Sunday, April 14, 2013

NCAC Superheros 1-Mile Flash Run, 1-Mile Fun Run, and 10K Bike Ride

see Results here
see webpage here
If you are local and looking for a fun family event, you should check out the NCAC Superheros Bike-A-Fun-Run and Family Block Party next year!  This event kicks off Child Abuse Prevention Month at Huntsville's Child Advocacy Center.
This year, the event was held on Saturday, April 13, 2013.  My family came race day to register at 7:30 a.m.  We all registered for a family max cap of $55 for the 1-mile and bike ride events.  I registered for the Flash 1-Mile, my daughter and I registered for the Fun Run, and Rick and our son registered for the 10K Bike Ride.  We each got a registration packet with a water bottle and some coupons but no shirts since we were late registrants. 
1-Mile Flash Run
I really don't know why I registered for this event.  I hadn't trained for it or even done any speed work in weeks.  Well, okay, the real reason I registered for it was that I could.  It worked out since my family had already planned to be here anyway.  And I was a little bummed that I hadn't raced at all last weekend, even missing the 5K before Rick's 10K in Decatur, one of the few events we can both race like that.  So I looked at today as an opportunity.
It turns out that many men from the FF Racing Team had been planning for this event.  We don't have many 1-mile events in town, so this one was anticipated.  They were trained and ready to go and really push each other out there.  After finishing a quick 1-mile warm-up of the course, I lined up right behind the guys.  None of the girls from our team were there!  On one hand, no competition.  On the other hand, no one to push me along! 
(**Just so you have an idea of how prepared these guys were, this is from Rob Youngren on FB the night before the race: "Just got back from walking and marking up the NCAC Flash Mile course. Kathy Faulkner Youngren, George Heeschen and I used a GPS and two calibration wheels (#overkill) to mark the first and last 220 yard mark as well as the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 mile marks with a short fluorescent orange stripe. We're good to go now and spread the word to get some more folks out there. See you in the morning!"**)

Race Start
Picture by Rick Maehlmann
Today was my first day to race in my new uniform and to see the men's uniforms.  They looked great!  I've worn the other uniform at every race for the last two years, so I was ready for something different.  Kathy picked out a nice purple color, and all of the girls love the new shorts (the last ones were pretty short with a big split!).  

All We Run Huntsville pictures by Gregg Gelmis
So, racing a 1-miler when you haven't trained for it or feel even halfway in shape for it is hard!!  I was dying out there, but 1-mile events are good because they are so short!  I just pushed as hard as I could for the whole time.  I really wanted under 6, but I was fine with just missing it with a 6:03.  

Picture by Rick Maehlmann
Picture by Eric Fritz
While we waited for the other events, Rick did a run and I took the kids to a bike obstacle course set up at the block party. 

Then it was time for the 1-Mile Fun Run.  This was the exact same course, but there was a bigger crowd with more little kids.  My daughter just took off when the race started.  I figured she would slow down, which she did after the first .25 mile.  I was able to run alongside her and slightly in front, cheering and encouraging her.  I was impressed that she wasn't stopping to walk.  Through checking my watch at the .25 splits, I knew she was doing really well and would exceed her previous 1-mile time of about 10 minutes.  She finished so strong---in around 8:30!  I later looked up the state age group awards, and she would have gotten a state age record for 5 year old girls if she'd run the Flash 1-Miler instead of the Fun Run (since this one was not scored).  But that's okay.  We were all so proud of her!  When I asked her how she did that so well, she said, "I prayed to God last night to help me not give up and to keep going, and He helped me." 
Then it was time for the 10K Bike Ride.  Rick and our son had a great time doing this together. 

I received a nice gift bag with food from from Earthfare, Fleet Feet gift cards, and 4 passes to EarlyWorks Children's Museum for my first overall win (if you look at the results you will that I didn't have much competition, so I felt a little silly accepting all of this nice stuff!). 
First Overall Female Prizes
The Block Party had a lot of fun games, bounce houses, etc. for the kids.  I liked this photo op where we all look like superheros!  What a great event for the whole family to enjoy!  I hope more people will hear about this event and come out to enjoy it next year.

My Super Family!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Newest Fleet Feet Racing Team Member

I put the quote above as a reminder of the journey and happy success of my good friend, Julia Clark.  Julia had been wanting to get chosen for the Huntsville Fleet Feet Racing Team for a few years now.  The team is highly selective.  Our team chooses its members by invitation only, so in order to make the team you have to get noticed.  Last year Julia did not make the team, but she admirably said that she still planned to serve in all of the same volunteer capacities required by the teammates.  Two things also occurred: Julia made it a point to work at and lower her 5K time (to a 19:52), and she won 6 spring/summer 5Ks, a very impressive feat.  But she struggled in a couple of fall/winter marathons, and she still didn't make the team this year. Then in February 2013, she ran her PR marathon of 3:30:29.  After this, I knew she had gained the range of running (from 5K to marathon) that would help her to get noticed.  Having both the sub-20 5K and the 3:30 marathon really helped her stand out amongst Huntsville women.

I figured Julia would have a good chance of getting on the team in 2014 with those times, but the team had already been chosen for this year.  Well, Julia got the greatest surprise when she was asked back in March to be a late addition to the team!  She and I were both thrilled and shocked that they had done that!  

She is humble and grateful beyond belief to be on the team.  She is so excited and very gracious about all of the team's benefits.  And I have no doubt that she will prove herself worthy of being on the team this year. Below is a picture of Julia and me at her first half marathon as a FF Racing Team member.  Julia, I am proud to have you on the team, and I applaud you for not giving up on your dream in spite of the obstacles you faced.  

I hope Julia can inspire other runners to believe in themselves and to be patient and persistent when following your dreams.

Julia and Katie at the Scottsboro Half (3rd OAF and 1st OAF)

Read Julia's FF Racing Team bio here

Learn more about our team (Huntsville Fleet Feet Racing) and follow our races here

Our team's new uniforms have come in, and, for the first time in two years, I will be wearing something new at my races!  Stay tuned for pictures soon!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Continuing The Streak---Even When It's Hard

We live .43 miles from our neighborhood elementary school, so when my son started school this year, I decided to walk him there every day.  I knew that it would be good for him since he has a crazy amount of energy.  It would help him get some of that energy out before having to sit for much of the day in his classroom.

Enter the warm, sunny days of August and September!

Walking was a joy (well, once I figured out how to get everyone out of the the door by 7:20 a.m.!). We had the best time, walking and chatting with each other and lots of neighborhood kids who were also walking. We even started bringing the dog (our pug, Monte) along for some added fun!

Then a RAINY and cold winter hit (did I mention that it was rainy??).  Instead of just breezing out of the door, we required things like real shoes (so I switched from flip-flops to Crocs), jackets, hats, mittens, gloves, raincoats, and umbrellas.  Our walks required fortitude as we braced against the annoying elements. Our neighborhood friends quit walking.  Still we pressed on!  In the freezing temperatures, we noticed the frozen puddles and ice everywhere.  In the rain, we jumped around avoiding all of the worms and commented on how high the creek was.

In early spring, the vet told us our dog had lost a pound (we attribute it to his daily walks with us).  The kids started doing a "Kids' Marathon," where they have to run/walk 25 miles in the 2 months leading up to the race-day 1.2 miles.  They were happy that our walks would count towards that total. We faced a tardy since we couldn't locate the rain shield for the jogging stroller (a must for my daughter on the rainy days!). Rick stepped in to walk our son on the days when he was able to go into work late, a much-appreciated lightening of my load.

Picture from earlier this year
Today's walk was another rainy one.  My son donned raincoat and boots and carried his umbrella, while I wore his backpack on my front to prevent it from getting wet.  My daughter rode in the stroller with the rain shield, and the dog stayed inside.  I felt a little clumsy pushing the stroller while juggling my umbrella, and I groaned as my Croc-adorned toes hit yet another puddle, soaking my already cold feet (I never did get around to buying rain boots for me this year!).  But then I remembered.  I am a runner---and a trail runner at that!  I have spent hours in the rain, in soaking wet clothes getting filthy and muddy as I ran.  I could do this.  So we walked another day.

I am proud to report that we have kept this streak alive.  Rick or I have walked our son to school every day of his first grade year.  Through the hot summer days, the cool fall days, the frigid and rainy winter, days where I'd already run 10-20 miles before our walk, and even through my nasty stomach bug.  We are heading into a nicer and easier time.  We will keep this streak alive.

What will my son learn from all of this?  I hope he learns not to give up.  On the worst of the winter days, we would all give high fives once we made it to the school.  We would celebrate another day of walking.  We were meeting our goal.  He has learned about nature as we comment on the things we see around us in the different seasons.  He's learned to rely on his own two feet to get him where he wants to go.  He's learned that things may not always be comfortable.  Our car would have been much warmer and definitely drier than many of these days.  But where is the triumph in always living a comfortable life?

So here's to discomfort.  Here's to feeling annoyingly cold.  Here's to wet feet.  Here's to tired legs.  Here's to seemingly impossible goals.  Here's to using the body God gave you to the fullest.  Here's to not giving up when the going gets tough.  And here's to running, which taught me all of these lessons first.