Feb 27

I decided to quit running one year ago

On February 27th, 2016 I walked to the starting line of the Phoenix Marathon (now the Mesa-Phoenix Marathon) feeling as good as I ever had before a marathon. I hadn’t run one in nearly 20 months and I was motivated, healthy, rested and ready to go. I had hired a coach the previous November to put a training plan together specifically for this race and I had the confidence of knowing I had followed the plan.

But despite feeling so confident in my preparations it just wasn’t my day. At some point in the later miles I seriously questioned why I was even there and why I continued to do this. My wife had given birth to our fourth child a month earlier, and though I was at the race with her blessing, I felt like I should have been at home rather than running a stupid race multiple states away.

My stream of Facebook posts immediately after the race generated numerous text messages from friends and family making sure I was alright. Others tried to remind me that I had just finished a marathon and what an incredible achievement that was. Finishing wasn’t my goal though. I had done that 17 times already. Sitting there on a curb listening to all the happy finishers around me, many of them ringing the “PR bell” that was set up a short distance away, I just wanted to get on an airplane, fly home, throw my running gear away and be done with it all.

One year, two more marathons and a 50-miler later, obviously that didn’t happen. The only thing that changed was realizing that I do actually love to run but just can’t dedicate the time necessary to reach the goals I had set 5-7 years ago, when my life circumstances were different.

So as I lined up that same starting line at Usery Pass outside of Phoenix on Saturday, 363 days removed from the disaster that was last year’s race, with just six-weeks worth of “training” under my belt (three runs/week, and a long run of 15 miles), I had zero expectations. I had spent a couple of great days visiting family and friends and the race was just the dessert on the week. I was determined to think positively no matter what, to start slow, be consistent, eat early and often, stay hydrated and see what happened.

I love the Mesa-Phoenix Marathon. It has everything you want as a runner: a beautiful course, plenty of aid stations that are well-stocked, well placed and feel like a party, a great finish line (a plate of Kneaders french toast is…incredible), community and spectator support, swag, sunshine, fireworks and all sorts of other little details that you notice along the way. There’s no wonder why this race sells out 10,000+ spots every year (between the 10k/half/full).

I had a great run. I still didn’t reach my “goal,” but I ran my perfect race and gave everything I had for 22 miles before finally succumbing to the lack of training. But I had fun doing it.

And that’s enough to keep me running for another year.

Aug 03

BMO Harris Bank Phoenix Marathon: Your 2017 Winter Marathon (or should be)

Its August. Summer is in full swing and the Fall marathon season is nearly upon us. I hope that your training is going well and that you are feeling confident for your upcoming races.

But it’s August. And that means is time to start thinking about a Winter 2017 marathon, which is a short four to six months away (even if it seems the heat you are enduring these days may never end). It means the very best races are starting to fill up. Prices are starting to increase. And training plans are coming together.

Let me make a simple suggestion: Make a date in Phoenix, AZ the last weekend in February and sign up for the BMO Harris Bank Phoenix Marathon, to be held February 25th, 2017.

It’s a no-brainer, really.

Full disclosure: I’ve been selected as a 2017 Race Ambassador. Basically what that means is that I can offer a discount of $10 on your half/full race registration by using the discount code “Rychen10” (and you can save a few more bucks by posting to Facebook after you’ve registered).

But Ambassadorship or not, Phoenix is on my calendar every year. And you should seriously consider putting it on yours as well. It has everything you expect from a big-time race without the big corporate-run, cookie-cutter, cattle-herding feel of some other races, as it’s locally owned, supported and operated.

There’s the huge expo, the swag, the fireworks display before the starting gun, an early start time, the gradual downhill course through orange and grapefruit tree-lined streets full of community support, the morning sunrise, plenty of well-stocked aid stations exactly where you expect them to be, the multiple pace teams, a unique heavy-duty medal, the free 1k kids race, the huge finish line festival and of course…the PR bell.

All in all, it’s a party, you’re invited, and you should be there with us in February.

Don’t wait! The next price increase date is September 11th and this race sells out every year. Get registered now! (And be sure to use the discount code “Rychen10)

PHX3

PHX1

PR Bell