Next Sunday I am running another marathon. " Michelle B" was my inspiration for running 2 marathons in a 6 week time frame. She had something like 5 marathons that she was running in the same amount of time. Sheer craziness but a contagious thought.
This week I finished off my training with two 2 races:
- Saturday: The HA5K- Holly Academy 5k
- Sunday: Dexter Ann Arbor Half Marathon
The HA5K was a race that was directed by some of the parents from the school that my kids attend. I was asked to be on that committee because of my experience directing a 5K. I enjoyed going to the meetings and being part of the 5K but I really didn't do much. I would have like to have done more but I enjoyed the participation that I was involved in.
Mother nature scheduled thunderstorms for the morning of the 5k and the morning ended up to be perfect. There were over 200 signed up for our first annual 5k which is a great turn out.
One of my other roles for success of the 5k was to coach runners, prepare and encourage them over a 16 week period for the HA5K. I was one of 4 coaches. I love to see the success of others. I feel their excitement, anxiety and anticipation. I saw many of the runners that I had the honor of being part of their training program lining up for the race. With each smile and familiar face I felt myself adhering to their emotions. Like a mama on the sidelines I was cheering them on.
I greeted in many of the Cross Country kids that I help coach also. I took them for a warm up run, leading a group of about 10 students through part of the course. I described the course to them and tried to prepare them mentally for what they would be running. They looked so incredible running in a pack around the course in front of all the other runners.
We crossed the starting line in the front of all the runners. I was on a mission. I wanted to be the first female to cross the finish line. I knew I could do it only I also knew it was going to hurt like a son of a gun. "Lauren" our fastest runner on the CC team was right beside me as I coached her through the first quarter mile of the race.. She was moving a few steps ahead of me when I heard a guy take over coaching her. He was really good with her. After the 1st mile I began to kick it in. I then passed her with more words of encouragement. " "Lauren" , STAY With ME. Keep your eyes on my pony tail."
I ran in front of her for about a half of a mile. During that time I began to think......
I do not need to be first to cross the finish line. I do not need accolades, labels, recognition. I am a 39 year old woman who only needs to be recognized by Christ. And He would be more honored if I dropped back. And besides, I did have to race again in the morning.
I dropped back and let "Lauren" pass with confidence. The other coach and I took turns encouraging her all the way to the finish, where she was the first female to cross.
Personal success and goals are fabulous but I believe that there is a time when the greatest reward is watching someone else's victory. I believe there is a time when that is more rewarding then a personal running achievement.
Unfortunately, this run had a few mishaps.
- A lot of tags didn't match the bibs.
- The course was cut short, volunteers sent people the wrong way. But at least everyone ran the course short!
But I saw many many smiles. You have to let it go and learn from it when directing a race. The best way to end a race is to end it with a good attitude. A good attitude is like the garnish on a plate. Without the little extras it doesn't stand out. But everything can be enhanced with a good attitude, a smile, words of encouragement and being positive.
Both my boys, Austin and Alec also raced. The both did incredible also. Alec came in 1st in his division for 10 year olds.
I was a bit sore waking up for this race. "Paula" met me at my house and we headed to Ann Arbor at 6am. This was the first time in about 5 years running this race I did not have my family there.
I was not nervous about running this half marathon like I was nervous about getting us lost getting there.
Surprisingly, we arrived in Ann Arbor without a problem. I set "Paula" up with a 1:55 pacer. She had never used a pacer but I knew she would do great.
Before I left her I put my arm around her and began to pray. Joining in we gave Glory, Honor and Thanks to Him.
Even after I heard the alarm go off to start I had no idea what I was planning on running. All I knew for sure was I was going to use this run as a training run for next Sundays race.
As each step turned over I began to put a plan into action.
Head out nice and easy, maintaining a sub 8 minute mile and see how I feel at mile 10. If I feel good, slowly pick up the pace and try to have a good negative split.
And that is how it worked! The last mile I heard a guy next to me breathing very heavy. "Your doing great, You are almost there." I spoke to him with a smile. Struggling to speak he responded "You are pushing me, I am following you."
Knowing this I continued to encourage him up the last hill where the finish rested. "Come on, you got this, just maintain." I cheered at him. He slowly starting dropping off going up that 1/4 mile incline. Wanting to finish strong I slowly pulled away passing several other runners up that devilish hill towards the finish.
Out of breath and wanted to throw up I calmed myself down and mustered up a smile for the volunteers at the finish congratulating me.
8th place in my division.
It was a great weekend for races. I am pretty sore but thankful to God for all the places these legs take me. All the opportunities my legs have given me. All the friendships I have made from my passion.
I will post pics tomorrow. Heading to bed.