Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pat Tillman Race Report

Share Pat Tillman is a local and national hero but I've realized since moving to Arizona that The Pat Tillman Race is sort of like "The Race to Run" if you live in the Phoenix area.  Sort of like how the "Boulder Boulder" is the Race to run if you live near Denver.   The short story on Pat Tillman is that he was a professional football player who was inspired to give up his career to join the armed forces after the 9/11 attacks on the USA.  He joined the elite Army Ranger program and was deployed several times.  Sadly he was killed by friendly fire and his death was "covered up" by the military.  
Pat Tillman (left) and his brother Kevin (right) both enlisted in the army after  the 9/11 attacks.
Pat played for the NFL (AZ Cardinals) and Kevin was drafted by the Anaheim Angels for baseball.
Some things I learned about Pat Tillman that are less known are:
*He graduated from ASU with a 3.83 GPA in 3 1/2 years (impressive) in Business Marketing.
*At one point in his NFL career he turned down a $9 Million dollar offer from the Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals.
*He ran marathons and tri-athalons during the off season
*When he decided to join the Army Rangers he asked his friend J.R. Rosania (a professional trainer/tri athlete) to train him and help him prepare for war.  He was also planning on competing in his first Ironman (Hawaii) when he returned from his last deployment in Afghanistan.  Of course he didn't make it back.  J.R. Rosania dedicated    his Hawaii Ironman race to his friend and wore his Cardinal #40 in the race in Pat's honor.  
*One thing I found particularly interesting especially since I am very active in my religion as a mormon is that Pat had read the Bible, Qur'an, and The Book of Mormon but was an atheist.  *He was 27 when he died.  I don't know about you but I don't know a lot of 27 year old football players sitting around reading the Qur'an.
*His widow Marie was his high school sweetheart.  Friends have said that before Pat was killed they would have said he was the stronger person in the relationship. Afterward they changed their mind and said that she was the stronger person.  From what I have read about her she seems to be a quiet, private, behind the scenes type of person and sometimes that is perceived as weakness.  Obviously that is not true.

It seems he had lived a lot of life in his short 27 years.  It was an honor to run to support his foundation that is used to provide scholarship funds and support to military families.  

I realize these pictures are super exciting.  They were taken quickly before we headed out to the race.
I like the tech shirts they had for this race although it was a HOT morning and
 I was wishing I  had stuck with my usual tank top.

The morning started off well enough except the fact that we underestimated how long it would take us to park and get to the starting line with a crowd that size.  We ended up parking 1.5 miles away from the start line.  We both had to go to the bathroom and we had about 20 minutes until start time so we ran from the car to the start for a lovely 1.5 mile warmup.  About a mile more than I usually warm up.  :)  We ditched each other before we even made it to the start because Travis was starting in corral 1 and I was in 9 so he was anxious not to be late to the start.  I think his Facebook status best describes his start.

"Pat Tillman race update: slept in to give me just enough time to get to Sun Devil stadium (had a "red eye" the night before and needed to catch up on sleep)...road closed. won't make it in time to start, so park 1.5 miles away. run to the stadium and bathroom line...I had to pee!..3 minutes to start, I jump out of line and run to the starting line with a full bladder. 4.2 miles later..... new Pat Tillman PR!"

He forgot to mention in his update that he jumped over the gate into the 1st corral winning him lovely looks from the other runners.  (I told you he would find a way)

Travis ran the Pat Tillman last year with a time of 25:15 so his goal this year was to get in under 25 minutes, beat all the girls (last year 3 beat him but he didn't know this because they started after him so their chip time was faster but they weren't "ahead" of him during the race) and have a less than 6 minute pace.  His official time for 2011 was 24:59!  Goal achieved with 1 second to spare.  Pace 5:56. Goal Achieved. Overall place was 64 and this year their were 6 girls that whooped him!!  Too bad buddy.  :)

My Race:

I had plenty of time for a potty break and afterwards I got in line at the very back of corral 9.  And we were off.  Actually corral one was off and we followed about 10 minutes later.  As we were running the group I was in was slower than what I wanted to be running.  They were at a steady 11 minute pace.  I kept thinking that at any second the crowd would thin a bit and I could make my way around them and pick up my speed.  It never thinned.  So I spent the next mile weaving my way in and out, around, over and through people.  It was really annoying. At one point I turned sideways to get through the 10 across group that decided to stop and walk after the first mile.  Walking is fine but why do you line up in a running corral if you are going to walk?  I don't get it.  I was on the right hand side of the crowd and there was a water stop at mile one on the right.  I don't normally drink water in a race this short but everyone else apparently does because once they saw the water stop they all charged across right in front of me and bombarded the water stop.  Awesome!  
Mile 2 a dude jetted right in front of me and then puked!  Super Awesome.  
Mile 3 was pretty cool where a pack of army dudes were chanting and that was fun up until one of them took out one of those orange construction barrier things because he "didn't see it" then yelled up at his army buddies that they should have told him about it.  Good thing it wasn't a cliff.  
Mile 4 I thought "I'm just going to salvage this race and run as fast as I can into the stadium"  So I pick up the pace and start my kick and a 12 year old literally steps on the back of my shoes and I do the arm thing to keep myself from falling over.  So at that point I just give up and fall into step with the other masses where we shuffle across the finish line.  I had a soft goal of coming in under 40 minutes knowing it was going to be crowded and I just wanted to see what it was like to run with a mass crowd in a race.  I thought this goal had a lot of wiggle room but I crossed in 43 minutes.  This tells me I definitely don't know how to run very well in crowds.  I think a lot of energy was lost running to the start line and also darting in and out of people.  The beginning of races are always stressful to me because of the crowd but then when it thins out I settle down.  The fact that it never thinned out was not a good thing for me.  

The finish line was very anti climatic.  They had the ASU football players lining the chute to the finish line but they were just standing there not cheering or anything...LAME. And then once you crossed the finish line it was all business of people continuing to "move you along" to make room for the people still coming in.  

I found Travis, we walked out, grabbed some Powerade and a banana.  Walked through the expo and then we decided we better head out because our oldest son was watching the other kids at home.  We ran the mile and a half back to the car together and that was probably my favorite part of the race.  We headed home and on with the day.  

I realize this race report sounds negative.  I think the problem is that the race didn't meet my expectations.  My expectations were likely off.  I will run this race again but maybe this would be a good one to do with kids where I'm not trying to necessarily "run" but just enjoy the event.  I know it is possible to run fast in a race like this because Travis did it and Jeff over at  Running Through Phoenix PR'd  and lots of my other friends did just fine so I guess it's just me.  I just need to figure out how to run more efficiently during this type of event. I also realized (I think I already knew) that I enjoy running to "escape" the craziness of life and have some "me" time so running with this many other people doesn't really fit into why I enjoy running.  Lots to learn.  Lot's to learn.  And so the story goes.  

I might note that this is the 4th race I have run this year (2011).  Before 2011 I had only run 4 races TOTAL in my life so at least This Non Race Runner is still Putting herself out there.  I'm growing by leaps and bounds :)

Happy Running Everyone,


  1. Hey, cool RR. Man that Travis is fast!! Tillman is hot or cold, yin or yang---run for speed and you need to be in the first 5 corrals, run for fun and move back and prepare to go slow and see all the silliness. Either way, it's a good cause. Thx for the plug.

  2. That Pat Tillman was something else! These big races are learning experiences for sure.

    Congrats on your finish and keep up the progress!

  3. Yeah, I've run Bolder Boulder many times and if I'm not in a front wave with a stellar qualifying time, I may as well just take my wagon full of snacks and pull it cuz I'm gonna be there for a very long time. I ran relate to your agony. And parking for BB is a total nightmare - I can so relate to your agony there, too. Next year you gotta get in corral 2 :).

    Glad the day was salvaged with a great run with the hubby after (and way to go those 6 chicks before him - haha).

  4. 4 races already, thats awesome!

  5. I have never heard of a bigger hero than Pat Tilman. I'm not just saying that either. Looks like Travis should park 1.5 miles away and run on an empty bladder more often. But getting chicked 6 times, how embarrassing :-)

    For the record, I got chicked 62 times last Sunday in my race.

  6. Great job and congrats on pushing yourself. 4 races is GREAT! Sounds like an awesome race. We are doing the OKC Memorial race next weekend...it's always cool...but sad to be racing in honor/memory of people

  7. FOUR RACES and it is only April! You are a rock star for sure! You are going to have to push me into running when I get this little one out! I miss it and I miss YOU! I will catch up with you this week! Love ya, Laura

  8. Always GREAT to run with you Ades! My favorite part is always our time together after the race!