Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Race Recap: New Balance Girls on the Run

My first race ever, which propelled me into running, was a fundraiser to kick off the start of the Girls on the Run organization locally.  This past weekend they had their "graduation race" for the participants in the program for the fall season.

I had wanted to do the race - but William was on call.  Doing anything when William was on call is just plain tough...unless I take all three kids with me!  So I didn't register.  Then my dear friend posted on Facebook that her organization (Volunteer Kansas) was sponsoring the event and she'd be there. Again that tugging occurred...and but I still didn't register.  Then she posted she had some free registrations due to her organizations participation - and wanted to know if anyone was interested.

Free?  Really?  I couldn't pass that up.  So I checked with William...he said as long as I could get a babysitter.


So I asked my mom.  Miraculously, she was free and arrangements were made.

Then my dear friend told me that no one else had responded - and if I knew anyone else interested there were a total of 10 of them!  "Oh I'll probably be by myself" I thought...but sent a few inquiries out.

Boy was I shocked when not only did I get a response...but FOUR friends responded! 

L->R: Me, Amy, Ashley and Lacey.  Amber wasn't there yet... :)
What can I say - it was obvious this was something the Lord wanted me to do.  I can only compare it to Moses parting the Red Sea...schedules just don't align like that.

My friend Amy and I car pooled.  As we pulled in the parking lot I said something about the 5K...and she said "5K?  I thought this was a 2K!!!"  Noo...I assured her she would be fine...it wasn't really all that far.

We got ourselves registered (which honestly could have gone bad if it weren't for the fact a lady took me at my word -- they had no idea who we were) and settled.  Amy was pretty nervous and it took me back to my first GOTR race.  I recalled so very clearly how nervous I was and how my friend Janette took the time to encourage me.

It was a few minutes until race start, so we got in the starting line.  We stood around in the crowd - and I knew...I just knew we were waaaaay too close.  But the other three were faster runners (9-10 min mile pacers) so it was probably OK for them.  I determined in my head that I would pace Amy and myself slower.  I knew it would be a challenge, but I felt like I could do it.  (I didn't want to scoot back because we were all having fun chatting.)

We started off and I was keeping up with Amber, my marathon-running friend (who says she will never do it again haha).  I looked back and Amy was trailing.  I was going to stick with Amy because I had convinced her to even come - I wasn't about to abandon her!  So I slowed up.

And I forgot to tell Amber I was slowing up.

And Amber didn't notice.

And Amber had wanted to run with us.

Ugh.  I felt terrible when I realized (after the race) that she hadn't seen me.  I also felt terrible when thinking about the fact that it is just MORE FUN running with friends than by yourself - no matter what pace!  And it didn't help when I really thought about it - and knew that Amber really knows this.  (Not all folks believe this same way.)  So - I sort of felt like I really messed up there.  I am still feeling a little guilty about it - but that is my personality.  It takes me awhile to forgive.

Anyway - I checked my phone and told Amy we needed to slow down some.  We were running a 11:30 pace...I knew that was unsustainable.  So we slowed down to about a 12:30-13:00 min pace.  (Why yes...I do rely on my phone heavily.  It also helps me to get my get-up-and-go on when I'm lolly gagging...as I do tend to do.) 

We hit the first hill and I mentioned I wondered if my friend Ashely - who hates hills - was complaining about the hill.  Amy said "But it is downhill!  I could do this all day!"  I laughed and said "Yes...but we will have to run back up this hill!"  It was a rather "steep" one (come on - we live in FLATLAND...give me a break! It is all in what you are used too!).

We jogged and talked and jogged and talked.  I was sure to tell her what a great job she was doing and encourage her as much as I could.  I had asked what her previous pace was and she had told me she usually ran a mile in 16 or 17 minutes.  I said "Well - you've already done better than that today!"  We were about 1.3 miles in when we hit the 16 minute mark.

I let Amy walk whenever she felt she needed too - but prodded her to run after 2 minutes.  I have a 2 minute walk rule.  If I stop - I always walk for at least 2 minutes.  It helps keep me from taking too many - 2 minutes is enough time to sufficiently rest.  It also helps keep me from taking too long of a walk break if I happen to be an lolly gag overdrive.  Hey - it happens.

We used land markers and attempted to run the downhills.  Actually - this ended up being an important strategy in convincing her to run towards the end.  "Look - it is downhill.  Downhill really isn't so bad...let's just go to that mailbox..."

The last mile came and she said she was done.  I remember this feeling - you are so tired you just don't feel like you can go anymore.  In fact, I had purposed in my heart to walk to the finish line at my first GOTR race.  But Janette had prodded me to run it in.  So I told Amy we could walk until close to the end - but we were running across the finish line. ;-)  THEN I noticed a rather large downhill streak.  "You know - that is all downhill.  How about we just run to that mailbox right there..."  It wasn't very far.  She reluctantly agreed.  We started jogging...and then she kept on going.  I decided to not ask and just keep going with it. :)

She ran all the way to the bottom of the next larger hill - almost to the end.  We walked it up.

The finish line was also up another hill - so I gave her some hill running tips I had read.  "Take small steps!  Swing your arms for momentum!  It is the only time you are supposed to use your arms! Oh yeah - these are all theory because I don't do much hill running!"  She laughed and up we went.

We finished strong and I was so very proud of her for doing it.  And...we beat my May time by 37 seconds.  our official time for this race was 43:15.  My official time for the May race was 43:52.  (I don't think my original blog post had it correct - I hadn't looked up the official time.)

Mile 1: 12:29
Mile 2: 13:50
Mile 3: 14:15

Avg Pace: 13:33

I'm so glad my friend Amy joined me and I'm hoping she'll start running with me. :-)  And I feel so blessed I even got to participate in this particular race.

Up next? I am considering the Turkey Trot or the Jingle Bell run...both are well known races - but I'm only going to do them if I am running with someone. (I have potentials for each - but we'll see if they back out!)  Racing can be fun by yourself - but I'm ready to do some social running!

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