(#12) Havasu Half Marathon

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

I had no particular goals for this half marathon. I got a new personal record two weeks ago, so I didn’t feel the need to push myself too hard.

(I’m trying to find the line of pushing myself enough to get better, but not too much to cause injury or anything like that.)

In mile 2, I found this really fun group of runners – Sara, Ben, and Nolan. I’m pretty sure it was Sara’s first half marathon. Their goal was also to finish, with no specific time in mind.

We jogged and talked (and they entertained me) for a couple of miles. I told them there was probably no way I’d be able to keep pace with them for the rest of the race. I’m stronger in the first 4 miles than I am in the middle. (True that.)

They were awesome! They would not take no for an answer. I pushed through mile 4 to stay with them. I wanted to start walking in mile 5. They weren’t having it. “You can do it, Aurora. Come on!” “You’re right. All right. I’m with you.” We kept jogging, taking a couple of fast walking breaks here and there.

When we crossed London Bridge, I saw a photographer. ” Look! Photographer! Let’s all look like we’re really good at running.”¬†After we passed, he said, “Wow, you all look like you’re really good at running.” He seemed fun, right?

Everyone I met in Havasu was so polite and sweet. Most of the runners wouldn’t even drop their cups on the ground!

I saw people look for trash cans, not find any, then say “I’ll just hold it ’til I get to the next on.” It’s a sweet idea, but the first place I’ve ever seen runners be that polite.

I dropped a cup out of habit a couple of times when I didn’t see trash cans after the water stops. I thought, “ugh. You’re being ‘that girl’ – a rude LA person.” Hopefully no one noticed or cared… I saw some other people doing it. It was the first time I ever felt weird about it…

Around mile 7, I looked at our time and realized, “Holy cow! If we keep this up, I’m going to get a PR.” “Here we go, guys. 3:14 or better. We can do this!”

We ran together for a while longer. Around mile 9-ish, I became the one saying, “You can do it!” They were saying “Go on without us!” We all did a really nice job encouraging each other for so long. I did not want to leave without them. But, Ben told me “In all seriousness, go on without us. We can’t all keep up, and we want you to achieve your new goal. Go ahead.”

Thanks, Ben. Okay. I’ll miss you all! I ran forward. It wasn’t quite as fun running alone, but I was ready to make my new stranger friends proud! They worked so hard with me in the middle of the race, I’d finish out strong for them. I started playing my iPod, and kept on running. At each mile, I was still on pace to break my PR (but not by much).

I passed a familiar face, when I saw Marty (of Wendy and Marty), working a water station..

As I’m running into the final mile, Wendy, sweetly and supportively comes along to jog the last bit with me.

We come around the corner toward the finish. I turn up Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” in my iPod. Sing it to me, Michael! (I think I literally said “Sing it to me, Michael” out loud.) His voice played in my headphones. I saw that finish.

I ran in, and the official half marathon clock hadn’t hit 3:13. My official time: 3:12:02. I did it! A new personal record, y’all. I would not have done it today without the kindness of strangers.

6 thoughts on “(#12) Havasu Half Marathon

  1. Sara Smith

    Hello! Sara here from the Havasu Half. The 3 of us got together tonight for a drink and looked up your blog on our race. Fun! That picture looks better here than at mile 8 when you took it. Hope your racing is reaching new heights and you are enjoying yourself. Let us know if you re ever running in the area again!


    1. Aurora De Lucia

      Sara! I’m so glad that you wrote!

      I often wonder about awesome people I’ve met in the past, and what they’re up to now. Sometimes I’m cool enough to get contact info and stay in touch, other times not so much. It’s awesome that you reached out. Have you done any more running? How did it feel crossing the finish of your very first half marathon?

      1. Sara Smith

        Wow it was tough! I really had not trained as much as I should have, only working my way up to 7 miles before race day. Despite the choice words I was using after mile 8, Nolan and I are looking to sign up for another! We are tying to entice Ben, but no go so far. Looking back, I enjoyed pushing myself, and thank you for your encouragement along the way! Do you have any tips for my next (potential!) race?

        1. Aurora De Lucia

          Based on what you just said, I guess my advice would basically be to work your way up to longer distances.

          I jumped into this year without a lot of training. But the first time I did a half marathon, I really prepared. I took a number of months, and slowly but surely increased speed and distance. The first time I ran 13.1 miles without stopping was an incredible moment for me. I reflected back on the beginning of my training, huffing and puffing my way through a slow half mile, folding into a heap of a human being at the end of it. Seeing my progress was the best feeling. I suppose the best advice I have is push your training somewhat slowly. Add distance and speed a bit at a time, but never give up. If you consistently work to get better every week, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

          (The general rule I hear is to not add anymore than 1/10 of the weekly distance you currently run to your current week’s run. (Granted, it’s different for different types of people at different levels. (And I don’t always follow that advice, so I don’t know if I can really give it. It’s just what I’ve often heard.))

          Good luck with your training! I can’t wait to hear updates! :)


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