Every couple of weeks I recieve an email from the Arizona RunningEvents Co. with a listing of various upcoming races. One that intrigued me because I grew up in Kingman and lived 60 miles away was the Havasu Half marathon. When my wife told me that I needed to drive to Kingman sometime to pick up a washing machine and dryer from my mother-in-law's, I figured I had a good excuse to make the trip. I could just stay the night at her house or my mother's house and drive up early the morning of the race. Of course it would be much more convenient to stay in Lake Havasu City for the night, but who do I know in Havasu? Rhett. I wonder if he would be cool enough to let a stranger from the blog stay the night at his house. Turns out he is super cool. He not only let me stay the night, he offered me dinner, gave me the whole downstairs to stay in with my own room, bathroom, gameroom, gave me breakfast, drove me to the race and back, and gave me lunch. He has an awesome family. Of course he's a HPGL and I'm just a lowly second assistant. Rhett had a great race. So did his wife and kid, Chase. Go to his blog to see his report.
On to my report: It's been very windy in the whole state of AZ the last week or so. The night before we were pretty worried because it was blowing pretty good. But for the most part it blows in the afternoon. Come race time it wasn't too bad. We arrived about a half hour before the race started. The announcer told everyone to toe the line with the faster runners up front and the slowest runners near the back. Literally no one went to the front. Knowing that this wasn't a chipped race, I moved up to about 20 feet behind the start line. There were 301 runners in the race. With two minutes to go there were only about 5 guys at the start, so I moved right behind Dan Kuch (the eventual winner of the race.)
1 mile - 7:33 - The time I was shooting for was 1:50:00. That would be an overall average of 8:24. I didn't want to start out so fast, but it's hard not to when you're up front. The bad thing about being up front is you get passed more than you pass.
2 mile - 8:11 - The first three miles were around the island. I made up my mind beforehand to take a little drink alternating between water and Gatorade at each aid station. Normally I skip the first couple of aid stations thinking I'm good, but then I crash. The first aid station was at 1.25. I just couldn't. Knowing there were a ton of aid stations along the course I skipped the first one.
3 mile - 8:04 - My wife's going to kill me when she reads this part. Two ladies passed me. One of them had a very nice athletic body and looked to be in very good shape. The other one didn't. I wondered how she was able to maintain the pace she was at for these first three miles. I stayed behind them until they stopped to get water at 4.5. Then I never saw the not-so-toned lady again.
4 mile - 8:15 - At about 4.75 we crossed over the London Bridge. That was one of the coolest parts of the race.
5 mile - 8:10 - Somewhere along here a sweet old lady caught up with me. Her name was Wendy. She was making sure all the volunteers were doing their job and cheering us on. She also thanked every single one of them for being there. I ran with her until mile 9 when she dropped me. (She ended up beating me by 1:55) Turns out she is in Rhett's ward at church.
6 mile - 8:22 - From mile 5 to mile 8.5 we were running into the wind. It wasn't too bad, but still noticeable. So far all of my miles were under the 8:24 pace.
7 mile: - 8:25 - First mile over my goal pace. I knew we were getting close to the turn around and I figured we would be seeing Dan Kuch pretty soon. As soon as I voiced this to Wendy, there he was, right on cue.
8 mile - 8:41 - Saw Rhett coming back. He was in sixth place. Wendy was about 10 feet ahead of me. She went to give him 5. He seemed to be scared that his hand would fall off so I think he purposely missed. I put my had out to give him 5 and made sure just to lightly touch his finger tips.
9 mile - 8:18 - I reached the turn around and now the wind was blowing against my back. Funny thing when it does that; you can't even feel it. It's so much quieter, too. But you can also feel the sun beating down on you. Luckily it was only 68 degrees, but it felt warm.
10 mile - 8:14 - For the first time I started passing people. That was kind of nice. But I got passed by two guys. I'm starting to think my strategy of taking waters and Gatorades, keeping myself feuled, was paying off.
11 mile - 8:40 - Second slowest mile of the race. However, I start to think I'm going to smash my goal time of 1:50:00.
12 mile - 8:39 - See that I'm still on pace, but then I remember that after mile 13 there is still another 0.1 miles and that's another 48 seconds at an 8 min/mi pace.
13 mile - 8:29 - We run back over the London Bridge. I've got a guy hot on my tail. Trying to stay strong to hold him off.
0.14 miles to finish - 55 seconds (6:49 pace) - The guy is still pretty close behind me, but far enough to where I think I can hold him off if I finish strong. He would have to run at a total sprint to catch me, and after 13 miles, I don't think he can. I beat him by 10 seconds. More importantly I beat my goal time of 1:50:00 by a full minute and PR'ed by over 16 minutes! I'm a happy bunny.
Well, now I've run London's Run half marathon. That's a run for little London Solomon who died of cancer. I've run a half marathon over the London Bridge. I guess the only thing left is for me to run a half marathon in London England!