Race Report

2009 P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona – Part 1 – Expo

I leave for WDW next Friday so I decided I have to finish my report today. Otherwise I know I’ll never get to it. So here goes…

Prior to this I’d done a number of 5ks, a 10k, and a 7 mile trail run, but this was my biggest race ever. Both in terms of distance and sheer number of participants. I’m used to attending races alone, so it was a nice to change to have someone to share the experience with. Troy’s mom Tami has been walking for a couple years and done at least a couple of half marathons already.

Tami and I went to the Expo on Saturday. It was at the Phoenix Convention Center. One of the things that bugged me was that the race materials kept advertising the Expo as free and open to the public, but we had to pay $12 for parking. Anyway… first we went to pick up our race packets. Then I went to get my corral number changed because when I registered I had estimated a 3 hour finish and I knew I could do better than that. I expected something a little more high tech, but changing my corral was as simple as getting a little green sticker with the number 16 put on my race bib. Then we went to get our t-shirts. We were both hoping for the really cute red tech shirt that we saw displayed on the way in. But it turned out that the participant shirts were cotton and the tech shirts were finisher shirts on sale for $44. There was a whole section devoted to (over-priced) official merchandise. Although we both admired the shirts, I only bought a pin and Tami bought a pair of socks. Since Disney does pins and now it looks like Elite Racing does too, I decided to start a collection of race pins.

The rest of the Expo was fun and reminded me of career fairs in college. We grabbed a lot of goodies and entered our names in a bunch of contests. I ended up with chapstick from three different boothes: Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Amica, and Orowheat. Shamrock Farms had some new protein-fortified milk that was good. They had three flavors at the Expo – chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla – but so far I’ve only been able to find chocolate in stores. I think it was on the Running to Disney podcast where I heard that chocolate milk is becoming a popular post-run drink. So I wonder if Shamrock Farms is just picking up on that trend. I also got to try a Clif Shot Gel and Clif Shot Blok, both of which I liked. For some reason apples were a popular fruit at the Expo. One booth was promoting a new variety of apple. I remember it was a cross between a gala and something else… I’ll have to keep an eye out for it in stores. I think I’ll know the name when I see it.

There was a whole row of boothes devoted to other Elite Racing events. I think for most, if not all, of the events they were offering a discount off the registration and a free cotton t-shirt. I ended up registering for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle 1/2 Marathon since I was already planning on doing it anyway. The discount was $10 and the t-shirt was pretty nice. It was dark blue and looked to be a fitted women’s size so I was pretty happy about that. They didn’t have my size that day and offered to send it by mail. Unfortunately when I received it a couple days ago it was a medium with a note saying that was the smallest size they had. It fits okay, but I would have preferred a small.

I saw a lot of cute running shirts with fun sayings, but nothing that really stood out to me as something I had to have. Plus there didn’t seem to be any really great deals on clothes or other running gear at the Expo. For now I’m still happy with all of my Road Runner Sports stuff. Tami and I did get some socks though. I’ve been having the hardest time finding the right socks for running. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Wrightsock for their unique double layer socks. At the booth, they were having a buy 3 get 1 free sale. Usually running socks come in threes, so this was a good opportunity to try a couple of different styles of Wrightsocks. We split the offer and I ended up getting two pairs of socks for $14 which is a decent price. I even wore one pair of the Wrightsocks the next day for the race. Even though I still got a couple blisters, the socks were comfortable. And most importantly, they were the right thickness for my shoes. Wrightsock does have a blister-free guarantee, but I’m happy with the socks and just plan to keep them.

One really neat vendor was Mile 22 Bags. Their concept is that you ship them your running memorabilia (bib numbers, shirts, etc.) and they use it to create a totally unique, customized bag or wallet for you. I think I’m going to order a bag because I don’t know what else to do with my shirt from the Expedition Everest Challenge. It’s too big to wear. Right now I’m thinking that it would be cool to have a bag made with Disney stuff. I just have to decide how long I’m going to wait… after the Disneyland 1/2? after the WDW full in January? I guess it depends how much memorabilia I collect.

The last aspect of the Expo to write about are the seminars. Throughout the day there were half hour seminars taking place on a variety of topics. We attended seminars with the founder of Women’s Running magazine, the sports doctor for Elite racing, and a panel discussion with a bunch of notable figures in the world of running. All of them were interesting, but I found them more motivational than educational. For the most part I didn’t really learn anything new except from the sports doctor. He seemed to have a different take on things compared with what I’ve heard elsewhere. For example, he said that getting a post-race massage is a bad idea because it spreads lactic acid around. But I know at Disney races they actually have a massage tent right at the finish line area. He was also a big proponent of salt as a nutrional aid to counter the effects of… over-hydrating? I can’t remember the name of the condition anymore.

Overall I really enjoyed the Expo. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I think we were there for about four hours in total. And then I spent another hour or so sorting through all the goodies (and junk) that I brought home.

(Go to Part 2)


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