It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

February 21, 2013

Lost Dutchman HM Review & Racecation

When my husband Jim of 50 After 40 decided he wanted to do a marathon in every state, I knew there would be some fabulous places I would want to tag along (and some I would not).  When we started looking at our 2013 race schedule we started talking about Arizona.  Neither of us had ever been to Arizona, and I had always wanted to go.  I started researching marathons in the area, and while there is a Rock N Roll marathon in Phoenix; I didn't want to do a cookie cutter race (here).  We looked at Sedona, which looked just beautiful, but there were hills for days.  In the end we decided on a fun, small race just outside of Phoenix called the Lost Dutchman Marathon.

The view for most of the race.  Beautiful!
If you want lots of detailed information about the story of the lost Dutchman, etc you can read Jim's blog.  He's great about giving every detail.  I'm gonna "try" to keep this short, as I just don't have a ton of time to blog these days.

I have to admit, I was FAR more interested in the vacation part of this race than I was the actual running of the race. The race looked beautiful, but I'm in about the worst running shape I've been in for awhile.  I didn't go into the race with any goals really - just enjoy the scenery and finish.  It's Winter here in KC which  means days on the treadmill and extra padding pretty much everywhere, so I knew there was no PR in me for this race.  I wouldn't even try.  I just hoped to be under 2:40 for the half.

View from our resort balcony
Jim and I got to Phoenix on Valentine's Day and arrived at the very nice Pointe Hilton Taptio Cliffs Resort.  If you ever need a place to stay in Phoenix, I would highly recommend.  It's a little older, but the views are beautiful and it has an absolutely awesome pool.  Plus it's an all suite hotel, so lots of room.  Anyway, Jim and I got settled and headed out for our very early 4:45 dinner reservations (at least it was 5:45 KC time).  Dinner was great and set the tone for a truly wonderful race-cation!

Over the next few days we would explore the Phoenix area heading to the local Desert Botanical Garden (beautiful), Papago Park - home of the Hole in the Rock, and a few Spring training sites.  We had a great time hiking and just enjoying all there was to do.  We were on our feet alot though, with hiking, etc.  By the 2nd day my calves were tight and I was feeling the effects of all that walking.  Probably not the smartest thing to do before a race.  Oh well, I didnt' care I was having fun.

I also got to do my favorite pastime while I was there......lounge by the pool!!  Who doesn't love being able to lay by the pool in February??  At home it's in the 20s, and in AZ its in the mid 70s and sunny.  Not a single cloud in the sky the entire time.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect!  Of course, I'm super winter white, so I used the 30 sunblock and limited myself to an hour....even though I could have stayed poolside all day!

Ahhhhh.....resort pool
On Saturday we switched hotels and went to stay a little closer to the actual race which was in Apache Junction, AZ about 40 minutes from Phoenix.  The 2nd resort was nice.  It was much smaller and definitely catered to the golf crowd....well it was the Gold Canyon Golf Resort.  But it was also the host hotel, so we got a great nightly rate.

Aren't we cute, we are so in love.

We had already picked up our packets at Road Runner Sports the day before (because we had never actually been to a real Road Runner Sports store before - we were super excited)  but we still went to the local packet pickup because they had been out of small shirts the day before, and the medium they gave me hung to my knees.

Shoe Dog at RR Sports!

Super excited to be at RR Sports
Packet pickup actually had an expo which was surprising for such a small race.  It was a small expo,  and had many of the traditional vendors, but it was still nice that they had it.  We wondered around a bit and I found a chiropractic place that was offering stretching and massage. Contrary to Jim's blog, I did not get a massage, but asked them to stretch out my very tight left hip and right hamstring. The guy was great and had me feeling better in no time. Jim did not enjoy watching me get stretched by another man.  He should probably definitely never go to the ART Dr with me. 

Pre-race Dance, AZ style - Cactus!

Panning for gold???
The next morning was finally race morning.  I left the hotel about 5:30 and headed to the Rodeo grounds to park.  You actually start about a mile away, but the very accommodating race, has a nice warm school bus as a shuttle to take you to the race start.  That went off without a hitch, but put me at the race start about an hour ahead of time.  It was a little cold outside, upper 40s before the race started so it was a bit chilly - at least bag drop was very close, so I was able to keep on my jacket until about 15 minutes before the race started.  One of the things that had drawn me to this race was the pictures of people out by a warm cozy fire at the base of the mountain.....well that part is for marathoners only.  Those of us doing the half marathon, 10K or 8K were just in a park...with no  I won't complain too much, but it was disappointing.

The Desert Crane - AZ State Bird
By race start the sun was just coming up.  It was beautiful to watch the sunrise come up over the mountains.  It didn't take long for it to warm up either, but honestly most of the race was almost perfect conditions.  It was sunny with just a light breeze and mid 50s.  By the end of the race I was starting to feel the heat, but most of it was great.

View from the Hole in the Rock
The race started with a with uphill, and then moved into some super short easy rolling hills.  I was feel pretty great and it was just fun to be running on such a beautiful day surrounded by the gorgeous mountains and sky.  Then we started going down hill.  There was a very nice downhill portion....which meant, there was going to be a very not so nice, uphill portion on the way back.  From about mile 4.5 to 6.5 you have a slow gradual climb of about 100 feet.  This one hurt, but it's an out and back course so you turn around and get the downhill right back - which was nice.  But then, from 8.5 to 10.5 you have another slow gradual 100 ft climb.  That one hurt, and I really started to see my pace slip away.  Through about mile 8, I was running about an 11:30 pace, which wasn't bad at all.  But as the hill took its toll on my legs I started really slowing down.  You finally do get another downhill for those last 2 miles, but even with that my legs were spent.  I knew the last 3 miles would be hard regardless because I hadn't ran over 10 miles in nearly 2 months, but I was dead.  I put in a final little kick that last .1....and finished unofficially with an 11:58 pace.  My official time would be 12:00 a 2:37 finish.

I wasn't thrilled with my finish time, but it wasn't a bad finish time for me. And for my first race of the year, I'll take it.  They can only get better from here right??  I sure hope so.

After the race I hit the food station where they had some fruit, yogurt, and cookies...the basics.  They also offered me a burrito.  I said no to that, I didn't think a burrito would settle well with me after a thank you.  The guy actually seemed kind of offended that I turned it down. Oh well, it was still a good decision. 

I then waited for Jim to finish and then we got out pictures with the famous Lost Dutchman and his Donkey.  We jumped back on the shuttle and back to our car....race was over.

This is a great small race and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an Arizona race.  The weather is perfect, the scenery is awesome, the people and logistics are great and it's just a good experience overall.  The technical tee and medal are also pretty awesome!

After the race we grabbed lunch and then I spent one more hour by the pool...magical.  Then we headed out for our final dinner in AZ.  We were super excited that by total coincidence Rachelle of Running for Trevor was also in AZ for a different race!  She was staying very close to us, so we met for lunch that final night.  It was great fun meeting her and her friends Chris and Heather.  Rachelle was so super sweet, just like I expected.  She had also just set a new Half Marathon PR in her race of a smoking 1:21!!!  That girl is insanely fast.  She was over an hour faster than me....I just don't have the capability of understanding that kind of speed.

Rachelle, Me & Jim
Ok, so that's it in a nutshell.  I said I would keep it short...which it's not...but there is still so much more I could tell!

It was a great race and a great vacation.  One I won't soon forget.


  1. I don't understand that speed either. The warm weather sounds wonderful, it's cold in VT!!

  2. Sounds like a great way to get some time together - new sights and some races.

  3. Looked like a great time! Loved the pictures!

  4. That's my kind of vacation - a bit of sight-seeing, some relaxing and a race with a medal to commemorate the holiday.

  5. Hey, fun race! Sometimes I like it when I am not looking at trying for a PR because I enjoy the event more.

    BTW, Arizona is my favorite state. I love the desert!

  6. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun. All your great photos make me want to take a vacation!

  7. Well done with the race but I would also have focused on the vacation part over there. Beautiful! I hope to one year run the year to year circuit race in Phoenix.

  8. So, of course I was jealous that you got to go to Arizona and all but once I saw that photo towards the bottom of the antelopes sitting at the table with you, I got all bummed out. Forget the climb up to the fancy hole in the rock, I want to sit at that table and also meet the Dutchman and his donkey!

    Glad you had fun though. You deserve it!

  9. Looks like a great race and a great vacation!

    I would LOVE to get away to somewhere warm like that right now. Did you guys get slammed with that winter storm Q too?

  10. Congrats on the race

    I lived in Arizona for 17 years, Mesa area. Papago park is really nice, I loved going there. Glad you had a good time and you picked the perfect time to go

  11. Such an awesome vacation and you totally deserved it. It is still so weird to me that it could be so hot there when it is literally freezing every where else!

    Great race Michael. I think you are right where you need to be right now. It is early in the season and most importantly you are training smart and keeping your injuries at bay.

    It was an absolute pleasure to meet you. You are so nice and just such a beautiful person inside and out. Have a great weekend!

  12. Those pics are gorgeous!!!! Great job getting that first HM out of the way. :)

  13. Oh man!!! I wish I would have known you were going to be at The Lost Dutchman! I was there too! I do the 8k trail run each year!! Looks like you guys had a great time in Arizona!!!