Monday, September 26, 2011
Sheesh, what a busy weekend! Two major running-relate events:
I volunteered for my first race this weekend. Every year, the local Roadrunners club hosts a Women's Distance Festival 5K. It's actually a several-month affair. Many women sign up back in the spring, and they train all summer to run this race. There are first-time runners, return runners, and women who just want to increase their current distance or speed. The group is coached by RR volunteers / mentors, who each have a group based on speed or pace. It's similar to a couch to 5K program, but with real people, and a built-in support group. The training culminates with the Distance Festival, which is also open to any other women interested in running it.. just no boys!
I was just on clean-up crew. I got there early, in case they needed help in other areas, but they did not. This meant I got to just hang out and watch the race. The first place winner killed it at just over 20 minutes (I know!). The 3rd place, and winner of what would have been my age group, also knocked it out at about 22 or 23 minutes. From there, more ladies started to finish up in fits and spurts.
Here were some of my favorites:
* the group of 12- and 13-year old girls who traveled from about an hour away, with either a mom or their teacher, to compete. They all wore fun knee socks, and none of them finished alone. They all finished in small groups, and looked amazing as they cross the finish. How great to see young girls who appreciate a healthy lifestyle, and know that they can kick ass in a race that many grown-ups can't!
* the girl who actually won the 11-14 year old age group, who beat most of the adults with a time in the low 20s (23, 24?). Her mom won HER age group, too, they are clearly a family of runners. This girl looked DETERMINED and strong when she blew through that finish line.
* the two older ladies, who looked new to running. They finished towards the end, walking a little, jogging a little, but one of them got a sneaky grin about 10 feet from the finish line and started booking! The both ran for that finish, and ended neck and neck, cracking up! They hugged at the end.
* the mom who came out of the finish corral, and was mobbed by her two young kids, who gushed, "Mommy, I saw you FINISH!". As a mom, it's always amazing when your kids are proud of YOU!
* there were so many other women who were obviously running this as their first race. You could tell by the looks of amazement on their faces when they crossed the finish line and hugged each other, or got a look of total shock and accomplishment when they realized they'd done it. It's the same look I've gotten on my own face, each time I've finished a race with a distance that's new to me. It's an awesome feeling, and seeing on others' faces is moving.
Had a great time, got a little choked up, met some more great roadrunners. Next year I'm planning to volunteer to be a mentor of one of the women's groups.
Marathon update: Did 19.8 this weekend (says Nike+.. I thought my mapping said otherwise but whatever). For the first time, I didn't give a rat's ass if I was .2 short. My last 1/4 mile was up a hill (take THAT, last hill of the course*), and by the time I got to the top, I was not interested in jogging around the parking lot, just to get those last few feet!
I do believe it's time to replace my kicks. I now have one pair that smell like creek, thanks to last weekend's rain run, and the pair I wore yesterday, which need to be retired. By the time I finished, my feet were feeling it from the pounding. Everything ached, and any time I came down a hill, I must have looked like an 80 year old lady trying not to break a hip! Uphill, strangely, was fine. Aside from the aches, I felt good, I felt strong, and I am ready for 22 next weeekend (with some new shoes).
*most of the MCM course is pretty flat, with the exception of one hill, right at the DOGGONE END of the race, towards the Marine Corps War Memorial aka Iwo Jima Memorial. Just in case you have a little extra energy to burn, after already running 26 miles, and you need to just get rid of it!