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.