This past weekend at Rock n Roll Arizona was so much fun! If you’ve been around for any amount of time, you know I am super close with my parents, so getting to spend the weekend with them was also great. This weekend was also my dad’s half marathon debut!
We flew in on Friday and grabbed lunch at Wildflower Bakery before hitting up the expo. Wildflower is one of my favorite places to eat in Arizona.
We went to the expo next & picked up bibs and did the obligatory pre race shopping. I didn’t get anything this time, but we convinced my dad to get some sweet race gear. You have to get some cool stuff for your first race!
After the expo, we stopped by a grocery store to get water & breakfast supplies.
The hotel we stayed in was the PERFECT location for this race. Huge props to my mom for booking it. It was a Marriott Residence Inn, so it had two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen. This was a great set up for my parents and me, plus it gave us a kitchen/fridge situation to toast the bagels in for pre-race breakfast.
It was close to a lot of great restaurants within walking distance, and within walking distance for the start/finish lines of all the races. Free parking for our rental car. They also started serving coffee at 5:00am, so coffee in bed happened for sure. The best.
I’m skipping over the race on Saturday morning, since you can read the recap here. After the race, we had brunch a spot within walking distance of the finish line (and on the way back to our hotel). It was called Ncounter & everything was delicious. I’m the worst blogger and forgot to take pictures haha! Since I had eaten a bagel with peanut butter & banana for breakfast before the race, I wasn’t super hungry – so stuck with a little fruit & yogurt.
The rest of the day on Saturday was just relaxing and shopping. We went to Road Runner sports & tried to go play Top Golf, but it was way too packed. We had dinner at EVO – which was FAR too dark to take a photo inside of, but delicious nonetheless.
Sunday morning, I woke up and grabbed coffee in the lobby. I love to sit in bed and drink coffee and read the news, so that’s what I did until I was ready for breakfast!
For breakfast, I had half a bagel with peanut butter and banana. Because I was pacing my dad in this race, I felt much different than I did on Saturday morning before the 5k race. On Saturday, I woke up feeling SO NERVOUS. Sunday I woke up with just pure excitement.
We headed out to the start corrals and wandered around finding the restrooms & a good place to wait. It was dark and cold at that hour, but I knew it was not going to stay that way for long. The weather report showed it was going to get warm, but I was hoping it would hold off until later in the day.
I ran this race last year with my friend Kindal, so I knew the course had a hill in towards the end. Although, to be honest I remembered the hill being at mile 3, but I checked the website and was reminded it was later in the race.
My dad’s biggest goal for this race was to negative split the course. Definitely challenging on a day when it is going to be warm, and there is a hill in the second half of the course.
I was extra careful to make sure we weren’t going out too fast for the first few miles. By mile 4, it seemed like 10:30 was a comfortable cruising pace – so we stuck with that. My dad took a gel at mile 4.5 and mile 9.5 – I prefer to do gels based on TIME, not miles. We grabbed water at almost every aid station. I didn’t do gels, but did have water every aid station as well.
Just before the hill at mile 9, we stopped for a fast bathroom break. I promised my dad we’d made up the time on the downhill, no problem. As we headed up the hill, the band for that mile was a group of drummers! Both my dad and I loved them! We decided they should be at every mile, with the drumming progressively getting faster.
Photo from the Run Rock n Roll Facebook
I was really impressed with how strong my dad ran up the hill – it was getting quite warm at this point and you could see that it was taking its toll on many of the runners. He also lives/trains in an area where there aren’t a lot of hills. I helped him add some incline running in on the treadmill, but I was still blown away with the way he kept going.
As we came down the final mile, we saw my mom and got to wave hello! You can see how bright and SUNNY it was haha.
I’ve never truly paced anyone else but myself before, and it was tricky! I wanted to let my dad run his race and push his pace, but I also wanted to make sure he hit his goal. It was so much fun to run together and I loved the opportunity to focus on someone else’s race instead of my own. Running is such an individual sport, and you spend a lot of time alone, so this was pretty special.
Crossing the finish line with my dad was awesome. We met up with my mom shortly after. My dad had a friend & his daughter who ran the race as well, so we met up with them and decided to go get food and drinks at a nearby restaurant, since the beer line at the race was insanely long.
We walked to Gordon Biersch – just a few blocks away, for pretzels! My favorite. And I had a Moscow Mule.
Later in the day, after food and showers and recovering for a bit – we checked out Top Golf. OMG it is the best. If there is one near you, you have to go. It’s like bowling combined with golf. Which is way more fun, in my opinion.
And naturally we had drinks + snacks. They had a full menu with all kinds of food – even salads and healthy options.
Later that night we got dinner at a spot nearby our hotel. And the sunset didn’t disappoint.
Sunsets are my favorite part of being in Arizona. They are always so pretty. Our hotel had a great roof top pool & hot tub (I was mad at myself for forgetting a swimming suit).
Before bed we walked to The Baked Bear, near our hotel. We all shared a combo – peanut butter cookie on the bottom, brownie on top, Bear Batter ice cream, sprinkles, and Nutella. It was decadent, so so good, and definitely good we all shared haha. Otherwise we would’ve been in a sugar coma.
I love the Scottsdale/Phoenix area and this race. There is so much right in the area, plus the best restaurant and shopping. I would highly recommend it to anyone!