This weekend was a whirlwind! Driving, sleeping, running, playing, sleeping, playing, driving…that’s about it! Read more about the weekend happenings below 🙂
Friday started like many before, with the intention to get up and run…and it just didn’t happen. What did happen is I was able to get 2 loads of laundry through the dryer, pack up little man’s weekend bag, pack up my weekend bag (including running gear), eat some breakfast, make meals/snacks for he day, tidy up the living room from kid and dog toys, and take a shower…all before my 8 am work start!
*proud momma moment – stuff got done!*
The workday went along as usual, busy…and I spent my lunch hour at home putting the final touches on packing and packing up my car for the weekend in KC. I got off work a couple hours early to try and miss some of the rush hour craziness…
…and instead, I got to drive 30 mph on the highway with my windshield wipers on full crazy mode, flashers on (hello white car probs), hail and rain clobbering my car, and I couldn’t see 50 feet in front of me… This lasted for what seemed like FOREVER, but was only 20 or so minutes. Oh course, little man loved the “rain” hitting my car…I was less excited and was trying to not get run off the highway.
Once the madness was over, we made our way to The Legends for the packet pickup for Saturday’s race. When coming in from out of town, I don’t mind a quick “expo” experience. The packet pickup was in a back room at Cabela’s…and I wish it was in a running store. I went straight to the pacer pickup first and got my shirt, band, and stick. I then stepped over to the bib/shirt/swag pickup for the race. I should have done this process the other way around because the lady wasn’t going to give me an event shirt… “She already has a pacing shirt” is what she said to the guy behind her asking why shirt size. “I closed the page because she already has a pacing shirt.” Well… I looked at the guy and said medium would be great and he handed me the one in his hand. The lady seemed annoyed that I would get a pacer shirt AND an event tee…oh well.
We decided to wander around the store for a little while 🙂
After playtime was over, we stopped by Popeyes for dinner – my sister was most likely to be working and she doens’t get to see little man enough…
Next stop – hair cut with Suz!
Once we got back to the house, it was bath time for little man. He was covered in little itchy hairs and this was the only way to fix that! When he got out of the tub, it was time to get ready for bed…except I forgot to pack a couple diapers in the overnight bag! #momfail So I got to run out and get another package of diapers for the weekend…and weeks to come.
Soon after, it was time for me to think about hitting the sack…but not before making sure I had all of my necessities for the next morning!
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The early morning routine started with some PB toast with banana and cinnamon, coffee, and Nuun…then I was ready to hit the road!
It was really fun driving into the KS Speedway as the sun came up…quite the experience!
I was able to find parking pretty easily and just chilled out in my car for a few minutes. I realized that I needed to exchange my event tee so I headed into the Media Center. The same nice gentleman from the night before directed me to where I could get a different shirt size and I was done! Back to my car to get my fuel, pacer stick, and running belt. I headed back into the Media Center because it was a brisk upper 40s morning and I didn’t want to get too cold hanging around outside. I used the facilities and settled into a spot on the floor.
Around 20-30 minutes before the start, I headed out to get lined up. There was a decent amount of people milling about and no one really cared to go to the chutes…oh well! Once in the start area, we (the pacers) lined up so everyone could see where they wanted to start. You can read a little more about my thoughts and opinions of the course my Scout Strong Challenge Review post here.
While in the starting are, I had one woman question where she should start. She said that she trained around 13-14 minute pace and I told her to stick with me and I would get her to the finish.
Before long, there was a moment of silence for a local Detective that was killed in the line of duty last week (his funeral was today in a nearby location), the National Anthem sung by local Boy Scouts, and then the race started!
I was a little intimidated by pacing the 3:00 group because I was wary that I would be able to back off my usual pace enough to make a good pacer – but that didn’t end up being an issue at all. Rachel, my runner, and I set out to finish this race in 2:59:59. We started strong and stuck to pace within 10-15 seconds. I would have held back a little more but I was keeping her pace and my pace in a similar realm. There was another gentleman that was going to be walking the race and he said that he would meet us at the finish around 3:13. We were able to stick together most of the track running and Rachel and I broke away a little closer to mile 2.
We didn’t chat too much in the beginning of the race, but i learned that this was her first big race after an ankle injury took her out 8 months ago. I knew that I was going to be her lifeline today, and I intended on making this race worth her efforts. “Help me, Jesus” is her mantra of choice and we used it off and on throughout the course.
Rachel broke away from me around mile 4 and ran ahead a ways. I decided to keep my pace and not stray too far from the set times. This was in an area where the faster runners were passing us to head back to the start so I was supporting them as well: “great work runner”, “thank you pacer”, and “good job” were my go to cheering 🙂
Around mile 5, I met back up with Rachel. She was starting to struggle a little and I was there to get her back in a positive mindset. I talked her through some breathing strategies that I use, I told her about my running plans this summer, and I just supported her needs to the best of my abilities. We took a few walking breaks through Wyandotte Country Park, but kept on trucking! The beauty of Wyandotte County Park was a great distraction! I took it all in… The park road winded around and there were golfers, geese, and an opossum crossed the road ahead of us!
The most “hill-looking” hill (or 2) of the course was between mile 7.25 and 8). We had to break up this distance into chunks so we didn’t wear out our legs too much. I kept up the encouragement and we were able to overcome both hills. In the process, we passed the Agricultural Hall of Fame and the backside of the Renaissance Festival on our way back to State Ave.
The next section of the course just looped us back to the start. The quicker downhills before were now steady uphills and we talked through the time and distance by counting electricity poles. She would give me 3 poles of running and I would give her 1-2 poles for quick walking. I learned that her youngest daughter (of 4 kids) was graduating high school this weekend, she is a nurse practitioner and owns a side business, and she is planning on going back to school. As the miles passes slowly, I told her about my mom (since she deals with patients in their older years) and about our struggles. I just kept talking about things…anything to keep her mind off of running. When we ran out of light poles, we counted cracks in the street…when the streets were uncracked, we counted trees…when we ran out of trees, we counted signs, parking lots, and people in the street.
As we got closer to the Kansas Speedway, we could see the tributes to the fallen Detective near by. There were many police motorcycle groups, firetrucks with their ladders fully extended with huge American Flags stretched across…a moving sight to see.
As we turned into the KS Speedway, there were people cheering and honking from leaving the speedway after their finish. This gave me an adrenaline boost, but Rachel just wasn’t feeling it. She continued to appologize for slowing to a walk and I just told her to stop appologizing. “We started this journey together, and we are going to finish it together.” At this point, we were still within the range to make the 3:00 finish time. I told her that the 3:00 finish was attainable, but we were going to take all the time she needed to finish the race. Her ankle had bothered her off and on and was really bothering her now. We paced the pit boxes, we paced the cones to show us where to go, and before we knew it, we were in our final turns of the race! With about 0.25 mile to go, I started talking and I didn’t stop talking…I came up with every manrta I could think of to get her to that finish line in the shortest amount of time. No, we were not RUNNING or SPRINTING to the finish…but we were moving at a steady pace to complete this race! “You have worked so hard for this”, “Jesus is at the finish line waiting for you”, “You are so much stronger than you were 3 hours ago”, “Keep pushing!”, “We got this!”, and the list goes on and on!…and then we passed the finish line!! I smiled for the camera and looked back… Rachel was covering her face, tears of joy (and a few from pain probably), but we did it!! We finished!! There were hugs, high fives, medals, water…the works. I was do glad that I was able to be there and take her to that finish line 🙂
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This race was so much bigger than just an event to pace. As a smaller race, 200-300 half marathoners, I had one woman that wanted to run with me…she just wanted to finish. After injury 8 months ago, this was her first half (possibly ever, I don't remember) to complete. There were good times, there were difficult times, there was a finish line…I used my powers of persuasion to will her to run. "Jesus, help me" is her mantra…and I just talked her through it all. The final mile may have been the hardest, but we broke it down into smaller bites and made it through. I pushed her to get through the last quarter mile and if I would have stopped talking, she would have stopped running…she gave it all of her heart and finished! Runners highs are great…but the high you get from taking the impossible and making it possible for someone is so much higher! Happy tears all around!!
After the race, I needed to take the pacer sticks to my car for next weekends race in Manhattan. At the “refreshments” table, the director of the race was chatting us up. Since we were the last of a few racers to finish, they had a ton of leftover food. I was told to take a box of bananas…I didn’t, but I did take 3 bundles, a box of granola bars, and a bag of pretzles!! (the perks of finishing *close to* last)
After getting home, I just relaxed a bit. The little man and grandparents were put looking for shoes for his growing feet. It was close to lunch and nap time, so they came home.
Nap time was a more difficult task because little man was just plain exhausted…but all giants must fall.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent relaxing…the kind that you kc I your feet up and watch your kid ride around the yard on the mower with his Papa and roll around in your red wagon… Nothing I had “planned” on doing got done. Which could be the best thing… 🙂
No alarms, no problem.
I got up and just milled around most of the morning. Around 10:30-11am, I decided to head out and try to find little man shows again… Target (check out the shoe situation, found “crocks” that fit), Famous Footwear (meltdown and ran around the store, found shoes but needed to think on it), Starbucks (momma needed a drink and this was the best solution, little man got milk), Famous Footwear (got the shoes), Target (bought the “crocks”)… Talk about major melt down at every turn! Through the struggle, I now know that our little man has opinions and wants to do EVERYTHING on his own. Mom picking shoes, no. It has to be his idea… Once this was discovered, the day didn’t get a lot easier, but there were less tears. We found some “choo choo” shoes – Thomas the Train shoes. He loved them and actually tried them on. They are 2 sized too big but 1) he has chunk feet (like his momma), 2) mom was too lazy to go to another store for the correct size, 3) he will grow into them, and 4) he tried them on!
When we got home, I asked little man if he wanted to take a nap or go home. He said home, so I packed up our things. By the time we loaded up, said our goodbyes, and hit the road – he was asleep by mile 2. Well, talk about a 2-for-1 deal for momma!
Once we got home, we played with the dog for a while and relaxed.
Thanks goodness for “easy” weekends 🙂
How was your weekend? Have any exciting adventures?
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