I’m really behind in writing here and I’m sure it’s going to get worse as travel time to Iowa closes in. Who knows….maybe it means more time to write? But, mostly lately I’ve been reading. Reading lots of books by comedians and comedic actors. I promise to write more about that later, but for now, let’s step back in time to last Sunday, November 8th. I got up really early that morning in the cool, damp, darkness and drove downtown for the culmination of the New Balance inMotion walking group’s season.
Sunday morning was the Battleship Half-Marathon and 5k and for the last 8 weeks the ladies I worked with had been building up to this event. The goal? Finish in under 1 hour. This post can be considered somewhat sponsored by New Balance, but mostly by New Balance Wilmington as they hired me to train these ladies and paid me in shoes for my whole family and a few other items. I just want to preface that because the there are a lot of bloggers out there who wait until the end of the post to tell you these kinds of things and it really irks me.
First, a little backstory on our journey. In the beginning of September we started our adventure and you can check out our walks on Mondays and Thursdays through September, October, and the beginning of November on my MapMyRun page here. The first day out was a pacing walk of 1 mile (approximately). During the course of our time we increased our distance and pace with the goal to complete the 5k in under 1 hour. The three ladies in my group (Judi, Liz, and Mary) had all previously participated in 5k events and all walked semi regularly. However, they all had different things that had kept them from performing at their best.
We spent weeks working on pacing drills, warm-up drills, strengthening drills, learning about injury prevention and recovery, and sports nutrition. The people at New Balance Wilmington (Barry and Mary) were instrumental in fitting the participants in new shoes, providing them with socks, and supporting their journey (including giving us entry to the event for free). This was a free program they were providing to improve traffic to the store in the evening hours. I also want to send out a special thanks to Dr. King at King Chiropractic and again to Kim at Fuel Factor for their help.
During our training we hit a few speed bumps including the weather raining us out on more than one occasion, with myself and the kids getting stomach flu, and the time change dousing us in darkness during our regularly scheduled walk time. However, these three ladies kept their spirits up and determination to compete strong. Come race weekend we were down one (Judi) due to a sinus infection. I could hear the disappointment in her voice when she told me that she wouldn’t be there that morning. I really hope I get the chance to walk with her again in a different event.
I arrived on site early, pumped, and in my New Balance gear. I still owe you a review of my amazing new running shoes and I’ve prepared a post about that for early this next week. Come back then! I had the pleasure of riding a water taxi over to the event and waited for my other two ladies to arrive. We were all early and met up with our New Balance Wilmington crew and tried to stay warm before the race started. We talked some race strategy and I geared up with New Balance promo items and coupons to hand out during the race (I wish I’d taken a picture of some of the cute things I was handing out, but you can see me carrying them in my race photos here).
The half-marathoners started at 8am and the 5k participants at about 8:12am. We were off and working at a good pace toward the back of the pack. The wind was very chilly and I was glad I’d worn many layers that morning. The course went out and took a quick left along the waterfront and under a bridge was the first turn around. We came back out the first road and went left again. We started talking about visualizing people ahead of us to try and “catch”, but Liz was losing speed. Mary and I stayed with her until we got to the main road and headed right and up to the concrete bridge.
It was at that point that we decided it was time for me to take Liz back. She is a diabetic and her blood sugar was on a fast decline despite measures to keep it up. She and I turned back and told Mary to push on. I got Liz back to the finish and to the EMS truck and headed back out to find Mary. So many people were finishing at that point that I had the opportunity to hand out my SWAG at this point. I powered through to find Mary and met up with her before I got over the bridge. I turned toward the finish again and brought her in….in 54:20!
Liz was doing much better by the time we caught back up with her, although disappointed to be a DNF. I was just happy that she made the smart choice to turn back instead of pushing and possibly collapsing on the course. That’s never a good idea….trust me….I know…I’ve been there more than once! We stuck around for the awards; Mary came in 4th in her age group and had really wished she had caught the 3rd place woman who we had seen not too far in front of us (you just can’t ever tell who you’re competing against at that time in the race). I placed 6th in my age group. And then, just like that, our time together was over and we all headed home.
I do hope that I will get to work with these three ladies again in the future and also with the New Balance Wilmington team, but it will be at least January before I take on another training task. Being at the 5k (my first “event” since August 2009) was mixed feelings. I was excited for the ladies I was there with and joyous to see Mary reach the goal we’d set. It was disheartening to see Liz DNF and Judi be too ill to come out. And it was bittersweet to cross the finish line and not be competing for myself. It did, however, renew my desire to get back into competing and doing races for myself instead of just always being the coach, the trainer, the timer, the instructor pushing others forward to their goals.
Overall thoughts: It’s always a great day when you can get out, finish a race, and eat pizza and bananas for breakfast!
Have you ever done a race for someone else?
What’s your next event?
Do you drink the beer after races?
Strangest breakfast you’ve ever had?