Disclaimer: I received a race entry to the 2019 Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned but then something magical happens as a result. If you remember from my last post, I was planning on doing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Remix Challenge. In the end I discovered I could only choose one race distance. Honestly, I got a little bummed. Quickly, I turned those feelings around and decided this is my chance to still PR on my 10k time, so I picked that distance to race and represent BibRave. The ending of this story is a good one. I did PR my overall 10k time and buy 67 seconds! So proud of myself.
Here are three big takeaways I got from racing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 10k:
Excellent Organization: I ran this race through BibRave which means I didn’t have to pay for a race entry fee. I did have to pay for parking, gas, and food. On the first day of the expo, I picked up my bib. It was a Friday, a hard work day and week for me and I was fried. Luckily, I found a metered parking spot and put in 50 cents. I had 27 minutes to get my bib and get out of there. In my Oofos, I trotted along and made it to the solutions booth. My name was on a paper saying I was good for any distance I wanted (thanks BibRave!) I told her the 10k and she handed me a paper to fill out. Then I was moved to another woman and then a man. He told me that I could go to the 5k distance if I wanted to. ‘Ok,’ I told him. Got my bib from him and I was out of there back to my car with 7 minutes to spare. Fast forward to Saturday. I looked at my bib because I wanted to do a flat lay. 5k!? I am thinking he thought I said yes to the 5k instead of acknowledging him. Honestly, I panicked. The RnR website start line map did show a solutions booth there on race day. I had to take a chance. Sunday morning I made the 34 mile trek to Tempe to see if RnR could help me. Worst case, I just wouldn’t run the race and get over it because I should have checked my bib as soon as it was handed to me. There wasn’t a line at the booth even though the total event was packed. The woman at the booth didn’t bat an eye at me when I told her my situation. She took my 5k bib, and handed me a 10k one. Whew. I’m so thankful for RnR and the way they handled this for me.
Other key points of perfect organization on the RnR part was providing runners a safe course. There were cones, cops and volunteers everywhere along the course. I felt very safe. There was TONS of free parking and it was easy to find a spot when I arrived at 7:30am which I feel is late considering the race starts at 7:50am. Also, they got people in and out of the shoot so fast. Great organization on the RnR part, just not on mine!
10k Course: I love the many options RnR Arizona gives to their runners. There is a 1-mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon over the course of 3 days to choose from. My initial plan was to do a 3-day Remix Challenge that consisted of the 1-mile on Friday, 5k on Saturday and 10k on Sunday. It didn’t work out in the end, but you know I didn’t let that get me down. My plan was to still PR my overall 10k time.
The energy throughout the entire race was strong! The 10k and half marathon racers started at the same time on the same start line and shared the course for about 2.5 miles. The 10kers then ran west on Curry Road while the 1/2 runners went north. Once on Curry, we were greeted with a slight downhill and the beautiful view of the Salt River. We ran along the waterfront for about 1 mile. The RnR website says the 10k course is a fast one. Maybe they forgot to mention the hill at mile 4.5 :D. I’ll be honest, seeing that hill concerned me. I kept trucking along and got up it slowly with hopes there would be a downhill for the last part of this race. I was in luck! The last 1.25 was pretty much all downhill and I took advantage of it! The scenery was pretty in this part of the course. We then crossed Tempe Town Lake on the Mill Avenue Bridge. It was awesome! At this point, I had a huge grin on my face and I’m excited to see my race photos. The emcee was calling us all in at the shoot. There were tons of spectators cheering us on. The fastest half marathoners were coming in too which made it even more exciting. The red carpet finish line made me feel like a star. I ran with a 67 second PR over my last 10k I ran last year! And my 10k PR from last year was on an all downhill course. So that tells you I was working it.
Finish line festivities: It was a good little walk from the time you hit stop on your Garmin to the time you got your first glimpse of the band on stage. Along the way, tons of volunteers were handing out chocolate milk, Gatorade Endurance, chips, granola bars, bananas and water bottles. Then a few volunteers at the end passed out RnR drawstring bags to load your loot into. Since I ran the 10k and ran it kinda fast, I noticed there wasn’t a line at the massage tent. This was my chance! I never got a post-race massage before. I quickly signed up and in one minute I was on a table and in another world. The massage therapist asked me exactly what I wanted and I opted for a stretch and quad massage. I was in heaven. The massage was 100% free and it lasted 15 minutes. I recommend the post-race massage to everyone. Once done, I chilled out on the lawn for a bit, updating my Strava, IG and Twitter feeds and giving tons of love to people I follow on social. After I was relaxed a bit, I headed back to my car which was about a 3/4 of a mile walk. It was needed to get my legs moving after that hard 10k.
Post-race at home, I was able to jump on Athlinks.com and claim my race results. You can check out how I did, and while you’re at it, jump on and make an account too. Don’t forget to add me as a friend so we can go head-to-head in future races!
I’m thankful I was able to turn my mindset around in the end and focus on nabbing that PR. My next goal is a PR on my half marathon time at the MESA-PHX Marathon happening on 2/9/18. For a gigantic race with tens of thousands of runners, this is one of the best races to start the year with and I fully recommend racing it.