For a few months now I’ve been meeting a group of ladies twice a week to coach them through the 3M Half Marathon here in Austin. We met on Saturday mornings for long runs around the lake and Wednesday evenings for strength, conditioning and core workouts. Several hundred pushups and miles later….it was RACE DAY!
As part of my coaching philosophy, I like to make it as easy on my runners on the big day as possible. Making sure you’ve got all your gear (shoes, gu, water, body glide, bib, timing chip, watch etc) is hassle enough before the sun is up. This morning that included chauffeuring my “kiddos” to the start of the race and doing a quick drop off before heading to the finish to cheer for them. Excellent practice for the small percentage of me that might end up as a soccer mom. 3M is a little bit unique because it’s a point to point. In my racing experience, most races start and end within a mile of each other so that characteristic made it a little tricky.
This race is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, with over 5,000 people participating. The weather was perfect. Perfect. Sunny and 48 to start, 52 around the finish. Miley (mascot pup, for those of you new to my world) and I waited at the final corner of the race. It was a little chilly at first before the sun was up over the buildings but the warmth and energy of the running community was vibrant. We didn’t wait too long before the first place guy came zooming by, looking effortless at his 5:00ish pace. He finished in just over 1:07. A pace neither my body nor my mind will ever comprehend. Even if I was put in a Katniss-esque situation and had to run from trackerjackers. I’ll never be that fast. But I’ve made peace with that, and my hallucinogenic fate if I ever do encounter trackerjackers.
Anyway, the race crowd was thin at first; not many can hold that pace. It eventually started to dense up and I started looking for friends and my groupies. I managed to catch them all and give a little shout and a brief final jog with them around the corner.
Race day is one of my favorite parts about this job. It represents so many things. Overcoming injuries, illnesses, doubts, fears and excuses. Following something through to completion. Sticking together as a group. Making the impossible possible. I’m so proud of these girls today for sticking with it when it was hot or cold, as I demanded more pushups or planks, through pain and coughs – YOU DID IT!
Miley and I were wiped out just watching all that activity this morning. After a big nap I was still feeling inspired by the 5,000+ runners I watched this morning so I stepped out into the still perfect weather for a run of my own. Today was a time for distance style run where I see how far I can get in a certain amount of time. I picked 45 minutes for today, and will use it as a benchmark as training strides along!
Congrats to ALL the racers today (but especially mine)!