Friday, March 11, 2016

Shamrock: A Family Tradition

So in January 2014 I decided that I was going to attempt to run again.  As I was losing weight I knew I needed to start working out.  I would go to the gym, do some weights, the elliptical, and whatever.  But I knew I needed to do something much harder.  When I was younger, I ran with my dad a few races, nothing big.  I think the most I ran was a 5 mile part of a relay for the Detroit Free Press Marathon.

I knew March was coming and one of my favorite runs I ever did was the Corktown 5k in Detroit, which celebrates St. Patrick's Day.  I liked it because they gave you beer.  Simplistic, I know.  But it sold me.  So the next thing I did was Google, St. Patrick's Day races, and magically J&A Racing Shamrock weekend came up.  I kept looking and looking and I was really hoping for a 5k.

Needless to say, they did not.  I kept going back and forth with Lori and decided to sign up.  I got one 4 mile run I think before the race.

On race day I was scared, Lori (7 months pregnant and Tim) came with me that morning.  I didn't know what i was doing.  I didn't know anything about J&A.  I just knew the expo was awesome and ginormous.  Tim loved it because of the free smoothies from McDs.

Off I went.  I think I was in corral 13.  I joked then that I was the caboose of the race. I was running with old shoes that were completely the wrong type.  I wore baggy shorts and a cotton t-shirt on race day (I think it was actually the race shirt).  I also rocked my run with my phone in my pocket to listen to jams.  I didn't have a care in the world.  I was just running.  It was incredible too.  I remember after I hit Mile 4 and I had an epiphone that I had just gone the furthest I ever had.  I remember finishing and I was so excited.  The best part I was excited because I ran a 12:18 pace.

But that day started me on the path I have been on since.  After I ran that race, I decided that I could run a half marathon.  So I did the Crawlin Crab Half that fall.

And magically I was asked by my now buddy Ryan to become a Pacer for the J&A Training Team via Running Etc. Ambassador Randy.  I remember my first day as a pacer.  I didn't really know what I was doing.  I was pacing people who have ran way more than me, were stronger than me and just straight up intimidating.  I remember Denise scaring me with her MCM jacket with at the time felt like 40 MCM patches for every year she ran the race. I was so scared and intimidated.  But during the training, I learned my teammates and felt more comfortable.  I learned what they needed from me as a pacer.  That was consistency and friendship.

Shamrock 2015 was amazing.  I was lucky enough to catch up to Carla during the race.  We ran basically the whole second half together.  I remember at one time she was like you can leave my side.  I was like no way.  I was already going to PR my half time by a lot.  Which I did. But the best part about Shamrock was the Camaraderie on race day.  it truly transformed myself and I think the team. People became friends who at the time were just teammates.  Instead, there was a bond there that sealed.  The glue was in place during all those tough runs.  But race day solidified it.

And so after Shamrock a core group of people hung out each saturday and ran.  I got caught up with this crazy group of people that we now call ourselves #deezrunninghoez.  And through the summer into the Fall training we built a great bold among the runners.  As I have talked about in past posts, Harbor Lights was a success.

And then it came time to start Shamrock 2016.  The training team was basically double from the year before.  Each weekend we had so many people that we actually had parking problems at Murphy's.  But the coolest part about 2016 is that my family is doing Shamrock too.  Lori and Tim are both running their first 8k and Avery is going to do the Leprechaun Dash.

The greatest part about this all is that not just my family but many families have involved their kids and spouses.  So much that we have actually had #teamnugget #trainjanda t-shirts made up for the kiddos.  It makes me happy that we have that energy around us.  It makes me happy the whole team does.

So as the Shamrock tradition continues in my family I hope it grows stronger.  Without J&A I wouldn't have this.  I wouldn't have a weekend to remind me where I am compared to where I was.  Some people on the training team don't even know I was 330 pounds 3 years ago.  Some people don't believe me that I used to run 12 minute miles.  But Shamrock is that weekend for me.  My first one Avery wasn't even born and now she is running an event.

I couldn't ask for more.  I am fortunate to find a group of people passionate about healthy lifestyles.

As I reflect on Shamrock and go for my #330for330 I need to remember where I was and where I want to be.  And remember how much my family has truly grown.

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