I know it has been quite some time since I last posted (April 1st to be exact) and I kind of dropped out of the challenge I was doing. I have a lot going on, mostly in my own head, and just haven’t had the time/energy/want to write. Now I want to write and have something to actually share the I feel is worth while. 🙂

As I am sure everyone knows Monday was rocked with extreme tragedy when a bomb went off at the Boston Marathon. I was glued to my phone and following all the updates on twitter. As someone who aspires (or pretends) to be a runner, this hit close to home. Tuesday I ran my training run in honor of Boston and Saturday’s race was also in honor of Boston. I will keep running in honor of those who no longer can. My heart goes out to all those affected by such tragedies.

Yesterday I participated in my first Pat’s Run. This event honors one human who sacrificed a promising career in the NFL to serve his country only to meet a tragic end. I have meant to do this run/walk over the past several years but never committed. I am glad I chose this year to participate in the 9th annual race.

It was a little surreal actually. There were police officers and FBI agents everywhere (and probably more I didn’t see undercover). I saw several bomb sniffing dogs. No one was allowed to bring bags, which makes it difficult when you are on your own like I am at many races. I understand the precautions and appreciate them though. This race probably has the most meaning for people of the Valley. I wasn’t necessarily worried that the same people who were responsible for Boston would show up here but you never know about a local copy cat. This race draws 20,000+ runners and approximately 38,000 people total. It’s quite large and quite significant. There were runners present from all 50 states. Besides that there were shadow runs in several locations around the country.

The race was well-organized but of course people either don’t follow directions or overestimate their skill level. I spent most of the race dodging walkers and slower runners who didn’t have the knowledge or courtesy to move to the right. This was especially prevalent towards the end,a s the course narrowed. By the last mile or so I am amped up and ready to go! I like to pace myself early and finish strong but I found it slow going at the end. Finally I gave up being polite and did what other runners were doing…. weaved my way through walkers. I probably cut a few off and annoyed them. I am ok with this though because several times on the course I was slowed down and about to pass (even looking over my shoulder to be sure I could move over) and had someone come out of nowhere to cut me off.

I honestly don’t remember much about running on to the field and crossing the finish line. I heard cheering. I heard the mc. I saw the clock. But mostly it is a blur. My mind was blank at this point and I was pushing myself to sprint across the line, like usually. I had a surge of energy when the tunnel opened to the field and I just took off. I thought I would have been much more emotional. I think had I been handed a bottle of water and able to exit in normal fashion I would have. They were funneling everyone out the same way and we just stood still for a few minutes. People kept trying to push past but there was nowhere to go. All I could think about was how much I needed water. I was riding my finish high but adrenaline was draining. Thirst was taking over.

Once out of the clusterfuck I saw people with oranges, bananas and water but I saw no stations or signs. I walked down to the expo and got caught in another crowd trying to go over the bridge to the expo. It was like never-ending crowds. I spent some time in the expo and took two powerades because I still hadn’t found water. Finally got a bottle of water, stretched out a bit and headed back over the bridge to find my way out. Of course I stumble across the bananas and water, nowhere near where we were forced to exit. I grabbed a banana and headed for home.

I am torn as to whether I would do Pat’s Run again. I want to because of what it represents and the money goes to a great cause but the number of people, most who probably only participate in this one race, drove me bananas. No one seemed to know the “rules of the road” and the course was narrowed at a few points making it difficult to maneuver. Although knowing this, I can be even better prepared next year. I have a year to think it over.

I did enjoy the course. It seemed like an easy 4.2 miles. There was a good mix of hills and flat. There was water at every mile mark and they didn’t over fill the water. I just made note after mile 1 to go to the end of the water stations. They were incredible long and everybody tried to stop at the first table. It became easier to get water quickly once I figured this out.

I estimated my time to be 43 minutes, thinking I might go a bit faster due to adrenaline. I ended up at 43:19 which I equate to the spots I had to slow down due to too many people and not enough room to pass. Overall I am ok with this time. When I finished I thought it was much worse, like 50 minutes.

My breakdown:

Overall: 10,103 out of 23,303
Females: 3,589 out of 11,659
1 Mile: 11:05
2 Mile: 10:43
3 Mile: 11:16
4 Mile: 10:31

I was not surprised to see my split for mile 3. That is where I was slowed down the most. I always start out slow so mile 1 not surprising. I thought mile 4 was much worse because of how slow it felt. I think what happened was the first half of mile 4 was much slower but I really kicked it up when I started weaving and once I hit the field. Overall I am proud of what I accomplished yesterday.

Oh and my bib had a place to put a name “in honor of” and I wrote Boston. In blue. I was happy to see other runners wrote Boston there. Many others wore Boston apparel and a few pinned other Boston related signs to their back. I was almost moved to tears before the start. There was a moment of silence followed by thank you’s to all agencies involved. The cheering of the crowd to the Boston PD, FBI etc was so loud. I was so proud to be a part of this. You can’t keep the running community down.


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.