Race: Scottsdale Half Marathon

Runner: Erica Kollen

Race Date: 12/12/2021

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Results: 2:08

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  • This race has an early start, 7:30am. Heat lamps out for pre race warmth, although the low was in high 40’s. Pace markers set at every 2-3 miles, as well as water, gu, and gatorade.
  • If you shed (throw away) your top layer at the start, it will be there for you at the drop bag pick up at then end. As just about all races I have run, the positive atmosphere is uplifting.
  • The course is a loop, which I so much prefer, compared to out and back. Coming through the finish and having a medal placed around your neck, water bottle then tables of food..all of it makes it an addicting sport.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

There was not much at all that I disliked, except for the course change at the end this year. They added an “out and back” for about .6 miles on a very narrow paved walkway.. It was difficult to pass the person in front of you without risking an ankle injury by stepping off the path onto uneven ground/on a slant. I’ve run this race many times, this was a first for that.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I have been suffering a terrible knee injury. My coach had me cut back on my training and going to Physical Therapy. My PT and my coach still gave me the OK to run today, but having me just do it as a “fun run”, walk/run, just do what I can. I did a 2 mile run the day before the race and my knee was bad. I really considered not going. I’m not sure how this happened, by my knee pain gave me a break today and I killed it on the run!! Every step I made was made with caution and expectation of pain, but only had very little discomfort in last 2 miles.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

I have run over 50, maybe even 60 half marathons. I have always followed a program (Hal Higdon) which increases my long run every week and has me do a 12 mile long run 2 wks prior. I now have a coach (Tom Scott) from Team Run Run. He is helping me train for a trail 50k. My longest road run has been 5 miles, and I do 1 long trail run per week (8 miles was longest). I did not trust I could handle 13.1. His feedback and encouragement helped me tremendously. I have never felt as strong, doing a half, as I did today. He calculated I could do a 9:30 pace, so that is what I did and it felt super comfortable. Brought my own tailwind and took sips every 20-30 min.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I learned that doing core exercises, stability exercises, and eating plant based can be extremely beneficial. I also learned that running the distance, or close to the distance of what the race will be, is not necessary. If I strengthen my body and do challenging run workouts during the week, this will bring me through the miles.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The first part of the course is not pretty at all. You run up Scottsdale road, which has lots of stores/grocery markets/gas stations. After mile 5, you turn onto a very pretty road with parks and trees. Then it heads downhill for about 7 miles, passing golf courses, dog park, and a lake.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It is a flat and fast course. 130′ elevation gain in 13.1 miles.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

It is a very well organized race. Good swag.. zip up technical jacket, winter hat and big medal. Lots of food, tents, and beer garden at end of race.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

I do not think it has ever sold out. There were 950 runners, mostly local.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Lots of aid stations in the race. All with gu, water, and gatorade. Few porta potties.

Weather and typical race conditions

Perfect AZ weather. 45 at start, 68 for high. Sunny.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

I buy a cheap long sleeve from good will and wear it to the start, and sometimes for a mile or 2, then toss it aside. The clothes get picked up and brought back to the gear check, or they get donated. Its a win, win..

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Lots of fun spectators.

How’s the Swag?

As mentioned, long sleeve zip jacket, winter cap, and large medal.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

4 out of 5 stars

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