RnR Arizona 1/2 Marathon: You Never Forget Your First

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.

chillin before the race--you know, in my cotton yoga pants and race day shirt. How many rule could I break in one day?? LOL

chillin before the race–you know, in my cotton yoga pants and race day shirt. How many rules could I break in one day?? LOL

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.

Let’s go!!

And at just a couple of minutes over 3 hours, he was a half marathoner πŸ˜€


Our stats :)

Our (my) stats πŸ™‚

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?

38 responses

  1. aw ❀ this makes my heart happy. So excited he FINISHED his first half marathon. Sorry he was sick but I love that you were by his side to cheer him on. I had a friend run my first half with me too and it was something I will NEVER forget. I appreciate her so much for that (she's also a breast cancer survivor so to do that with me was even more special).

  2. How awesome! I love sharing running with my friends and family . I think they are often hesitant because they know I’m a “faster” runner. But we don’t have to run them all fast. It’s so great to share the journey with someone you love. Awesome write up!

  3. Oh man, the first half! I have a love/hate relationship with mine. I think about it almost every time I am training for something and start to complain. Reminds me of where I started and to keep in mind where I am now.

    • I kind of have a love/hate with mine too. I wish I would’ve known more of what to do and how to train. But everything in hindsight right? The next half I did, where I trained and knew what I was doing a bit more, I nailed so there’s definitely something to be said for experience.

  4. Awesome story! Your cousin is very lucky to have had you with him on his first half. At my first half there was this crazy snow storm that came in and it inspired me to run it again the next year. That was the only race I ever ran more than once.

  5. How did it feel to be there for him not allowing him to give up? (Amazing, I’m sure!)

    Did you feel like he was holding you back (like he said)? (Of course not! You’re goal for this race was to be sure he finished!)

    Aren’t you super proud that he finished and you were there to celebrate with him? (Uh, I can almost see the tears of joy coming out of!)

    Now you know how I feel when you ask me to pace you. (Not that I’ll be doing that anymore, now I’ll be trying to keep up.) It’s not a burden, ever! To be a part of someone else’s success is more fulfilling to me. And you are spreading the love of running like a virus! Keep it up! So proud of you!

  6. Such a sweet story! I can only hope that I can motivate someone like that in the future.

    I have great memories of my first half. Interestingly enough the two since have been worse due to under-training. I hope to get back to a time better than my first. There’s my goal! πŸ™‚

  7. So cool! My cousin did her first half on Sunday as well. She does stroller strides so she was more than prepared for her run. We decided I would finish then head back out and find her. So glad I did…I caught her about mile 11 and she needed some support to get through those last 2 miles.

    I thought it was amazing to go through the first time running stuff all over again. She had a ton of questions on planning, the expo, the corrals, etc. I laughed a lot but it honestly was nice to go back to that time in running. It was a real honor to cross the finish line with her to finish her first half.

    I guess as runners we have to pay it forward lol

  8. Aww, I love this! How awesome to run with your cousin and cheer him on along the way! Congrats to him on finishing his first half marathon! I love that you are sharing your love of running to encourage others to find their own love of running.

  9. This is such a great post! I don’t know why I felt all emotional reading it haha. Maybe just reading about his first half experience because mine was not all that long ago. You are such a great cousin/friend and supporter!!