Oh, geez. I didn't even think of checking past results until Nancy brought it up. In 2005, gals 50-54 lined up like this:
1 3:48:51 DEBBIE LEFTWICH PHOENIX AZ
2 4:48:29 MARY MESSAL TUCSON AZ
3 5:12:13 ALIX SHAFER TEMPE AZ
4 5:15:16 REBECCA KELLER DAYTON OH
Look at the second-placer. 4:48.
Look at the third-placer. 5:12.
Last year I had a really hard fall training season and felt like h3ll at the Chicago Marathon, but managed a 5:30. A month later I did a spur-of-the-moment race in Huntington, WV, running 4:50 and feeling great (oh, yeah, and placing an AG 4th but awards only went 3 deep.)
So, hmmm, what if I run Chang's RNR AZ feeling lousy (been debating whether to switch to the half, as you may have been reading)... could I repeat my Huntington experience at Lost Dutchman? Hmmm. Huntington was flat. Dutchman isn't. Six miles of Dutchman is on a gravel road. But if a difficult RNR makes me tough....
Oh, Nancy. See what you've started.