Friday, November 30, 2012

Thundercloud Turkey Trot Race Recap

After running the Route 66 Half, you'd think I'd take a break but it is obvious that my body just doesn't take to breaks kindly.  The day after the Route 66 Half, I ran a very sad, slow 3 miler along Riverside Drive of Tulsa for a shakeout.  I also knew I'd be in the car for 7 hours the following day.  Then on Wednesday, I ran a simple 4 miler Tabata training stint in preparation for Thursday's 5 miler in Austin.

Usually, I wouldn't drive an hour to run 5 miles.  I learned along time ago that I needed to be picky with my events and conservative even; due to distance and finances.  But Thundercloud Turkey Trot was different.

This is the first time I've run on Thanksgiving day in an event.  I've always run on Turkey Day (aka Day of Gluttony) since I started running in attempt to restrain from over indulging with bad food choices.  But this time, it had nothing to do with that.

A few months ago, one of my summer camp counselors shared with me some similar frustrations with herself that so many of us women encounter - poor self image, poor self worth, desire to be better in all areas of life, etc. and she had decided that perhaps running would do for her, what it had done for me.  So together, we designed some running programs and nutritional guides.  But with her living an hour away, it was going to be all up to her without she achieved the goal or not.

Then a few weeks ago, she told me her goal was the Thundercloud Turkey Trot in Austin on Thanksgiving day.  I assumed it was a 5k.  Assumption wrong.  5 MILER!  Who signs up for a five miler as their first event?????  Was she crazy?????  I told her without hesitation, that I'd be there to run beside her.  Then I asked what her pace was and she had no ideal.  She had never even timed herself.

Didn't matter - I just knew that I needed to be with her on this day.  I also knew that Perfect Pacer would not be able to do it because he would've just finished the Route 66 and I knew the toll it would take on his body.  So I signed myself up.

I didn't have to pick up the packet as my Camp Counselor picked it up for me, so on race day, we simply met at the start line, pinned on my bib and began the slow, long wait for the start.

We were untimed.

Which meant, we were in the pack with baby strollers and dogs.

Which annoyed me greatly.  Because still inside, I am a competitor and I don't like to do this for fun.  It is not a FUN RUN.  It is 5 miles.  But it is what it was and I couldn't change that.

So patiently, or not so patiently, we slowly made our way to the start.  I told Camp Counselor that Perfect Pacer would be to the right just after the start.  And he was.  I passed off my tshirt Camp Counselor had picked up for me, he waved his beautiful glittery sign we made for Camp Counselor and off we went.

Perfect Pacer said he knew I'd be frustrated as I've never been that far back at a start and that when he saw dogs and strollers, he realized I'd be fighting back running full speed ahead of everyone.  He was right.

Camp Counselor stayed on my heels, and we bobbed and weaved to get around as many "slowpokes" as we could.  Her goal was to "run without stopping" and so we stayed on that goal.  It wasn't a fast pace, but in the end, we managed to get to the finish in 1:01 with an official distance on my gps of 5.26.  Not bad for a first time runner!

What was more cool was that she was determined to stick to her goal.  There was a moment at one of the water stops, that I looked behind me to check on her and she flew past me!  There were moments when we joked and laughed, and more moments when we were just quiet.  Focused on getting on front in front of the other.  It was a hard run for me as I had slowed my pace down to an 11 minute mile and I had been used to 9s.  But it was about perseverance for me as well, and I came to fully understand and appreciate how Perfect Pacer had run for me in some many races before this.  It's not an easy job to pace someone else when your legs want to leap quicker then theirs.

We crossed the finish line in true TDO fashion, holding hands and smiling.  We jumped up and down, hugged and patted each other repeatedly on the back.  "Good Job".  "Thanks for coming and running with me".  "Awesome Job",  that about covers the whole conversation we had at the moment.
Not sure why my eyes are closed -- maybe ready for a nap? 
Her sister and Aunt had been with us at the start line. Aunty was going to walk/run and Sissy was going to see just how far she could go while pushing the baby stroller with 5 month old Niece in it.  I was  excited to learn that Sissy had managed to come in just 20 minutes after us.  Nice Job Sissy!!

Bottom Line: sometimes we run for others.  This was not about a PR for me, but a PR for Camp Counselor.  It was about her meeting her goal and me being there to cheer her on.  It was about her realizing a dream and getting the feeling of accomplishment and even better, that feeling that from her on out, she could accomplish anything in the world she set her mind to.

What is one of your goals this upcoming year?  


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