Contingency plans

Today, I bring you two race recaps: The Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic and the Girls on the Run of North Central West Virginia 5K.

They were both hard races, but for different reasons. They were races that we planned and planned for, but when things fell apart, we were at a loss as how to salvage the races.

Let’s start with the first race.

 

2015 Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic

 Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic

Held the Saturday before Memorial Day, this race is a hilly 13.1 miles through Wheeling, W.Va. There are water stops almost every mile, sometimes with port-a-potties. It’s chip timed; the only time you see your time on the course is at the halfway point and at the finish.

I did this race in 2014. The hills killed me and I wanted redemption. We weren’t sure whether I’d get to do the race again this year, but I kept training as if I would.

I trained for hills and did the best I could to prepare for the two-mile incline between miles four and six.

On race day, it was a bit chilly, nothing a trash bag couldn’t handle. I felt great and was ready. Then the horn went off, as did the wheels on by my race plans. During the first mile, I felt better than I usually do during a distance run, but something felt off.

I learned what it was at my first water stop at mile 4. My body wasn’t happy with my running plans. It was like I tapered but not enough to be truly free from over-worked muscles.

As I climbed through the 13.1 miles, so did the temperature. As I listened to people complain about the hills, I sucked it up and tried to run harder. I wanted to conquer the course, not worry about the wrench that had been thrown into my plans.

I took three potty breaks, I had only planned for one. I had a hard time refilling my water bottle, which made the second half of my race feel like last year, like I was on the verge of dehydration.

But I kept going, eventually running the last mile at a better pace than I had the other miles. I played “Zombies, Run” and was doing Zombie decoy, a side mission where you run to divert zombies away from Abel Township, your base. I was doing good, according to my Abel Township comrades. And with every vanquished zombie, the more encouraged I felt.

I felt good … And that damn last mile got me again. I had this  wicked tightening in my Achilles’ tendons. They just didn’t want me to flex my foot. But I kept running in the hopes, that like last time, I could ease the pain.

I finished a few minutes over my time from last year. Yeah, I’m disappointed in my time. But I gave it my all. I tried my best and put it all out there. 

I love the atmosphere of this race, but I may do a relay next time to save my legs some.

2015 Girls on the Run of North Central West Virginia

Girls on the Run of North Central West Virginia 5K

This was my daughter’s race, held the weekend after my half. All during the GOTR training, my husband wanted my daughter to set a new personal record at this race.

Life had other plans. The week of the race, my daughter developed a cold. We weren’t even sure she’d race until the day of the run.The other wrench was a change in the course. Half of it was to be in a major road it town, using one lane of traffic, the rest on rail-trail. When you have almost 900 people on a road, it is congested until the people break down into their own pace groups.

This is GOTR. It’s not about Personal Records, but about the team’s final run together and the experience of being together one last time. My daughter had her eyes set on both her dad’s and her own goals.

Dad’s plan was for me to run the first half with my daughter and my husband to run the second half. Our oldest son would meet them with about 800 meters to go so she’d have that final kick.

As soon as we started to line up I knew we were in trouble. My daughter had to stick with her team. And about 30 seconds after  the gun went off, I lost her as she ran with her friends and teammate.

So I began to panic as I searched the sea of green and purple for one of the few girls with her hair down (she likes running with her hair flying in the wind). I couldn’t see her, so I thought I could cut through the course and catch her at the halfway point. 

I ended up catching up with her about 5 meters past the halfway point, on the rail-trail. She had a side stitch and was walking, her face bright red from the sun and effort.

I ran to where her dad was and yelled at him to start running. He gave me a “What are you doing?” look and chased after her.

With the boys in the car, we made it to our designated spot with about a minute or so to spare. When my daughter and her dad came by, everyone went, even my youngest kid.

“I’m doing it,” he yelled to the audience as we passed. “We’re almost there.”

So we all made it to the finish line and helped my daughter cool off. She had fun.

We both had fun at our races. And in the end, that’s what running is all about.

Running Mountain Mama and her daughter at the 2014 Girls on the Run.
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