This is Your Brain On BQ: What Went Through My Mind at the Phoenix Marathon 

I will do a traditional race review with all the key information on this race, but in the meantime, here is a compilation of what I was thinking (approximately chronological) during the Phoenix Marathon, where I finally earned my BQ with a finish time of 3:28:56.

First let me set the stage. I’d been stressed leading up to this race and, in the final days, my IT band had been nagging me.  The day before the race, my throat started to feel raw, and I worried that the disease spreading through my family members had finally made its way to me.  I took an Aleve, had a Snickers ice cream bar, and put myself to bed early.  It was all I could do!  The morning of the race, I made it to the start area (again, more on logistics to come). But still things weren’t going my way for a “perfect” race: my phone mysteriously only had 32% battery, the bathroom line — far from the heat of the campfires– was hopelessly long, and as I stood there shivering I imagined all the energy my body was wasting before the race even began.  As 6:30 am neared, I reached the front of the bathroom line. Fireworks marked the start of the race as I made my way to bag check and the start line.  I queued up Strava on my watch, took a few steps over the mats, and hit start…

  • Here we go! Time to get on the right pace.
  • Oh crap why is Strava not recording?  What is Auto Pause?
  • Ok it appears to be working now. How long was it paused?
  • Wait why is this interface different? It doesn’t have my pace-just my speed. OMG it’s on bike mode. Well I guess I can’t change it now
  • This is really beautiful. Sunrise. Cacti.
  • My teeth will stop chattering soon, I’m sure.
  • Don’t start too fast.
  • My feet are un-freezing and regaining feeling. I hope those aren’t bunches in my socks.
  • Mile one. Does this race seriously not have clocks at the mile markers?
  • Got that split pretty close though according to Strava.
  • This is nice.
  • Easy. Easy.
  • I’m sort of hungry. Maybe eating will keep me from going too fast.
  • I just dropped my Clif blocks. Will go back and retrieve.
  • Shoved them back in the race belt.
  • Annnnnd two gels just fell out.
  • Thanks, stranger.
  • Gentle on the downhills. Gentle.
  • Is this Clif block going to pull out a filling?
  • This course is actually kind of hilly.
  • Wow somehow I hit that split perfectly despite being on bike mode.
  • I love this paceband. So mindless.
  • One mile at a time.
  • Ok some hills. No problem.
  • Where should I put my gloves?  Back of shorts seems like a good place.
  • Easy.  Easy.
  • I think this one is the only real hill.
  • Another perfect split.
  • I really love paceband.
  • I should take this Huma gel early to get the long lasting effects of the chia.
  • God the Huma people have really nailed it on texture.
  • Is Alanis Morrisette’s One Hand in My Pocket my personal anthem?
  • Is that really lame?
  • Should I make my About Me on Facebook a quote from One Hand in My Pocket?
  • She’s right: “Everything’s gonna be fine fine fine.”
  • Can I somehow do one hand in my pocket and the other giving a peace sign for a race photo?
  • No, I don’t have pockets. Just try to look normal.
  • Wasn’t there some parody about One Hand in my Pocket?
  • You Gotta Be also might be my anthem.
  • Hillary Clinton. So strong.
  • She is the number one most inspirational woman in my life.
  • Can that be true? Should I be sad that I don’t know enough about other potentially inspirational women?
  • God! Fight Song gets me SO pumped. Maybe too pumped.
  • “Take back my life song.”
  • Forward lean.
  • What should I post on Facebook if I BQ here?
  • [Draft of my Facebook post]
  • Should I call out Hillary Clinton in my Facebook post?  Maybe with “(Leave your politics elsewhere; this is my moment.)” That’s probably too aggressive.
  • “She persisted.”
  • Don’t cry yet; it’s early.
  • Remember when you got all excited during Chicago and then got way slower in the second half?  You even did this exact draft Facebook post thing.
  • Chest forward, hips forward. Stable upper body. Use the glutes.
  • On track!  But I should probably add two minutes to the total Strava time to be safe with that whole Auto Pause thing.
  • 6.6 lbs of fat!!! 
  • Glutes. Core.
  • This chick has a beet-related tank top! Nope, that’s a beef tank top.  Lettuce lady passing beef lady! Ha!
  • That’s a cute dog.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever thought about my dog during a race before. Huh. Well, he’s great.
  • This paceband is a hammock I can lie in. Just rest my weight in the paceband.
  • So many calf tattoos.
  • My husband says that’s a thing for runners.
  • That chick put her fake tattoo from the race packet on her calf. I should have done that as a joke for my husband.
  • Eat the whole GU. None of this little dab nonsense you’ve done in the past. Just take it all at once.
  • This really isn’t bad.
  • The air feels clean here.
  • No way I am four minutes ahead of paceband all of a sudden. Strava must have autopaused again.
  • Or maybe the course is too short. Yikes, that would be terrible.
  • Why is my dad texting me about random things? Um hello I am trying to run here.
  • Annnd that text just closed Strava on my watch.
  • Ok Strava is back up but was it running this whole time?
  • Definitely cannot trust this Strava time.
  • My IT band hurts.
  • I guess I wasn’t just having phantom pains.
  • I better BQ here if I am going to mess up my IT band.
  • I can run on this knee.
  • Scott Jurek has run a lot with injuries– a broken toe, a sprained ankle–and he just kept going.
  • But, like, didn’t the other people try really hard too? So maybe Scott Jurek is just special
  • He kind of just glossed over things in his book — “I was dying but then I just rallied and won.”
  • Well I mean really what was he supposed to say? I guess that’s pretty much what happened.
  • You are so strong.
  • I am going to run so hard I collapse at the finish line. Leave it all out here.
  • Do not collapse before the finish line.
  • Am I getting blisters?
  • Should I have worn these shoes a few more times?
  • Oh well, I’m not stopping for a blister.
  • Ok no checking in on the body until mile 16, and then mile 22.
  • This is what you came for.
  • I’m so glad my phone hasn’t died.
  • That’s a big dog.
  • That felt like a really short mile. This course is probably short. That would explain the time.
  • But seriously how can they advertise this race as a good BQ race and NOT have clocks on the course at all?
  • One mile at a time.
  • You. Are. Doing it!
  • It’s getting warm.
  • Lean forward from your ankles.  Imagine running leaning towards a wall.
  • People that stop directly in front of water stations are. The. Worst.
  • This is going really well.
  • Too well.
  • Is my knee going to blow up?
  • Why am I getting verklempt listening to Fun. Some Nights?  The most amazing things…
  • Don’t cry. It inhibits breathing.
  • Hip pain. That’s new.
  • Does moving my weight forward hurt my hip or help my hip?
  • I can’t tell.
  • Which pace group is that? Maybe I’ll ask the pacer what time they have.
  • Well he was not helpful.
  • This GU definitely does taste like chocolate frosting.
  • Mile 18, just 6 miles left. No, 8.
  • Is 8 miles a lot or a little?
  • One mile at a time.
  • This is what you came for.
  • Watch still has me way ahead of goal. I don’t trust it.
  • This is just like base pace in Orangetheory.
  • I kind of want to confirm with one of these women that we are on pace.
  • But I won’t. I’m not trying to mess up anyone’s head space.
  • Imagine running to the mountains in the distance.
  • Who knew Phoenix had mountains?
  • When I turn I won’t be running towards mountains anymore…
  • Oh new mountains to run towards. Good.
  • “The mountains are calling and I must go.”  Am I a poser because I don’t like reading John Muir?
  • I thought there was an orange grove somewhere on course — did I miss that?
  • You are so strong.
  • I used mantras more in Kiawah.
  • I’ve come a long way.
  • I really hope my knee doesn’t give out.
  • One mile at a time.
  • Ok screw it. I am just going to shoot for a 10 am finish — this Strava cannot be trusted.
  • Whoa that was almost an ankle roll. Just a few miles left — do NOT roll your ankle.
  • You can count down from 20 when you get to 24. Well maybe 24.2
  • This is what you came for.
  • Ok time to count down!
  • I don’t really feel like counting down today. That’s new.
  • I sort of want to count up. 24, 25, 26, 27… what am I even counting?
  • I think I have enough of a buffer that even if I collapse now I could drag myself over the finish line and still BQ.
  • Unless my watch is wrong.
  • Don’t cry. You can’t breathe when you cry.
  • I am definitely making an ugly runner face right now.
  • Done.
  • Dizzy.
  • Hands on knees. But not collapsing.

That’s it!  I was in denial about my time for a few hours after race but at this point I’m beginning to accept that this is real.  A million thank yous to everyone for support.

11 thoughts on “This is Your Brain On BQ: What Went Through My Mind at the Phoenix Marathon 

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