the blue and ask what my plans were for Phoenix. It was so nice of her to do that, ’cause I definitely hadn’t made any.
My amazing, super wonderful friend Taylor (who I stayed with last year for this race) moved to Georgia. (I miss her.)
So, I stayed with – get this – not even the blog follower herself, but her family!
And I had the time of my life. Sandra’s family treated me as one of their own. They were so kind. They shoved tons of free food at me. (“Eat, eat!” seemed to be a rallying cry around their house.
J. (the son) was doing the full marathon, and both parents were distance racers. So, they just wanted to make sure we all had enough calories. It was very sweet. (And I was very well fed.))
J. told me the morning of the race, “Wow, it’s kind of like the last day of school for you, huh?” And he was right. (I guess. Kind of depends what school you go to. If you’re thinking stressful final exams, that was not this. If you’re thinking pizza party free-for-all – ding, ding, ding – you got it.)
In the morning I met these two funny guys whom I just had to talk to because one was rushing his teeth. I’m a sucker for always brushing my teeth no matter how weird it is. So, doing it outside of your start corral just made me super happy. Turns out, they have a podcast. (Of course they have a podcast. What kinds of people that fun don’t have some kind of internet thing?)
(I’m going to admit, I have not listened to said podcast yet. If you listen and don’t like it, don’t blame me. (And don’t give me the credit if you love it…Well, unless you want to.))
I also ran into a couple of different blog followers before, during, and after the race. It’s so weird and cool to hear, “Aurora?” (“Yes?”) “Oh, hey. I’m ____. I recognized you from your pictures. I read your blog.” For a quick second, I know what it must be like to be Ken Jennings.
One thing I remembered from last year was slanting on the roads. It didn’t bother me too much. (I imagine it was harder on faster runners.) But I remember it being a conversation between Taylor and her friends that day (and I remember noticing it on the course).
I was expecting slanting this year, but alas, none. I think the course was the same(?). So, I don’t know if roads have been fixed, or if it was just a mirage we could all feel last year – but no slanting this time around.
Some things were the same – like a bunch of great encouraging signs from P.F. Chang’s (though the color scheme of the signs changed this year for anyone keeping score at home).
This is where I’ll pick up tomorrow.