How I Chose the Phoenix Marathon

I wish I had something inspiring to tell you. Something along the lines of “I researched and researched and I finally found it! THE race”…or something like that. But honestly? I kind of stumbled on it and went “yeah. That sounds good.”

The Marathon Madness of October got me in a tizzy. Seeing the blog posts, the instagrams and the general marathon oriented content on almost every site I visited got me so hyped up on wanting to run another race, I dove right in.

My initial thought was “well, I’m already training for a half. So why not find a marathon in January or February and just dive into marathon training?” I thought about running the Houston Marathon. Mind you, I had NO idea about anything about the Houston Marathon, other than it was in Houston and sometime in January. Jeff’s family is in Houston, so I figured it’d be an easy way to make a trip out of it. Turns out the Houston Marathon is kind of a big deal….like big enough you have to enter a lottery..so that was out.

I looked for other options…the IMS Marathon (also in Phoenix) in the middle of February, but it was too close to Jeff’s birthday and a potential trip we have in the works…so that was out. The LA Marathon was considered…and then I realized I didn’t really want to run the LA Marathon. And when you’re voluntarily signing up to run 26.2 miles, you have to be kinda excited about the race.

So, I searched “Marathons” in “February” and low and behold….

PHXMarathon Logo

It fit my general criteria (timing, elevation, and price point), I hollered to Jeff to see if February 28th raised any objections and after getting the Okay, the PHX Marathon had my money.

Despite the seemingly spontaneous nature of my registration, the race does have some pretty great selling points..

Elevation – Look at this bad boy.

PhxMarathonElevation

I chose the Utah Valley Marathon because it was a net downhill course….except for the fact that the few hills it did have were, um, canyon walls. I was unprepared and it killed me a bit. I plan on learning from that experience though. Even though the elevation looks like it’s all downhill, I know that at mile 20, an ant hill can seem like a mountain. So, hills will be a making a regular appearance during training, just in case.

Location – It’s only two hours away. That means sleeping in my bed two nights before (the most important) and sleeping in my bed the night after running. That to me is a real perk. As much as I love traveling and running in a brand new place, there’s something comforting about running so close to home.

Plus, it’s Phoenix. The weather on race day should be stellar. Especially compared to what I’ll be training in at 7,000ft.

Timing – It fits in perfectly with the half marathon training I’m already doing. The Fiesta Bowl Half is right around the time I’d be running 12-14 miles for training, so it’s kind of perfect. I’ll race the Half and then continue on with training.

*The downside to training is the fact that I’ll be training through the winter. That part is not my favorite. But, at the same time, it’ll be good for me. I’m such a wimp, and this will force me to suck it up when its cold out and run through the wind, sleet and snow, (hopefully) making me stronger for the race itself.

Size – This is a smaller race. The marathon is capped at 4,000 runners and I kind of love that. Another option I had was the PF Chang’s Rock’N’Roll marathon in January. It was my first marathon in 2012 and I hated it! I also ran the Long Beach Marathon that was also ginormous. There’s something to be said for running smaller races.

Overall, I’m really excited. Even though this race randomly dropped into my lap, I am super pumped to run it. Let’s just hope that feeling sticks when I’m running 20 miles in the snow.

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2 thoughts on “How I Chose the Phoenix Marathon

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one that chooses race based on proximity and timing. I have some running friends that try to strategize fast courses, but I honestly feel like I’ll have a better race if timing works out with other events in my life and if I can be close to home or some other comfortable place.
    Still, that net downhill looks nice. That hill at mile 5 or so shouldn’t be too bad.

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    • I agree–if I’m trying to train while I’m also really busy, I end up crashing and burning. I trained for a marathon while preparing for my graduate school comprehensive exams and it was a disaster! Timing is everything! Nice to know I’m not alone with that!

      Like

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