As planned, I ran the Havasu Half in Lake Havasu City on Saturday. After a late start, slow traffic getting out of the city on I-10, and bad directions from the GPS unit, we finally arrived in Lake Havasu City around 10:30pm on Friday night. We stayed at the Quality Inn & Suites at the special race participant rate of $72 + tax. The hotel was decent. It was great having a king bed to stretch out in, but unfortunately I didn’t really get to enjoy it because I had trouble sleeping that night.
I got up early on Saturday morning around 5:15. Despite a wrong turn, we made it to the designated parking area right at 6. I had dutifully followed the race instructions to arrive early for packet pick-up, but when we showed up there was barely anyone there and volunteers were still setting up. I took advantage of the lack of people to stop by the Gypsy Running tent and try on some skirts. They’re a retailer for runningskirts.com and I wanted to figure out what size I am… size 2. I wasn’t in love with the skirts so for now I’ll keep checking out other brands before buying another skirt. But I did buy another bondi band from Gypsy Running in plain black. (I needed something more versatile than my princess bondi band.)
My new pre-race routine is to eat a Clif Bar one hour before the race, and take a GU about 10-15 minutes before the race. Unfortunately I’m almost out of mint chocolate GU so I’m going to have to find another brand or flavor soon. The walk to and from the car served as a good warm-up, but I didn’t get in quite as much stretching as I would have liked before the race started at 7:30.
I’ve been listening to a new (to me) running podcast called Trilogy Running. One of the hosts recently ran a half marathon with a pacer and reported about it on the show. I think hearing his experience led me to my last minute decision to try running the Havasu Half with a pacer. I picked the 2:15 pacer because she looked friendly and 2:30 was just a little too slow. For the first few miles, I just tried to stick near her. I was suprised because I kept checking my Garmin and we were running under a 10 minute pace. But I was feeling really good so I kept going.
Around mile 3 the crowd started to thin out and it was just me, the pacer, and another guy running together. We chatted occasionally. He’s a firefighter from Lake Havasu City. She lives in Phoenix (or maybe Scottsdale?) and is training for the Pikes Peak Marathon. It was her first time running as a pacer. Since this was a smaller race than my other two half marathons, I brought my iPod in case I got bored. But I didn’t end up needing it at all since the pacer and the firefighter were good company. Troy was waiting for me to pass at mile 4 and took this great photo of the three of us.
The first four miles were a loop around the island that was created when the London Bridge was installed. Then we ran over the London Bridge (which was very uneventful for supposedly being the highlight of the race). After that was an out and back from about miles 5 to 12. There were a few small hills here and there, but overall the course was very flat. The course was well planned because it was a slight uphill on the “out” part of the course, and a slight downhill on the “back”.
I was really having a great day. I think the weather helped because I’ve been doing my long runs in the afternoon, and it was nice and cool that morning – 60s or so with a slight breeze. I ended up wearing my new Sauconys in size six. In order to prevent my heel from slipping I had to tie the laces really tightly which hurt the top of my foot. But my toes didn’t hurt at all during or after the race. I had studied the race course and knew there was a water station at the turnaround between miles 8 and 9. Even though I didn’t feel like I needed it, I took another GU at mile 8 to help keep up my energy for the rest of the race. I couldn’t believe how quickly the miles flew by and I was already more than half way done.
Around mile 9 or 10, the firefighter must have decided he’d had enough of running with us girls because he started to pull away. So then it was just me and the pacer. I made it to mile 11 before I started to feel just a bit tired. I wished I had another GU or some gummies with me. I was glad to have the pacer running with me. I think our pace slowed just a little, but I probably would have slowed more if I was alone. We crossed the London Bridge again and then it was less than a mile to the finish. As we approached the finish line, the pacer asked if Iwas going to sprint for the finish. I said I’d go for it when I reached the sign, but ended up taking off just a little before that.
As I ran toward the finish line I saw that the clock said 2:08:something so I knew I was going to finish under 2:10. I had to wait until Sunday before I got the official results… 2:08:45!!! I’m so very, very, very happy with my time and I still can’t really believe I ran that well. After I got my medal, I went back to thank the pacer because I know I couldn’t have done so well without her help.
Troy took some photos of me with my new medal, and we walked around a bit while I ate some food. Then we went back to the hotel so I could shower and change before heading home. I sort of wanted to go to the post-race party and/or have lunch in Lake Havasu City. But since Troy was driving I let him make the call. At least we were able to make a quick stop at the London Bridge for a few photos before leaving. And in the end it was worth it because we made it back to Phoenix in time to pick up my new bike… but I’ll save that story for another post…