I remember my very first 1/2 marathon in 2010–I was “sweatin’ for the wedding” and really had absolutely zero clue about racing. I didn’t know what training plans were, or fueling, or anything at all. I think the longest I’d run up to the race was 6 or 7 miles.
In high school, I ran cross country and in college I ran sporadically, so when I ran RnR AZ that year, I really was a newbie runner.
Not surprisingly, it was a tough race for me but I wasn’t upset by my results then because honestly, I didn’t know what was a “good” finish time. To me, finishing at all was an accomplishment. (Isn’t that funny? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be always but as you learn more, that mindset shifts as you get more competitive?)
Seven year later, I was back for another first but this time, it was my cousin’s. Back in July, he’d sent me a message asking about half marathons. Since he lives in California, I sent him a few suggestions to do out there. But, I also threw in RnRAZ and told him that I do it every year and that I’d run it with him if he decided to come out.
He signed up as soon as I said that.
On Sunday, my cousin was going to his first ever expo picking up his first ever bib. He’d never done a 5k or a 10k, this would be his very first race.
I could see the excitement on his face as we got in our corral. My bib may have said 2 this time around but I was him in 11 (a better corral than my first, 15, lol!).
We had a goal of finishing sub 3 hours but most of all, we had a goal of having fun.
The first five miles went by smoothly, but I could tell my cousin was beginning to struggle. We began taking walk breaks and then as we reached the big hill of the course (there are little ones to prep you lol) I could tell he was sick. We pulled off to the side so he could, you know, do what he needed to do.
At mile 9, I promised him that as soon as we got up the hill, it would downhill the rest of the way. By then though, he was completely checked out and only concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other.
We reached mile 11, finally, and I turned to him and said, “We are right on schedule. We have 30 minutes for two miles. We can get this sub 3!!”
Except he was done. So done. He had his headphones so I couldn’t give him words of encouragement. I only hoped whoever he was listening to was doing a good job for me.
When we reached the last mile, I knew we’d be cutting it close. I nudged him and pointed to my watch. ONE MORE MILE.
Finally, we made our last right turn and we could see the finish. I yelled, c’mon let’s run it in!!! He shook his head.
Um, sorry dude, but we ARE running it in.
I pulled his arm and put my other arm on his back.
And at just a couple of minutes over 3 hours, he was a half marathoner 😀
He was tired. He was sick. But he was oh, so proud!
And you know what, he was ready for more ❤
–Do you remember your first race? What comes to mind when you look back to it?