State #33 Arizona

State #33 Arizona

Synchrony Financial Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon

Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale

Jan 14, 2018

  • Pace 9:18
  • Chip Time 2:01:54
  • Overall 2084 / 8552
  • Division 102 / 688
  • Gender 757 / 4881


This is the first half and state of 2018. My dad was able to continue the tradition of him coming to my first race in January. In 2016, he came to my first back to back in Mississippi and Alabama; 2017 he came to Florida for the Clearwater race but it was canceled the day before due to weather. We at least went to the Women's March in St. Pete's and Frenchy's, so not a complete loss. This year, 2018, Arizona. I believe next year, all the state's that are available to run in January will be checked off. In other words, no more January races. This was a great last hurrah!


My flight route BOS- LAX- PHX. Since this flight was not full( left on Thursday morning at 7am) I had a whole row to myself flying cross country. When does that happen? I was so excited.

I had an amazing top-down birds eye view of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the Mega-city of Los Angeles which was breath taking.

In my two hour layover in LAX I was hit by celebrity. I'm not a good celebrity stalker, I can't be incognito. In an hour I saw Scottie Pippen and Charlie Wilson( Gap Band). We all ate at the same restaurant in the American Airlines terminal.  And sitting next to me on my flight from LAX to PHX was Lisa Loeb( remember the song Stay " I miss you", that Lisa Loeb). I didn't know who she was. She was very kind and talkative on the flight. We talked about Boston, running, race, local communities, her kids, and mean people. She gave me her card with the name of a restaurant her friend owns in phoenix.


My plan was to explore nature and then the urban landscape. Last time I was in Phoenix I was a little girl and we went to the Grande Canyon and went horseback running. It has been over30 years.

Dad and I explored( on Friday) Montezuma Caste and Well

and  Cathedral Rock in Sedona

we got extra crazy and went up Camelback Mountain ( on Saturday) . At Camelback I ran into my soror, which was perfect because it was founders day. She was with two other women who happen to be my father's sister sorority. It was great to meet other African-American women on this trail.

This trail is very popular we saw all kinds of folks from the die hard hikers, kids, to the college students were booty shorts, and those that brought their purses with them.

Good  Eats

While in the Sedona area we came upon an expected surprise at the MESA Grill which is at the Sedona airport. From the outside its like average maybe below average establishment at the airport. The decor, food, and people were great. I love any place that has Happy Hour all day and you get amazing scenery to boot.

On Saturday we had breakfast at local place called Vovomeena in the arts district in downtown Phoenix. Dad and I both got the Pain Perdu which was to die for. After that got my bib number at the Expo and climbed Camelback mountain.

Politics, Culture, and Race

The news was dominated by the racist comments that man in the whitehouse made about shithole countries and the Senate seat that is open in Arizona. In the running is Joe Arpaio who was pardon for his criminal acts and Martha McSally. I was in a state that has a large brown space of native, mexican, and latino folks. The African-American population is small at 4% compared to 30% of latino/Mexican and 5.4% of Native American.

The geographical and racial space is very different out west on so many levels.


1. The race stated at 7:50am. Odd time. Not 7, 7:30 or even 8.

2. This was the first race I've been in where the half marathoners and 10k runners are running the same route and the marathons are running a completely different one. We all were not together

3.  First time having a race start on a college campus ( Arizona State University).

4. Snipers! We saw two snipers on top of one of the building roofs on campus. Not sure why? I guess there could be some college campus craziness? First time ever seeing this

5. The black women who run states community is very small. Two women that I know happen to run this race too. Marky( I met her when I ran in Delaware. I've seen her in the states of Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Arizona). Then there is Christina, who is just gangster runner. I met her in New Orleans and have seen her in Chicago. She was here. She runs internationally too.

6. This race,  from my observations, had a good number of black and brown people running. I couldn't tell the percent out of 8,000 plus runners. I could visually see " a lot". I did see a couple men wearing Black Men Run Shirts.

7. I met two women who are apart of Black Girls Run(BGR) - Phoenix. One was white, but whatever. They were talking the racial politics of BGR Phoenix and how they are all geographically spread out, which makes meeting up for run's challenging. Plus they have a new  BGR ambassador who just started.

8. This was a three city running race: Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale( First time for that too)

9. Personally I was running this race 15 pounds heavier. I ran this at 150 pounds. I own it. Holiday weight for all the extra drinking and eating I did. Moving onward and forward

10. It was 66 degrees of sun, sky, heat, and mountains. For the most part it was flat. My perception gets confused because all I could see was mountains ahead of me. It all seemed like an endless long road.

11. There was a man who was in a wheelchair " running" the half, and a firefighter in full gear with the American Flag and his Native nation on him. I couldn't see what Native American Tribe he represented he keep running.

12. Since there is a strong military presence  here, there was a military band playing for the runners as we passed by.  A couple of the guys were hotties.

13.  I believe I only saw one female police officer ( mile 3) on the route. The first one I saw I had to give a High Five and thank her. I didn't see any other women after that. I might have been too delirious by then.

14. No one said anything to me objectifying my body or even giving me words of motivation.

15. I did High Five a women who had a sign that said " Your Running Better than our Government" and it had picture of that man. Actually I saw that sign twice along the way

16.  First time seeing people outside riding stationary bikes while we ran. I think it was some yoga, health center. I guess that was motivation for us. :)

17. And of course miles 8 and 9 there was a mother F'ing uphill. At that point, the sun was in her glory and I was feeling extra heavy. I kept reminding myself of those damn West Virginia Hills and pushed myself. I did not stop. The only time I stopped was to get water for 20 seconds and then I kept on running

18. The last leg was crossing the bridge over the Salt River. I could hear the crowds of people. I knew I was getting close. Just that sound was sweet music to my hears.

19. Since this is football playoff season I saw people running with Viking, Saints, and Pat's gear.

20. MY HEART WAS SO TOUCHED. After I crossed the finish line, an older man of color came up to me and said good job. And I was his pacer and he was trying to keep up with. He said that I  ran well and I did a good job. I was so touched and moved that this older gentlemen followed me and he crossed the finish line with me too.

All in All State #33 was good to me. I didn't even curse on the uphill and I finished in under 2:02:00. My goal for the year is to reduce that number.  For someone who is not a hot weather runner I did pretty good.

The views were gorgeous and the energy was great. My body will hate me for leaving this 70 degree weather and going back to 14 degrees and light snow.



State #34 Colorado

State #34 Colorado

2018 Kickoff