Hello all! We’re still collecting our thoughts and prayers pictures from this past weekend’s Phoenix Marathon. We’ll be posting our experience here in the coming days, but in the meantime, we have a video for you.
We carried a GoPro through the entire race and shot clips of us as we passed each mile marker. Once we got to the wedding site (mile 26), we had several friends Facebook-Live the event. Well, we have combined the videos into one epic one.
Oh, and at the end of the video there’s a bonus…As we were walking back to the car, parking attendant Kevin surprised us with a serenade of sorts. Once he found out we had just gotten hitched, he ran to his car and put together is saxamaphone. It was so sweet.
For everyone who wasn’t at the wedding, we hope this provides the experience for ya. We tried to keep it is as short as possible to prevent any viewers’ from Blair Witchiness enforced puking.
Hope you enjoyed that! Like we had said, we’ll post our review post asap.
So, in a matter of days we’ll be running the Phoenix Marathon. But not just that, we’ll also be getting married during the race. But yes also, we ran this race last year. So for those of you who may be running, or thinking of running this race, we’re here to give you the highdown.
First off, people like to say this is a downhill race. It is…But it’s no Revel. We’re sorry, but we gotta say that we are not fans of the Revel races. Running thousands of feet downhill just seems like cheating. Well, doesn’t seem, it probably is. Thousands of feet net decline?!?! We mean, come on. That said, Phoenix is downhill, but that’s deceiving. It’s a net 800 feet or so down from start to finish (not 5000 feet like a Revel). But also…there is a good 2 mile incline in the full. It goes a little something like this: You run downhill a few miles, you run uphill a couple miles, you run downhill a few more miles, then it’s flat, flat, flat, flat the rest of the way. That’s the nature of the beast. It’s still a runner friendly course: It’s a bit downhill net, it’s point to point, and the course is mostly straight roads (not many turns), around 20% of runners BQ, and race pics are freeeeeeee!
OK, we thinks we’ve gone off on a tangent…let’s regroup.
This is a great race…We love it! This is where Marsha BQ’d!!! This is where we’re getting hitched! This is where our besties live. This is the Valley of the Sun.
And no, this is not the Rock n Roll Phoenix race. That’s the first thing everyone always axes. This is the Phoenix Marathon. Phoenix like the bird who comes back to life from fire. Which is admittedly weird because this race doesn’t even take place in Phoenix, technically it’s in Mesa.
Here’s how it goes: You get up at the butt crack of night to drive to the race finish area. They bus you up to the top of a mountain. It’s freezing cold. They have fires going to keep you warm. It’s pitch perfect dark. They warn you not to wander off the road lest you may encounter a chupacabra or the like. There are no corals. It’s very chill. The race starts early. Early. The sun is not yet up. But once you start running, the sun slowly rises. There is no more glorious sight than the first break of dawn crawling over the cactus covered mountainous desert.
up on a mountain and it’s freezing!
As we said, you go downhill a couple miles. But then you hit the uphill. It’s a good two miles. It sucks. But once you conquer the zenith, you the get reward of going back gravity towards. This part goes through a little mountain side neighborhood. There’s not much crowd support in this race, but this is one of the biggest athletic supporter areas.
Once you get off the mountain, you’re ground level. You are running flat the rest of the way. One thing we love is that the roads are so flipping straight. You don’t have to worry about breaking stride to make turns. You just keep on cruisin.
B to the W, the weather is great. Being the desert, there ain’t much humidity to speak of. Ain’t much wind neither. Last year it was 37 degrees American at the start…Around 50 degrees American at the finish. Perfecto. We went with Helly to Wallfart the day before the race to buy $2 sweat clothes to wear at the start (We threw them off a couple miles in). Again, perfecto.
But alas, here in lies the rub. Lettuce give you our experience, race-wise. Marsha really wanted to BQ. She needed a 3:45, which meant we wanted a 3:40 to be safe. That’s roughly an 8:25 pace per mile. Scott was the pacesetter. Helly said before the race that she wanted to run with us as long as she could. She had just PR’d at NY a few months earlier at just under 4 hours. But she’s a strong runner, getting stronger by the day. So off we went. Scott spent the entire race saying, “Moooooon (his nickname for Marsha).” Meaning, “Marsha, slow it down.” Moon. Mooon. Mooooon. Moooooon. Moooooon. Mooooooooon. The theme of the race. Keeping Marsha in check so she didn’t burn out early. Helly termed this, “In Scott we trust.”
A couple miles in, another nameless friend said, “I can’t keep running this slow.” He took off (we would see him again later, walking around mile 20). But we were focused on the pace goal. It worked. We were cruising. It felt like a jog. The best marathon we had ever run. Around mile 18, Helly put her earphones in. We knew that meant she was starting to ride the struggle bus. She trailed off a bit. We kept on keeping on. At mile 20 Scott said that since we felt good, we could start to push it. We did. These were our fastest miles of the race. Not to brag, but that is so smart…keeping it in the tank so we had something in the tank for the end of the race. “Banking” time is dumb, fo real doe. It’s way much better to finish strong.
But then something bad happened. At mile 23, Scott had to stop. His foot said, “No more, hombre.” But he didn’t want Marsha to miss out on her BQ, so he told her to go on and finish strong. She did. Scott had to limp in the last 3 miles. It sucked. It hurt. It was like a lime had been put in the bottom of his shoe. Turns out his foot was broken, but we didn’t know that until later. Yeah, a stress fracture had fractured his foot. But he still finished in a PR of 3:43, despite having to hobble in.
Marsha, meanwhile was focused. She was focused on finishing strong. She was focused on all the negative things people had said or done to us the past few years when we found each other and ourselves. She used that to embody determination. She turned it positive. She used it for fuel. She used that to BQ. She finished in 3:40.
At the finished line she waited as Scott hobbled in. We were pleased. Then something else amazing happened, we turned around and saw Helly hight tailing it. She had pushed through to finish a little behind Scott with a 15 minute PR! Then we saw her hubby, he had also PR’d (he’s much faster than all of us, so we won’t talk about times ;)). Then we saw our friend J, who had PR’d the half and breaking 2 hours. Even our nameless friend who burn out early had rallied and ran some 20 minutes faster than the marathon he had just run in Houston. It was all good.
The post race party was aight. No free beer like at most races now-a-days, but no worries, we had tequila in the car. And we were happy.
Can’t wait for the Phoenix Marathon! Can’t wait to see everyone! Can’t wait to get married! Can’t wait see how it all goes!
Have you ever run this race? What makes a race special for you?
We’re not running this race this year, but we ran this race last year. So we’re here to give you the lowdown.
Where it be: In old McKinney at the Tupps Brewery.
How it works: You and your partner run a 5k. They combine your ages and finish times. They determine winners based on those combined times/ages.
What’s the course: Basically an out and back with several turns along the way.
What we think: We had a few problems with this race. First and foremost, the course was almost a quarter mile long. And don’t tell us that it was our Garmins. It wasn’t. It was long, and that sucks. We knew it was long when we hit the halfway point and still had a ways to go before the turn-around. Just look at the stats in the first picture of this post. That said, it was the same for everyone. But hopefully they got it fixed for this year.
The next problem – No free beer after the race. We mean, come on! It’s held at a brewery for crying out loud. Not even one free beer? If you want a beer, you have to pay for it. And personal opinion: we don’t really like Tupps beers. They are all so hoppy. Not our style. That said, the brewery itself is pretty dang cool. Nice location to chill out at.
How’d we do: We finished 2nd overall!!! We weren’t too far behind first place, but unfortunately that team had the overall race winner – somewhere around 16 minutes, so that’s how they won. But hey, we got another trophy!
Oh yeah, one last issue – Each team had to come up with a team name. Ours was “Team S&M, Bringin’ The Pain!” Clever, right? Well when they announced we had come in 2nd, they wouldn’t announce our team name. They thought it was too NSFW. Sheesh, that’s living in the Bible Belt for ya, lol. It was innocent – S&M stands for Scott and Marsha. And 5k’s are painful, so that’s where we got the name <wink wink>.
Oh yeah again, one last issue – We asked our friend Alex to take our photo. He did this:
Actually, we don’t have an issue with this – we do it to people all the time. Even strangers who ask us to take their picture. Haha, such characters we be.
What’s the conclusion: It’s an OK race, hopefully they got the distance worked out. We hope everyone has fun running it!
Yes, you read that right. We’re going to be getting married at the race….or should we say IN the race! That’s our plan. We will run the first 26 miles, then pause our Garmins Suuntos, because at Mile 26 we will take our vows, then run the final point two to the finish line. So yeah, we’ll become officially official during the race. Eeeek!
Before we get to the hows and whys and whos and such, let’s quickly mention how we got engaged. It was during a run, duh. You can read that story HERE. Or if you’re feeling lazy, just watch the 1 min vid we put together of the engagement run:
On to the plans. It’s all very on the fly, as far as wedding planning goes. But we knew a couple things – we didn’t want to wait long to get married, and we wanted to do it while running. Running brought us together. So naturally, we want to make it a part of our big day.
Who is going to officiate? Well, that was a tough one. But then we were reminded that Scott’s uncle lives in AZ…and he’s ordained! Sweet! Unfortunately he will be out of town that weekend. Not so sweet. But his daughter (our favorite cousin) said she would get ordained and do it. Super duper sweet!!! Ain’t the internet grand?
And what about a wedding party? Well, it’s always going to be a party as long as we’re around, but if you mean the actual members of the party, then we got that covered too. Our Best Man and Maid of Honor will also be running the race. Yup, the world famous Helly On The Run and her hubby will be doing the honors.
Now, they are racing the race to try for a BQ. After all, it’s a great race to go for that. Marsha qualified at this race just earlier this year. But we’ve been injured since then, so we’re not in any kind of shape for racing, so we’ll be taking it easy. We just hope Helly & Ben’s tired legs will still be able to carry them back to meet us at the wedding!
As for guests of the wedding…We had discussed eloping. But then Marsha said, “Scott, you can’t elope.” But then Scott replied, “Don’t call me a cantaloupe, you melon head.”
Awesome jokes aside, we’re expecting a handful of close family and friends to be able to make the trip. We understand that doing a fairly rushed wedding out of state makes it challenging for people to get to. But that said, we feel very honored to anyone who will be there. We even hear via the twitters that A Fast Paced Life will be on hand (and feet as she’s running too)!!! And of course, the cheering race spectators will hopefully send us off in loud fashion!
And for those who can’t make it to the Valley of the Sun, we’ll be having a second location reception a couple weeks later back in Dallas. Where? At a brewery of course.
But there’s more details on that to come. In the meantime, we’ve got a wedding to plan!
This weekend is the Chicago Marathon. For all y’all running it, we wish you the best of times! We ran it in 2015 – our first marathon together – and absolutely LOVED it! This post gives you our advice…take it if you want, give it back if you don’t.
RUN FOR CHARITY:
Both of us ran this race on behalf of charities. M raised money for the Special Olympics, as M’s brother has Downs Syndrome. S raised skrilla for Alzheimer’s Association, as S’s G-pa passed away from it. This is a great way to run this race if you don’t want to go the lottery route…Or if you just want to do some good! Combined, we raised a few thousand dollars!
This is a bit of a beating. The site is quite a ways from downtown. There are shuttle busses. The ride is long, but at least we had good company.
The expo is pretty crowded and overwhelming at times. But they do have free beer, so hooray for that. Brews are needed to deal with the crowds and commute.
This is fun. A day before the race, tons of people met at The Bean. We took selfies and got a little 2-3 miles in along the shore. Then more selfies, duh.
Get there early. A crap ton of people run this race. You gotta navigate people to the tune of 40+ large to get to the porta-johns, gear check, and corrals.
They paint a line on the street throughout the course – this line is the shortest distance of the race – try to follow it. It will help you hit your tangents.
Everyone says the race is “pancake flat”. Mostly true, but like grandma’s mashed taters, there are a few lumps in it. Mainly the bridges over the rivers. Don’t be surprised by them*.
1st half of the race is downtown and mainly in the shade from the skyscrapers**. This is a good thing. Helps keep it cool. 2nd half of the race is on the outskirts of town. It can be sunny and warm. This was not a good thing. Be ready for it.
Those same tall buildings that shade you, also jack with your GPS**. Everyone, we mean everyone, around us had inaccurate mileage on their Garmins. Mile alerts were beeping at random times. Don’t worry about it, just run your race and don’t obsess over your watch.
Crowd support is AMAZING! Nearly 2 million people cheering their Windy City heads off. And the ethnic neighborhoods have themes – dancing lions in Chinatown, mariachis in Little Mexico and drag cheerleaders in Boystown. Soak it in.
Do. Not. Go. Out. Too. Fast. It’s easy to do in the shaded and boisterous first half. We both made the mistake of thinking we could go faster than we could in the beginning. Suffice it to say, we did not have negative splits this day.
There is a hill*. At. The. Very. End. Of. The. Race. “Pancake flat” they said…yeah, not at the end it’s not. Be ready for that stoopid hill.
Enjoy the after party – beer, music and really really tired people make for a good time.
After you recover a bit, spend the next couple days sightseeing sightseeing sightseeing!
OUR CHICAGO STORY
Personally, we learned a lot running this race. It’s one of our best and favorite marathons ever! We both PR’ed by 20 minutes S: 3:48:28 & M: 3:45:50. Our only regret was that we did not run together. We were assigned different corrals, but we should have found a way to start together. And after seeing our splits online, we realized we would have been right next to each other, just like in training.
We spent the entire 26.2 miles looking for each other. It was an amazing race, but we were sad we didn’t share it together step by step. After that day, we promised ourselves we’d never run separately again. Since then, we’ve run every half and full marathon side by side.
That said, when S crossed the finish line he immediately stopped, turned around and desperately hoped to see M. But there were 40+ thousand folks in this race. How could we possibly find each other in that mess? But about 30 seconds later, it happened: M crossed the finish line we had the biggest hug. We were happy we had a good race result, but happier that we had found each other.
This race also brought us our best good friends in the whole wide world of sports…
First, M got to meet S’s college bud, Rexy (who is fast AF – she ran this race in 3:05). And even though she lives in the great state of Ohio, we’ve all become very close. That’s what happens when good chill people come together. LOVE HER!
Second, we got to meet in person for the first time, the ever so internet famous HellyOnTheRun!
Her and her Hubby have since become our bestest friends ever…our “ride or die”. They even made us Godparents to their sweet little Benny! Can you believe that?!? Some people who we first met over the internet are now so important in our lives. And Chicago was the first in-person meeting. Destiny.
And with this motely crue of misfits, we spent the next couple days frolicking around Chi-Town. It was the. Best. Time. Evah.
GOOD LUCK to everyone running Chicago this weekend, YOU will ROCK IT! And who knows, it may even change your lives for the better forever.
Questions: Do you have any tips for running the Chicago Marathon? Do you have any questions about Chi-Marathon? Have you ever met someone from the internet in person?
Life can be messy and sometimes ugly – but with the right person life is beautiful and amazing. We didn’t get to our lives together in the “traditional” way. We met thru running and it’s why it’s such a big part of our lives.
But let’s get to the messy parts first – We were both married to other people when we met each other. Our previous lives had us in partnerships that weren’t really that. We did countless things alone, and learned to accept it. Don’t get us wrong, marriage is a beautiful thing. Our marriages were happy in the beginning, but just as a tree grows from a single stem into several branches that move away from each other, so did our married relationships. Pictures and smiles and social media say one story, but as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
We recently heard about a study on really happy people – and the overwhelming majority of them could trace their contentment back to the quality of their relationships with other people in their lives. It wasn’t money, or possessions, or anything else…it’s relationships that make people happy.
That all said, we both got divorces. Divorce is an awful process. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, it can lead to all parties involved being happier than they’ve been.
Lettuce get to some running now…We ran alone. Sure, we often ran with groups, but the majority of mornings we were hitting the lonely streets solo. Running lets you see and experience amazing things that most people never see. Oh how we longed to share all those amazing things with someone.
Even surrounded by thousands of people in races, we still felt alone. Most races we only had strangers to cheer for us or run next to us.
39th MCM (Marine Corps Marathon)
Inaugural Dopey Challenge
See those two sets of pics up there? They were taken the same year. But we could’ve chosen pretty much any race from any year. Whether one mile or 26.2 miles, it is a long way to suffer all alone.
But then a curious thing happened. The both of us registered to run the Chicago Marathon on behalf of charities. Curiouser was that we only lived about 3 miles apart. Curiousest was that we both run pretty much the same pace. Boom, we each now had a training partner. And that’s where our story begins.
We had known of each other for years from being part of different running groups, but when we started training for Chicago, that’s when we really got to know each other. We ran hundreds and hundreds of miles together. We told each other about our other lives. How lonely we were. How our smiles were a facade. We grew close through these miles.
***The above pics are from one of our first races together. First place overall for S and first female for M!!! OK, so even if this particular 5k course was a mile short, who cares, it was the same distance for everyone. And now our finishing times are on the internets forever muahahahaha!***
Anyway, the Chicago training went on. 650 miles together. Some easy, some tough. And some were even brutal…during a 20 mile run, S gave in. We were lost. S sat on the curb, defeated. He started to hold back tears and kept saying to M that S wasn’t made for marathons. Or the the time M had to stop running during our 17 miler from a blister and sat near the bathrooms at White Rock Lake while S, exhausted, had to run back 7 miles to the car so he could come back and get M. M was shivering and blue from dehydration on a humid summer day. And it’s in these moments of defeat where we found strength in each other.
For every “bad” run, there were 50 “good” ones. We saw sunrises, wildlife, meteor showers, quiet streets, pre-busy parks, etc. etc. etc. Finally, someone to share these experiences with! Once we longed for someone to share our early morning miles with, and now that we had that person, it was even better than we hoped for.
And by the way, all the training together paid off. We both had 20+ minute PRs in Chi-town!
And by the time of Chicago, we realized how much we had in common (running, yoga, dancing, karaoke, candles, tequila, etc)…and that we needed each other. We knew we made each other happy.
Fast forward to 2017 and we are together. It took a while to get where we are now. We’ve lost friendships and family members along the way, but we’ve also gained wonderful and supportive friends and family to help us through. With their strength and the love of our 4 kids- J, M, G and G – our lives are full of blended happiness and adventures.
We run together every morning, and yes, even in races.
Rest assured, you can trust our smiles on our social media now.
What about you? Do you have someone you can run with? Answer in the comments!
PS. We’re just getting this blog up and running, but it will be more and more regularly posted in as we get it all settled. Please come back soon!
We’ve run this race the past couple years, and in this post we’ll give you our best tips for a good race and a good time. If you don’t know, this race is a 5k put on by the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA. It starts/ends right outside the arena. It draws some speedy folks. It also features a fun post-race party. Know you know.
Firsty off doe, lettuce say that we shant be running it this year ’round. Not cause we don’t like this event, but it just wasn’t happening this year. In years past, this race was in October, but this year they bumped it up to the first week of September. That’s a tough time for those of us with kids who just started the new school year. So we’ve got obligations – yeah, we’re adulting big time.
But for those of you going, here’s our tippity tips:
1.) GET THERE EARLY. It’s a (school) night race. That means you will be battling Dallas rush hour traffic to get there. That traffic blows. Our belief is that traffic is our living version of Hades. Leave early so you won’t be as stressed about making it to the race on time, while you sit in bumper to bumper Hades.
2.) PARK IN THE GARAGE. On game nights, this garage costs skrilla to park in. On race day, this garage don’t cost no skrilla. Park there and save the dolla dolla bills for making it precipitate later on (if you so choose).
3.) *TINKLE INDOORS. One yuuuuge perk of this race is they open up the arena so you can use the facilities pre & post race. Take advantage of that…Unless, of course, you prefer port-a-potties, then we’re sure you can find one around. There’s always construction going on in North Texas, and that means port-a-potties-a-plenty.
4.) GET READY FOR CRAMPED CONDITIONS. The race start is on a narrow street. You’ll be packed in the crowd like Swedish sardines. If you’re a faster runner, work your way to the start of the (only) corral. If you’re not a faster runner, get in your proper place (further back) as to not cause accidents/annoyances.
5.) **DON’T GO OUT TOO FAST. Once you pass the arena, you go down a nice little downhill. It’s the beginning of the race, so people are already jacked, don’t buy into their hype. They’ll be sprinting down that hill – resist the urge. Save that energy for later in the race.
6.) CAREFUL ON THE COURSE. It’s dark. There’s potholes. There’s switchbacks. There’s sprinkler run-off. Just be careful, please.
7. EMBRACE LONELINESS. There’s like one Mavs Cheer Station, the rest of the time it’s pretty lonely out there. Not much crowd support to speak of.
8.) **GIT UP DAT HEEL. You did save energy instead of sprinting down the hill at the beginning of the race, didn’t you? Didn’t you??? We hope so, cause you’ll need it to get back up the hill and finish strong.
9.) GIT YER DRANK ON. After the race, it’s party time…*Or potty time, if you need to go again. They usually have free adult brews and some live music. Find your friends (or make new ones) and get turnt (if you so choose).
If you’ve trained properly followed all of our tips, you’ll probably place in your age group and earn a medal. We were both lucky enough to do this last year.
And remember the other big perks of running this race: it benefits a great charity (Mavs Foundation) and you get A FREE TICKET VOUCHER TO A MAVS GAME!!!! You’ve gotta take advantage of dat!
So there you have it, kids. We hope our tips/pics inspire you to get out there and have a great time! Please let us know what you think in the comments!
Have you run this race before? Do you have any tips we missed? If not in Dallas, have you run any sports themed races in your town?
-Scott & Marsha #scarsha #commonlonghorns
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