Monday, January 16, 2012

#31--P.F. Changs Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon*

Phoenix, AZ
January 15, 2012

Well, you'll notice the asterisk and question mark for this marathon, which benefited the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  That is because I did not get an official time.  I registered for the race, paid the fee, got a bib number, and collected a medal.  However, I forgot to put the timing chip on my shoe, so I will not get an official time.  That was a microcosm for the whole weekend.

I traveled with my wife and two young boys.  The plane trip was fine.  As we left the rental car place we realized we only had one of our two bags!  We searched and searched, but to no avail.  It was my bag, of course, with all of my running gear!  We checked into the hotel to put the kids down for a nap, and the room, despite being non-smoking, absolutely reeked.   When the kids woke, we changed rooms and I received a call from the lady who had mistakenly grabbed my bag and took it to her hotel.  She happened to be running the race, too, so I picked it up at the expo.  We had a good laugh, and parted ways.  It seemed like the worst was behind me.  It wasn't.

The night before the race I barely slept.  Our youngest was up every hour.  I stumbled out of my hotel a full 90 minutes before the start.  Marathon runners were instructed to park at the finish and take the light rail to the start.  The exit from the interstate was backed up for miles and miles.  Many runners who were being dropped off gave up and got out of the car and ran along the interstate to the start!  I was stuck for an hour or more.  I had hydrated well and was in desperate need of a bathroom.  With none available, I repeatedly filled the empty smoothie cup in my car and dumped it on the road.

The start time came and went, and I still wasn't even parked.  There were hundreds behind me, too.  I finally parked and sprinted to the train stop.  I was relieved to see a few other runners and hear that they had pushed the start back 30 minutes.  I was going to make it.  With a sense of relief, I took my seat.  I quickly looked around at the other runners and saw that they had timing chips on their shoes and I did not.  I had completely forgotten it at the hotel!  I usually put it on my shoes the night before, but our oldest was napping in our room and I didn't get a chance.

Oh well, at least I had my GPS.  We were dropped off at the start with a minute to spare.  I entered my corral and turned on my GPS watch.  "Locating satellites........"   Forever.  This was going to be my unofficial official time.  I stepped out of line and waited.  And waited.  All of the other runners went by, and the clean up truck followed.  I finally gave up on my watch and crossed the start line, the very last runner that I could see.  My watch finally found a satellite about a quarter mile into the race.

I was pretty bummed out.  I started a light jog, but just wasn't feeling it.  I briefly thought about pulling out of the race.  What was the point, I thought?  Right at this moment I looked to the side of the road and saw a man in a wheelchair with his wife beside him.  She was holding up a sign that said, "Thank you for running for MS."  I realized then, that the only reason I needed to run that day was simply because I could.


  1. Wow. Thank you for sharing this, Scott. It definitely puts things into perspective, which is exactly what I needed!

  2. Greetings!

    How are you? Hope all is well!

    Anyway, I noticed you mentioned COMPETITOR GROUP (Rock N Roll Maration) on your site: ( really appreciate the mention! I'm glad you wanted to share information about Rock N Roll marathon with your readers.

    Would you mind linking back to use as a reference for anyone that is interested in learning more? Here is the URL:

    Please let me know if you will. Thank you so much and I wish you all the best! :)