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Tucson Marathon Race Recap

This recap took me a bit to write, not because I didn’t want to write it, but because I was honestly pretty disappointed about how the whole race went down. I was just bummed. This was my goal race this year and I knew my training was solid to hit sub-4, which is what I wanted. After Santa Clarita my confidence was boosted and I was really excited about this race. We took off to head to Arizona on Friday and I was feeling good. My legs were good, my mind was in the right place and I was ready to run. After picking up our bibs on Saturday I was really ready to go and couldn’t wait for the next morning. It was a very, very small expo and we were in and out in less than 20 minutes. I didn’t buy anything but we looked around for a bit. We had lunch at SmashBurger which was super good, I wish we had a closer one back home.

It was decent weather in Tucson and though it was going to be a cold morning, I was prepared with ample clothes and mittens. I knew I would have to bundle up as I don’t do as well in cooler weather, so I made sure to pack extra.



I laid out all my clothes the evening before and we had a delicious lasagna to carb load up for the race. The morning of the race I changed my mind and decided to wear a heavier black jacket instead of my purple top and I was so glad I did. We drove back into Tucson and parked to board the buses that would take us to the top of Mt. Lemmon, where the race started. It was a pretty long drive but I was feeling pretty good and was happy to be on a warm bus. We left the bus with 30 minutes to the start to hit up the portapotties before the race. While we were waiting in line at the portapotties snow flurries were coming down. I couldn’t believe it! The wind was whipping around but I was still feeling confident. We finally got out of the bathroom line and headed to the start where there wasn’t even a banner or anything that said start line and the horn went off and off we went. It was a pretty boring start but I was ready to go at that point so I was glad we didn’t wait around a long time.

We started towards the very back of the pack because we didn’t think that weaving more toward the front was worth it. The first 5 miles were relatively hilly and it was pretty cold. I was feeling good and our splits were right around 9:13-9:22, exactly where I wanted to be for the first half of the race. At mile 5, I really had to go to the bathroom so I told Mary Kate to keep running and I would catch up. What I thought would be a quick stop ended up being much longer, but I was thinking that this was hopefully the only stop I would be making and on I went. Unfortunately at mile 7.5 I had to stop again. I felt really good and picked up the pace a bit to see if I could catch Mary Kate and did right before mile 10. Then it was a very long, very hilly and killer out and back section where we both struggled, but I was glad to be together. At the end of the out and back, I had to stop again and this time it was for a lot longer that I wanted to stop for. That’s when I realized that I wouldn’t be hitting my goal this race. My stomach was just not happy and I was already feeling pretty miserable.

Mile 1 – 8:56
Mile 2- 9:15
Mile 3 – 9:19
Mile 4 – 8:40
Mile 5 – 8:10
Mile 6 – 13:45
Mile 7 – 8:20
Mile 8 – 8:45
Mile 9 – 8:17
Mile 10 – 8:08
Mile 11 – 9:42
Mile 12 – 9:28
Mile 13 – 10:25
Mile 14 – 17:50

Right after this stop it also dropped quite a bit in temperature and I put my hood on for at least the next 10 miles. I was so cold! I continued on but didn’t push the pace and to be honest, I felt pretty defeated. I was so ready to go and then had the usual stomach issues. I was hopeful that MK was having a great race and way out in front of me. I just counted down the miles and ran/walked each mile. At a time when I was feeling most defeated, around mile 18, I found some random guy that I started chatting it up with and he pulled me right along which was awesome. I ran with him until mile 23 when I unfortunately met back up with Mary Kate who was also having a tough day. We walked until the last .5 of a mile and then ran in together.

Mile 15 – 9:10
Mile 16 – 10:22
Mile 17 – 9:28
Mile 18 – 10:50
Mile 19 – 11:07
Mile 20 – 10:53
Mile 21 – 9:52
Mile 22 – 9:51
Mile 23 – 11:07
Mile 24 – 15:20
Mile 25 – 16:43
Mile 26 – 13:26
Mile .37 – 4:44

tucson-marathon-finish-linetucson-marathon-course-photoI was glad that we were able to finish the race together, even though we both had rough days out on the course. I’m also pretty glad that I didn’t quit when I really wanted to. After mile 14, I was just done. My legs were tired, and I just never got that feeling that it was go time, well besides being go time in the bathroom. As soon as I knew that it wasn’t going to be my day I really wanted to call B and have him pick me up. I knew that I’d be out there for a while. I’m glad I stuck with it though and finished because I think I would have been even more disappointed if I quit.

It was a hard race, but at the end of the day I was still able to cross the finish line and even though it makes me angry right now, I know in a few days I’ll be able to get over it and the medal is actually pretty cool. I was also VERY happy that B came to this race, and it was his first marathon he was able to come too, I just wish that I had a better race.

tucson-marathon-finish-bdAs for the course, I honestly wouldn’t run it again. It was pretty rough and VERY barren in both spectators and scenery. It was somewhat pretty and thankfully they did have quite a few portapotties but it was not one that I would run again, maybe because I also had a rough day. Either way, number 11 is done!



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  • Reply marykate

    meep! i’m glad we got through this sucky race together! :)

    December 11, 2013 at 7:48 pm
  • Reply Kristin

    I ran Tucson too and ran it about 15 minutes slower than I felt trained to do…I also spent more time in the porta potties than I would like (I figure at least 5 minutes). The last three miles were a modification from the old course and boy did they SUCK! But I finished with a smile on my face (at least I think so, I haven’t seen pictures yet). Merry Christmas.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:17 pm
  • Reply Ashley W.

    I love your blog and always enjoy reading about your adventures. I am sorry the race wasn’t all you had hoped for and worked towards. It can be very frustrating. I’m proud of you anyway!!

    December 12, 2013 at 11:31 am
  • Reply Krystin

    Way to stick with it.. that course doesn’t sound fun at all!!! Sometimes finishing no matter what the time is harder than just quitting so great job!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm
  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles

    I’m really sorry you didn’t have the race you had been training for. That course sounds tough, but you will get that sub-4, I know it and when you do, all your hard work will have paid off! Good luck!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply EB @ Running on E

    Sorry to hear that your race didn’t go as hoped. I know how hard your have trained! Awesome job sticking with it when feeling so icky!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm
  • Reply Andrea

    I follow your blog and look up to you as a runner. It’s good for a beginner like me to know that someone as seasoned as you can experience difficult races. Despite all the challenges and it sounds like there were several, you finished. Thank you for this post, it’s my new favorite on your blog.

    December 12, 2013 at 2:47 pm
  • Reply Emily

    Although the race didn’t turn out how you planned, I’m still so impressed that you kept pushing after mile 14. That couldn’t have been easy! It seems like you were really on fire training for this race. How did training for this race compare to training for other races?

    December 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm
  • Reply Rebecca

    The fact that you can even do a marathon is so impressive! I like running between 6-8 miles, but 26 just sounds unfathomable. So yay!

    I’m sorry your stomach gave you so many issues…but, being someone who also suffers from an incredibly sensitive/high maintenance/picky tummy, it is oddly comforting to know I am not the only one who is often making a mad dash for the nearest portapotty/bathroom (and in an emergency…a bush. Ugh.) A big part of the reason I avoid running anything more than 8 or so miles is because my stomach can (and has) get really upset…it’s embarrassing, annoying, and a hindrance. But knowing that there is someone else out there who deals with this just as much as I do is nice to know, because it makes me feel a little less embarrassed about it. Some of us are just born with angry stomachs, and we do the best we can to avoid it, but sometimes you just can’t do much.

    Cheers to you lady for finishing that insane amount of miles, even when you weren’t feeling your best – that’s really impressive :)

    December 13, 2013 at 11:41 am
  • Reply Crystal

    Hey there! I saw you running! I haven’t finished my race recap yet. I agree the start was pretty boring and too chilly! Congratulations on finishing! I threw away my goal around mile 24 but I had a fun time! I like the medal too. Did you have cake?

    December 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm
  • Reply Christine

    Sorry you had so much stomach trouble, that totally sucks in a race and can take everything out of you. It happened to me a few times and it is so frustrating because it only happens in races and never in training. In my case, I believe it is nerves. I still haven’t figured out how to control it.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    Ugh, so sorry to hear you had a ‘crappy’ day. :( Way to gut it out and finish, that couldn’t have been easy, especially on a course like that, feeling like you did. Can’t believe that was #11 for you!

    December 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm
  • Reply Araiz Arriola

    Hi Danica!

    Congratulations for finishing and not giving up in such a hard race. There are good and bad ones and each bad only makes you stronger. I want yo tel you that I started running marathons after reading this blog and all your funny adventures. No I finished my 11th marathon too, where I finally qualified for Boston and I just want to thank you!!! Happy holidays

    December 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm
  • Reply Elizabeth

    I love reading your blog and keeping up with you! First, I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Second, you are an absolute inspiration for me. Third, you are beautiful! Keep running and stay strong. I know you will break 4.

    December 19, 2013 at 9:03 pm
  • Reply Sandy

    Not every race can be a great race as you know but I am proud of you for hanging in there and not giving up! Stomach issues can be a real pain in the butt when it comes to running. You have done great this year in getting back into serious running and I am sure that 2014 holds great things for you!

    December 29, 2013 at 10:22 pm
  • Reply Shauna Marie

    Congrats on finishing! I wonder what made your tummy so upset? I’m always so fearfull that “carboloading” the night before will lead me to tummy problems the next day! I’m training for my very first marathon and I’m terrified. I’m so proud of you for keeping it up and finishing – no matter what. Run-spiration my friend! Get it!

    January 12, 2014 at 8:25 am
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