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Adventure at Phoenix Rock and Roll – Honoring My Father!

May 27, 2013

23386_10151176616856612_328087928_nI had an amazing race at the Phoenix Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Traveled with my great friend Connie Many, the weather was perfect, the new course was really scenic through the Desert Botanical Garden, peanut butter and honey were a good fuel combination, and my dad got to come along!

We were up at 5:30 and ready to roll at 6 am. The first stop was coffee at McDonald’s where I got two 20 oz cups of coffee – it was an hour drive to the start line and I needed 40 oz of coffee. Connie was in charge of navigation and pouring milk in my coffee. (I will not tell the story of how it took two phones with GPS and an iPad and pencil and paper to get us to the Phoenix Convention Center the previous day!) The traffic was all about getting 25,000 people to the race and we had to park almost a mile from the start line. Connie said this was a good way to warm up. I did not agree 🙂SAMSUNGI had laminated my favorite picture of my dad and me and had planned to wear it on my backside, but my camelback full of water covered our heads. Connie came up with the great idea of safety-pinning the picture to my camelback. Not a moment after she got it arranged a photographer came up and took a picture, saying how nice it was for me to honor my dad like this. Made me smile.


Connie stayed with me the first mile, but that coffee had decided it was time to leave and when the first group of porta-potties appeared I told her to go on without me. As I waited in the long line, I watched lots of people pass by … and after 4 minutes of my race time I decided I could wait until the next toilets appeared. Another mile and there they were, but I didn’t stop – lines too long and I was ignoring the 40 oz of coffee starting to scream to get out. Tracking my feet, listening to Moves Like Jagger, I could wait.

Mile 3 and there it is! What? Only one toilet with a line that is 20 deep? Excuse me, why didn’t you people go before the race?? Oh, yeah, that means me, too.

I am not waiting – I am not giving up race minutes to the toilet line. So now I am on the hunt for a place. At home we have trees and bushes and all runners use them. No shame. Just necessity. But I am in downtown Tempe, with lots of spectators and sun and red brick and businesses and police everywhere because the roads are closed just for the race. I can’t keep my abs in anymore because the pressure is mounting. Just give me a quiet private space and I promise I will never drink coffee before a race again!

And then I remember! I know how to do this! When I did my first marathon in 2009 I didn’t need the porta-potty until 2 miles were left in the race – and believe me, after doing 24 miles I was not going to stop. It was on a sloping highway overlooking Puget Sound – all that water! For 15 minutes I timed the releases to the throbbing of Michael Jackson’s Beat It. I was already wet from dumping water all over my body to stay cool so you couldn’t tell, and I was happy at the finish line.

Saw a water stop ahead, grabbed a few cups and poured the water down my back. Reached around and felt Dad’s picture – yes, he was fine, maybe a little damp. Thank goodness I laminated him. Back on the street, get ready, find the right beat … and there it is! A half wall next to a transformer with a teensy private space out of view – 25 feet off the road!

I veered off to the spot, checked to see if anyone had a view – and then I was happy. Now I could enjoy the race and remember why I was doing it.

Several people commented (as they passed me!) what a lovely thing I was doing – one guy told me what a great picture it was. I had my moments remembering good times with my dad, and even started to create a DVD of his life with all the video and pictures I have. I did the race with a full heart, as another great friend reminded me to do.

Connie was waiting for me at the finish line. We took pictures with the great medal, ate food, and then realized our plane left in three hours and we had better get ourselves up and out of there.
race pic 5

My dad never ever would have done something like this, but he supported my achievements. I was glad to take my memories of him with me. I had a great day!

One Comment
  1. Great story and what a sneaky way to survive an urgent emergency. LOL!

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