The U.S.VETS Phoenix team hosts an annual Steps for Vets 10K, 5K, and 1Mile run/walk at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex. The purpose of the race is to raise awareness and funds to support the organization’s mission of the successful transition of military veterans and their families through the provision of housing, counseling, career development, and comprehensive support.

I’m always a little skeptical of small, local races – because they aren’t always the most organized. But I was very impressed by this event and the turnout. They sold out four days prior to the event and had a turn out of around 600 people! The event was organized by StartLine Racing.

Packet Pickup 

In 2019, we could do a pre-race pickup OR morning of pickup. Pre-race was held on Friday before the race from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Road Runner Sports Phoenix. Race Day packet pick-up was open by 6:00 am – I had no issues with lines/timing when I did race day pick-up.

Location

Parking

There was plenty of parking at the park, where the race is hosted. Since the parking lot is so close to the start/finish, there is no bag check. 

Race Swag

  • Event Medal
  • Event Dri-Fit Tech T-Shirt 

Race Route 

The race does a scattered start time by distance. In 2019, here were the times each group started at: 

  • 10K – 7:00 am
  • 5K – 7:15 am
  • 1 Mile – 7:25 am

The race is chip timed through a chip on the back of your bib. 

The out and back route takes you out of the park and along the canal. The course is a mix of a crushed gravel path along with asphalt/concrete running path.  Everyone runs the same route, though your turn around point varies based on your distance. You can find the 2019 route here

My Personal Experience

In October 2018, I had surgery for bilateral anterior compartment surgery. Since surgery, I’ve been slowly making my way back to running – from 5-minute walks, to walk/run, to finally all running in April 2019. While the surgery helped significantly, I still experience pain that I’m working through with massage therapy and more medical tests (I’m not working my way up to my lower back as a potential cause of lower leg issues).

Though I’m still navigating what’s going on, I’ve been able to start running/training and I’m on target for June 2019 Seattle Rock ‘N Roll half marathon and October 2019 Chicago Marathon! The Steps for Vets 10k was the perfect halfway mark in my half marathon training to test out where I’m at. 

I finished at an hour on the dot. Definitely not a PR, but overall it wasn’t a bad run considering so many factors – heat, some blisters from new shoes, and that I didn’t start running without walking until about a little over a month ago. 

The reality is, I started out too fast. I wasn’t really sure what pace I could run at – maybe I could hit a 9:20-30 minute pace, I knew I could hit a 10:00-minute pace. I wanted to hit a 9:20 pace. I so desperately wanted to prove to myself that I have speed back in my legs…. so that’s what I went out with. Looking back, I should have started with an easier pace. I know this. 

So I went out with a more challenging pace, the temperatures rose, and I was done-zo.  Overall though, this was a good test for Seattle Rock ‘N’ Roll. It reminded me:

  • Start out slow
  • It’s more important that I finish strong/healthy – the end game is Chicago! 
  • Practice mental endurance – I haven’t had to use this in a while!