(#9) NC Half Marathon – Part 3 (The Finish)

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Aurora De Lucia smiling in the finisher area with her huge North Carolina half marathon medal 2012I left off yesterday talking about the awesome volunteer cheering for everyone.

There weren’t a ton of spectators along the course, but the ones who were, were stoked to be there. There were two people at different points who shouted, “You’re doing it! You’re really doing it!” Both times I heard it, it reminded me how cool half marathons are.

I decided to do 52 in 52 weeks in large part to make them so normal for me that they’d never seem so impossible ever again.

Not to dwell on that rough part of my life, ‘cause I don’t want it to define me. But, there was a time when I wondered how in the heck I would ever half marathon again. I knew that it was possible. Of course it was possible. I had done one before. (Plus, almost everything is possible.) But it seemed so impossible. I needed to race a lot this year so it would stop seeming that way.

Here I am trying to normalize them, and show that they can be just a fun weekend activity (which they can be). Then there are people out there super trained, running their hearts out (rock on, y’all!). There are also people doing their first half marathon ever.

There are people for whom this half marathon was a huge deal, which is awesome. I mean, half marathons should be kind of a big deal. (Just wait until my first full marathon. I’m gonna act like it’s the biggest deal since the Michael Jackson did the moonwalk.) I thought it was cool to be reminded how just how cool half marathons are.

Aurora with her new friends in the finisher area at the North Carolina half marathon 2012Enough of that tangent. Getting back into the race, Once I see the tunnel to go back into the speedway, I think, “Home stretch, baby! From here, I don’t have to go to any new places. The finish line is in that speedway!”

I run in through the tunnel, and around the various curving paths, until finally I get back onto the track. Sweet business. This is really almost the end. I pass the 12th mile marker (and race car).

In the final mile, there were these two women who would speed up every time I got close to them, and slow down once they felt they were a safe distance in front of me. They looked back at me a fair number of times, checking on my progress. And so it went, speed up a little, slow down. I’d get closer, they’d run ahead, slow down, and on and on.

Well, ladies, you’re inviting a challenge!

When the finish line was in my sights, I took off! I wasn’t positive how much energy they had left vs. how much I had left. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to cross before them, but I was sure gonna try!

I passed them and looked back and smiled at them as I did. Subtext: “Was this what you were asking for? ‘Cause you got it! Let’s race!” But they were tired… They just said good job and kept walking. I was pretty sure that was probably a trick, right? Make me think they weren’t going to push at the end, I’d comfortably jog in, being passed at the last second.

I wasn’t about to let that happen. (Yes, I realize how hilarious it is that I talk about it as though it’s some huge race to the finish when the majority of the field had already left the speedway.) I ran my little heart out through the finish line, keeping my peripheral vision in high gear. (And I finished before they did.)

I got my incredible medal. (It has cars that can move, and one of those big race traffic light things that straight up lights up!)

As I’m in the finisher area, I hear “Aurora?” I turn around, and there’s Megan of Anna, Jason, and Megan from the expo! Jason had even gotten a special medal for finishing in the top 25.

After the race, sweet Claudia and silly Stephen were kind enough to drive me to the airport! It seemed as though I had just gotten to North Carolina by the time I was leaving. Great race. Great people. Insane medal. I’d be up for this one again in 2013.

(p.s. I gave a few more odds and ends about this race in a later post.)

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