So I have spent the last 111 days pacing a group of people to train for this past weekend. I didn't really know what I got myself into. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't even think I was going to enjoy it as much as I did. But every Saturday, I woke up when most people were still sleeping, I ran through torrential down pours, snow, ice, single digit temps, injuries all to enjoy a few hours with some amazing people. I remember my first Saturday as the pacer, and as a newbie in the running community I didn't know what these people wanted from me. What they wanted and needed was just someone telling them that they can do it. I remember when I met Julie and Jacqueline, both individually told me they weren't runners. Yesterday, they both finished their first half marathons. It was great getting to know these people. It was great getting yelled at when I was grumpy and I wasn't talking to my team. It was great watching them smile after they finished. Thank you #teamawesome
So back to the weekend........
I took Avery to the expo. This year was great because I knew what I wanted and I knew what to expect. Last year I was pretty overwhelmed. Avery got to meet a few of the training team. Avery also got to enjoy the fast lands of the expo lobby floor. She enjoyed crawling every where. It is so much more fun knowing people at races. it makes it so much more social. Last year I felt like a fat outsider. From the training team, I learned that runners come in all shapes, sizes, goals, and times, and that's what makes races so much fun.
So Saturday morning was a ton of fun. For the training team, there wasn't as many because most concentrated on the Half or Full. But none the less, the race was a ton of fun because I took my time and I still PR'ed. My last 8k was last year, so I didn't really have a good comparison. The party is always pretty fun on Saturday because most the participants Saturday get wilder where as Sundays are more of the hardcore runners. It was great meeting everyone back at the Training Team area. It made it so fun to celebrate with each other.
Well, here it is where it gets a little crazy. Since I paced the 12+ minute group, I didn't really have someone to run with at the start of the race. I knew I wanted 2:10 and I wanted to take my time. I know physically that I could probably do 2:00 if I really pushed myself but I knew anything above 2:21 was a PR. About mile 5, I ran into Carla. She's like the really bad ass cool mom of the training team. She is always super positive and always happy. She is the epitome of what running is about. Oh, I forgot, I decided to jump into the seashore park to pee because I didn't want to wait in the lines. Great idea until I jumped into thorn bushes. But still worth it. Back to Carla. Good thing about Carla is that she is a pro, she has done the race a lot and she was right on the pace I wanted. It was great talking with Carla for 7-8 miles. We kept each other at pace, we talked, we laughed, we thanked all the volunteers. It was great to have someone to run with. We passed our friend and fellow training team member, Kelly, at mile 12. She was hurting, so I dropped back for a little bit and talked to her. I told her to just fight it mentally even though it was a physical issues. She was having issues like I have with her IT band in her hip. it hurts like hell and it just sucks. She still kicked butt for her first half. I ran and caught back up to Carla. We had a great time finishing. I didn't find out until later but we both PR'ed. She was so excited. I can't wait to see the pictures.
So, here is where it got stressful. So, I was in corral 6 and my team was in corral 11 and 13. So I basically had to wait an hour worrying about them. But once they started slowly coming in I was excited. All of them came strolling in smiling and happy. Tired but happy. It was awesome hearing their stories. It was awesome listening to them talk about everything. I couldn't of been more proud of them. They kicked ass and just overall worked their butts off.
Side story: So, I always joked with my team how I was jealous that ladies have the best options for outfits. So, friday at the expo, I saw these awesome pants that J & A were selling.
So with a few beers of encouragement and some wonderful team members, this happened.
This is what happens when you have a great team. These pants are a symbol of how awesome my team really is. And all I can say is thank you.
And for the obligatory baby picture. This is why I do this crazy stuff. This why I became healthier. I did it for my family.