I did end up running the half marathon on Sunday, had a good time doing it and finished with a respectable time (compared to my first). I didn’t expect to finish this half in my goal time of 2:30 or less; I went into it with a take it easy and have fun attitude. My final time was 2:42:38. My first half, which I trained properly for, was 2:31:50. Not a huge difference. I am pretty happy and proud of both times.

The sky at the starting line.

I started off slow. I wanted to make sure I had enough to get me through. I ran at least the first 10K. I took my first walk break somewhere between miles 6 and 7. After that I took a few more walk breaks. I would think I probably walked about a mile or two total, everything else was slow running. There were two up hill sections around mile 9. I did the best I could to run up as much as I could. I walked up parts. It is hard to train for hills around Phoenix, most of it is pretty flat (at least most of the roads).

This was right before the hills. Evil hills.

I zone out pretty bad when I run these races. I can rarely remember the courses. People always ask me where I ran and I am just a blank. I might remember running on a certain street or past a certain place but I have a hard time describing the route. It probably doesn’t help that a lot of races are on the other side of town and I don’t know the area as well so it is easier for me to zone out and focus on my running, breathing, posture and speed, than where I am.

Near the 2 mile mark. Look at all those people!

I do try to look around me and see interesting buildings or scenery. I ran past a few tasty restaurants. Earlier on I ran by a place called Chompie’s and decided to tweet about it. From then on I tweeted off and on during the 13.1 miles. Yes, I ran and tweeted. A few of my tweets went out on the hill walk breaks but most were while I was running. Let me tell you it is quite difficult to run and tweet. It is not as easy as I thought. I also snapped a few pictures. And yes, one is blurry but it is hard to run, hold the gel and snap the picture.

Here is my 4-5 mile fuel. Tastes just like honey. This was my blurry picture. I tried to sharpen it for you.

I feel like the after party was not as good as last year. They moved the finish line to Tempe Town Lake. There didn’t seem to be as much goodies in the runner’s chute. In fact, it didn’t even have a true runner’s chute. I saw lots of family waiting for their runners. I went and got my free beer It was meh. It was Michelob Ultra so that explains that. I then wandered around the grounds to see what vendors and other goodies were there. I didn’t find anything

Free beer.

At this point I had to get food. I wanted to try Steak n Shake but their internet was down and only accepting cash. I didn’t have cash or the energy to find an ATM for my bank. I wandered across the street to Mellow Mushroom. I love Mellow Mushroom. I had a pretzel and a mighty meat pizza. It was definitely tasty.

Post race feast. Please note I did not eat all of this.

I finally made it home and crashed. I should have taken an ice bath and foam rolled but I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I ended up being sore, maybe a tad more than my first half. I took it easy on Monday and only did arm and core weight training. Tuesday and Wednesday I went for walks. Thursday I did my full weight lifting routine. My legs feel normal now. Today I will do a cross training video. I haven’t decided what I want to do yet. I am going to try to get back to running on Saturday and Sunday. I think part of my problem after my last half was that I didn’t get back into it right away. I followed everything I read about taking time off. It dragged out too long and I found it difficult to get back on track. I am trying my own thing this time.

Shiny, sparkly medal!

I have a few small runs (5ks, 8ks) yet this winter/spring. I will then take a running break for a few months. I haven’t decided how many half marathons I would like to do next racing season. Two was difficult. Do I do the women’s half only? Do I try a new half? I thought about doing the Las Vegas Rock n Roll half in October and then doing PF Chang’s half in January to earn that extra medal. Good thing I have time to decide! I won’t need to start training until June or July.




Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.