Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Here are some pictures of my running group at our Christmas GNO.  We met for dinner and an ornament exchange at Outback.  Although some of us didn't bring ornaments to exchange, our friend, Julia, handmade a running ornament for each one of us!  It is gorgeous and will be a keepsake for me for many years to come.  The back of it lists all sorts of words that relate to our running group, and you can see the front pictured below.  What a special night and a great group of friends!

front left: Michelle, Alice, Jamie, Jane, Allison
second row: me, Kristen, Tiffany
third row: Julia, Anna
back row: Courtney, Carey, Erin, Jan

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

HTC Awards Banquet

Last night was our annual HTC Awards Banquet.  I've gone to these on-and-off over the years, but this year I was very motivated to go.  I'd been told beforehand that Kylie, a good friend and teammate, would be receiving the Female Performance Award.  Back in 2004, I received this award, but I must say that Kylie deserves it much more than I did back then!  Her times are so fast!  But when Eric Charette, her award presenter, asked me if I could add anything about Kylie, I chose to tell him about what a great teammate she's been.  She's united us girls and included me on many training runs, and she's humble and very likable.  I couldn't wait to see her reaction when she found out she'd won!

If you're an HTC member, these banquets and meetings are free for you, and they include a nice catered meal at the Monte Sano Lodge (this time it was Zoe's Kitchen kabobs, salad, rice, and cookies).  The chance to socialize with the other runners is a big highlight for me too.  I brought my daughter with me tonight, and Rick took our son to basketball practice. 

Anyway, Eric's presentation of Kylie's award went great.  I thought I knew about Kylie's amazing performances this year, but Eric really knew her very well and gave many reasons why she was chosen for this award.  I enjoyed seeing someone so deserving get the award.  Others that received awards included Dink Taylor (he got many!), Josh Whitehead (Male Performance), and the Holiday Inn (our beloved Rocket City host hotel which is closing the day after the marathon this year).

I wasn't expecting an award, so I was surprised to receive 2nd place in the Female Grand Prix!  You can find results here, but the Grand Prix is basically a series of races throughout the year.  HTC members earn points based on how they finish in these events.  I've been as high as first place in the Grand Prix (also in 2004), but of course I dropped way down when I had my kids and slowly worked my way back up.  This year, I hadn't paid any attention to my rank (I do look it over when I get my HTC newsletter mailed to me each quarter), so I was totally surprised!  Kathy was first place, and we both received Fleet Feet gift cards!  Here are all of the winners (top 10% in their divisions):

Picture by James Hurley

I guess with this many runners it's a guarantee that someone will ruin the picture by wearing reflective clothing.  Way to go, Katie!

I looked over the results of the past few years, and I usually finished top 5, but finishing in 2nd place is really a honor...and kind of just "luck of the draw."  Sometimes it's your year, and sometimes it's not.  It's hard for runners to stay on top of their game year after year.  This year, it just so happened that I came out near the top.  I certainly was happy to receive the award though, and I am thankful for our wonderful track club and for the many benefits I am able to enjoy as a member.

Krispy Kreme Challenge!

So what do you do if you are just recovering from a marathon with no plans to race anything?  Why, you run the Krispy Kreme Challenge, of course!  This is a race where you run 2 miles to a Krispy Kreme where they have boxes of donuts waiting for you.  The challenge is to eat the entire dozen donuts and run back two more miles to the finish.  There is always someone from our racing team that goes out hard to win this race.  I, on the other hand, entered because our team was given a comp entry that no one else wanted (I waited until a couple of days before the race to ask for it), and I was NOT planning to eat the entire dozen.  If you don't eat the whole box, you can carry it back, and you receive a different colored finisher's shirt.  I could live with that.

I arrived at the race and did a 2-mile warm up with some team members.  Our great local photographer, Gregg Gelmis, was out capturing the event.  These pictures are all from him unless noted.

As the race started, I fell back and let many people in front of me.  I just took it easy.  When I arrived at the shop, I had no idea what to expect.  I found my teammate, Jill, going for first place.  I tucked in next to her and her friends to eat a few donuts.  I like this picture from James Hurley.  I'm all like, "Yes, I usually just stand around with a box of donuts in my hand in the middle of a race."  I'm actually looking away from the stack of donuts the guy in front of me is scarfing down!  Jill looks pretty miserable here.  That girl was doing amazing!

So after 4 donuts, I called it quits!  I took my box and started running (this was as per the instructions given on the race website, "Casual runners who are not competing to complete the Challenge may race back with a box of doughnuts to take home if they so choose.").  I look really happy about my finish here!  I just remembered to look up my time, and I was 4th female in the "non-challenge" category with a time of 38:04, or around an 8:00 minute pace for the running portion of my race (I ate for around 6 minutes).

Closing Thoughts
This race is for a good cause (United Cerebral Palsy), and it was a lot of fun.  I've never seen so many people having fun in a race!  I was able to bring home donuts to my kids and also get in a little run, so that was a win-win for me.  But, this race started as a fraternity challenge (so I heard anyway), and it's not really a good idea for anyone to eat an entire dozen donuts.  I didn't feel like I fit with the people scarfing down donuts.  There was the option to do teams of four, where the entire team eats only one dozen donuts.  I think that is a better option for me in the future.  Congrats to my teammates, Eric and Jill, who managed to eat the whole dozen and still post great running times with only a few minutes spent eating the donuts.  You guys sure helped me make a memory today!

Indianapolis, Indiana Monumental Marathon

Friday, November 1
We drove up to Indianapolis on Friday.  It was about 7 hours total, including stops.  Upon arriving, we headed to the expo to get our packets.  We really had not researched the marathon at all, so seeing the expo was the first chance I had to gauge the size of the race.  It seemed to be a fairly large race. We also stopped to look at the pace groups.  We had decided to aim for a sub-4 hour time, so we checked out the pacers near that time.

We met my sister at Siam Square, a nice Thai restaurant near her house.  Our stipulation was that it had to be kid-friendly, and it was!  The service was fast, and the food was good.  It's nice to have a filling, high-carbohydrate meal the night before the race, so this dish of white rice and shrimp was great for me.

We laid out our stuff and settled in to sleep.  I tossed and turned since her apartment had lots of loud people late into the night!  But I never worry about the sleep I get the night before a race.

Saturday, November 2
This race went well but was different from most of my races lately.  In this race, Rick and I started very conservatively and moved up as the race went on.  My splits started at 8:35 (we were just wanting sub-9 pace).  But everything seemed easy and was going well, so I picked up the pace to around 8:10's.  When I crossed the halfway point at 1:47, I knew I had a chance to get a sub 3:35!  I ended up negative-spliting!  This was not something I was expecting to do at all today.  With only minimal training, I knew that the last few miles could seem very hard, but that didn't happen.  I passed the 3:35 pacer and just kept going (this was near the end--maybe Mile 22?).  Rick surprised himself and felt even better than I did, so he took off around Mile 17 and picked up his pace a lot.

I finished the race in 3:32:31 (I do remember that the last mile seemed to take forever!).  What a surprise for me (and Rick, who got a 3:27).  With our training, we just did not think we could do this. These times are only about 20 minutes slower than we could do with good training right now.  I wasn't expecting a BQ, but I was amazed that I had done it!  It was a great way to finish my 30th marathon, and I think it shows the power of experience in the marathon.  We are well-seasoned marathon runners now, and this helped us greatly today.  Our bodies and minds remember this distance.  

The course was nice and flat, the weather was perfect (40s), and aid on the course was nice (Clif Bloks!).  I think these things helped us out.  And Rick, who tends to get put pressure on himself, did not feel any pressure today.  I also enjoyed not having the usual "PR pressure" on me today.  For me, I saw it as a "last chance," at least for another year or so.  I always run better when I think, "One day you will not be able to do this.  Today is not that day." It helps me to appreciate the moment so much more.  

After showers, we went to Bazbeaux's for some wonderful basil pizza.  It was almost a mile each way there and back, and we'd already walked 2 miles getting to and from the start/finish.  I was sore and stiff!  We went to a toy store and a grocery store and headed back to my sister's apartment for short naps.  

Dinner on Saturday night was Chipotle, and we made a trip to Trader Joe's and a nice mall.  I was exhausted that night and slept like a baby!

Sunday, November 3 
We had a great opportunity to spend one more night at Laurie's apartment.  It worked out since the kids have homeschool on Mondays, so they would not miss school if we drove back that day.  And Laurie pointed out that she'd watched the kids for Sunday marathons in the past.  Having this one on Saturday was great.  So today we went to Scotty's Brewhouse (we had looked it up that kids eat free on Sundays) and the Indiana State Museum (we used our U.S. Space and Rocket Center membership to get in for free!).  It was another day of walking...and lots of standing at the museum.  I definitely felt sore and tired today.

Indiana State Museum

We did a pretty riverwalk on the way back to Laurie's place.  

Rick points to where we finished yesterday.  
Crazy to see it totally back to being a regular old street.

Laurie is really into healthy eating, so she wanted to make us a good, made-from-scratch dinner.  The kids had never had brussel sprouts or asparagus before!  And the main dish was a delicious macaroni and cheese.

It was hard telling my sister good-bye.  I am so proud of her for moving to a new city alone, but I really miss her in Alabama.  And I am so moved by how willing she is to watch the kids for us.  She talked about flying out to meet us for some east coast marathons and others too.  I love that she offered that to us.  I could never repay her for what she's done for us in helping to make this dream possible for us.

Monday, November 4
 We set off for Alabama as Laurie headed off to work.  We made a stop in Louisville, Kentucky to visit the Kentucky Science Center (another free museum for us--yeah!).  This museum was great!  The kids had a such a good time that we had to go out and feed the meter to get more playtime!  We ate lunch in the car (Jimmy Johns) and made it home around 5:30.

Closing Thoughts
I love taking the time to look back on each marathon and reflect.  This one just seemed like such a gift--the unexpectedness of it, the uncertainty due to our lack of training, the utter surprise and joy of having a good race and finish, and the happiness of reaching the milestone of 30 marathons.  I am constantly surprised at what each race brings to me, and that is why I like running marathons so much.  I even enjoy reading about my races that went poorly.  There's lessons there too, and they toughen me up.  I feel amazed that I was able to BQ today and thankful for the chance to do it.  A lesson I can give you is to never be afraid to try something.  If we'd just taken the easy road and not done this race, we'd have missed an unforgettable experience.  As usual, the trip was a wonderful family vacation and a great chance to see a dear family member.  I love that marathoning lets me do all of these things together.

Race Pictures
So strange--I didn't receive any finish line photos!  And I looked through the "unidentified runners" and couldn't find me anywhere!  Oh well, I know I finished! 

Here are some pictures from the course and after the finish.

Loaded down with arm sleeves (pushed down), gloves in hand, and a water bottle!  With a start in the low 40s, I had to have the gloves and sleeves at the beginning.  

Mile 1 8:35
Mile 2 8:13
Mile 3 8:05
Mile 4 8:13
Mile 5 8:15
Mile 6 8:07
Mile 7 8:12
Mile 8 8:15
Mile 9 8:12
Mile 10 8:06
Mile 11 8:04
Mile 12 8:00
Mile 13 7:53
Mile 14 8:00
Mile 15 8:01
Mile 16 8:13
Mile 17 7:56
Mile 18 7:57
Mile 19 7:51
Mile 20 7:54
Mile 21 7:53
Mile 22 8:07
Mile 23 8:02
Mile 24 8:13
Mile 25 8:11
Mile 26 8:10 
.2 1:42


Saturday, November 16, 2013

30th Marathon and 24th State!

So the month of November ended up starting with a marathon after all!  It's amazing how much I craved running a fall marathon once we decided not to run one.  I got reminiscent about Iowa, Chicago, Baltimore, West Virginia, and all of the other fun fall races we've done!  I kept feeling sad. So one day I looked up Indianapolis just to see if we'd missed the marathon there or not.  We had talked about it and then dropped it back in August for various reasons.  The Monumental Marathon had a counter on their website saying, "13 Days Until the Marathon."  So I knew we still had time!  I had to persuade Rick quite a bit, but I really did think we could do it even though we hadn't trained specifically for it (though we'd both built up to run long runs of around 14-15 miles). 

And so, the crazy tale of Marathon #30 and State #24 begins!  I will post more later!

Liz Hurley Ribbon Run and Spooktacular--5K Runs in October

Liz Hurley Saturday, October 19, 2013

I ended up just watching this race this year so Rick could run it.  It was a sort of chilly day, and the kids didn't have jackets, so I had them wear my Mountain Mist and McKay Hollow Madness jackets to stay warm.  We found some pretty leaves that they wanted to play in, but they were all wet.  

Waiting for the race to start

The runners!

Something that was new this year was that men and women started together (had they not, we both could have run!).  Since I was just spectating, I don't really know how that went or whether or not the start was too congested.

Spooktacular 5K Saturday, October 26, 2013  

Nothing big to record here!  Rick and I had just decided to run a marathon the following weekend (more on that later!), so I used the Friday before Spook to run 18 miles.  I never do that before a 5K. I need to rest before a 5K if I am going to run fast!  Also, I hadn't been doing speedwork.  I expected my time to be slow for me, and it was!  I ended up with around 6:40 miles for a total of 20:54.  My splits were so consistent that I knew they were all I could do today, and I just focused on having a good time.  I was 5th OAF and still managed to get 1st in my age group.  

Mile 1-6:43
Mile 2-6:44
Mile 3-6:44

As usual, Gregg Gelmis found a great spot and took some wonderful pictures of the runners.  To get this shot, he was actually lying down on the street!  I love how fallish it looks!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Autumn Chase 2013

A post with no pictures! (but you can refer to last year's entry)

This year the Autumn Chase was on Thursday, September 19.  Autumn Chase is a set of free runs for children up to 8th grade. It is actually several 1-mile events broken up by grade and gender (see link for full explanation).  At the last minute, the kids decided that they wanted to run it.  Rick and I saw that our team needed help pacing the runs, so a plan was hatched: We would each run the race with our kids and then we would alternate pacing the remaining races.  As a mom of young kids, I sometimes feel don't feel like I have much to offer my racing team.  Then I realize that sometimes a little creativity is all it takes.  Rick and I could both help at the races by working together. Childcare is usually our biggest hurdle, so we look for ways to work creatively around that.  Today we did that nicely.

Our son got 10th place, and our daughter got 5th.  It was fun running with my daughter.

Then it was on to the pacing.  Our team captain, Eric, was there, along with fellow teammates Kylie and Julia.  Also pacing some of the earlier races were some local high school track team members.  The pacers' job is to run alongside the front runners, offering encouragement and support.  I found it to be very different from pacing the marathon!  These kids are not trained at all and have no idea how to pace themselves.  Most start out too fast and then quickly fade.  Our job is to stay with them and encourage them, making small conversation and guiding them to finish the best they can.  We want them to have a positive experience with running.

When I paced the 2nd grade girls, I ran/walked with a cute little girl who was telling me how hard it was for her to catch her breath.  I slowed down and walked a bit with her, then I asked if she wanted to jog a little.  She seemed comforted when I told her I'd stay with her until the end.  I have to remember that these kids may have no idea about how long a mile is.  To them, it's really long!  Sometimes that grown up running beside them gives them the confidence to keep going.

After I paced the 2nd grade girls, Rick then paced the next group of boys, and we alternated that way.  All in all, I think I paced 5 different groups of girls, and he did the same with the boys.  At the end, it was a little hard to see how HARD some of these moms/coaches are on these poor kids!  There was a mom/coach just yelling at one girl at the end (6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls).  These races should just be for fun!  I felt so bad that this girl was being yelled at like that.  I wasn't pacing her, but my friend was.  I was proud of how Kylie ran alongside her and encouraged her the whole time.  All in all, Eric and Kylie paced all 13 races, with the first few miles being more like 9 minute miles and the last few miles around a 6:00 pace.  But I'd had enough with my every-other approach.  As usual when volunteering, I ended up having a lot of fun and learning a lot too.  I know there's many other ways of volunteering where you are also running (such as leading training groups), and I recommend this type of volunteering to anyone who, like us, is short on free time.  One of us watched our kids the entire time, and they even decided to run/walk in a later race together since they grew bored watching us and the other runners!  After the races were over and we were getting ready to leave, we noticed people breaking down the course.  There were many flags and cones to remove.  We started doing that, and the kids joined in with great enthusiasm.  At home, we all just crashed that night from a long school/work day and then staying out late at these races, but it was definitely worth it to me!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

2 5Ks and A Lot of Schoolwork!

Summer is over, and the school year is going full blast!  I've kept a long run of about 11-14 miles each week and done some faster runs with teammates Julia and Kylie, but mostly I've taken it easy and am not training for my usual fall marathon.  Rick went out of town for 2 weeks, and I did laps around my neighborhood in the mornings for my daily runs and hired a sitter for my long run.  I was really touched by Kylie's insistence that she and Julia meet at my house one morning to run laps with me.  As I've said, these girls are great teammates, and that gesture meant more to me than they'll ever know.

Speaking of the girls, we "faced off" at the Running of the Bulls 5K on Saturday, August 24 in Hampton Cove, AL.  I ended up third from our trio (time of 20:03), falling behind Julia for the first time in a race (her time-19:51)!  Kylie took first in 18:42, so you can see that Julia and I are much more evenly matched than either of us are to her!  My splits were 6:14, 6:29, and 6:34.  I started too fast and just faded at the end.  Kylie says that you have to "remember how to hurt" to do these 5Ks well, so I hope to do that as we approach the fall 5Ks!

I couldn't pass up an opportunity to try another 5K the next weekend.  This one was the Monte Sano 5K, following the Monte Sano 10K held right before.  My family came up for this one.  Usually the 5K competition is pretty light since you can run both of the races for the price of one (many people take advantage of that).  But I faced a 15 year old girl from out of town, and she was tough!  Unfortunately for her, she kept making wrong turns (some of the course is on gravel and dirt trails).  I kept yelling directions to her from behind!  And the women start 10 minutes after the men, so we were weaving through the slower men by this point.  Still, I took first place in the end of the 2nd mile and kept my lead until the end, finishing in a time of 20:28 (6:36 pace).  Splits were 6:17, 6:54, and 6:37, with .39 (6:24 pace) for the .1.  The prize for winning was really nice: $40 to Outback, a gift card for a 30 minute deep tissue massage, a poncho, and a drawstring bag.  Rick took the pictures below unless noted.

Start line for the Monte Sano 5K
The women getting ready to start
Gregg Gelmis was on the course taking pictures.  Here you can see how tight the first women were in that first mile.  I looked down at my Garmin and backed off once I realized that I was going sub-6!  

Top 3 women race the first mile


I did a 1-mile cool down with my daughter

Quilt made with all of the shirts to commemorate the 25 year of Beth directing the race!

Accepting prizes from James

Our goodies!
I have sometimes wondered over the last 3 weeks if I will have time to blog (and sometimes even run!!!) during this school year.  But then I find those minutes and snatch them up!  So my apologies if my blogging suffers a little this year as I shift my priorities around to accommodate new commitments.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wearing Down

I'm 35 years old, and at the dentist this week, they recommended a procedure for me called a gum graft.  I thought about linking pictures of gums that need to be grafted here, but I will spare you from that!  Basically, the gums of several of my teeth have been eroded so much that the root is exposed and bone loss is occurring as a result.  If I don't have the procedure, my teeth will become loose and fall out.  As you can imagine, this isn't a typical 35 year old's mouth.

I could not get this upcoming surgery out of my mind as I ran yesterday morning.  Though I was trying not to, I got onto myself for brushing too hard all of these years and for rubbing my tongue over gums in the back of my mouth to the point of erosion.  These behaviors have been a part of my anxiousness and my need to be hard on myself for years.  As I mentioned here before, I've had an eating disorder where I just about delighted in being hard on myself and feeling myself be worn away a little more each day.  Being too hard on myself comes with the territory.

And then my thoughts turned to how running is another area where I allow myself to be worn away.  Specifically, I thought of a recent family member's double knee replacement and about how each visit with this person was accompanied with tales of how running will do the same to me.  Thinking of my knees being slowly worn away while I was doing something that I loved that very moment brought me down.

I thought of my running shoes which for whatever reason show tons of wear after about 150 miles.  Shoes that provide the cushioning, stability, and protection for my feet, legs, and body!  Many people find my blog by searching for this very topic (this is my most viewed blog entry!).  They, too, want to know how to keep their shoes from wearing out so quickly and thus possibly damaging their bodies.  They want to fix the problem.

The thing is: our bodies are not meant to last forever.  They will wear down.  They will wear away.  Yes, I can do what I can to slow down this process and I can and should try to live pain-free, but I am not going to live forever no matter how hard I try!  The idea that my teeth may fall out and my knees may give out upsets me, but why should it? 

My thoughts turned to a Bible verse and about what God has to say about the brevity of our lives:

James 4
13Go to now, you that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. 15For that you ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. [emphasis added]

I find peace in knowing that God didn't intend for my body to last forever.  I love the imagery---that our life here on earth is but a vapor!  It speaks to me so much to know how short this time really will be in all of eternity. 

But I still must honor Him by respecting the body He gave me.  With anorexia, I was a slave to starvation.  As I became healthier, I was able to enjoy the foods He gave me.  I restored much of the damage I had done to my body.  With my teeth and gums, I will do everything recommended by my dentist to save my teeth.  For now, it's a special fluoride rinse and a hydroflosser each night, plus the awareness of what I'm doing to damage myself. 

With running, awww running.  It's so hard to know what is "too much" there.  Part of the reason that I run is to ease my anxiousness.  I feel God's presence on my runs.  So what can I say?  Maybe I am wearing down my knees and my shoes too much. See here for an entry where I reflected on some of high mileage running's possible harmful effects.  How do we really know?

So today my gums eroded just a tiny bit more.  My knees' cartilage wore down just a fraction of a degree more.  The scuff on the bottom of my shoe got the smallest bit bigger.  Another 24 hours ticked away in my precious and fleeting life.  But in the realization of these things, my hope and reliance on something even bigger increased.  My need for God's salvation and my eternal life with Him was felt even greater than before.  My thankfulness for my eternal life and my heavenly body free from age and pain increased. 

And finally, thanks to the wonderful healing power of 45 minutes of tough running and uninterrupted thoughts, my problems with my eroded gums seemed a whole lot smaller.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Twilight 5K Race Report: Running with my 7 year old!

My son and I ran the Twilight 5K together on Saturday, July 20.  This is a night race with a 1 mile fun run followed by a 5K.  My son, who just turned 7, has been wanting to do a 5K for a couple of months now.  He even went as far as to "train" by doing a couple of runs with me where we jogged 20-30 minutes together.  But my son is a typical 7 year old boy with LOTS of energy.  He runs, walks, hikes, crawls, jumps, swims, and bike rides as much as he can fit into each day.  That is "training" enough for him.  How much should you train with a young child?  That and more questions are answered in a descriptive blog entry by Tia found here.  It was helpful reading her opinions and finding out how she's helped her encourage her oldest daughter's running.
We arrived at the race, and Rick went to volunteer at the aid station with our daughter.  Rick snapped this picture of us before he left. 

Then began a long period of waiting for the race to start.  It takes place on a local college campus surrounded by many pine trees, so my son and I went exploring under the trees while we waited for the start.  Much different than my typical pre-race warm-up routine! 
He spotted a boy about his age with his shirt off, so my son took his off too!  I thought that was a good idea to help keep him cool.  Running in the 80 degree weather without much training would be easier if he was cool.
The Race
I had the Garmin on to see my son's pace as we ran.  We started near the middle of the pack and pretty much maintained a steady pace throughout the run.  For me, the pace felt incredibly relaxed and easy, but I had to remind my self that, for my son, this pace was challenging. 
Rick and I each had given him "pep talks," which I think is inevitable for two runners to do!  We did our best to explain how to do your best, how running can feel VERY hard, and about pushing yourself to achieve your goal.  Our son's goal was just to finish and have fun, hopefully while running/jogging for most of the race.  I enjoyed running with him.  I distracted him as much as possible as we ran.  I've run this course many times, so I know it well.  We passed a small lake that we'd launched his remote-controlled boat in earlier this summer, so I made sure I pointed that out.  I explained how we would reach a turn-around cone and then head back to the start line.  And I knew we would pass the aid station twice, so I talked all about how Daddy and Sissy would be waiting to see us and cheering for us.  Sure enough, the aid station boosted my son's spirits both times, and the water cooled him off.

Approaching the aid station the first time

He's telling his sister to "pour the water ON me!!!"

Coming back around for the second time

He's looking tired here!

Sister hands him water!

Sister splashes water on him!!

A volunteer pours more water on his back at my prompting
The end of the course has a little hill.  I knew here was where my son would really be tempted to walk.  I was really proud of him when he didn't and noticed a nice man encouraging him as he passed the man.  As we got to the end, I reminded my son to push himself, especially when the finish line was in sight.  He later told me that he was picturing a large trophy at the finish line with his name on it.  How did he learn to usual mental imagery to help him as he ran?!?!  That is a great technique for all runners!

He finished in 30:15--a 9:44 pace!  We got water and walked for a bit and then sat down on a curb.  I asked him, "How do you feel?  Are you happy you did it?"  And I honestly had NO idea what he would say.  He said, "Mommy, I'm proud of myself, and I'm so happy you pushed me."  That made my day!

The best part was finding out that he has gotten 3rd place in his age group (0-9 year olds)!  He is so excited, because here in Huntsville, age group awards usually mean Fleet Feet gift cards!  He was presented with a $10 card for FF, and he is so excited to pick something out there!

This was a great experience for both of us, captured nicely by our local race photographer, Gregg Gelmis.  I am so happy to have this picture of us running together.